Today the eight week Winter 5% Challenge ended. I didn't participate in the weight loss portion of the challenge, but supported my team with fitness minutes and good lifestyle habits, which are the main aspects of the competition.
My goal was to maintain my weight, which started at my goal weight of 160. Since the challenge started in early December right when I got to my goal, it took about four weeks for my weight to stabilize - around 157, which I used as my updated goal weight. During the month of January my weight has ranged between 156.5 and 157.5, and I've been steadily increasing my daily calorie range and maintaining an active fitness schedule.
Meanwhile, onto the cool stuff. Right after I reached my goal, I experienced the same "confusion" that I've seen others mention, wondering if my goal weight was appropriate and whether I should lose more. I based this on concerns that I still had a flabby middle despite a regular cardio and strength regimen throughout my weight loss. Luckily I had networked into the maintenance community on Spark and got a lot of valuable input, the most important being to stop worrying about the scale and start focusing on my body composition. This seemed like great advice and good goal setting material for 2012.
I did a "Bod Pod" body composition assessment in early December, and figured I'd just get reassessed by Bod Pod every three months, with a goal to be at 25% body fat by the end of 2012. After blogging about the experience, I got info from another maintenance team member about tracking her progress similarly using a Tanika scale that seems to provide fairly accurate ratings. She suggested that the most important aspect is using a consistent tool each time (rather than stressing about whether Body Pod, underwater weighing, or calipers, etc. is the best way to measure), so I decided to invest in a new Tanika scale to replace my stone age model so I could track regularly on my own without resorting to Bod Pod scheduling. I took my body composition measurements with my scale shortly after doing the Bod Pod, and the results were identical - a good start! I decided that I would check the body composition monthly.
During January I added Pilates Reformer to my fitness program. Whether it's just the Pilates, or a result of my body settling into maintenance combined with Pilates, I've felt and seen a reduction in my waistline jiggle. I no longer worry about my tummy expanding over the waist of my pants or skirt.
The end of the 5% Challenge today coincided with my first re-measurement date, so I waited until late afternoon for the moment of truth! (Unlike measuring your weight, you measure your body composition when you are fully hydrated, and haven't eaten or exercised for several hours, so you are advised not to do it when you first wake up.)
My body fat has decreased by 2% !!!!
My muscle weight increased by 4 pounds !!!!
These things happened while maintaining my scale weight. WOO HOO!
I actually saw a bigger improvement than I expected in just one month, and would be skeptical if I wasn't feeling and seeing a difference in my core. I expect subsequent months to show a more gradual change, but look forward to seeing my results at the end of the year.