Saturday, February 18, 2012
Picture a moderately overweight woman who would love to drop just a few pounds through a moderate, balanced, lifestyle approach. She's tried tracking her calories a bunch of times and basically knows now how many calories are in the things she eats, so this time she's trying to make decisions based on her body's signals and her intuition.
What does she do? She tries to balance mostly healthy eating choices with small treats in moderation. She prepares almost all of her meals herself using mostly only ingredients that would make any Sparker proud (fruits, vegetables, fish, spices, chicken, beans, plain Greek yogurt, flax, etc.). She portions her meals out in advance to remove the temptation of eating too large a portion, or more than one portion. She eats mostly fruit for snacks, although if the occasional chocolate should come her way she'll indulge in a small treat. She drinks coffee in the morning, and a glass of wine with dinner, but mostly just sticks to water or decaf green tea. She's never uncomfortably hungry, and she's never uncomfortably stuffed. Her energy level is great.
Does she exercise? Does she ever! She works out on average about six days per week, one hour per session. She strength trains her whole body three times per week with the heaviest weights she can manage with good form, and although some forms of cardio have been bothering her joints lately, she pushes hard with any kind of cardio that DOESN'T hurt (the stair climber tends to be a good choice).
In addition, she sleeps well, weighs herself each morning (and tracks it daily on SparkPeople), and reads blogs/articles/books to stay informed and motivated.
Someone with habits like this is probably experiencing gradual, healthy weight loss, right?
NO! This person is me (obviously), and I have been living like this for the past several months, and I am slowly but surely GAINING weight.
If I'm going to see my weight go down, this isn't the way to do it. I just can't do it without tracking my calories. It seems like it should be possible, but I need to wrap my head around the fact that, for me, it just is not.
I've been toying with the idea of a temporary diet. Yeah, I said it. DIET. It's such a dirty word, and I don't know why. I could call it a "challenge" and be politically correct, but really it's a diet. It would be something like a month-long period with tracking and a few self-imposed guidelines, and I know I'd drop some poundage. I don't know what I'd do after the set period ends (other than reward myself), but at least it'd be a little momentum in the right direction.
My face looked fat in the mirror today. :(
Monday, February 06, 2012
SparkPeople is the best. You guys on this site are so sweet and supportive, and it shocks me how many of you guys actually "get" me. :) Thank you so much for the comments on my downer of a post.
I've been thinking about it, though, and I really think I have to give myself credit. I think I DON'T have an all-or-nothing attitude anymore. I may not do the one thing that will actually cause me to lose weight (restrict calorie intake), but I work HARD in a lot of other aspects! I still prepare myself healthy smoothies for breakfast every morning and batch-cook and calorie-count healthy recipes on the weekends, and I still ATTEMPT to have nothing for snacks other than 1 baggie of almonds, fruit, and veggies all day (some days are much more successful in that area than others). I KNOW I sound like a total idiot when I say that I work hard in every area except for the one that will make a difference in my weight, but that's because I really do feel so much better when I eat until satiated instead of restricting...yes that's an excuse, but that's the area where I feel most confused and conflicted.
What I'm really most proud of is my exercise. I think I'm in pretty decent shape for an overweight person. Yes, Patty, I can and do use the elliptical, but I just love how it feels to run outside, especially since we've had some freak warm February days around here, and I would be miserable if I couldn't do that. I think I'll be fine with running as long as I don't do it TOO often, and if I manage to figure out how to drop a few pounds that'll make running a lot better. Oh, and I should probably be calling it "jogging" instead of "running," because, surprise surprise, I'm slow. But I don't care. I read a quote recently that said that even the slowest jogger still laps everyone who's sitting on the couch, and I just loved that. :)
Yesterday I was taking a Body Pump class with an instructor who's kind of known for being unlikeable. He's constantly telling people that they're doing a move wrong or not using enough weight, and that rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but I know he's just trying to help. Anyway, yesterday he was going on and on about how nobody was using enough weight and even said, "Your weights out there are looking pretty wimpy today!" during the lunge track. But then he pointed directly at me, with my slightly heavier weight selection, and said, "SHE'S working hard." It made me smile big even though I know he's sort of a jerk. Haha. But I also immediately thought, I have to share this story with my Spark friends. :)
Soooo...nobody worry, I'm definitely NOT giving up. I just still have to figure out whether my goal is to be the healthiest overweight person I can be, or whether I'm going to try yet again to lose weight and figure out some way to keep it off for a change.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
I want to be able to eat what I want and not have to constantly say no to food. I want to weigh less than 170 pounds. I read that it's basically impossible to maintain weight loss and figure I might as well stop trying. I read that it IS possible and want to get in better shape for spring. I want to go for jogs more often than once a week or every couple of weeks, but when I run more often my hips and knees feel sore. I know I need to track my food intake to have any success. I know there must be a way to have success without tracking. I just don't know anymore.
Friday, January 20, 2012
I apologize for stealing the blog title. I've seen the exact same title on others' blogs recently, and I agree! What I really want to write about is something more like, "My calorie intake seems to have differing impacts on my weight gain/loss depending on how much I weigh" but that's a bit of a mouthful. However, I'm going to talk about it anyway, and hopefully I can be at least somewhat clear in what I mean!
