Accountability and a Reality Check
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I have been hovering under 150 for the last couple of months now. Bought a new scale because my other one was erratic and I swore it made me gain 2+ pounds.
Last week I watched the HBO documentary series on obesity in America. Scary stuff. But what struck me was a small mention they made in the second show about how people who have been overweight may have to eat significantly less (say 20%) calories and do daily exercise just to maintain their weightloss. Being overweight can put you at a disadvantage over someone who has never been overweight.
Life's just not fair.
Not only will I have to eat les, exercise more, but as I get older my metabolism will continue to slow.
Life's totally unfair.
I was feeling pretty smug a year ago when I weighed 135, had reached my goal weight and was dutifully training for the Portland marathon. Managed to (only!) gain back 7 pounds over that summer as I travelled a lot, didn't track what I ate, really, and trained like crazy for the marathon. Two days after the marathon last October I weighed 142.
I weighed 149 this morning.
Been running/training for the marathon again this year. Ran a half marathon 2 weeks ago and am running another one next weekend.
So why is it that I cannot seem to lose weight (and that I am slowly, steadily gaining weight)?
I don't think it is entirely due to my age (I'm 59) or my work (I have only travelled 2 weeks so far this year).
It certainly isn't due to lack of exercise. I run 4-5 days a week, about 20 miles a week or so, and do studio cycling another day or two a week and some strength training yet another day. I might take a day off here and there. But most days I get a good half hour or hour or even more of cardio in. This week I've put in several hours gardening, on top of my cardio.
So what gives?
Am I stressed? Sure. I am always stressing about something (it seems to be my nature to fret...would love to know of spark community groups for people who want to chill more).... But I am not that stressed at the moment.
Am I getting enough sleep? I am. I get up early with the sun, but am asleep most nights by 10.
The answer is plain and simple: I eat too much. I don't know how many calories I have been consuming. And I just can't get away with eating sensibly without tracking.
I've got to stop eating with abandon and be extremely conscious of my portions, calories and cravings. I can't just wing it. I have too hearty an appetite. Even though I don't eat junk, I eat too much.
I've got to act like I did when I first lost this weight over a year ago.
I cannot be cavalier about maintenance. And heck, I need to admit that I don't need to just maintain at the moment, but that I need to lose 10+ pounds.
I am religiously tracking my food today. Found out that my breakfast was 400 calories. OK, I love that banana with my yogurt. I like the lower calorie gluten free 1/3 c of Vanilla Sunrise crunchy cereal that I sprinkle on top of my yogurt. And that half cup of raspberries was wonderful, too. Then I had soy milk (plenty of it) with my morning coffee. And before you know it, I had eaten 400 calories. It should be closer to 300. I've got to work on that.
For lunch I played it a little closer on my calories: fresh spinach leaves (over a cup), 1 medium tomato, 2 oz turkey breast and a half cup of edamame. Topped off with some lo-cal raspberry vinagrette and a dusting of feta. Dessert was two cups of slivered almonds....oh yeah, I forgot to mention the carrot I ate earlier as a snack....and already I am up to 750 calories.
If I want to enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner, I can do so, but I've got to watch it. I have my dinner planned and it will be OK. But I've got to avoid the nuts after dinner.
I've been talking with others who've been maintaining for several years now. They eat far less than I do (maybe 1300-1500 calories a day--I'm probably closer to 2000). They track their food. They exercise less than I do. But they still exercise. But they, too, struggle with maintaining their weight loss. Yet they keep trying. Their trick? Nothing special except being brutally truthful and honest, forgiving of themselves when they overindulge and gain a bit...and doggedly commited to tracking what they eat. No slouches, they tend to track their food daily.
That's something I haven't been doing (thinking, well, I've been eating the same old stuff so I should be OK...except that I haven't been eating the same old amounts).
I have to think about that long and hard. Right now I am committed to being mindful. I track my exercise minutes, proudly. Time now to step up again and track my food consumption, too. It is a way to regulate what I eat. Tracking makes me not eat mindlessly. I don't want to record that I ate 500 calories of chips. So I don't eat them.
We'll seeing how being accountable helps me lose and maintain my weight. Right now I'm feeling stoked.