As I feel more like I've made a lifestyle change rather than being "on a diet," I realize it doesn't really matter how quickly I get to my "goal weight." This seems like a strange thing to say considering that I am trying to lose weight, but I have been educating myself and I am realizing that it's not the number on the scale that I am concerned about, it's the size and fitness of my body.
I read something today that really helped crystallize this concept in my head. I have been confused about how to calculate the appropriate number of calories to take in during the day in order to facilitate weight loss. As I have added workouts, specifically running and lifting weights, into my daily routine, I have been more concerned about protecting the good stuff in my body (muscle) and losing the bad (excess fat.)
As I've stated before, I do not want to be skinny. Not even a little skinny. I like the look of a healthy, robust, muscular yet feminine body. I LIKE big, powerful looking thighs! I've read a lot of the forum threads on the site I use for tracking my food, myfitnesspal.com, and I have read a lot about a mysterious thing called "TDEE" and "BMR." I'm not going to get into the specifics about each way of calculating caloric intake vs. caloric expenditure, but I am starting to understand that it is very important to eat enough calories to support building or maintaining lean muscle and to create a small daily deficit in order to allow for 1 pound of fat being lost each week.
1 pound a week sounds slow, but more than that, on the scale, could mean you are losing lean body mass and not fat. Lean muscle is what raises metabolism. Lean muscle looks, well, lean. It's what I want and it's what I am thinking I need to nurture and protect.
So, with all this in mind, I think I am going to try this TDEE method as opposed to trying to eat 1200 calories a day (as is my current setting on myfitnesspal.com). This will mean that I will probably be eating more like 1800 to 2100 calories a day. I'll still be working out very hard (this is key) and eating healthy foods. The difference this will make is that I will not be losing lean body mass while losing "weight." I'll be slowly losing the fat.
I am getting ready to schedule an appointment to have my body composition (body fat testing) done (in a water tank!) in order to find out what my real numbers are. Right now, I am using a fitbit scale that uses electrostatic measurements for body fat. I think my number on this scale is very high. I am thinking my actual body fat percentage is lower than the scale shows. Either way, I'll find out for sure and get a better idea of what my new "goal weight" might realistically be.
I'll post my composition results when I find out. Also, I didn't take a photo when I started this project, but here's a photo from a couple of years ago that looks about right (except for the hair color, LOL!)