Thursday, April 18, 2013
So all through this weight loss journey I've been fairly fanatical about what I eat and my treadmill workouts. If I have to miss a workout or I'm not in a position to track my food I've always tried to err on the side of caution and go for a walk or keep a mental tally of my guessed intake. And has all worked out pretty well.
I haven't been 100 perfect, there have been slip-ups. The 23kg I've lost is still missing and that's all that matters. It's not about the highs or the lows, it's about the result.
Since I made the decision to calm down and lose the last 2kg as someone who was leading a "normal" life, rather than a dieting fanatic, I've noticed a big change. I'd called the experiment "controlled apathy", referring to the fact that I was aware of what I was making a conscious decision to become less fanatical and coast into my target than slam into it. It all made sense from a physical point-of-view.
But, the change I noticed was mental.
As soon as I broke my treadmill routine I started wanting to be lazy. As soon as I added more food to my diet I started craving even more. It was as if by making this simple decision to be more flexible in my attitude I'd suddenly closed the door on all the dedication, education and drive that I'd been building up over the previous months. Instead I'd opened a door to the past where fat Tony wanted to sit on the couch and eat rubbish!
This of course had a flow on effect physically. I felt tired. I was staying up too late. Not sleeping as well. My energy rapidly drained from my during the day. I was thinking like a lump and turning into a lump. All of a sudden I didn't care if I ate something bad or if I went back for seconds. I was justifying it to myself, "Oh I have some spare cals to cover this", whereas a few months earlier I would have heard a resounding "NO!" in my head and would have completely ignored the temptation.
Although I made the decision to get back on track last week an impromptu visit out of town in the weekend gave me the perfect excuse to fall right back off the wagon. The result of this combined with the last few weeks is that instead of reaching my goal I am still nearly 2kg away.
As much as I'd like to continue coasting towards 75kg I just don't think I am the sort of person that can loosely grasp an idea and stick with it. I'm, apparently, an all or nothing person. So I'm deciding to go back to being a fanatic. I'm going to reinstate my mental drill instructor to ensure I stick with my diet and exercise program the way I was earlier.
I don't know what this will mean when once I hit 75kg because I can't just keep dieting. So between now and then I'm going to have to take a look at my future and decide how I am going to live a successful weight managed life once the weight loss stops.
When I was fat I always imagined the hardest thing would be to lose the weight. Now that it's mostly gone I realise the real battle will be maintaining my new healthy body and lifestyle. Fingers crossed.
Saturday, April 06, 2013
As I approach my target weight (for fat loss, not muscle gain), I have been trying to taper my weight loss to gently ease down to the the 75kg I'm aiming for. I figure I don't want to power down to 75kg then suddenly slam on the anchors and start eating at a weight-maintenace level rather than a weight-loss. In my mind this is just as bad as eating poorly then suddenly starting a crash diet.
I know my diet and exercise will be changing soon and I've been a little worried that stepping off my current routine may leave me open to a lifestyle where I'd start gaining fat.
As Easter was upon us and there was going to be sweets knocking about the place I thought it would be the perfect time to skip a few days of exercise and indulge in some non-diet friendly foods to see what would happen. So, I missed a few 30 minute treadmill routines (about half of my weight-loss cardio per week) and started to consume closer to my maximum permitted food intake rather than hovering near the minimum like I have been.
As expected, my weight stopped going down and after a few calculations and averages I believe I put on weight for the first time in nearly 6 months. This was not a plateau, it was definitely a gain of a few hundred grams over the course of a couple of weeks. The end result is that I ended up at a higher weight than my previous 2 weigh-ins.
I think this was a great indication of how easy it is to start gaining weight with just a little slacking off. Even though I was still doing some exercise and not eating over my limit it was possible for me to gain weight easily, probably due to my still very sedentary lifestyle (at home computer operator).
When it comes time for me to stop losing weight, I can see how important it will be to continue to correctly balance my diet and exercise to ensure that I don't start gaining weight, and also, don't continue losing weight I shouldn't.
As I will be starting my muscle building program at 75kg I expect juggling the correct amount of food per day will be harder than it is now. I will be required to eat enough to feed my muscles while trying to avoid a consumption level that leads to fat storage. After 6 months of focussing on not eating too much it will be quite odd having to mentally switch over towards not eating too little.
Now I am back on track. It has forced me to push my target date out by a couple of weeks but the weight is once again falling off at the previous rate.
2.3kg to go and then I'll find out. :)
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I was just posting a thank you to another members page and it occurred to me that this weight loss journey has not been as difficult as I expected it would be back at the outset.
I've tried to lose weight before and have lost and gained it back, twice. The second time it was on SP but both times it was due to injuries flaring up because I over did things. If you try to do too much too soon you risk breaking yourself and ending back at square one. I thought I had to thrash myself so I did until my body gave out and i failed. Once you fail it's hard not to blame yourself or make excuses.
I decided to take it easy this time. I haven't been lifting weights or doing anything strenuous. I've simply been eating right and walking on my treadmill. So far I have had consistent weight loss with zero health issues. I think that is the key.
