Results: I don’t even know what week now

I’ve lost track on this current push to lose 20 pounds. There were two weeks that I was on vacation that I’m not counting because I wasn’t tracking, then I think I’ve been back three or four weeks? The day after I got back I was up 3.2 pounds, the next week after that trip I was down 5, then the next week I was up 2.8, then this week I was down 3.4 pounds.

As I mentioned last week, things are kind of up in the air right now with big changes happening in my life, and last week was an absolute emotional roller coaster that still hasn’t coasted to a stop. I spent most of last week and the week before with a giant knot of stress and worry in my belly. I was not in the least surprised to be up 2.8 pounds last Monday due to the anxiety hormones my body was producing. I’ve heard anecdotally that stress makes the body hang onto water, or something. Plus my birthday was that week and I had some champagne and a cupcake.

Anyway, I think maybe I should stop tracking weeks and weekly change and just track total against my goal. So far I’m down 13.2 pounds – loss continues! My loss rate is slowing as I approach my goal, but also I’m not killing myself with calorie restriction and over-exercising, so I’m not expecting a fast loss. I now have 6.8 pounds to go to my goal. I don’t think I look any different, however my clothes fit again and that is win enough for me – that’s honestly the major thing I wanted out of this!

Looking back through my posts, I started the current push on March 25th, so it’s basically been three months or twelve weeks. That’s a pretty slow rate of loss, but who cares? For something I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life, it’s more important that I find and establish a routine that I can stick to and that is adaptable to different situations – travel, weekends, holidays, regular ol’ workdays. When I set up a system that is flexible enough to stick with despite big changes and many different types of days, then all I need to do is live and my body will do what it is supposed to do, and be where I want it to be.

Yesterday I needed a quick workout because I didn’t have much time, and I found this Cardio Bootcamp Boogie workout from my favorite YouTube trainer – 25 minutes, can be done in very little space, and intense enough that my clothes were soaked through by the end. Check it out if you need a quick travel workout (or just some inspiration at home)!

Week 7 Results: BOOM! Milestone

I stayed on target all week, no slips or eating off-plan, as I expect of myself. I had 55 servings of fruits/veggies. I had 41 meal replacements. I burned 3,454 calories in physical activity. I averaged a net caloric intake of ~1157 calories per day. These numbers are very similar to last week’s numbers (intentionally – I had a great result last week, why mess with success?).

Result: I was down 1.5 pounds at weigh-in last night.

When I started this push, my initial goal was to lose 10 pounds. Mission accomplished! I’m now officially down 10.8 pounds from when I started in March. YES! This stuff still works (with some experimentation and modification due to my aging infrastructure. Er, body). Feeling pretty good about things today. My next goal is my stretch goal – lose another 10 pounds then maintain that weight for the rest of forever. I have no timeline since I know I’ll be at this the rest of my life. What I mean is, I don’t care how long the next 10 takes me. I’ll get there eventually, the important thing is that I continue to focus on my goal and do the right things to support it and it will happen in due time through the natural course of events.

There’s one thing that still concerns me though, which I was reminded of this morning – why do the people in the Jillian Michaels workout DVDs not sweat? I’m usually melted into a puddle by the end, but everybody in those DVDs is fresh as a flower from start to finish. How does that happen? I wonder if that’s part of the casting process  – you have to come in and workout hard for 30 minutes, and if you break a sweat you’re out. Brutal. I’d be out after about 9 minutes. Which is exactly how long it takes for sweat to start dripping down my face when I exercise. Yes, I even have data on that. NERD ALERT.

Ok, I gotta get dressed in grown-up clothes and head into the office today for a meeting. My employer demands to see my face about once every month or so, and so I comply.

Group Hikes, Color, and Prophylactic Exercise

I went for a hike yesterday with a group of friends, and it was really nice! This isn’t really news, but for me it’s unusual. I’m a solo exerciser. I actively dread working out with others – running in particular for me is a solitary endeavor, but exercise classes too can be fraught for me. I’m highly introverted to begin with, was hugely bullied growing up as a fat kid (PE class was the stuff of nightmares), so I generally want to be alone to exercise.

But, with the right group of people, it can be fun. There were 6 of us, and it turned into a really nice time. It was interesting to see the groups shifting as we moved along, I think I ended up walking with each person individually for a bit, and with different configurations of three and four people throughout the ninety minute walk. Also great to get to catch up with friends face to face. I burn about 630 calories hiking for 90 minutes. Bonus!

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Fun new hair!

This morning I did a light 30 minute workout for only one reason – because if I don’t my body will hurt all day. It’s true, by paying close attention over the last year or so I’ve discovered that most days NOT working out is worse than just getting anything done. I’ve noted that getting moving and sweating lubricates my joints (or something!) and makes everything hurt less for the rest of the day. So even if I’m not “feelin’ it” I do it anyway, and usually feel better afterwards.

