Now that I’ve be At This for about ten weeks, I am beginning to see a distinct pattern. I lose weight. I’m happy. Then I sort of “relax” in one way or another. I plateau or gain weight. I get bummed out. I re-double efforts. I lose weight.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Part of me says, wow, won’t you ever learn? and part of me thinks that this is just a natural ebb and flow of things, that I can’t be super ON all the time. So I’m on for a couple of weeks, get a little slacky for a week, see the results of being slacky, then get back on track.
It’s also about trying different approaches. I feel like, for now, the Mindful approach is good but NOT ALONE, and that it has to be in conjunction with some sort of Math approach (ie, counting points or calories). I just got a little too loose when I thought I was being mindful last week. Part of it was the inordinant amount of Eating Out that happened, and I think that is always a bit of a slippery slope. Part of it was that I had stopped counting in the interet of being more “mindful” but I think I don’t know my body OR the true content of various foods, for this to really allow me to lose weight right now.
I gained .8 lb at my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday. BOY do I hate seeing that little “plus” sign! It wasn’t even a full pound, but still, it irked me. I went directly to my meeting to the gym where I proceeded to spend one hour on the elliptical. At the end of the hour, I had burned 600 calories and “traveled” 5.2 miles. Plus I was sweating rivers. And I wasn’t totally burnt out or exhausted, I just felt like I’d done what I needed to do.
I am getting more into this idea of running a 5k. Does ellipticaling a 5.2 MILE mean that I can run a 5K? Next time I go to the gym I am going to do the treadmill instead of the elliptical. My feet do not particularly like the pounding that running takes, but I want to see what happens.
A few people have told me about this Couch-to-5K (isn’t that a great name??) program that has worked for them. It sounds completely do-able and sane. I just downloaded their podcasts so I can start it. And I actually registered for an actual 5K run! I have been so run-o-phobic for SO LONG (in spite of being on my high school track team, that was back in the stone age) that this is nothing short of a miracle! I feel pretty confident that I should be able to do this by May.
So my commitments for this week are to:
- eat breakfast every day
- bring lunch to work every day
- only go out to eat maximum of 2x
- exercise 45 minutes x 3 days, and 60 minutes x 3 days
March 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm
Boy oh boy can I can I relate to the “I lose weight. I’m happy. Then I sort of “relax” in one way or another. I plateau or gain weight. I get bummed out. I re-double efforts. I lose weight” pattern!! And “they” say we eat when we’re stressed or upset…not me, I eat when I’m happy…go figure.
And I absolutely believe you can run a 5K based on what you’re able to accomplish on the elliptical. Still, trying it on the treadmill is a good idea. Even better is to try it outside and skip the treadmill altogether. When I started running, I started outside and loved it. I’ve heard from others who started on the TM that it’s harder to transition to outside running. And your best investment would be to go to a running store and get fitted for good shoes. Do you have a Fleet Feet where you live?
Good luck! I am considering doing a couple of races this spring, myself!
March 23, 2009 at 10:21 pm
Karen, I just went to an athletic specialty shoe shop and got brand new beautiful shoes. Interestingly, my feet hurt MORE with the new shoes, I think they’re just shocked by getting adequate support. My arches are like pancakes. Next week I am going to a sports podiatrist to see if there’s anything else I can do for my aching feet.
Thanks for relating — the company sure helps.
March 23, 2009 at 10:50 pm
I use two tools to lose weight: a computerized diet/calorie tracker and a scale. I set the number of calories I’m going to eat, and then follow that plan religiously, measuring the portions and recording them. When I get to the day’s total, I quit eating, period.
Eating nearly exactly number of calories every day has proven to be much more effective for me than varying the amount I eat, or even trying to eat only certain foods. The weight disappears VERY predictably with a constant level of intake, whether or not I exercise. For me, controlling calories, and controlling calories alone, results in automatic weight loss. (Recent studies seem to show that this is actually true for virtually everyone.)
Losing weight, per se, has never been a problem for me, but once I reach my goal, I get enmeshed in that rebound effect almost immediately. Bam – relaxing just feels like the right thing to do. Then the cycle begins all over again. Arrrrgh!
