Progress and the quarter-pounder
Saturday, December 08, 2012
With another season of Biggest Loser being advertised on TV, I've had to remind myself that slow, steady weight loss is the safe and sustainable way to go. It's so important for all of us not to get seduced in to the sort of thinking that suggests anything less than a double-digit loss every week is a devastating failure.
Only 5 pounds? Oh no! You are in danger of getting kicked off! Only 2 pounds in a whole week? Oh, the horror!
We all know that's not right -- deep down inside, every one of us knows it. But the unreality of reality TV becomes its own new reality, and sucks us (well, at least me) back in. Every time.
To combat the "big numbers" mentality, here are some things I'm going to remind myself:
* Slow and steady is the way to go. No question. 1 to 2 pounds a week is a healthy rate.
* 1 pound a week means I reach my goal in 43 weeks -- less than a year! And it took me far more than a year to put all this weight on in the first place.
* 1 pound a week means that I don't have to quit my job and leave my family in order to make fitness and weight loss my sole focus 24/7. Seriously, how many of us can do that?
* 1 pound a week means that if I lose 2 or even 3 pounds, I'm delighted. Ecstatic. Joyous. Thrilled. Not in the slightest bit devastated.
Here's where the quarter-pounder fits in. And, no, it's not that kind of quarter-pounder.
I strength-train 4 times a week, giving it my all each time. It's tough. I'm working muscles I didn't know existed. I'm always sore the next day. I must look ridiculous at the gym -- one of those overweight middle aged ladies heaving the weights like the hot young body builder guys. I meet with a trainer every other week to make sure I'm doing it right, and to mix up my routine. I tell him I call it my "prescription."
As I left the gym yesterday, totally spent, I did the math: if I strength train 4 days a week and do cardio the rest, and if I stay within my nutrition ranges for the most part, that is my 1 pound a week. So, each of my 4 strength training sessions might just account for 1/4 of that lost pound. At the end of each workout, I can tell myself it was good for losing a quarter pound.
I know this isn't "real" math, but it sure motivates me to keep working those muscles.
Therefore: each workout is my quarter-pounder. Hold the cheese.