1 Million Calories – Week 5

Jan 28 – Woke up super early. My shoulder has been in pain the last couple of days, but today is the worst by far. I think I pinched something or tweaked something. I don’t know, but it isn’t fun. Just like most things in my life, being in pain affects my eating. I used up almost all of my calories today, but that’s okay, I’m still trending towards banking around 300 – 500 per day.

Jan 29 – Another 5 AM wake-up, but thankfully, I was asleep by 10:30 PM, so I got more than I have been getting. My shoulder is still in a huge amount of pain. I’m not sure what is up with it and I’m getting tired of it hurting. I ate a bag of cheese curds today and used up over 600 calories. It filled me up pretty well, but I can’t really call it a meal.

Jan 30 – As I finish out this first month, I think about all of the people that have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions and how easy it would be for me to give up on this challenge. Tracking food and portions is boring. Remembering to write and vlog can be difficult. Between the company I co-founded, our puppy and spending time with my wife and family, I am a busy person. Do I want to be concerned with everything I eat for a year? Then I look at the scale and see some progress in the right direction. I looked up what the various tools say is the weight of a person of my height and age to match the calories I’ve given myself with a near sedentary lifestyle, and it is someone around 250 to 260 pounds, or around 25 pounds lighter than I am now. I haven’t been in the 250’s for a very long time and the idea that I could, through this challenge get to that point is super exciting to me. But this morning has been rough. My shoulder still hurts, I didn’t get much more than five hours of sleep, and I have a busy day to get through. My willpower is low, and I need caloric energy to make it, so I’m making poor food choices to start my day. It might be the first time that I go over my calories in a day and that feels like a setback. Mixed feelings today.

I didn’t go over my calories! I had less than half an apple’s worth remaining, but I stayed under. I am also over 7 days worth of banked calories at this point. I’m super pumped. I had a day where I went a bit crazy with food, but I stopped just short of my limit. That took a ton of willpower.

Jan 31 – Woke up this morning after almost eight hours of sleep. Amazing how refreshing eight hours is after consistently getting less than six. I am so focused on work stuff this morning, so I’m not really hungry. I’ll probably only end up having lunch and dinner. This afternoon, I go to my mom’s to help her with some tech stuff and to visit. I didn’t eat breakfast, and by the time I realized I was hungry, it was time to help my mom with tech stuff. We ended up going out for dinner at six in the evening, so I didn’t eat from around ten the previous night until six in the evening, so that’s a 20 hour fast I wasn’t planning for. It all worked out though because I got to have a bacon cheeseburger with some amazing french fries. I can’t complain too much.

Feb 1 – I am down again, only 1.2 pounds, but that means I lost 13 whole pounds in January. I have more than 7 and a half days of calories banked at my maximum daily usage. I used, on average 2062 calories per day during the month. If I were to need to burn my banked calories at that rate, I’d have around ten days worth. My lowest calorie usage day was January 1st, and my highest was January 30th. I only ate breakfast thirteen times during the month. I skipped lunch six times, never missed dinner and only had three days with no snacks. I used a total of 63,927 calories over the course of January. According to MyFitnessPal, I only went over 300 grams of carbohydrates eight days over the month. This is pretty huge for me as I’d estimate that I would probably go over 300 grams of carbs twenty to twenty-five days a month before I started this challenge. One of the things I know I need to do is continue to work on cutting back on my carbohydrate intake, especially sugar. Another stat from MyFitnessPal is that I only met my 137-gram protein marker two days out of thirty-one. That’s not great.

I ended up going to bed pretty early as I had a headache and was super tired. It was needed.

1 Million Calories Challenge – Week 4

Jan 21 – I woke up early this morning after only six and a half hours of sleep. I need eight. I don’t know how much longer I can survive on getting only four to seven hours of sleep per night. I find it stressful knowing that I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I now have about five days of banked calories. I still haven’t gone over my daily allotment on any single day, though I’ve come close a number of times. I weighed myself this morning and weighed about two pounds heavier than three days ago. As much as this whole thing is not about weight loss, I would like to see myself lose some weight over the coming years. I am quickly approaching my forties, and while I don’t know if I’ll ever be within normal weight limits for my height, I’d like to be twenty or thirty pounds lighter than I am now. I ended the day with a bit over 500 calories remaining, and over five days of banked calories now. Even if I only bank five days worth of calories per month, I’ll have around 160,000 calories remaining at the end of this project.

