As with most weight loss journeys, you will reach a tough point or a plateau or both. It’s just the nature of the beast. You start out and the weight seems to come off easily at first. Then you hit that point where it feels like you are not moving forward at all. This is the most crucial point. My best advice – DON’T QUIT! Keep on course, make some adjustments. Double check your portion sizes, make sure you’re being fully honest about what you are recording in your food journal, take your measurements (which can show progress even if your weight is stagnant or has gone up a few pounds) and maybe make a few simple changes to spark further weight loss (or size reduction because weight isn’t all the best metric).
Look at what you are eating, maybe you need to eat more fruits and veggies, did you remember to count the sugar in your coffee, etc. Are you exercising or have you slacked off? There is also the paradox that I fall into which can be very frustrating if you just use weight as a metric When the weather gets nice, I’m exercising more in the form of cycling and hiking which means I put on muscle weight which is why measurements are so important. Today’s results:
23 weeks – 23.0 lbs lost / 23 inches lost (8 measurements/ 9 inches from 3 core measurements.
Average 1.0 lb week or 1 inch a week (8 sites) or 0.39 inches per week (3 core measurements)
At 13 weeks – lost 17.2 lbs (1.32 lbs per week)/ 10.75 inches (8 sites) – 0.83″ per week/ 6.25 inches (3 core sites) – 0.48 inches per week
So if you look at the averages of loss in weight and measurements from 13 to 23 weeks, there are some differences but the surprising thing is though my weight loss slowed from 1.32 lbs per week to 1.0 lb per week, my average measurement reduction was higher in all 8 sites (1 inch per week at 23 weeks) as compared to 0.83″ per week at 13 weeks though my weight loss had slowed. Okay, I’m a big numbers nerd. But my point is, KEEP GOING! Also, don’t let the number on the scale deter you. Especially if you have started exercising more, picked a new or resumed a seasonal activity like cycling. When I start cycling, my thigh measurements increase for awhile as does my weight. This is simply a gain in muscle size and muscle weight for awhile.
The problem with just using weight as your metric is you don’t get a full picture. And don’t even get me started on BMI the most useless measurement there is especially if you are athletic at all. Elite athletes who can have single digit body fat percentages will come up as “Obese” on the BMI chart. BMI is a faulty metric. A pound of muscle is much more dense than a pound of fat. See the photo below I found on the internet:
That’s why my measurements can shrink much faster than my weight when I start up my cycling season. I naturally tend to put on muscle quickly. I have measurements in my spreadsheet that go clear back to 2004 and in my current spreadsheet from November 2016 until now, I took my largest and smallest measurements recorded and put them on this particular sheet for reference. Yes, I am seriously a nerd! So here is an eye opener:
At my largest measurements I only weighed 7.4 pounds more than I do today (in Jan 2007) but the difference in my current measurements to those measurements is -25.75 inches (8 sites). So what is different between 1/2007 and today? I’m incredibly athletic and fit at 47 compared to how I was at 37. I had just started riding bikes back then and could barely ride 4.5 miles on a bike path without feeling like I was going to die. Now it takes me 50 miles on a bike path to duplicate that feeling of I am going to die (or never sit down again!). I could barely hike my favorite trails which I coast along now as if it’s nothing putting in 4-5 miles as if it’s nothing when I could barely hike 1-2 miles (with multiple rest stops).
My diet at 37 was crap and more crap. My diet now is moderate crap as treats. Okay, I’m not giving up ice cream (did reduce the portion size significantly without any deprivation) but I did substitute my occasional craving for greasy potato chips with veggie chips where I can have 30 of them for 120 calories rather than a few regular chips for the same calories. I loved whipped cream and at 20 calories a tablespoon, I can add it to my 3/4 cup serving of pudding in a generous dollop and enjoy it. Or on ice cream. Always on ice cream, that’s a law by the way in my house. When the can of Reddi-whip is empty, I go into panic mode so I always keep a sparse can. No, I am not joking. I love it that much which gives my family plenty of fodder for jokes.
I have incorporated in yoga 3-4 times a week as well. My life in general is much more healthy than at 37. So on your journey to being more fit and healthy, look at the big picture. Celebrate all the little improvements because they add up to big changes and results. Plus just use weight as one piece of the puzzle not the only one. Part of a healthier lifestyle is exercise and depending on what you do, it could make you weigh more because you’ve added muscle weight which helps boost your BMR (basal metabolic rate) or resting metabolism. Plus exercise (in moderation – don’t go crazy) is great for your memory, building new capillaries (depending on exercise – cycling is a great one), reducing stress, getting you outside (really important – use sunscreen!) and improving your lunch and heart functions. Our bodies were created to move and so many of us have jobs where we sit all day. Or come home and watch tv or sit on our devices cruising social media.
I will be honest, this last 10 weeks since my previous post have been a struggle. I had to adjust what I was eating, look at my food journal with an eagle eye to see where I was cheating myself (not recording a big enough portion etc.) and to remind myself that I was back into cycling up to 50 miles a week and my body composition was changing because I was getting back into riding (adding more muscle weight). It sucks to see the scale go up 5-6 pounds when yu worked so hard to lose that 5-6 pounds. It is easy to feel discouraged but step back and look at what is going on. For me it was not being as honest as I could with my food journal entries. I also cut out making big bowls of steel-cut oatmeal with a little cream, nuts and berries. While healthy foods (okay not the cream but it was just a little), the calories I consumed didn’t abate my mid morning hunger so I was eating more calories. I reverted back to my packets of oatmeal, precisely 160 calories per packet and saw the weight slowly start going back to what it was 13 weeks ago.
Though I dreaded writing this post because it felt like I was failing myself, once I really sat down with today’s measurements, weight and crunched the numbers, I still saw improvement. The joy is in the journey not the final destiny. So they say. But it is true, I was surprised to see my body measurements had decreased and then when I compared them to my former unhealthier lifestyle (I still can make improvements), I felt buoyed and the dread dissipated. This still gave me a sense of an accomplishment that I kept plugging away even during the rough part. That I analyzed my choices to get me back on track and while it can still be a PITA, I am still using the food journal app almost six months later.
Though it’s hard, trust me I know this because my husband’s weight loss has really overshadowed mine (60+ lbs), keep going. It becomes more habit after awhile as you adopt this new lifestyle. I don’t really deprive myself of anything. Last night my daughter and I went to one of our favorite diners that has the best patty melt and hand cut fair fries (that I drown in malt vinegar), but we split a plate. We used to order one full plate for each of us but we found that we were more than satisfied by splitting their huge single portion. We stopped and got one scoop of ice cream. Last year I would have ordered their version of a Snickers Blizzard which is like 650 calories at least because it’s huge. I enjoyed that one scoop of peanut butter cup ice cream immensely and didn’t feel sick afterward. It was more than enough. Much of our battle is in our own minds. Don’t deprive, use portion control, if you can find healthy swaps that satisfy you – use them. If you can’t find a healthy swap, then just use moderation. Deprivation only makes it worse and you will end up bingeing.
I’m so excited at my improvement that after writing this, I’m going to go buy myself something fun (non-food related)! Keep the course until net time, friends! Lots of love, I’m on the journey with you.