A few months ago I stumbled on Refuse to Regain. Have you seen it? It’s a book (and a blog at refusetoregain.com offering a ton of tips on how to work with those relaxing/rebound issues.
Both book and blog are targeted, of course, to the maintenance period, but much of what the author(s) offer is very useful to those of us who are still in the “losing” stage. (I have some quibbles with the book, but still feel it’s a gold mine of helpful information.) This is my secret weapon for this go-round. I am determined to NEVER go through this cycle again!
Diet Power is my tracking tool, and it’s been invaluable because it automatically calculates nutrition values. If I need more fiber, or less fat, or whatever, at the end of the day, I can adjust my intake accordingly.
After years of weighing food off and on, I can almost always accurately gauge a portion size, which is a great “tool” on its own. That alone is a great reason for owning and using a scale! (I couldn’t believe it when I first realized what a “serving” of pasta really is, on the plate!)
The Refuse to Regain people would say you’re right on track with wrestling with your (tiny!) weight gain immediately; getting mad (and feeling urgent) can be your new best friend. In the end, I think the most useful message has to be: Pay attention! I know that’s where my greatest weakness is, and that’s what I need to learn to do, all the time. I need to make that a daily habit, every day, all the time. Otherwise, as history has so perfectly demonstrated, it’s right back on the merry-go-round for me, too. And I just don’t want to go there anymore.
March 23, 2009 at 11:43 pm
That Refuse to Regain looks like an excellent resource – yeah, I do think that keeping track of these things is key.
Mathematically, it makes sense. Calories in, calories out, etc. But when emotions come into it, it is a whole other story. I have been an “emotional eater” for many years and dealing with that aspect of it has been much more challenging than just calculating the math necessary to lose weight and saying, “yeah I’ll do that.” The head game is the biggest part for me.
March 23, 2009 at 11:49 pm
Being able to identify a pattern is often a good step towards breaking it. (says the woman who has been gaining and losing the same 20 lbs for 2 years)
Making commitments to yourself is a great place to start. Good luck this week!
March 24, 2009 at 12:08 am
Uhhh, confession time: Sometimes my calories, carefully counted, can be 30% to 40% chocolate. Tired? Stressful day? Too busy to grab real food? I’ve always felt that dark chocolate is the perfect way to solve any little problem, emotional or otherwise, that comes my way.
The diet tracker has helped me a lot with that. When I see, right there on my screen, that I’ve consumed 400 of my 1200 calorie allotment in chocolate, I can’t ignore my own emotional eating. (And, by the way, “too busy to grab real food” is a lie I tell myself when I’m actually feeling stressed and want food comfort. Chocolate food comfort.)
(I’m very small boned, short, and relative sedentary. 1200 calories is my dieting plan. 1600 maintains my weight, so I don’t really have a lot of latitude in terms of quantity food consumed.)
Tracking doesn’t necessarily stop me from making the bad choices, but it does force me to face them as they happen.
March 24, 2009 at 12:53 am
i think the couch to 5k is an awesome program! i started it but had to take a little break from it because i was suffering from painful shin splints. but my roommate has been working at for a few weeks now and she LOVES it because she feels like she’s finally turning into a runner.
best of luck with getting back on track — take it a day at a time and i know you’ll find success!!
March 24, 2009 at 11:03 am
“The head game is the biggest part for me.”
The math is critical, but I think it’s ALWAYS the head game – otherwise none of us would keep needing to lose weight again and again.
Mulling this over made me think of an outraged pedagogue I knew once who hated The Dead Poet’s Society. He decried the behavior of the teacher in the film, pointing out that the teacher had torn down the intellectual/emotional underpinnings of his students without giving them anything in their place – an act of complete destruction, not of affirmation. That’s kind of how my approach to keeping my weight where it should be goes, too.
In my own case, my math-based losing plan is something I am able to cling to for the months losing weight requires. The deal I make with my rampant emotions is: Right now, I will take my food stress and respond to it only with numbers. No matter what, that discipline is going to trump every other food action. I can (mostly) sustain that for the losing phase. For me, that’s a useful (and successful) change of the “head game”.