1 Million Calories Challenge – Week 3

Jan 14 – I woke up early because of the dog, but that’s okay. I have decided to be as calorie restrictive as possible today as last night at my aunt and uncle’s place, I ate more than I should have. I think I ended the 13th with 100 calories left before hitting my cap. I really want to be sub-2,000 calories today. I know that my wife is making a special dinner tonight because her brother-in-law is coming from England, so I have to assume I’ll probably eat around a thousand calories for supper, so that means lunch and snacks have to be less than a thousand calories as well. Knowing this affects my food choices for the day. I’m also feeling heavier today. I was starting to feel lighter before the massive meal and dessert last night. It can be demoralizing to feel like I’ve taken a step back.

Jan 15 – I didn’t sleep well last night, and as usual, not sleeping well makes it harder to eat well. I had a coke this morning and it helped pep me up to be productive at work. I had Glorp for dinner, just like last night. It is basically a beef and vegetable stroganoff that Annie makes as her special dish. The nice thing about it is that it is so filling and not too crazy on the calories. Even if I have a snack later today, I should end the day with over 500 calories left, which is good. I weighed myself this morning and I’m up over a pound from my last weigh-in only four days ago. Again, who knows if this is because of water, food in the digestive system, or what. Weight is such a horrible thing to look at, outside of using it for long term trends.

Jan 16 – I had breakfast this morning. I don’t usually do breakfast, but I woke up feeling hungry and in the mood for mini-wheats. That plus a Vitamin water from Coca-Cola used up almost 600 calories to start my day. For lunch, I gave in and we had Wendy’s. The drive-thru took so long that they gave us a coupon for a free meal next time we go there. We finished with lasagna for dinner. I don’t even want to look at the carbs I used up today, but I did still end with a deficit of almost 600 calories.

Jan 17 – I only had four hours sleep last night, so I’m tired, again. I hate complaining about being tired, but I am one of those people that still need a solid seven and a half hours to recharge otherwise, I find it harder to deal with my depression. This morning I bought more yogurt so I could eat more of my oatmeal and yogurt mixes. I also got some coke and I’m going to try to stick to a maximum of one can per day. Though today that feels really hard. I weighed myself today, one day before my official weigh-in day, and I’m down. That feels nice despite how mentally hard this week has been for me. I am so lucky that I can overindulge in calories. I know that many people aren’t able to, and so I should feel super fortunate that I’m in a position where I have a choice. But sometimes, I feel that thanks to marketing and my struggles with depression and the self-sabotage that comes from it, I am set-up to fail and eat poorly, even as our world tries to market a healthier lifestyle. Tonight, we are likely going to have thin crust pizza at Score, one of my favourite pizza places. Bye bye calories…

Jan 18 – The day got away from me. I didn’t have breakfast or lunch. I just ate dinner and over the course of the day, I had two cokes, something I didn’t really want to do, but I was weak today. My cousin came over for dinner and made us a nice chicken, rice and veggies supper. It was really nice and healthy too. I ended up only using a little under 1200 calories for the day.

Jan 19 – I woke up hungry. Not surprising after having so few calories yesterday. I tried to make good food choices by having yogurt and protein oatmeal for breakfast. I spent too many calories today on drinks! So frustrating. I went over to my Aunt’s place and had two cans of Barq’s root beer, an amazing dinner of pulled pork sandwiches, chips and salad and pie for dessert. I came within 40 calories of my limit today. This was my highest calorie day yet, and I ended it still feeling hungry. How is that fair?

1 Million Calories Challenge – Week 2

I made it through another week with some successes and some failures, but I continued to bank calories away as most days, I had some left over. I am hopeful that the week ahead will see me do even better, continue to focus on eating healthier, but also forgiving myself when I don’t as long as I keep a strong look at my calorie usage.

Jan 7 – Woke up this morning not feeling hungry at all, despite only having 1,700 calories yesterday. I wonder why some days it is easier than others to eat well, or restrict calories and feel good. Emotionally, I am struggling a bit today. I suffer from depression and anxiety and despite taking medication for depression, I still have bad brain days. I didn’t end up having breakfast again, instead, I had a yogurt and protein granola for lunch. Before bed, I ended up having half a bag of popcorn, but overall, I kept my calories low and was able to use only 1400 calories. At this point, I have banked over two days of calories, and that number is growing. Even if I have some days above my calorie limit, I should be able to maintain this throughout the year.

