What I’ve done
I’ve kept to an overall calorie deficit every day (with one notable exception but I’ll come to that) and managed an overall deficit of 7,681 calories, which works out at around 248 calories per day. Calorie counting is obviously not an exact science but in theory, this should equate to about 1kg of weight lost.
I’ve exercised extensively. 14 weightlifting sessions, 14 functional fitness sessions, 4 runs, 7 walks and one (indoor) cycle. This equates to just over 40 hours of activity and 13951 total calories burned through exercise.
I’ve eaten reasonably well — more fruit, vegetables and lean meat. I’ve had plenty of pastries but all within the context of a calorie-controlled intake. I’ve cut down on the booze a bit — particularly the IPAs and drank more water. I haven’t killed myself in this area though — adjustments rather than massive about-turns.
The constant monitoring of calorie intake does get a bit wearing I have to admit. And while I’ve managed to accommodate mostly what I want to eat on a weekend by adding in extra exercise I’m aware that there is just no way I can go and drink 5 or 6 IPAs. That’s obviously not a healthy thing to do regularly but I’d like to do it occasionally. So I looked at the process I was following and determined that if everything else is in check, I reckon I can afford one blowout day per month. On that day I’ll just eat and drink whatever the hell I want in the knowledge that yes, it will set me back a few days but over a year, it hopefully won’t have a significant impact.
On the 29th of January I ate all the food I wanted — pancakes and syrup for breakfast, steak bake and chocolate cookie for lunch, and all of the pizza for dinner, with tiramisu for pud. Lots of red wine and general snacks and of course — all the IPAs I could handle (which wasn’t actually that many as I was full of food by that point!). It’s difficult to be completely sure but I’d say my calorie intake this day was at around 5,000, with the deficit wiping out roughly the previous week’s worth of gains! On top of that I was hungover as hell the next day so did very little exercise. That being said, I didn’t compound things by eating biscuits all day like I normally would — I kept within calorie limits and at least got out for a walk.
So although I surprised myself a little bit by the amount of damage one day can do, it probably is still just about sustainable as long as I get back on the wagon pretty swiftly. And honestly, I was probably eating for the sake of it at times there — if I’d just kind of stopped when I was full it would probably be more like 3–4 days lost rather than 7. Most importantly, I really fucking looked forward to being able to binge. And I’m really looking forward to the next one and god knows we all need some excitement in lockdown so I’m sticking with it!
Whoop sends you a monthly summary will all sorts of information. Some of it is useful, some of it less so. The best overall measure of health and fitness that it gives you I think is the HRV and RHR trend so I was curious what this would show. It is easily the biggest jump upwards (HRV) or downwards (RHR) I’ve seen over the 15 months I’ve had the Whoop band. The actual values are roughly in-line with what I had last January (136 / 47) but that wasn’t coming from such a low base last time. So my hope (and expectation) is that I can get these values up past where I was last June (154 / 44) and maintain (or exceed) that level over the course of the whole year.
I import data from my Withings scales into Habitdash as it’s got nicer graphs and allows you to view the data alongside other supported devices (such as Whoop) as well as exporting all of the data in a straightforward manner. The snapshots above show that things seem to be going in the right direction and in terms of overall weight, may be a bit more than the 1kg I’d predicted via the calorie deficit. It looks more like 3–4lb (roughly 1.5kg) so potentially I’m underestimating the calories I’m burning — which is good news!
Diet & nutrition wise I’m not planning any big changes — I want to keep at this for another couple of months then review. At that point I’ll be considering abandoning the calorie deficit and hit a maintenance level which should help on the strength side of things. I’ll consider a slight surplus for a while beyond that if necessary.
Fitness wise I definitely intend to keep the activity levels up. Adding the walking in has been good so will keep that up too. I have had a bit of bother with my knee after a couple of long runs so that may have to take a back seat as it started to impact some of the strength and functional stuff this week. As long as all that settles down I’ll probably just replace the running with cycling or more functional stuff for a while.
In the meantime I’m looking forward to Super bowl 55 this weekend — and Blowout day no. 2 — bring on the chilli dogs!
Part 4 is here