I also got some crazy color for my hair on Friday night and you know what? That stuff bleeds for a while. My white towels are gonna be a bit pink-stained this week. The Hair Whisperer and I are calling this “business punk” – like business casual but it’ll kick your teeth in if it has to.

I’ll find out tonight how things are progressing. I’m feeling good but getting tired of being “special” where food is concerned.

Week 6 Results: A New Thing My Body Is Doing

I stayed on target all week, no slips or eating off-plan, as I expect of myself. I had 56 servings of fruits/veggies. I had 38 meal replacements. I burned 3,240 calories in physical activity. I averaged a net caloric intake of ~1183 calories per day. As you can see, these numbers are quite different from the last 5 weeks. My physical activity burn is significantly lower (by ~ 1000…ish). My net average cal/day is quite a bit higher (by ~400…ish) from those past week.

I spent the weekend medieval camping, and despite vast amounts of tasty temptation, I stayed on program every single minute of every single day. You could say I ROCKED IT. I will say it. I rocked it. I am feeling so good about how I handled this weekend with my prepping and my planning, albeit with the slight alterations to my plan of adding in some healthy fats in the form of avocados and full-fat dairy in measured and careful portions.

Dutch market girl reporting for duty!

Antwerpen market girl reporting for duty!

My medieval camping this weekend culminated in working in a veggie and fruit stall as part of a tableau of 16th Century Antwerpen Market scenes as seen in paintings. Google it! That meant that I could happily munch away on the merchandise (we weren’t charging real money, donation only) without wandering outside of my program’s constraints. I ate a lot of strawberries and sugar snap peas.

As you can see from the numbers I worked out a lot less and ate a lot more, and for my efforts I was rewarded with a 2 pound loss. You guys, this is something that my body has never, ever, ever done before. Prior to right now, maximum effort has always yielded maximum results for my body. NOT ANYMORE.

This is a whole new world that I’m not even equipped to navigate. The idea that I could take my foot off the gas and actually get better results…I need to process this. It feels so decadent to eat these healthy fats, but I’m not going to stop now! MOAR AVOCADO PLZ THX.

Anyway, this brings my total loss so far to 9.3 pounds. I’m very close to making my initial goal of 10 pounds. I don’t quite see it yet, but my diet buddy Allie says she does, so who am I to argue? I know my clothes are fitting better and I feel better, especially this week now that I’ve tweaked my formula. Exercise less, eat more. Who could have ever predicted that? I’m still stunned. I’ve heard about it in theory and for other people, sure – but for me, this is a brand new day!

Week 4 Numbers: More Data Acquired. Dammit.

I stayed on target all week, no slips or eating off-plan, as I expect of myself. I had 50 servings of fruits/veggies. I had 37 meal replacements. I burned 5,540 (!) calories in physical activity. I averaged a net caloric intake of ~614 calories per day. As you can see, I met my exercise goal and exceeded it (goal was to burn 5000 calories this week).

You might expect that I had a fantastic result on the scale this week. If you do you either haven’t been coming around here long, or haven’t been paying attention. I lost a half pound. The math says I should have lost 2 at the very least. So, I stand by my previous statement about a slow metabolism and my disparaging comments about the Mayo Clinic (wankers). That brings my total this push to 7.5 pounds down. Woohoo I guess.

My coach says it’s probably a case of “the check is in the mail” and it’ll show up next week. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. The thing is, when it is, I usually don’t get both weeks worth of payoff next week. And that’s some frustrating BS let me tell you.

To work SO HARD this week for so very little to show for it would normally be massively depressing were I not already battling some epic level depression this week. As it is, there really wasn’t much further for things to drop emotionally, so I was like, “Mmm hmm. Sure, why not?” when I stepped off the scale.

My plan for the coming week is to scale it back a bit. Obviously reaching new highs on the exercise portion of the equation is not helpful, so I will reel it back a bit to a level that has worked before. I think that 3500 to 4000 calories per week is really my “sweet spot” where exercise is concerned. It’s the level where my body needs to be to maintain or lose. Going much higher hasn’t produced desirable results so that’s an experiment I don’t need to repeat.

Other than that – please send cute pictures of kittens. Bunnies or puppies would also be acceptable.

Exercise Challenge Speedbump

I set myself a challenge to reach 5000 calories burned in exercise this week. Actually, the class I attend had a challenge for everyone to push themselves at physical activity. Since I’ve been hitting 4000 the last couple of weeks, I figured a stretch would be to aim for 5000. Then I did something that could have derailed me.

