Friday, October 19, 2012
Here I go again. After a plateau that lasted weeks, I am now losing weight again. In the last two weeks, I have dropped 3.5 pounds which is fast for me. This morning's loss means I'm now 18 pounds from goal and 14 pounds from a BMI under 25!
What is key? Actually there are two keys--persistence and patience. I restarted SP in early January as part of a new year's resolution. Now, it is almost Halloween. It hasn't been easy and if you read any of my other blog entries you will know how impatient and whiny I can be and how many public pity parties I've held. Yet, somehow through it all, I kept logging in and doing what I'm supposed to do 80-90% of the time.
For me, what I think has been different this time has been the storms I've survived in the last two years. Job loss, family crisis, and so forth. When the storm waters calmed, I wanted to do something for once and be successful at it.
Believe me, I haven't been on program perfectly. I've missed workouts, skipped a few days of tracking my food intake (mostly early in the year), and experienced every level of frustration and disappointment when the scale didn't move for three, four or five weeks. I had plenty of moments where I thought, "Well, I wasn't meant to have a BMI under 25 or weigh less than this that or the other."
There are also two major factors. 1) I'm a single, empty nester; 2) I have a low-stress job with flexible hours and tons of vacation time.
So I'm not dealing with a husband that brings home junk or kids that I have to drive to soccer practice. It's all about me, me, me. I have the luxury of being able to focus.
Also, I'm older and wiser. I finally understand that you don't go "on" or "off" a diet. Somehow, I've managed to blur the line between how I eat when I'm on a "diet" and how I eat anyway. That is also key. Going "on a diet" and making extreme sweeping changes where I'm no longer indulging my sweet tooth or eating barbecued ribs sounds punishing. Yet, that's what I would do when I'd "go on a diet." It didn't work for me because it's not sustainable.
What I did do was pay attention to the good habits I already had and started building those up. For example, I seldom eat after 8pm. That's just me. I also am not crazy about chocolate cake. I know it's weird, but for some reason I can resist it so it's easy to give up. But I love ribs and chocolate chip cookies. I gave up eating lots of processed foods. Not all, but most. I still buy those dang frozen meals for busy days. I focused on vegetables I like--salads with cucumber, carrots, red onion and a hint of cheese with lite dressing. Broccoli, cabbage, green beans, spinach, greens. I also eat lots of chicken and lean cuts of beef. I try to stay on track during the work week and indulge a little more on weekends. I'm also somewhat of a food snob, if it's calorie dense but only "okay" I stop eating it. Yesterday I only had a few bites of an ice cream float because it didn't taste that great. Mediocrity is not worth the calories.
Exercise? 4-5x a week for an hour. Some weeks I do better, other weeks are worse. I've morphed into somewhat of a gym rat. I try out different classes and am constantly tweaking my routine. When the weather is nice, I walk outdoors. Now that it's getting cold, I'll probably mall walk (since I'm now a grandma, lol) or something.
I have not been at this weight in about 10 years and it feels great to be back.
It's all good. Keep pushing!
Onward and downward.
Friday, October 12, 2012
This morning when I weighed in I discovered I had lost an additional 1.5 pounds. Considering I had not dropped a single pound since September 15th, this was momentous. So how did I banish the plateau? There are so many factors that I can't attribute it to one particular thing that I did. I'll just list some of the changes I made.
1. With my doctor's permission, I stopped taking my thyroid medicine. Doctors like to deny that a medication could cause weight gain or plateaus. If they admitted it, no one would want to take it. The lesson I've learned is that I have to be vigilant about what goes in my body--even if it's prescribed medication. A doctor is not going to always know how YOU will respond to a certain medication. If you complain and they don't listen--for heaven's sake get a new doctor.
2. Calorie cycling. Jillian Michaels is right. Calorie cycling works. Last weekend, I spent THREE days eating around 2,400 calories a day, then THREE days this work week eating about 1,200 calories a day. What's particularly interesting to me is that I ate all kinds of stuff over that weekend and STILL lost. This calls into question a lot of what I've learned about calorie intake. I think the calorie cycling idea has merit. If you've been eating at 1,200 to 1,500 calories and have not lost weight in a month, I recommend INCREASING your intake so you are eating about 100 to 200 calories above your maintenance level, then dropping your calorie intake down to 1,200.
3. Intense exercise. I took a kickboxing class, did zumba, threw in a couple of bootcamp classes. I started jogging instead of walking, continued to lift weights. I've worked out 5 of the last 7 days and each workout is an hour. Four of the sessions I devoted thirty minutes each to strength training and cardio. My lesson? It's not just about the cardio. Strength training counts. Fortunately, I enjoy lifting weights. I really do. I've also just discovered that I like the rowing machine, too.
