Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Food tracking of a different flavor

I've been following Shaunta Grimes's "eat the food" experiment with some interest, and decided to join her on the tracking front. Semi-join her anyway.

I am not noticeably fat in street clothes and do not have a long and troubled history of food restriction. Some, yes. I believe we all swim in the fouled air of dysfunctional body images in this society, but I feel blessed to have perhaps inhaled a little less of the poison.

Eating a reasonable amount of food so that my body may function is not a radical idea to me. In fact, I rolled my eyes every time my workplace Mayo Clinic "wellness" program recommended a 1200-calorie diet for me. I'd eat the linoleum off the counters after two days of that.

What I do want to do, however, is move toward a way of eating that better nourishes me but doesn't shackle me. I started a food log just before the new year (no, it wasn't a resolution, just random timing) using the USDA's Supertracker because I was concerned I wasn't getting enough iron. After a few days, lo and behold, I was finding a few nutrients that I struggled to get up to par.

Based on the formula Shaunta provided and my current exercise level (moderate), it looks like my BMR is 1424 and my TDEE is somewhere around 2200 -- which is precisely where USDA pegged my recommended caloric intake if I'm to maintain my weight. I'm working to up the exercise level, so the TDEE may go up, particularly when I start cycling in the summer.

Even though I have this idea in my head (thank you, popular culture) that it's horrifying for a woman to eat over 2000 calories, I find I need to get close to that 2200 to not be hungry and cranky. I don't do hungry and cranky well, and I have other priorities in life that don't mesh well with hungry and cranky.

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