Only a few of my friends have ever known me as anything other than fat. And that was so long ago I'm sure they barely remember. They are all amazed that I look completely different which is great for keeping my motivation to succeed high. But they are even more amazed at how little I've had to do to get to this point. They assume I'm shelling out big buck on some flash program and spending hours slaving away at various exercises. This belief seems to be pretty universal and when I think back to my failed weight loss attempts I realise I once used to share it. I think these assumptions are what keep people from trying to lose weight. "I just don't have the time or money for that", sounds like a justifiable excuse.
When I tell my friends that I simply eat right and go for a walk they all look at me like I've just claimed fish can play the violin. I explain that tracking food is 95% of the "work", and thanks to SP it is super easy. The 3 hours a week I walk on the treadmill is barely worth mentioning. It's one step above "couch potato" on the lifestyle ladder.
I think society and marketing have convinced everyone that they need to spend their entire lives at the gym if they want to lose weight. I know not everyone has a treadmill, they can be bulky and expensive. I only have one because I didn't want to risk suffering an injury flare up 5 miles from home. (Pessimistic much?) If I didn't have it I'd just walk around my neighbourhood. It's just walking after all, whether on a treadmill or not.
Another concern is food. We are all told that healthy food is expensive. And it can be. But my wife an I spend less on food now because we simply don't eat as much. Our shopping trolley has less in it each week but we feel better fed than ever. We tend to graze all day rather than eat meals. I'm also baking a lot which gives us healthy treats for far less cost than the store bought equivalent. I can bake 12 fruit muffins for the cost of one store bought muffin! As our attitude towards food has changed we can always find something in the cupboard to eat. Before if there wasn't some tasty processed treat available we'd claim there was nothing to eat and we go buy something.
Even though I'm planning to lose more weight I will soon be looking at building muscle. This will mean weights, but this I will be taking slow and easy also. I don't want to aggravate my old injuries and end up out of action. I don't consider this part of my weight loss journey. The desire to build up some muscle is secondary to losing weight. I can live without bulging muscles, but I refuse to live with a bulging waistline.
Luckily I have a weight bench and weights and the room to keep them in. I know a lot of people may not be able to afford the floor space or the cost or the option of using a gym. But just like the treadmill, you don't NEED weights to be healthy. If you are not planning on becoming a body builder there are plenty of exercises you can do around the house to help sculpt and maintain your physique. The internet, including SP, is full of good advice on weight-free exercises.
So contrary to what we may all be told:
DON'T tell yourself that you can't lose weight because you can't afford to join a pay-as-you-go weight loss program.
DON'T tell yourself that you can't change your eating habits because good food is just too costly.
DON'T tell yourself you can't get fit because you can't afford a gym membership, or workout equipment.
Chose instead to say, "Hey, I CAN lose weight because I don't need to worry about gym membership, paid programs or food costs"
I wish everyone success and happiness in their weight loss and healthy lifestyle endeavours!
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*Disclaimer: If you have a gym membership or are on a paid program, good on you. Stick with it, make it work for you to ensure you get a return on your investment. If it works for you then I am happy for you. I've spent money in the past to lose weight, (the weights and treadmill were not free!). But they were paid for long ago and this time around I have lost nearly 1kg a week without spending a dime and with minimal changes to my lifestyle.
I wrote this post because I don't want people using gyms, programs, food or money as a personal roadblocks to stop them trying to lose weight.
I'm nearly 40, I have a bad back and busted knee. I'm pessimistic and have suffered from depression. I'm self employed so my wages are sporadic. I've tried, I've failed. If I can lose weight as a busted, broke, grumpy old bastard by simply using Spark People and a scraping together a little determination to better myself then so can anyone.
Don't let society tell you it will be hard. It's not hard.
Yes, I've broken a sweat. Yes, I've been hungry at times. But these are not hard things.
Hard is looking in the mirror and seeing a fatty looking back.
Hard is failing to find clothes in your wardrobe that you can still fit.
Hard is not being able to live the life you want because you are over weight.
Hard is knowing you might drop dead because of the extra stress on your heart.
Hard is knowing people don't take you seriously because of your weight.
Hard is worrying that you are teaching you children how to live unhealthy lives.
Hard is staying overweight! It might be easy to do but it's hard to live with.
Losing. Weight. Is. Not. HARD.
Say it. Believe it. Do it.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Wow, 2 posts in one day. No wonder I'm not getting any work done!
Well I thought if I was going to moan about a binge night I should at least celebrate a milestone. The scales told me today that I've lost 20kg. It took an extra 2 weeks to get here but considering xmas was slap-bang in the middle I'm still pretty chuffed.
All I can say is my life has seriously changed in the last few months. I know it sounds like a broken record but weight loss definitely improves your lifestyle, and the way you feel, not just physically, but mentally. So for anyone starting out in SP who is wondering if it really is worth it - IT IS!
I'm still kicking myself for letting myself put on weight and then not trying to lose it years ago. I look at my life now and think, "I could have been living this life for the last 15 years". Well hind sight is 20-20 they say. I can at least look forward to a brighter, and lighter, future - thanks to SP. :)
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