Jan 8 – I woke up before my alarm again and let the dog out. It is all icy out and I had to be very careful. Even with being careful, my right knee was unhappy. It has been sore since tweaking it a week or so ago. I weighed myself today, and it is unofficial as my weigh in day is on Fridays, but I am currently down over five pounds since starting this challenge a little over a week ago. I love beef jerky. It is amazing how many people are all about avoiding meat and I get it, but the taste makes me feel good and I feel satiated for a long time. It really works for me. We got pizza for dinner which was nice. I feel like it was a smart follow up after going grocery shopping. The last thing I want to do after doing a big chore is make a complex dinner. Usually, I’ll buy something to throw in the oven or make something simple, but the pizza was a nice change. I was able to resist eating half the pizza in a sitting but still ended up using 1,000 calories between my pizza and root beer dinner.

Jan 9 – Who needs sleep? Right? Luna was up most of the night, which we thought she was done doing, but apparently not. That throws off the energy of my day a little. I am going to do something I haven’t done in a while and start my day with a bottle of coke to try to get some caffeine in me since I am not a coffee or tea drinker and it’ll be the full sugar type because I can’t really do aspartame without getting a headache. For dinner, we had steaks and they were good. I used the reverse sear method of cooking them which means heating them in the oven before pan frying them for a minute or two per side. They turned out pretty rare but tasted amazing. I love steak! Today I used the most calories in a single day since starting this challenge as I used almost 2600 calories!

Jan 10 – Got a bit more sleep last night, but still not enough. I definitely ate more yesterday than I would have liked, but still under my 2,739 per day. My hope today is to stay under 2,000 calories. I’m going to achieve that by not having any pop, drinking tons of water, and trying to not eat any candy. At the end of today, I will have three days worth of calories banked for later in the year or left over if I don’t use them. If I can bank an average of 500 calories per day, which is the kind of calorie restriction most diets recommend, I’ll end up with almost 20% of my total remaining at the end of the year with 182,500 calories unused. My wife and I have talked about a little carrot reward of $1 per 200 calories remaining which means I would be able to spend $912.50 on myself in a frivolous manner. In the afternoon, my mood dropped. I suffer from depression and my mind crushed me. I felt like a wave of negative energy smash into me and everything slowed down. It sapped my energy and drained the colour from the world. I couldn’t be bothered to vlog or do some things for work. I ended up taking a nap, something I never do, and still, I felt pretty horrible. I didn’t stay under 2,000 calories today as I went over by nearly 250 calories, but I still think that’s a victory as it is 500 under my daily limit.

Jan 11 – I weighed myself this morning and I was 287.6 pounds. This is down from my starting weight of 295 pounds. That’s a loss of 7.4 pounds in eleven days, which would be scary, except for the fact that I know my body likes to be in the mid-280s. I typically don’t have much trouble getting down to around this weight from the weights I balloon up to. But if each pound is around 3500 calories, then that means I’ve eaten a deficit of 25,900 calories. If my total daily energy expenditure is around 3400 calories per day, then that number almost tracks right. I would have normally consumed 34,000 calories in ten days, but instead only consumed 18,892, or a difference of 15,108. If it was a strict 3500 calories per pound, I should have only lost around 4 pounds in the last ten days. Maybe some of what was on the scale today was based on not drinking enough water today. Maybe there are other factors at play, but I think the whole thing is very interesting. My goal with this challenge was not to actively lose weight, but instead be more mindful of what I eat, and I feel I am accomplishing that.

Jan 12 – I woke up feeling full this morning, and so I was in no rush to eat. I had a small yogurt and the protein oatmeal stuff for breakfast. For lunch, I had more pulled pork in a pulled pork sandwich. It was amazing, but in eating breakfast and lunch, I didn’t leave myself many calories for dinner. For dinner, we had soup because I assumed we would eat appetizers at the sports bar we were going to in the evening. Annie’s friend plays in a band called SweetLeaf and we went to hear them live at the Overtime Sports Bar. Unfortunately, that bar doesn’t do food, just drinks, so I ended up getting us some junk food from the convenience store and using up pretty much all the rest of my calories for that day. It feels a bit like a failure to use all of my calories in a day… Is that weird?

Calories in Context – Eating Out

If we think about my 2700 calorie per day budget, and divide that up into around 600 calories for breakfast, 800 for lunch, and 300 for snacks, then that leaves me with 1000 for supper and as much as I know I should be cooking at home as often as possible, long days co-running a company, taking care of a dog and the other responsibilities in life means that I might sometimes eat out, so how can I do that wisely.

1 Million Calories Challenge – Week 1

This week wasn’t too bad. I tracked what I ate, and didn’t really alter my diet too much other than cutting back on the soda that I drink and things like chips, chocolate and ice cream… All the good things in life!

Honestly though, I am excited about this challenge and documenting my experiences through it. It has really energized me creatively.

