Thursday, November 01, 2012
Someone asked me how I stay motivated and keep going. I think itís a good question, especially a couple of weeks ago when my weight has been stubbornly refusing to go down. And the answer is partially that I just donít know. Why is weight loss working for me this time when itís failed so many times before?
Iím one tiny pound away from 100, and I have no real idea whatís making me succeed this time. Maybe itís the ego boost when people notice? I donít think so; I got plenty of compliments a few years ago when I lost 42 pounds on Weight Watchers, and I quit that just as surely as the rest. So whatís different this time?
Really, I think that Iíve finally found a plan that works for me. And itís precisely because itís NOT easy. Itís simple, and I try to make things as convenient as possible for myself, but my motto has become ďsimple, not easyĒ. Iíve been working my ass off for the last few weeks and what do you know? It worked! From Wednesday of last week to Wednesday of this week, I lost 10.4 pounds. There are other factors at play here, of course. I was eating an insane amount of sodium (damn you, delicious lunch meat!), and I was only losing about a pound a week when by my calorie differential, I should have been losing four to four and a half. So in a way, I was just catching up.
I really fought through this plateau, though. Iíve been working out like mad, at least five times a week, and Iíve been working HARD. I found a full-body weight routine that I do three times a week Ė on machines, unfortunately, but not relying on a spotter allows me to pound out a workout, keep my heart rate high and work up one hell of a sweat. I follow up lifting with at least 30 minutes of cardio. My knee is a piece of sh*t, so I havenít run in months now, but I ramp up the incline on the treadmill and away I go. Non-lifting days are cardio for at least an hour. Iím doing Spinning now, which is an awesome workout, if a little rough on the backside. I miss my outdoor walks, but with the weather being absolutely atrocious, Iím stuck on the inside.
So back to whatís workingÖthis is the first time that Iíve really taken it upon myself to lose weight, and not placed my faith in some system. I tried Atkins. It was the best thing ever for about two weeks, then bread started calling my name. I tried Weight Watchers, as previously mentioned. I spent as much time trying to game the system as I did anything else. Iíve tried a hundred things, and the only thread Iíve seen throughout is that they all market themselves as an easy way to lose weight, or at least an easy one. This is not a knock on Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers does amazing things for the people that use it, and more importantly, have the personality for it.
People spend so much time trying to figure out what diet (and I use the term diet as ďeating lifestyleĒ, not ďtemporary method for losing weightĒ) works best for them, but no one seems to focus on whatís best for their personality.
Alcoholics Anonymous has a long-term success rate of somewhere around 5%. Weight Watchers probably has a success rate in the same ballpark. These numbers arenít indictments of either organization, just that neither is right for everyone, or even most people. You just have to find what works for you.
Now, as to why my particular way works for me, Iím going back to things not being easy. I think I finally figured out that I would only lose weight if I put in the work. Eating burgers and bacon and not eating bread wasnít going to magically make me thin. Eating a certain number of points wasnít going to make me slim down (especially when I was gaming the system). What will make me lose weight is eating right, KNOWING what I eat, and working out, and more importantly, doing them even when I donít want to. The only person thatís going to be able to make this happen is me, so I need to not only avoid temptation, but be able to live with it right up in my grill. Itís like the libertarian diet.
Of course, it also needs to be a diet that I can live with. You know, forever, or at least until I die. So there are some things that just arenít going to work for me. Like ďclean eating.Ē There are plenty of people I know that avoid eating anything processed, would never consider fast food, and think that natural food is all the beesí knees. If it works for them, great, but you know whatís delicious? Egg McMuffins. Iím going to make an attempt to get ingredients to make my own, like whole wheat English muffins and nitrate-free Canadian bacon, and maybe I can cut out the Egg McMuffins. But boxed couscous mix cooks up deliciously too. And I like Cool Whip, and Jack in the Box tacos, and (horror of horrors) Hamburger Helper. I havenít had most of those for months, but I eat Egg McMuffins all the damn time. And especially once I get to my maintenance weight and have more calories to play with each day, Iíll probably add those other chemical cesspools (debatable) back into my diet too.
And thatís just fine with me. Iíve received some grief about it, and I respect people who want to convince others to eat better, more real things. But I can either live at a healthy weight that I can maintain with the occasional carcinogen thrown in (again, debatable), or I can try to be perfect and end up saying ďF*ck it, I want a tub of frosting,Ē and go back to the fatass that I used to be. Success comes in a lot of packages, and mine might just sometimes come in a cardboard box on the pasta aisle.