First of all, I've had a cold since Saturday. Just when I was thinking I hadn't been sick in a long time, it hit me. I've been eating OK during the day but overeating at night this week. Also, I went to the gym like normal up until Wednesday, when I decided to take a day off since my cold was making me feel run-down (oh the guilt!), and then yesterday rather than my usual hour, I just did a half hour, and just walking (4-4.5 mph with a 3 percent incline, so enough to make me breathe a little heavy, but not as intense as normal).
So like I said, I've been overeating at night. Probably taking in a good 3,000 calories per day. And yet, I'm maintaining my weight. It keeps bouncing from 169-168. Each time I cringe getting on the scale the day after a 169 weigh-in, worrying about seeing my weight go up to the 170s, I find out I've actually gone down a pound.
I am almost positive that if I ate and exercised exactly this much, but I were thinner, I'd be seeing big weight gains over the days.
Just wanted to mention that observation...if I'm making any sense here, I'm wondering if others have the same experience.
PS - After a practically snowless winter here in Boston so far, we finally got a few inches last night. It's sunny now and looks so pretty!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Our entire show is based around a philosophy of gradual and permanent lifestyle change rather than going on or off a diet plan, and as in our name "fat2fit" we are not just about weight loss, but also becoming a fit and strong person. One of the reasons why dieting below a person's Basal Metabolic Rate is so damaging is because of muscle loss, and since muscle is so metabolically active, it slows down a person's metabolism. If you have only listened to one show, you might think that our entire philosophy is based on one study, but there are hundreds of studies published every year related to weight loss. We often bring up weight loss studies and discuss individual ones, but we often find it best to discuss "meta-studies" which pool together larger groups to pull out trends.
Off the top of my head, one study that we talked about on show 128 showed the rate of weight loss possible without muscle loss. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2155857
1 If you read through the abstract, you will get the idea of why it is hard for the general public to make head or tails about the statistical significance or interpretation of all of these studies. There is also not a shortage of studies since there hundreds of universities and colleges around the world pumping out Masters and Doctoral students in fields ranging from kinesiology/phys ed, nutrition studies/dietitian and of course medical.
As to your individual experiences, maintaining weight loss is a challenge for everyone. No matter how fast or slow you lose weight, if your lifestyle hasn't changed to that of the thinner person you want to continue to be, your weight will return. Our whole philosophy is to start living at your maintenance level right now and then never "go off" a diet when you hit your goal weight.
A 2000 calorie diet was most likely not a starvation diet. When a person eats below their own BMR, which is required to keep a person's basic bodily functions going, that is considered a starvation diet.
I thought that I would respond in person because you put so much effort and thought into your post!
Fat 2 Fit Radio
Fat 2 Fit Power Tips
On Sat, Jan 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM, Susan wrote:
I discovered your podcast this morning and wrote a blog post about your rebuke to "The Fat Trap" in the New York Times. I've pasted part of my blog entry below. I'd love your feedback on this. Is there any chance that you could email me and let me know if you happen to address my thoughts in your podcast? Thank you so much!
"Basically, the NYT article is saying that it's almost impossible to maintain weight loss, and the Fat2Fit podcast is saying that the article is sensationalist junk because the weight loss described in the article is based on extremely low-calorie diets. The Fat2Fit guys use the same studies that The Fat Trap woman uses to support a different conclusion: that slow weight loss based on lifestyle changes can be maintained.
My conclusion? People are going to believe what they are going to believe, and view any evidence through the lenses that they want! Frustrating!
I really appreciate what the Fat2Fit guys are attempting to do. After reading "The Fat Trap" a few days ago I think my food choices have been subconsciously affected (as in, "Well, my body has a different response to food now that makes it harder to resist cravings, so I might as well eat ___.") I mean I don't think I've been going off-the-rails crazy with that approach, but I certainly wasn't making any progress toward a lower weight with my choices. And I realize that the Fat2Fit guys are trying to give hope to people who have struggled and want to lose weight and keep it off. However, I have two major problems with what they're saying in that podcast:
1) The studies they discuss really don't support their argument. OK, so someone eats 500 calories per day for X number of weeks and then hasn't maintained their weight loss the following year. Does that study show that slow, less extreme methods of weight loss are the key to maintaining weight loss? No! It only shows what it shows - that it is difficult to maintain weight loss caused by a 500-calorie-per-day diet. In order to really show that a "lifestyle approach" causes maintainable weight loss better than other approaches, there would need to be several groups of subjects, each of which is guided through different weight loss approaches, and then there would need to be a statistically significant difference between the weight loss maintanence of those different groups. Duh!? (If anyone knows of any studies like this, please let me know!)
2) My personal experience seems to disprove what the Fat2Fit guys are saying. I have gone from about 170 to about 135 pounds slowly while eating maybe about 2,000 calories per day and exercising an average of an hour per day. I'd call this a moderate approach - not a "starvation diet" in the sense that they are using the word (although in a way it kind of IS starvation though, because I was taking in fewer calories than I was burning, which is necessary for losing weight but it really did make me gradually hungrier and hungrier), and I STILL managed to gain it all back. More than once. In fact, I didn't really see that much of a difference between my moderate approach attempts and the times I lost weight using a greater calorie deficit (maybe 1200-1500 calories per day). So, I just can't agree with the Fat2Fit guys.
In the meantime though I'm still not giving up on myself. I still firmly believe that I can be the fittest and healthiest version of me that I can be by making healthy choices."
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