4. Focus--I tried to act like I was back to day 1 of the program. I made sure I recorded my intake, drank my water, measured my food, got more sleep.
In a nutshell, what I've learned is to STAY PERSISTENT and WORK HARD. A stroll around the park is not a workout. Pumping your arms and walking so fast that you're about to break out into a run IS a workout, because it's WORK. Especially if you're over 40.
I am blessed because I know two women my age who have just gotten knee replacements. Not because they're athletic, but because they are 80-100 pounds overweight and have been carrying all this weight around for years. And here I am in the gym doing jumping jacks, wind sprints, modified push ups and jumping rope. I'm carrying loads of groceries with ease, doing the silly gangnam style dance, lifting and twirling my grandson and bouncing up and down flights of stairs. Me. The most unathletic snail that was left in the dust during my school years. A fit woman.
Now my motivation is back! I'm psyched and hopeful that I'll enjoy another round of steady weight loss.
Onward and downward!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
In January of this year, I was wearing sizes 16W, 18, 1x or 2x. I had one size 14 suit that did not fit. Today, that size 14 suit is the largest size in my mostly size 12 wardrobe.
When I inventoried my wardrobe for the fall season, I tried on just about everything. Most of my clothes from last year were way too big so I folded them up and put them away. They stayed there for nearly two months.
Finally, last weekend I sold some through consignment and donated the rest to the Salvation Army.
I'm nervous about my decision because now I feel like I'm working this program without a safety net. So many times I've relapsed and gained weight. This time, if I do, I would have to spend hundreds of dollars to replace all those clothes I got rid of. The thought of having to do that is anxiety-provoking.
I'm also struggling to rebuild my wardrobe. I've gone on multiple shopping expeditions, so I have several basic outfits, but I still have major holes in my wardrobe. For example, the winter coat I bought new last year is a size 2x. I tried it on and it was a joke. So I don't have a decent looking coat and it's getting cold. Stuff like that.
I don't know where talking about this gets me, but my intention is to document where my head is at during each phase of this marathon. I plan to revisit some of my favorite consignment stores next month or find a good coat sale, so I won't have to wear a coat I'm swimming in.
Onward and downward
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Today is day two of returning to program after my intentional weekend calorie cycling. After averaging 2,400 calories Friday through Sunday, I'm now eating about 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day.
I also visited my thyroid doctor yesterday. I told her about my plateau and that I believe that starting on synthroid in August might be a factor. She acknowledged the possible link but congratulated me on dropping 10 pounds since June. I told her I was losing weight steadily over the summer, but it's now ground to a halt. I also told her I've felt MORE fatigued and sluggish since starting on the medication, which was intended to reduce an enlarged thyroid.
Why start taking medicine if it's doing more harm than good?
We made a decision together for me to discontinue the synthroid, since my thyroid no longer seems enlarged and it's not helping my fatigue. As long as my lab work shows normal thyroid levels, I should be okay, but I will need to get a new thyroid ultrasound and to test my levels every six months. I will also need to resume treatment if my thyroid enlarges again.
So we'll see.
I'm actually quite relieved to be back on plan after my intentional 2,400 calorie weekend. Still, I'm feeling soooo impatient. When, oh, WHEN will this plateau end????
I'm tired of stepping on the scale and seeing my weight swing between the same 2-3 pounds. I need to see a new number and I'm ready to work hard for it.
My diet is back to the basics. Lots of fruits and vegetables, few processed foods, lots of water. I am also trying to keep my exercise intensity up. This evening is bootcamp (ugh!) and I am hiking on Saturday. I'm also continuing to strength train, jog and workout on the machines.
SOMETHING has to give eventually and I HOPE it's not my SANITY.
Onward and downward (I hope).
Saturday, October 06, 2012
Today is day two of my experiment to eat well over my normal calorie intake. Normally, I eat 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, I'm eating 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day in an attempt to banish a one-month plateau.
This morning, I attended a kickboxing class, which was super intense but fun. I think I enjoy the kickboxing class more than the boot camp class, although I still don't care for doing high intensity jumping jacks in either class. Nevertheless, I plan to fit this class in on Saturday mornings when I can.
Yesterday, I felt like I ate too much junk to boost my calorie intake so today, I'm trying to make sure I get my fruits and vegetables and to eat more protein. I am also keeping my water intake high.
Last night, I went to bed at 10:00 pm but did not wake up until 7:30 am. That's 9.5 hours of sleep! This week I've been focusing on getting more sleep, so I wasn't sleep deprived. Was it my diet? Maybe it was carbohydrate overload or a blood sugar crash? Either way, I'm intrigued and want to learn more about what happened so I'm going to do some reading.
Monday, I plan to drop back to eating 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, high protein, low carbohydrate diet.
I think by next Saturday, I'll know whether or not this experiment has worked when I weigh in.
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