Jan 1 – I didn’t get many calories in on January 1st after having eaten a ton at my aunt and uncle’s place on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t feel hungry enough to really make an effort to get my daily amount in and for some reason, I felt like I failed. I know I should be trying to get more than 871 calories in my body in a day, but after a poor night sleep and everything being closed, we just ate what we had around the house.

Jan 2 – Ate many more calories today. For supper, I made a really nice Spaghetti where the pasta was just a garnish for the sauce to try to limit empty carbs. After, Annie and I went out to see Aquaman in the theatre and got a regular popcorn and regular soda to share. Usually, we get combo one which has a large popcorn, large soda and a bag of candy. So I consider that a win. Last night, we got a ton of sleep, but it was interrupted a few times for Luna washroom breaks, and I had a hard time getting back to sleep each time, so while I didn’t have the near twelve hours Annie had, I was able to get a solid seven, which is the most I’ve had since we brought Luna home. I had a great email conversation with my best friend Tom today about weight loss. He is averaging a little above or below half a million calories and thus is in the camp of people that believe one million is too many, though he does note that his goal is to lose weight. I got some running in with Luna. I was hoping she’d play fetch, but it ended up being tennis ball keep away with her constantly grabbing the ball and running away from me whenever I got near. I really hope she learns to fetch soon.

Jan 3 – Annie made brunch today, so I got to focus on work and taking care of the dog. We got a big snowfall last night so Luna is going crazy. I swear snow is her cocaine. She leaps and runs and is just so excited in the snow. I had some black licorice today because I love it and got some for Christmas. I had a bit of a headache today. We had spaghetti leftovers for dinner, but I have to admit, despite using nearly all of my calories today, I still felt hungry and suffered from a headache all afternoon.

Jan 4 – I weighed myself this morning and I am down one pound since starting this on the first. That isn’t too much of a surprise since I have a calorie deficit of over 3000 calories. I haven’t had a day yet where I’ve needed the full 2739 calories, but I know from previous calorie tracking exercises that there will be days where I will use the full amount or maybe even go over. I am also banking on holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas to be big calorie users, so I want to bank extra calories ahead of time. My headache persisted today. Same spot… Didn’t want to take anything for it today because I hate taking medication for fear that it will work less when I need it most. I made a quick meatloaf today. It was kind of boring tasting, almost like a burger without a bun, but it was good enough and filling. I had some candy today and that ate through a ton of calories…I am still under though.

Jan 5 – Still have a headache this morning. I think I’m going to use some of my calories on getting a can or bottle of coke today to see if it is a caffeine withdrawal symptom as I haven’t had any caffeine since New Year’s Eve. I woke up feeling hungry and tempted to eat something for breakfast. I’m surprised as I usually don’t care about breakfast and wait until late brunch or an on-time lunch to have my first meal of the day. I ended up getting a bottle of coca-cola and drinking that, with a yogurt and protein granola. It was really good. It didn’t make my headache go away though, unfortunately. For lunch, I had some leftover meatloaf. It was still good the second day, but again, much like a bunless burger in some ways. I wish I would have had some more veggies to go with it, but I need to do another grocery shop. I watched the first episode of the second season of a show called Paleo Way. I constantly think I’d love to go Paleo or Keto but both require a ton of work and are difficult to do for someone as picky as me. At dinner, I had ribs and potato wedges at my Aunt and Uncle’s place. He did the ribs on his smoker, and it was good, and I’m not normally a fan of ribs. I used up almost 800 calories per meal today, and I’m not sure if I’m over-estimating my portions or what, but it seems to be pretty easy for me to use up around two-thousand calories. The good news is that the headache that has been plaguing me for three days seems to have gone away.

Jan 6 – I woke up and didn’t feel too hungry today, so that feels like a small victory. It is funny that when you start thinking about health you can’t help but notice advertisements and other people posting about it more. It might be because everyone is doing their New Year’s resolution, but I hope that I can continue to be inspired to stick with this challenge through the next fifty-one weeks.

Calories and BMR

One of the most common pieces of feedback I’ve received so far for my 1 Million Calories Challenge is that 2739 calories per day are too many!

Maybe everyone is right. I’ve definitely done more restrictive diets previously to lose weight and was able to feel fine for long periods at far fewer calories than I’m allowed in this challenge. Also, the tools I used to estimate my basal metabolic rate don’t take into account my body fat percentage and we know that fat isn’t as calorie active as muscle, so maybe how obese I am is skewing that number. Let’s look at the results I received and go from there.