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Paradigm Shift

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Once Upon a Time.......

There was a mom of three who joined SparkPeople out of frustration. Stuck on a plateau, unable to break it and completely afraid of falling off of the wagon. This mom worked hard, followed the SparkPeople program did the stages (before they made you pay for that part of it anyway), ate good, exercised, reached goal weight and maintained that goal weight for almost four years. Well this mom, got pregnant, had a healthy pregnancy gained the minimum required weight (25 pounds which was a HUGE improvement from the 65#, 45# and 35# weight gains of her three previous pregnancies) kept very active throughout the duration of her pregnancy focusing on keeping her body fit and limber via yoga. She had a fantastically wonderful labor and delivery to the most perfect baby boy imaginable. What she didn't know was that she would once again be faced with the Ultimate Plateau. Stuck once again on the merry-go-round of eat, workout, weigh, stay the same, repeat. See, she has been quite frustrated with "doing the right thing" and not seeing results. She has worked out since she was given the go ahead from the doctor at her six week postpartum appointment from having that perfect baby. She has eaten good (not perfect mind you, but good enough to net SOME kind of result) and has been very active on SparkPeople. This same mom has reached the Ultimate Frustration and is very ready to make that break from the eat, workout, weigh, stay the same, repeat cycle. This mom is putting the breaks on it. Pressing them hard and shifting focus. This mom is going to go against the SparkPeople grain and eat MORE calories. Lift HEAVY weights. Reduce cardio. Get off the scale. Make an entire paradigm shift.

No surprise, but that mom is me. I am so effing sick and tired of the game. I can't do it anymore. So my question is this: how does one realistically set goals when the scale isn't part of the equation? I mean really, the goals are set with quantifiable numbers so we can say "I DID IT" when we reach that number, right? What if with that paradigm shift comes NOT focusing on the scale? I am scratching my head right now trying to figure it out. I want to have that feeling of being able to point to a number and say "I DID IT"!

I got my body fat monitor and took my first measurement and it read 25.5% (which by the way, as much as I know it needs to improve it kind of shocked me -- my first time getting my body fat read I came in at 30% and that WAS at goal weight back in 2008 and yes, I know that this number isn't a professional reading but has been said to be as reliable as the calipers which was how I had it tested before...). So with that, I guess I need to decide where I want my body fat to read. Maybe going for 21%? I don't know.

So with my paradigm shift comes the following: dropping the restricted calorie mentality. I have been focused on eating 1250-1550 calories and cycling between those numbers. Now, I am focusing on 1700-1900 going high on my lifting days. Lifting heavy. Not just heavy, but really focusing on increasing the weight with each workout and seeing significant increases in strength. Not focusing on cardio -- I effing hate cardio. Making the cardio I do, short, sweet, hard as hell and done. HIIT and interval workouts. Yoga when I can and when it feels right (which realistically could be all the time! emoticon ). Taking my focus off of the scale and placing it on seeing changes in the tape measure and body fat monitor. I will still weigh since I have to do it for a challenge, but I won't do it for the number, just so I can stay active on the team. Focusing on eating clean, whole foods and LOTS of protein (btw, looking for some creative ways to bump up this number -- eggs, egg whites, hummus, Syntha 6, chicken equal the majority of my protein intake at the moment so I am always on the lookout for suggestions....) and making the bulk of my carbs from fruit. I am focused on how my pants fit -- I am getting very close to my size 8's! My 12's are quite baggy and I can take them off without unzipping them now.

I am loving the New Rules of Lifting program. It is hard to make that shift away from having someone tell you what to do via DVDs but it is fun. I am limited with my home workouts so I don't have a squat rack to be able to load up a barbell and at the moment am relying on what I have right now which is adjustable dumbbells so I am focusing on **slow and low** with my lower body workouts making what I have feel like a whole lot more. I know many who have made it work with less than what I have so I know I can make it work.

