“It’s just calories,” my ass.

So, I’ve been regularly using the Slim-Fast online Nutrition Log to keep up with my caloric intake since January. I sometimes skip or heavily estimate weekends. Also, when we’ve been on vacation, I usually don’t record anything really because it’s too hard to track when we’re eating at unfamiliar places. Nonetheless, for the past 60 days, I’ve had a complete log, and for the entire time, I’ve had a 90% complete log.

I’ve been averaging 1700 calories or less a day since January. By every calculation tool I can find, it should take 2200+ calories a day to maintain my current weight with zero physical activity, and I have an admittedly minimal (but not zero) amount of daily physical activity. You know how much weight I’ve lost? Almost none. In fact, I’ve gained a little. Subtraction of 500 calories a day should result in roughly a pound a week, albeit with a possibly slow ramp-up while the body adjusts. So, WTF?

Contrast this with when I went on the low carb diet…I lost about thirty pounds right away (within six months), and I maintained that for a long time…nearly two years. It started creeping up toward the end of last year, which is when I decided to switch to a calorie-based system, both to ward off rising ennui with my food choices and to try to combat the creep-up. I will also full-on admit that I’d gotten sloppy and careless with carbs, often cheating when I was out of town for work…but I blamed the ennui for that issue. Switching to calorie control helped tremendously with the ennui, and it’s certainly been a workable plan. It’s not like I go nutso on the days I don’t record either; I try to maintain the same general amount of stuff…I just often end up eating things that are difficult to estimate. So, here I am, essentially doing what they tell you to do, and it doesn’t work at all. It is, in fact, doing the opposite of working. And it’s frustrating as hell.

I’ve been on the edge of saying the hell with it for awhile, but I got pushed over the brink today. Slimfast re-designed their site sometime between Sunday morning and now. The nutrition tracker is now taking forever to load, and it’s not pulling up my self-entered items. It’s also much harder to get to the nutrition tracker; it takes about five clicks instead of one. I’m hoping this is a temporary change in the site accompanied by some kind of general server issue, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they tried to pull the tool away altogether or bury it toward phasing it out. From what I’ve gathered, similar tools on other websites charge subscription fees in the area of $10-$20 per month…some less, some more. The cheaper ones tend to be more ad-filled and allow less customization of the interface (things like inputting your own food and recipes). That is, Slimfast is providing a free service that many places would charge you a substantial amount for. Thus, I’m not in a great position to complain. TANSTAAFL and all.

(By the way, despite the new site design…which admittedly looks more modern than the previous site…their nutrition tracker tool is pretty darn awesome, and it is free. You just have to give them a login, and I’ve yet to run into spam or address selling of the address I gave them. You do have to delete their pre-loaded meal plan each day, but that’s a one click operation, and adding your own items is easy to do.)

At any rate, I’m frustrated as hell. I have this feeling that maybe all I need to do is kick in that requisite amount of cardio…a little each week…and things would start happening…but that’s the hardest thing for me. I hate exercise. I like playing. I like doing active things. But I hate exercise for the sake of itself, and I don’t really have any good companions for doing things with, either. Scott would do things, except we’re far from similarly paced. If I ride my bike while he runs, I outspeed him by a far shot. If we were to try to run together, he’d leave me in the dust. We can’t come to agreement on something that we could do together. I’ve been looking for an upright exercise bike because it seems the ideal solution would be for him to run on the treadmill in the basement while I bike. We could both watch TV at the same time, and it’d be a together-activity that served dual purpose. Still, when it’s so nice out, it seems silly to get an indoor exercise thingie. Plus, I don’t trust myself to do it, and thus I run the risk of buying a very expensive laundry rack. After all, I’ve tried several times to do regular activity on the treadmill, but I get bored with it fast, and given a choice between that and just about anything else (even laundry!), I choose something else.

I’m reaching a critical mass* with this, too, in that many of my summer clothes (bought during the past two seasons when I was about 15-20 pounds lighter) are now tight to the point of discomfort. I need quick action, and I admit fully to being seduced by all of the supposed quick fixes, despite a multitude of knowledge telling me this is silly.

* pun intended