Tuesday morning I did the Straight Up Strength workout, because strong muscles are important. If you watch this video the deadlifts start about 16:20 and they’re paired with some rows using the heavier set of weights. I used 15 lbs. I hadn’t done deadlifts recently, and certainly not with 15s, but of course I did the full sets because I’m not a shirker! You maybe see my error. I woke up Wednesday morning and the back half of my legs were in agony. So sore! Much DOMS. Oh my glutes and hammies were shrieking. They settled down a bit as I got moving, but not a lot.

I was determined to get the run in that I’d planned for Wednesday though, since I googled about running when sore and it said it’s fine if you don’t plan to push distance or speed, and it doesn’t hurt more after the first mile. So I plotted a 3.5 mile distance instead of the 4.5 I’d hoped for and went anyway. I can’t say that was my best call, or that it felt nice, but it didn’t hurt more after the first mile. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about soreness, it’s that there’s virtually nothing I can do to make it run its course any faster than it will so I should get on with things despite it. But, I didn’t get the long run that I’d hoped to add to my numbers for my challenge this week.

Thursday morning I woke up just as sore as Wednesday if not more so (you know it’s bad when the sitting motion hurts so much you’d rather stand, and when  you do sit it hurts because you’re sitting on those muscles!), I went out for a walk to try to loosen things up, instead of the usual intense workout session I do in the mornings. It was ok, but yesterday was more sore than I’d like to be. I called it a rest day and my morning walk was all I did for physical activity. I even took a nap in the afternoon after work.

This morning I finally got my longer run, and it felt so good! There’s something about a rest day that really works. Everything felt good. Sometimes when you run it’s a slog and you spend the whole time looking forward to the end. And some days everything lines up and your body is ok with the running and you feel like you could keep on going forever. Today was one of those good days. I’m still a little sore in my legs from Tuesday, but only very mildly so.

Right now I’m up to 4050 calories burned this so far week (Monday through Sunday). I have 950 to go, which is easily doable as long as I stick to my usual habits this weekend. I’m on track to meet my goal!

 

Week 3 Results: BMR and Me

It seems like the older I get the less satisfied I am with my results. And that’s because the older I get the slower I drop. But that’s not really what’s going on.

What’s really going on is that the closer you get to your goal weight, the slower the loss will be because your Base Metabolic Rate is lower. When I was at my highest, I could drop 9 pounds in a week the first week because the difference between how many calories my metabolism needed to burn just to keep the lights on, and how many calories I was consuming in a VLCD, was astonishing. The basic weight math is straightforward.

Right now, the difference between how many calories my body burns and what I’m consuming is not so astonishing. I’m much closer to my goal now than when I was dropping huge wodges of weight each week, and I’m not doing a VLCD, so I’m working with a much narrower margin. Also, and this is an important compounding factor, I have a slower metabolism than the average bear. There’s no online BMR calculator that accurately reflects my reality – they all greatly overestimate how many calories I have to play with because they’re basing it on an average across humans and every body is its own laboratory. Due to 13+ years of consistent attention and data collection, I have a very good grasp on just what my burn rate is. And it’s lower than the average reflected in online BMR calculators. If my BMR were truly 1727 as those sites claim, I should be losing 2 pounds a week right now based on the caloric deficit I am creating through diet and exercise. I am not.

I naturally have a more efficient system than most (ie, my burn rate is lower – I like to call it an efficient system because that sounds better than “genetic booby prize”). This is why I was 400 pounds to begin with when I started this whole journey – eating the same foods as the people around me who were only 10 or 20 pounds overweight. I don’t burn up calories as fast as I should, or might like to expect I could. And losing a lot of weight slowed my metabolism further. I mean, obviously, losing a lot of weight slows your metabolism – that’s basic physics. But I think I got more than the normal effect because my system was more efficient (metabolic booby prize!) to begin with. Discouraging, true, but that’s life.

When I put all those factors together, any loss at all is a victory. Last night I weighed in and was down 1.5 pounds, bringing me to 7 pounds total this push. I am very happy with this result! I’d be ecstatic to get this result every week until I get to my goal.

They say (who? the internet!) that weight fluctuations less than about 8 pounds aren’t noticeable on most people, so I’m almost there, I can almost see progres! I think I can see it a little right now, in the curve of my waist, it’s leaner and slightly less padded. I think. Maybe? Give it another week! My clothes already fit better, anyway.

Slight side rant: I edited and agonized over this post for a long time today because I keep reading how “rare” a thing it is to have a slow metabolism, clearly the consensus is that anybody who claims to have a slow metabolism is really just a lazy junk-food junkie (thanks Mayo Clinic – now fuck off) who needs to man up and go on a diet like for reals. I feel that considering my long experience, my years of record-keeping, and consistent mathematical calculations, I can make this claim because the numbers back me up. That’s the thing about weight math. It’s a fact whether the Mayo Clinic things I’m a lazy excuse-making fatso or not. (In their defense, they are writing for the general population. My experience is not a common one to find out in the wild). Ok. Rant off.