So, here's to no longer focusing on insanity! emoticon ::cheers::
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MAMAJAHMAI
    Try Body-weight exercises--Lots of variations on YouTube-....Burpees, Inchworms, Planks, Planks with weights, Sumo Squats, Mountain-climbers, etc....great compound movements using your own weight. If you have a kindle, you can download freebie books on Amazon with lots of "How-Tos" on Body-weight exercises emoticon You are doing great!!!! emoticon
    2397 days ago
  • no profile photo CINDYTW
    Have you ever looked into Primal diet? (Mark Sisson-marksdailyapple.com) In addition to diet it goes into more weight based training and slw cardio like walking and just a bit of HIIT. Just a thought from what you had described you are doing.
    2397 days ago
  • SINGER73
    It's scary to me how similar we are. Are you my twin emoticon ? The last few days I've been eating about 2000 calories a day and working out (cardio/weights) for 60-90 minutes and I've lost almost 3lbs. Who knew. I want to get away from counting calories and eat real as unprocessed foods as I can. I don't plan on counting every calories for the rest of my life so I figure that if I can clean up my diet to be as healthy as it can be (with the occasional treats here and there) and workout 60 minutes on most days as hard as I can, my body will do the rest.

    Body composition is really the key. At last check my bodyfat was 23.7%. I'm aiming for 20%. Frankly, if I stay at 150lbs and look like I weigh 140lbs when that is really what's important not the number on the scale. My scale at home as a bodyfat% and this morning is says that I'm 40%. I giggle every time I see how inaccurate it is. I plan on getting my composition redone at the gym early April. I was waiting until I actually got to goal but since I last did it in Nov12, it's time.

    Keep at it. This is all about trial and error and you WILL figure out the right mix for you as long as you are persistent.
    2398 days ago
  • GMO_JEN
    Love this. It was pretty much what I was doing begore the second half of this month hit. I love the idea of weight lifting, and need to get back into the gym. I wish I was at the level where I could ignore calories- I just can't trust myself that much anymore. But, I agree- I think we need more than the tiny pink weights and cardio- did you look at the book the new rules for lifting for women? I am looking at it too. I am doing some protein powder as well to increase my protein, then chicken and eggs. Your are going to do awesome!
    2398 days ago
  • BEECHNUT13
    Increase your calories and strength train! If plateaus don't work, and starvation is rewarded with more starvation later, you have nothing to lose.

    There are two ways to think about getting to a healthy body composition. If you don't burn more calories than you eat, then you can do one of two things:

    1) Eat fewer calories than you burn - adjusting your eating to match your metabolism. This works for people that eat enormous amounts of food. Their metabolisms are high because they are always eating, they are muscular because they are carrying around a bunch of fat - which is heavy! But once you get below that "I'm not eating like a horse" threshold, then what? You can cut down the calories MORE, or burn more calories with cardio, but then it's just a cycle of more restriction and more starvation. Oh, and the muscle? That gets eaten away too. Your metabolism is SLOWED because your burned the muscle while you were restricting your calories. Spark People recommends strength training to help counteract this. Well... if what you are doing is decreasing your muscle mass and making you weak, and slowing your metabolism down with it, then it isn't really the best solution now, is it?

    2) You can match your metabolism to your eating by INCREASING YOUR METABOLISM (rather than decreasing your eating to match a slowing metabolism - that is an important distinction). That means eating a lot - enough to build muscle, which will in turn burn more calories. The afterburn for a heavy strength training workout is equivalent to an hour run at 6mph for a 140 lb woman (estimated in NRoLFW), so in addition to building muscle, you are also burning calories when you're not working out. And you're not hungry. You can also eat more protein (which is more work to digest) along with fruits and vegetables, and whole grains instead of white (or no grains at all, which is how I roll - see what I did there? Har har).

    I am new at this - only a few weeks. But I can already tell there is a big difference in the way I feel. Mentally, I am building myself up (through muscle building and strengthening) rather than tearing myself down (through shedding weight and fat). Sure, I'm doing the latter, but that's not where my focus is.

    When I calculated my body fat, I did not lose weight - I gained weight. But I went from 36.7% to 36.1% body fat in 2.5 weeks or so. My lean body mass went from 112.5 to 114 lbs! I lost a pound of FAT. Yes - even though I weighed more, I had less FAT. Instead of tearing my fat down (it is a part of me, whether I like it or not - and to destroy it is destroying part of me), I used it to fuel my muscle growth. I recycled it. This mental shift (a paradigm shift of my own that I'm currently having) is a refreshing change from the typical "starve yourself because fat is bad" that people have been toting for so long.

    Oh, and the whole grains I don't eat - I eat more fat. And I effortlessly eat round 1800-2000 calories/day. I don't have to track. I'm satiated and healthy without grains. After all, we evolved without eating grains, I don't need them!

    Good luck - I feel a big blog coming on, as I've been mulling these things over. You should see one soon. :)

    2398 days ago
  • MISSUSRIVERRAT
    Agree total with Obiesmom2...
    different techniques, different plans, different times of our lives, and add "different goals."
    My daughter does CrossFit at a gym , eats like you do (but not perfectly ... includes some alcohol), does minimal cardio. Their work-outs are a variety of very challenging strength training, weight-lifting exercises (FYI She is an accountant, sitting most of the day. No kids).
    She says her strength is increasing greatly, back and arms getting definition, clothes getting looser, bottom getting smaller. Her waist is already quite small and toned. For info purposes I asked if she was losing weight. She said maybe a couple pounds. She never mentions anything about weight loss and it simply is not her goal. Where she trains they look in the mirror, check how their clothes fit, give feedback to each other to measure progress.
    Plus they measure weight and reps that they are capable of doing, so their success is also performance based making every work-out into a challenge for them.

    What she is doing is very different from what I am doing, which I will be blogging about as soon as I can get all my thoughts organized.

    For a while I tried to measure body fat. Those calipers are a little tricky. Now I am just using a specifically designed tape measure to measure my waist and looking in the mirror.

    2398 days ago
  • OBIESMOM2
    different things work for different people at different times in their lives. If there was a cut and dried, always works plan, well...we'd all be doing it, right?

    and as the saying goes, if nothing changes...then NOTHING changes.

    emoticon emoticon

    P.S. I just finished my second Tabata class. That may be your kind of workout for cardio. I LOVE IT!
    2398 days ago
  • GETSTRONGRRR
    Sounds like a good plan! I've been lifting heavy 3x/week for a while now (as well as doing cardio 3x/week) The scale doesn't move like I want it to, but I've seen all sorts of shifts in body composition (people ask me a lot, "Have you lost weight?" I reply, "No, I've just redistributed it from fat around my belly to muscle in my legs, arms, back, and shoulders)

    I eat between 1800-2400 calories/day (I'm a guy). I haven't wanted to eat much below that either. My weight has been a steady 180-185 for about 6 months. Mentally I'd like to get down to 175. But at the same time, I like how I look, the clothes all fit great (I ditched a bunch of old clothes and am wearing athletic cut shirts!)

    Look up a book called "Starting Strength" by mark Rippetoe. It focuses on 5 basic lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, and cleans) It really helped me a lot. He also has videos on you tube.

    Keep at it....stay strong....and channel that frustration onto the iron....it'll never lie to you!
    2398 days ago
  • JUSTME29
    I'm glad you are feeling so positive about your new plan. I think letting non-scale measurements like your clothes and your body fat monitor be your guide is a great idea. I know that more lifting and less cardio is very effective for some people, so I truly hope you are one of them. As for me, I've got to get into the groove of near daily exercise before I can shift one over the other.
    2398 days ago
  • KRISKECK
    Good for you for changing it up! For protein try greek yogurt, cottage cheese, almonds, Kashi GolLean Crunch, and you might consider the whey protein powder like the NROLFW suggests if you dont already do it...I do it when I lift which is not often enough yet...unlike you, I love my running and I am taking the weights slowly b/c I'm a little worried about re-injuring my knee by ramping up the weights too fast on the squats and step-ups. My calorie targets according to their formulas are lower than yours, just a couple hundred calories more than I'm eating now on lifting days, so I am guessing you are taller than me. Maybe your lower cal diet was throwing your body into starvation mode. So, here's to size 8s! Hoping to be there soon again myself!

    2399 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/28/2013 4:53:58 PM
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