But then the maintenance phase comes, and “real life”. Dealing with the emotional eating without that rigid math-based structure seems too big a chore. I lose the helpful underpinnings without successfully putting something positive in their place.
So the question then becomes: How will I deal with those emotions if I’m NOT going to eat the food? Because, if I’m going to succeed this time, I need a non-food strategy for those stresses. (Which, by the way, I haven’t found yet – but hey, still losing, still thinking, still experimenting!)
It’s very difficult to change behavior by simply getting rid of the old habit; it’s almost always necessary to put a new habit in place of the old one. So for me, preparation for the next phase is going to have to be: If you’re NOT going to reach for chocolate, what ARE you going to do when stressed?
March 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm
Identifying this pattern is excellent! It’s a ‘real life’ pattern we all struggle with. I’m certainly working on a balance of not being too happy with a loss (hence Dave taking the scale from me) so I don’t get as relaxed or down when it’s not what I’m looking for.
Congrats on your 5K registration! You’re inspiring! Thanks for your recent comment on my blog!
March 25, 2009 at 6:28 am
the victory is in seeing the pattern and now it’s time to figure out why!
is it fear of success? or simply HAPPINESS at what youve achieved?
the 5k registration/goal setting will really work to keep you focused and on track…
March 25, 2009 at 11:21 am
This whole concept of “fear of success” has always confused me. The only reason I can think of to fear is that if I taste it and lose it AGAIN it will be that much more painful. But is that really a reason to not succeed? Hmm, I dunno.
I think the part of me that always wanted to eat Everything, and lie around not exercising just needs to rear its little head every so often, and say, WHAAT? What are you doing?! I don’t know you! WHO ARE YOU??
Or..? I just don’t know.
March 25, 2009 at 11:41 am
I can relate to that as well because that’s what i seem to be doing a lot of. Lather, rinse and repeat. I seem to be doing that all the time and I to wonder if I’ll ever get it right were I don’t have to keep repeating myself over and over. When will I learn that the old behavior just doesn’t work. Thanks so much for this post. It helps me realize that a lot of what I go through is the same that many others go through as well. I don’t feel alone in this journey anymore.
Also great job on the elliptical. 🙂 I haven’t been to the gym in over a week now because of my allergies and some other issues. I am feeling better though and plan on making it back there ion Thursday. I’ll have to see if I can beat your record. A true inspiration to me. Thank you so much.
March 25, 2009 at 4:50 pm
Thank you for visiting the blog. Indy is a Lhasa Apso / Poodle mix. I am not related to The Anti-Jared. He chose that name based on Jared Fogle from Subway. I don’t bemoan any healthy method that someone takes to lose weight.
March 27, 2009 at 12:24 am
So, what about alcohol? Have you given it up altogether? When I was younger and thinner, I had no trouble forgoing wine or beer in order to be able to enjoy a dessert now and then, but now I have a hard time with that choice.
March 27, 2009 at 12:31 am
I actually haven’t given up ANYthing altogether- I get very balky when I think “none” or “never.” I had some amazing decadent chocolate cake on my hubby’s Bday, and I actually had wine 2x (!) this week. But I’m trying to stretch it to few and far between (esp the desserts, given my prediabetes thing).
March 27, 2009 at 1:05 am
Oh goodness I am SOOO totally the same way. It’s always “something” that comes up. For example – this week I’m a little more relaxed because I’m on spring break, so I’m not reallllyyy counting points so much as trying to be cognizant of what I’m putting in my mouth. Then I’ll get back from spring break and be motivated and ready to go… then the next week I’ll have a paper due, or it will be someone’s birthday, or I’ll be going out a lot, or whatever.
It’s ALWAYS something!
I’m just trying to incorporate little changes into my life, even during my more relaxed weeks. For example – today I ate fast food and steak and ice cream, but I still forced myself to get on the treadmill and work out for 40 minutes. It won’t undo everything, but it will at least keep it from being a huge disaster!
Don’t worry, you’re not alone!