Last month Sprog, Ann and Steve wrote a joint blog - a 'virtual chat' - about a little study we had done together for eleven consecutive days at the end of March 2017. For the study we all completed our Nutracheck diaries in as much detail as we possibly could, including food and exercise, and we weighed ourselves every morning. What we were interested in was whether we could learn anything from our different diets and our different levels of exercise. This is part 2 of our chat, but Sprog started us off with a brief summary of what we had covered in part 1...
The first thing we noticed was that, right from the start, all three of us began to lose weight, just because we felt that the others were interested in what we were doing, and we felt accountable to one other. Then we noticed that Steve, who didn't even want to lose weight, was losing it the fastest of all of us (SPROG and ANN: Booo!!) which we saw was because heavier people burn calories faster, and even more so if they are men (SPROG and ANN: Booo!! Booo!! STEVE: OK, knock it off you two!)
And don't forget my Sprog Stepping Challenge.
Oh yes, that.
We saw that, as well as Steve burning more calories per step, he also did a lot more steps than Sprog. So I challenged her to increase her steps as much as possible, to see whether it made much difference (if any) to the Sprog weight loss. Maybe we will hear from her later about that.
One of the things we were interested in was seeing whether our closely-monitored calories in and calories burned gave the weight loss we might expect, or whether it was all over the place. This is the sort of thing that can seem so unfair when trying to lose weight.
Over the eleven days we all consumed fewer calories than our bodies needed. In theory with those calorie undershoots, Sprog 'should have' lost two pounds, I 'should have' lost two-and-a-half pounds and Steve three pounds. In fact our actual losses were very roughly a pound-and-a-half (Sprog), two pounds (me) and the best part of four pounds (Steve).
Given that are bodies are not machines, and all sorts of strange things go on in them, we all thought that was pretty close. But what wasn't pretty close were the changes from day to day - we had plenty of examples where one of us had a big calorie undershoot one day, and no weight change (or even a gain) the next day. And I had the worst of all, where I had a total calorie undershoot of 3,000 calories over five days, with no change on the scales at all - a mini plateau!
Yes, the dreaded diet plateau! As you said, we are not machines and all sorts of things can cause weight loss to stop, for days (even weeks) on end.
Which is why all three of us use weights averaged over at least two weeks. They iron out these strange weight movements (or non-movements) and keep us all sane!
The other thing we kept returning to was how the calories we needed - our BMR - was different depending on various things, but most of all on how heavy we were.
This bit was particularly interesting. What struck me most of all was how important it is to keep updating our weight in the Nutracheck system - before I lost my weight my daily calorie requirement was over 300 more than it is today. If I hadn't have reflected that in the Nutracheck system, then for sure I would be putting on weight by now, and wondering why.
So now, the moment you've all been waiting for - the result of the Sprog Stepping Challenge!
You might remember that in part 1 of this joint blog we said that the number of steps seemed very important to our calorie requirements, and I gently challenged Sprog to keep eating roughly the same calories, but to increase her steps.
Well I did! My daily average steps in the month after the challenge were well over 5,000 (60%) more than in the month before the challenge.
My weight also went down in the month (touching my lowest-ever adult weight at one point) but again, because bodies are complicated, it's not possible to tell whether it was the steps that caused it.
But it must have helped a lot. If you managed to keep that up, the extra calories burned would be worth [tappity-tappity on computer] a whole stone in a year!
Do you think you will be able to keep up this increased stepping?
I'm not sure, but I certainly hope so. I'm positive that it has been very beneficial to me, not least because I have had some lovely walks in the fresh air!
There are so many more things came out of our study, but perhaps we should draw this blog to a close now. I think we all agree that the detailed sharing of information about our eating, drinking and exercising has been extremely interesting and useful for the three of us, and that sharing our thoughts has given us all further ideas about our continuing weight-loss journeys. On a personal note I'd also like to add that it has been a lot of fun and that we have quickly built firm friendships while doing it. Nice!
And so say all of us!
Steve lost a massive 10st with Nutracheck. He now regularly writes about how he maintains his weight loss.