1-99 SparkPoints 16

My n=1 Weight Loss Analysis, Part 2

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Continuing from www.sparkpeople.com/mypa

As long time Sparkfriend 4A-HEALTHY-BMI can attest, the job isn't over after losing weight. You have to learn how to maintain it. She was recently on the Joy Bauer show to spotlight this very issue. If you haven't seen her segment on Today or read her very informative blogs yet, head on over!


Quick timeline before I get into the meat of the subject:

2000: Gained weight very rapidly from ~125lbs to 160lbs by overeating fast food, chain restaurants, soda pop, snickers bars and margarita mixes. Bodyfat ~44%, size 12 jeans.

2003: Obese, broke, jobless, and single, moved to Seattle. Stopped eating all fast food, snickers, and soda pop. Walked everywhere. Lost 15lbs without tracking a single calorie. Size 10 jeans.

2004: Got passport photo taken so I could go to Seoul, S Korea for my birthday. Completely mortified by my passport photo. I still looked obese. Weighed 145lbs.

2005: Decided it was time to get serious about weight loss. I bought cooking utensils, cookbooks, watched the Food Network, and joined eDiets to track my calories. Watched "Biggest Loser" season 2 for motivation. Exercise was difficult due to extra weight putting strain on my knees. Bought "Dance, Dance Revolution" for my PS2. When DDR became too easy, I bought a bike. Lost 10lbs. Weight 135lbs. Size 8 jeans. Bodyfat 35%.

2006: Rode bike 1 hour every day after work. Weight loss stalled. Couldn't budge from 135lbs, or if I did, it wasn't for long. My food choices, calories and activity level maintained my weight. 135lbs seemed to be my body's "set point" that it kept going back to.

2007: Switched from eDiets to SparkPeople.

2011: Still ~135lbs. Cut back wheat, grain and starches from my diet. "Set point" broken. Process discussed in previous blog. Weight 125lbs. Size 4/6 jeans.

From October 2011-June 2012 I went on an unwitting 'maintenance' experiment. Statistics show that 95% of dieters fail to maintain their weight loss and rebound within 3-5 years.

The following events came up that had a very high likelihood of reversing my progress:

Holidays: Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving food. How would this work with my new low bread diet? (Smaller portions.)
Visited UK and France: Went with future-DH to spend Christmas with his family. Went on a side trip to France. Ate pastries and coffee for breakfast every morning. (Didn't gain weight. Miraculous!)
College Course: Enrolled in a very difficult project based course. Little time for food planning, exercise, or even spending time with the SO.
Wedding in May: Because of my wedding planning, I didn't even have time to finish the last section of my project (I still got an A).

I stopped tracking food, calories and weight in October. I just had to hope that my weight would stay stable long enough for me to get into a wedding dress!

In previous years, I gained an average of 8lbs over the holidays.

In this graph from Oct 2010-Jan 2011, I went from ~131 to ~138.

From Aug 2011-May 2012 just before I went on honeymoon, I went from ~125 to ~130.

Ut oh. What happened? Maintenance fail?

According to my spreadsheet, I bodyfat was 26% in August. In May, it was 28%. There was a weight slide, but it wasn't happening as fast. It took 3 months on my high carb diet to regain 8lbs, and 7 months to gain 5lbs on lower carb.

Because I wasn't tracking my data, I don't really know what happened. I think I was eating the same, limiting breads, pasta, and potatoes as much as possible. That is just speculation and relying on memory, which is a terrible record keeper. If I didn't track, then I don't know.

I'm pretty sure I maintained my weight when we went to the UK/France. We went out for beers one night with a friend of SO. He later told me that his friend texted to him: "Mate, I thought you got a new girl. She's a lot hotter than I remember!"

Here I am at Windsor castle. I'm all bundled up, so it's hard to tell about my shape, but I don't think I gained any weight. My new clothes all still fit.

The weight creep was either very slow, or it happened from January to May.

I suspect it was the latter.

Once I started my class and wedding planning, more and more fast food entered the picture. Being a big fan of "FatHead", I tried to follow Tom Naughton's strategy. Just stick to the burgers and skip the fries.

Except over time, a few fries started entering the picture. I thought it would be ok to have occasionally.

I *seemed* to be maintaining so effortlessly. Probably getting over confident. If you think there are no consequences, you do stupid things.

I *think* I had fries occasionally, but who really knows? I wasn't tracking during that time. It probably was more frequent than my dietary amnesia wanted to admit.

Just like my husband not being sure whether he had 3 or 4 slices of pizza.

In October, I was almost ready to drop out of size 4 pants. In May, my size 6 pants fit better.

