Learning to Trust the Process
Friday, June 21, 2013
I started Sparking on May 6th. But I was too scared to see how much I weighed, so I started with an estimated weight. It took three days to get up the courage to weigh myself. When I did, I discovered that I'd over-estimated my weight by 60 pounds! Talk about body image distortion.
Once I had an accurate weight, I reset my account using that weight (which is why it looks like I started May 9th). I got my calorie range, and started swimming regularly. Now, I didn't really trust my range. So I tended to stay below that range. You see, I grew up with a very weight-obsessed, always-dieting grandmother in the days when the standard dieting rule was to limit oneself to 1200 calories a day. I didn't really trust the SparkPeople computation of my BMR. And because of that, I was not about to heed the warnings to eat more if I was more active than the amount used to calculate my range.
Well, after a few weeks of swimming almost daily, eating below range almost every day, and only losing 2 pounds, I had an "I give up" day of uncontrolled eating. I was very regretful the next day. But from that experience, I decided to heed the SparkPeople warning to eat in a range that supports my level of activity. So I reset my activity setting to account for a minimum of 5 hours of aerobic activity a week. That reset my calorie range, and I saw that for the first three weeks I should have been eating at least at the top end of my previous range.
Thus began my use of my new, higher, calorie range. I was nervous about it. It seemed so high! And, to be honest, I haven't trusted the number of calories that the activity calculator says I'm burning when I swim. So I was worried that I was working hard, but wasn't going to lose any weight.
During all this, my clothes were getting looser. I had gone down a pant size. But I worried that maybe it wasn't weight loss - maybe I was just less bloated. So when I next got on the scale, I was a little relieved to have lost 3 more pounds. Still, though, only 5 pounds in six weeks? I continued to worry that I was eating too much, and not burning what the activity calculator estimated.
Last week, I had to buy some new work pants two sizes smaller than what I was wearing May 6th. My tops are hanging lower. My sleeves are hanging longer. Yesterday, a client mentioned that I'd lost weight. And still, I worried that nothing was really happening. I tried to believe that I was adding muscle in place of fat, and that's why clothes were looser but the scale had barely moved. In the back of my head, though, I couldn't imagine I'd added much muscle.
Today I got on the scale. It's been 10 days since my last weigh-in. I prepared myself to be stuck at about the same weight I saw last time. So imagine my complete shock when the numbers came up five and a half pounds lighter than 10 days ago! I truly did a double take, blinked my eyes, and then stood there with my jaw hanging. The best part about today? I'm finally starting to feel like I can relax and trust my calorie range, and that my activity is truly burning calories. It's working!!!!!
Looking back at reports of my previous weeks, I notice a pattern in my eating. I tend to stay a bit below range Monday through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday, I tend to be mid to high end of my range. Saturday and Sunday, I tend to be high end to slightly above my range (by no more than 150 calories). What that has averaged out to across each week is a daily average that is in the lower half of my range. So I'm okay with that pattern. I feel like I'm starting to be able to listen to my body, and feed it as it requires. I'm making healthy choices, measuring and weighing food, and tracking everything. I'm also making sure to learn how to work in real-world foods, as well as indulgences in moderation. I'm not avoiding the macaroni salad, some pizza, or a candy bar once in a while. But I'm controlling portions, and making sure that I stay in range (averaged across a week, with no day more than 150 calories out of range). I'm also making sure that I'm staying in range with my carbs, fats, and protein. I'm not overdoing on carbs or fats, and not shorting myself protein. I'm working on learning how to eat for the rest of my life in a way that allows me to live at a healthy weight.
So...onward and downward! Step by step, change by change, decision by decision. The incremental progress will become exponential change over time.