Sunday, April 15, 2012
Five stupid pounds. How many times do my efforts to lose weight hinge on five pounds? For me, it's the difference between success and failure. How so? Here are three common scenarios.
Scenario 1. After weeks of careful eating and diligent exercise, I weigh myself and learn I haven't lost weight. I get frustrated and give up.
What if I had told myself instead, "Don't give up today. Drop five more pounds and then you can do what you want."
Scenario 2. Stress has overwhelmed me and I've reverted back to poor food choices and a sedentary lifestyle. I weigh myself and discover I've gained five pounds. I tell myself, "Forget it. I'm too stressed out to do anything about it now." Then I bury my head in the sand. Months go by and with each one, I gain five lbs.
What if I had told myself early on, "it's five pounds. You know how to lose five pounds. Lose the five pounds and stay on maintenance until things settle down."
Scenario 3. I step on the scale and discover I've gained five pounds because it's that time of the month. I become discouraged at how long it takes to lose weight and quit.
What if I had told myself. "It's water weight. You gain the same five pounds every month. Stay patient and keep doing what you're doing and one day, your efforts will show up on the scale."
It seems so simple, but my mind is good at playing tricks on me. I think that if I find ways to power through these discouraging scenarios, I can emerge five pounds thinner and reignite my motivation.
Onward and downward.
Friday, April 13, 2012
I learned this week that I've been promoted! Last year at this time, I was unemployed and gasping for air. In August, after six months of being unemployed, I accepted a position that was a little below my skill sets to gain entry into a new organization.
In nine months, I've gone from a cubicle to an office, plus a higher level job title/responsibilities and a 10% raise!
I am feeling so blessed that my life is back on track in so many different ways.
Friday, April 13, 2012
I am learning to tune into my body and really listen to what it tells me. This morning, I did some volunteer work and joined my colleages at a breakfast spot. I decided to order what I really wanted, which was pancakes and sausage. When my order arrived, I saw the portions were huge. So I told myself to stop eating when I felt full. Ridiculously simple, but it worked. I stopped eating after one sausage and a single pancake. The rest of the plate I pushed away.
Now, its lunchtime and because my breakfast was so big, I'm not hungry. So I'll probably eat a snack and have a normal dinner.
What I realized is that skinny people probably do this every day. They maintain a healthy regimen, but a few times a week they probably indulge in something less healthy, they eat until they're full and then they resume their healthy habits.
This eating pattern, plus moderate exercise must explain how I've managed to average losing 1.5 pounds a week without feeling miserable and deprived.
It's just amazing to me that the key to sustained weight loss could be this simple, yet so hard to truly comprehend on an emotional level.
Onward and downward.
Monday, April 09, 2012
Today, when I got dressed, I noticed that my size 16W navy blue slacks were not just loose, they were downright baggy. The thigh and the seat sagged like a rapper's and the waistband was riding my hipbone. I had bought them last fall as part of my effort to build my work wardrobe. They were so comfortable, I had returned to buy a black pair in the same size. Now I know that neither pair fit.
This evening, as I was changing out of my work clothes, I tried on a pair of size 14 slacks that were hanging in the back of my closet. I was able to pull them on and button them, but they were still a bit tight. What this tells me is that I am now a size 14W or 16M.
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Ever spent time crunching numbers to figure out the following?
1. The number of calories you need to maintain your current weight?
2. The number of calories you need to lose 1, 1.5 or 2 lbs a week?
3. The number of calories you will need to maintain your goal weight?
4. How long it will take you to reach your goal weight at a pace of 1, 1.5 or 2 lbs a week?
I have crunched these numbers endlessly and estimate that about 250 calories a day is the difference between what I need to maintain my current weight versus my goal weight. That's it. Doesn't sound like much, does it? A second helping here, skipping a walk there, two colas instead of water, etc.
In other words, every day for years, I've been doing a combination of over-eating or under-exercising that results in me consuming 250 more calories than I need. Multiply that extra 250 out by weeks, months and years, and the result is a slow, steady, sustained weight gain. Then, one day I notice I've gained 20 lbs. So I diet, lose the 20 lbs, then resume the same, sorry habits that result in those 250 extra calories a day. The rest is a predictable yo-yo pattern.
So lets say I'm working diligently to drop weight, averaging a 750 to 1,000 calorie daily deficit. Then, life gets hectic or I grow tired of my plan. Instead of quitting everything, I should just tell myself something like. "Okay, time to coast a little. I'll reduce my deficit to 250 calories a day until I'm ready to resume a more demanding regimen. I'll continue to weigh in weekly and monitor my intake, but I'm shelving the more aggressive approach for now. Then, when I'm ready, I can resume my more aggressive plan, without having to start over."
What's wrong with reducing the exercise to 2-3x a week and eating 1,950 calories a day until my life settles down or I'm ready to do more? Why abandon my plan entirely?
With a modest deficit I get the best of both worlds. I get to practice maintaining my 20 lb weight loss, and most importantly, I won't have to start over when I'm ready to get aggressive again. Instead, I tackle the next 20 lbs when I'm ready to.
In other words, it's like putting the program on a back burner instead of turning the stove off.
I don't know if it makes sense or not, but for me to internalize the fact that this doesn't have to be "all or nothing" is a major achievement.
Onward and downward.
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