I still managed to get into my wedding dress in May. Like any bride, I wish I could have lost more weight before the event. But I was certainly a much happier bride at 28% bodyfat than I would have been at 35%.

When I resumed detailed tracking in June, I dreaded the rebound. I was afraid I gained weight over the honeymoon, and I'd have to do a lot of work.

To my surprise, I weighed 128lbs. I lost weight while on honeymoon, despite vacationing at an all-inclusive resort.

More calculations revealed 28% bodyfat and 92lbs lean mass. Even though I gained weight during my 'maintenance' break, I managed to retain my lean mass.

This is a huge deal. More lean mass means burning more calories at rest, making it easier to maintain and lose weight.

In Part 1, I explained that I gained lean mass when I changed my diet.

Lean Body Mass:
May 20,2011: 86lbs
July 7, 2011: 91lbs
July 2, 2012: 92lbs

My advice if you want to keep the weight off in maintenance? Keep tracking. I can do intuitive eating to a pretty decent degree short term as I've described in my blog "Understanding the Language of Fat"


But long term? If you start slipping, it's easier to make a course correction if you see it coming.

After losing weight and failing to maintain, many people reported that it's harder to take the weight off the second time. The body seems to stubbornly hang for dear life onto those pounds.

In Part 1, you saw how rapidly my weight dropped last year. How has restarting weight loss mode worked out for me?

I'll let you know next Wednesday after my 1 month progress report is up.

Hint: It is good news.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Another great blog! Thanks for sharing!

    Tracking is key for me also! Food amnesia is really easy to fall into!
    3138 days ago
    I gained weight when I lived in Sweden, but guess what I ate and drank nearly every day? Pizza and full sugar Coke! *facepalm*
    3138 days ago
    Not yet, because I'm not at goal. ;)
    3138 days ago
    YES. I so agree. Are you on the at goal and maintaining team yet? I think you'd be a good addition!
    3139 days ago
    Yup, for me, anyway, tracking is key. But then, I lurve me some data. I think I might be even more compulsive about gathering personal data than you are! LOL

    3139 days ago
    Karen: I agree that it's hard to maintain weight in the US. =/ I think it's the sugar. They add it to everything.
    3139 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/26/2012 6:19:10 PM

    I LOVE that honeymoon photo of you ! It's absolutely fantastic.

    Oddly enough, I'm one of the few people who DOES lose weight when they go on vacation. And believe me, I eat like a horse when I'm over seas. But, what I'm not doing ? Not snacking between meals. eating normal sized portions, not over sized ones. Not eating junk. at least, not toooo much junk. And I'm walking everywhere.

    Basically, I really ought to be living in Europe. But, there are no jobs there either. sigh.

    3139 days ago
    3139 days ago
    I know all passport photos are bad, but mine was BAD! Since I lost weight, I've actually had customs officers tell me that the photo doesn't look like me, and asked for additional identification!
    3139 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/26/2012 6:03:22 PM
    I inch up, too, unless I am careful. It seems like it happens in the summer. Right now, I am back on strict low carb to beat it back. It seems like if I take my carbs up to even 60 grams these days, I can't rely on hunger alone to judge where I am.
    3139 days ago
    sorry to break it to you, and I don't want to take away your defining motivational moment, but everyone is horrified by their passport photo, no matter what the weight. emoticon
    3139 days ago
    Losing large amounts of weight is easy... losing small numbers (5 pounds) is harder!

    Basically, I think we are too hard on ourselves to achieve perfection... which is a very shifty target to aim for anyways!!!

    Thanks for the recap!
    3139 days ago
    I think we do need to stay focused. When I get to where I want to be, I seem to become a bit overconfident that my weightwon't fluctulate. I have been proven wrong. So here I am, with good company, mindful again of what I eat and how it affects how I feel. You are leading the way to "yes, we can!"
    3139 days ago
    3139 days ago
    Love your wedding picture - gorgeous!! And I can't wait to read your 1 month progress report.
    3139 days ago
    "Went on a side trip to France. Ate pastries and coffee for breakfast every morning. (Didn't gain weight. Miraculous!) "

    "I lost weight while on honeymoon, despite vacationing at an all-inclusive resort."

    Welcome to being metabolically stable. Had the same experience last year after dropping the wheat and sugars for five months. Instead of gaining the usual 10+ pounds on vacation, I gained two. And that was after the longest stay at an AI resort to date.
    3139 days ago
    You are a beautiful bride! Love the floaty dress!
    3139 days ago
    So cool! Can't wait!
    3140 days ago
  • MOVIEGRL1737
    Wow, very informative. Thanks
    3140 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.