Friday, June 11, 2010
Have you been reading the posts from the Spark staffer who wants to lose weight slowly? He has absolutely nothing on me.
I have been on Spark since February 2007 and since that time I have managed to lose only 14 pounds -- from 176 then to this morning's 162.
Is that depressing and frustrating? You bet. Especially since I exercise more than almost anyone I know. It's the food, it's the food, it's the food ... but I haven't managed to get that into my head. My philosophy is sort of a cross between an ostrich and Scarlett O'Hara ... I'll either completely stick my head in the sand about it, or I'll plan to think about it tomorrow.
I've actually lost well over 100 pounds in the past 2.5 years, but unfortunately it has been the same 2-3 pounds over & over & over.
A little history: when I got out of college in 1983, I was 5'7, weighed 120 pounds, and had a 23" waistline. Yes that was a long time ago. But I became obsessed with my weight and managed to diet all the way down to 98 pounds -- just HAD to be in the double digits for some reason. Could always eat anything I wanted, and I figured it was because I was so active. Little did I know then that it was nothing more than a combination of luck and youth! Luckily I did manage to get out of the "under 100" mentality, and stabilized around size 4-6.
Fast forward 20 years, where my weight stayed mostly in the 130s, and then I hit 40 and nothing worked anymore. Tried everything (Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, personal training), and either couldn't/didn't stick to it, or would lose the weight and put it back on. Joining SparkPeople and putting 176 as my starting weight was shocking but I was determined that it wouldn't stay there. But you'll notice that I do not have a visible weight tracker on my page ... it's too embarrassing!
Here are the most recent numbers anyway, and the reason for this (long and rare, for me) blog. Yesterday I had a fitness and body composition test. I didn't expect to like many of the numbers but I have surprised myself.
Height: now just 5 feet, 5.25 inches. Which means I need to go back and recalculate my BMI, but that can wait for another day.
I won't give you all the statistics but here are some highlights:
Waistline: 30 inches.
Body fat: 33%
Pushups: 35!! (that's how many I could do before I had to stop)
Resting heart rate: 62
So I'm thinking, I don't particularly like some of this, but all of it could be worse. For one thing, that body fat measurement means that something like 111 pounds of me is muscle and bone and ligaments and other stuff that ISN'T fat. So weighing in the 120s is not realistic unless I want to lose muscle too. Which I don't -- that pushup number is something I'm pretty proud of (and I credit the taekwondo classes, where we do pushups every session, as well as weight lifting -- I finally reached my goal of being able to bench 100 lbs!). There is just no way that the 120 pound or 98 pound versions of me could have done those things!
Anyway, all of this leaves me still staring at the fact that the nutrition plan has to get clean and consistent, but I know that losing ONLY fat while maintaining muscle will necessarily take longer than if I scale back on strength training and focus only on weight loss. I'm going to have to take my encouragement from things like being able to fit into a pair of pants that didn't fit 2 months ago, even though the scale hasn't budged (which actually happened, just this week!). The reality is that for my metabolism at age 48, there's just not much wiggle room in the food arena. So, okay. The bottom line is that I have accomplished SOMETHING, and I can say with certainty that the exercise thing is all figured out.
None of this is rocket science and certainly doesn't excuse my overly slow progress since 2007, but for me it still feels like kind of a revelation. I have new goals (20% body fat, while still maintaining strength -- I want to be able to do 50 pushups next test). And I'm going to do my best to say goodbye to Scarlett O'Hara. Maybe I'll even publish that weight tracker, one of these days.