How to Lose 300 Calories

Now that fall is here, I’m not outside as much, and I’m taking some writing classes that involve a lot of homework on the computer. As I did last fall, I’ve gained a few pounds. Before three pounds turns into five or ten, I want to stop the trend. I’m not likely to change my activity level or my diet dramatically any time soon, so I plan to use small, conservative changes to both. This approach will allow me to stop gaining and to lose the new pounds over a period of several weeks. The conservative changes I’m making are to eat 150 fewer calories each day and burn 150 more, for a daily deficit of 300 calories.
I’ve been trying for a few days now to spot opportunities for these small changes. Here’s what I’ve found on the calorie-burning side—a list of activities (from this excellent list) that can burn 150 calories for someone in my weight range of 125 to 130 pounds:
• Home calisthenics, light to moderate, 35 minutes
• General house cleaning, 45 minutes
• Gardening, 30 minutes
• Jump rope fast, 15 minutes
• Run 5 mph, 20 minutes
• Walk uphill at 3.5 mph, 30 minutes
• Run up stairs, 12 minutes
• Bicycle 12 to 14 mph, 25 minutes
How will I also reduce my intake by 150 calories a day? I’ll have to do some of these in combination.
• Resist eating a scoop of peanut butter out of jar when making a sandwich
• Give up Coke again
• At a full meal, decide what portion of food on the plate looks like 150 calories and don’t finish that part
• Don’t eat crackers with soup
• Choose lighter foods to eat for the evening meal
Has anyone tried this software? They certainly have a nice website.

Check-up

I went to the doctor yesterday for the usual female check-up. We also talked about bone density and cholesterol, two statistics I was concerned about. My last cholesterol check was 202 eighteen months ago, and I wondered if I should have it checked again. The doctor looked up my last test results and said they were good, because my HDL was at 67. She said, “We’re happy if that number is over 50, and we’re tickled pink if it’s over 60.” I don’t need to have that checked again for another year or two. I know that good news is a result of all the exercise; I try to eat healthy food but I still eat too much fat. It’s a continuing process of finding ways to work lower-fat foods into my routine and still eat some of the things I like—peanut butter sandwiches, chicken fried rice sometimes, a hamburger every couple of weeks. The problem about “everything in moderation” is that there are so many fattening foods that I like that if I eat them all in moderation, it’s way too much!
I was concerned about bone density because last year I had my heel tested in a density-checking device at a pharmacy, which cradled my foot in water, and it said my bone density was at -1 (minus one). This indicated a higherthan-normal fracture risk. I should be way above that at my age. I’d been taking vitamins and calcium supplements, doing plenty of resistance training and impact aerobics (jumping rope), and trying to eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables. I was afraid all my efforts were having no results and that I was headed for early osteoporosis.
Yesterday at the doctor’s office, a technician used a similar device to check my heel again. The doctor told me this piece of equipment might be more frequently calibrated and slightly more up to date technology-wise than the machine at the pharmacy. The device contacted my heel with ultrasound jelly instead of water. The resulting number was +.42, about the expected bone density of a woman ten years younger than I am. That’s more like it.
It all made me feel that my exercise habits and attempts at a decent diet are starting to show results that are valuable in the long run, as opposed to just the short-term reward of being happy with how I look. (After all, I’m almost 40, and looks are going to be downhill from here I guess!)