Friday, June 22, 2012

Analyzing the Data

It should come to no surprise to you that I love data.

I just received a heart rate monitor/GPS watch for my birthday that is AWESOME!

I can track how far I've run, what my fastest mile is, what my average heart rate is, how many calories I've burned, and probably other stuff I don't know about yet!

Today, for the first time, I wore my heart rate monitor while doing my Insanity workout. I burned 167 calories in 37 minutes. This is very sad, but I'm going to give Insanity the benefit of the doubt and guess that my caloric burn is so low because it was a recovery workout. However, when I log this info into Sparkpeople, it predicts that I've burnt (vt?) 269 calories! I realize there are a vast array of differences between my heart rate monitor and the algorithm in the website, but this is a difference of 102 calories (or, in other words, Sparkpeople thinks I burned 61% more calories than I really did). Ugh.

When I'm in Oregon in July, I'm going to a clinic that a friend goes to to have a VO2 test done to determine my optimal fat-calorie burning zone. In the mean time, I've identified the following four areas of my diet that need work:

  1. Consume fewer beverages that have calories. As much as I hate this, I'm going to have to cut out juice and just eat real fruit. I've decided that on days that I've run more than 10 miles, I'm allowed a glass of orange juice (because it just tastes so good!) and a bottle of vitamin water (because it really seems to help with recovery). The jury's still out on whether or not hot chocolate counts as a beverage with calories. I know I drink it, but milk is actually digested as a solid. I am also allowing myself one cup of tea a day because when I tried to give up tea, it made me really sad. The conundrum is, I have open bottles of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in my refrigerator. Should I consume these and just not replace them, or should I toss them to more quickly align with my diet? I hate wasting food, but I also want to lose weight. (I would like to point out right here that I know I'm not fat. I'm just outside the weight limit of my wardrobe and I'd like that to change.)
  2. Consume more fiber. Hopefully a lot of this will be managed by cutting out juice and eating real fruit. I've also discovered that I really like raw veggies dipped in ranch (although ranch isn't exactly diet-friendly). I'm going to see if I can find a DIY recipe for ranch that uses Greek yogurt or something. I still don't really like to eat salads, but there's a soup/sandwich/salad place right across the street. Is it worth the money every day to buy a salad? (One of the big problems with salads for me is that it takes so freakin' long to make a good one, and it's impossible to use up all of the ingredients at the same time, so you nearly always have something random in your fridge that's just about to go bad.) Also, when I lived with The Vegetarian (now The Vegan), she'd cook up a whole pot of veggies, and we'd eat them all week. I should get on that.
  3. Burn more calories. I'm running a marathon in October, and I've yet to actually get serious about my training. Somehow, I'm failing to make a consistent exercising schedule. I have a schedule, and I keep updating it as I learn what is not working, but I have yet to discover what will work. 
  4. Eat more protein. This is questionable. According to Sparkpeople, I only consume enough protein about half of the time. (This is actually the pro argument for allowing hot chocolate.) How much protein a person needs is a frequently debated health topic. Americans tend to overindulge in protein because we're such big meat-eaters. I am, in fact, the worst vegetarian in the world, but I don't actually eat a lot of meat (this is probably more due to the fact that Captain America gets home around 10pm and cooking dinner for one person is just a waste of time). I do drink milk, eat yogurt and cheese, eat mushrooms and avocados, and eat eggs. I'm going to try to add one hard boiled egg a day to my diet and see what happens. I know that when I don't eat enough protein, I don't have as much energy, but I have yet to figure out what "enough" actually is. I guess I'm going to need more data points!


  1. How about cooking with the open beverages? Or using them to marinate things ... or is that still "consuming" them?

    1. Sadly, that's still consuming them...and I don't think I want to be cooking with pink lemonade!

  2. That clinic in OR sounds amazing! :)

  3. It's the Clearwater can find it here, and I'll add a link in the blog: