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You Are NOT A Perfect Machine

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I've been at this weight loss game a LONG TIME. I started this journey here on Sparkpeople in April 2012, more than five years ago. And I've learned a lot about the human body in that time, both from experience and self-education. I've observed thousands of people do amazing, then burn out, then come back, rinse and repeat. Hey, stuff happens and we fall off the wagon. You came back, it's all good!

But what drives me crazy is this mentality:

"I had a deficit every day this week and the scale is up a pound!"

"I lost 3 lbs last week but this week I gained 1/2 a pound back even though I was right on track!"

And the responses often are "Well maybe you're not tracking properly or trying hard enough."

But what if the person IS trying hard enough and IS tracking properly and mathematically SHOULD be losing weight but instead gained a tiny bit this week?


CICO (Calories In / Calories Out) is a GUIDE. Does it work if you do it right? YES!!! I'm living proof of that. But your body isn't a simple mathematical equation. It's not 3 - 1 = 2.

It's a complex physics problem that uses advanced calculus. The body is a mathematical equation so complex that even the friggin' EXPERTS can't predict the exact amount of weight a given person will lose each week. It's an estimate. That's why tracking your TRENDS is so important. This is not a short term thing, it's not overnight. Long term success is the desired result, so why is one week of our lives so important?

I weigh myself every day. I use a wipe off board on my fridge and mark my weight in dry erase marker. At the end of the month, I take a picture of the month with my cell phone, mark down my lowest monthly weight on a separate sheet of paper. THOSE are the numbers I use to gauge my success or failure. It takes a WHOLE MONTH to find out if I'm doing things the way I should be or not. And that is OKAY!

Things that affect weight loss despite CICO:

- EXPENDITURE TRACKING ACCURACY (aka only count actual planned workouts and use a heart rate monitor for the most accuracy)
- INTAKE TRACKING ACCURACY (use a food scale for accuracy, humans are bad at guesstimating)

...and many, many more variables.

So if you're doing all the things you should be doing and you're tracking them accurately don't beat yourself up over fluctuations. They're NORMAL!
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