Monday, April 30, 2012
I was feeling really good at the beginning of April. I had lost a little over 9 lbs since early February and I fully expected to continue losing roughly 1 lb/week, hoping to be down close to 15 lbs by the end of April. My overall plan to lose 5 lbs/month and be back in the 140's by the beginning of August was on track. But things did not go as planned in April and I don't really understand why. Instead of being down 4 lbs or so I am up 2 lbs. My birthday was the 7th and I indulged for dinner that night, then ate too much candy the next day on Easter, and after that the scale seemed to get stuck.
I'm not really concerned about the +2, I took my son to a minor league ball game yesterday and ate a few things that may have caused some water retention. Basically, I maintained in April. But with the exception of a couple days, I was on track with my food all month...stayed in my calorie range (towards the low-mid end most of the time) and ate healthfully. And my gym attendance/effort was stellar...5 days each week, 3 strength training sessions/week and 3-4 cardio sessions made up of 1-2 HIIT sessions/week and Zumba and spin once/week. On paper I should have lost in the neighborhood of 4 lbs with no problem. Sigh. What happened? Here are my thoughts on the possibilities:
1) I hit a plateau. It happens. In the past my plateaus have not lasted an entire month, more like a couple weeks, but maybe this was a long one.
2) I ate too little. As I mentioned, I tried to keep to the low-mid portion of my calorie range. But I workout pretty hard, especially on a leg day that also includes some HIIT. Maybe my body held onto the fat because my deficit was a little too high and I should try eating 1400-1600 calories at least half the time.
3) No cheat meals. This is related to #2. With the exception of Easter weekend and yesterday, I really did not have any cheat meals. I didn't feel deprived and thought it would help my progress to cut back on them, but maybe having a day once/week where my calories are closer to 2000 helps to keep my metabolism higher.
4) Not enough cardio. I've been doing 3-4 cardio sessions/week, but there was a time when I was doing 4-5 and one of those sessions was a longer run. This theory is basically the opposite of #2 and #3, but also a possibility.
So I need a game plan for the month of May to get the scale moving in the right direction again. This is what I will try:
May Game Plan
1) Eat at the higher end of my calorie range for the first week and see what the scale does. If it drops, continue eating there...if it stays the same, drop down to the middle of the range.
2) Eat 1 cheat meal per week. One day each week I will eat 1800-2000 calories, maybe include a treat that I wouldn't eat on a regular basis. I will continue this throughout the month.
3) On my strength training days I will do circuits rather than my ST session followed by 20-30 minutes of cardio. I will do these circuits on all three of my ST days so that, combined with Zumba and spin, I am getting cardio in 5 days each week. Plus, I will be keeping my heart rate up for an extended period of time by doing the circuits, therefore burning more calories.
Hopefully these tweaks will jump start my weight loss again. The one thing I vow not to do at all this month is to fall prey to "magic" plans. When the scale stalls out and throws off my weight loss timeline I am always tempted to find a plan in Oxygen magazine or elsewhere that promises you will drop X amount of lbs in a month. It isn't that these plans are necessarily unhealthy, but they are often restrictive in terms of what foods are allowed...hence, not a long term plan. I am always better off mentally to allow myself a wide variety of healthy, clean foods rather than restricting or eliminating certain things in an effort to accelerate weight loss. That kind of thing always ends up making me crazy in the end.
So, will check back in next week with how things are going.