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)!

It’s Been a Food Obstacle Course

I was up a half pound last night. This is not a cause for alarm for me as I was planning to level off anyway, and I’ve been dealing with some very trying food situations all week. Instead of being in my office like usual, I’m attending all-day meetings in a hotel conference room with catered meals and snacks. I’ve been dealing pretty well, but generally eating more fruit than I probably need calorie-wise. Lunches prior to today were pretty good – I could usually make a big salad with a bit of protein from the offerings. Today it was pizza and pasta, and the salad was a very perfunctory iceberg-lettuce-with-bland-dressing option. And they’d been doing so good! I had no option other than to eat a small portion of pasta and two tiny slices of pizza along with my salad lest I spend all afternoon famished. The portions were very small but there’s really no room in my program for eating either of those things.

I will, for the record, mention that every single day there were pastries, bagels and breads in the morning which I never took a single bite of at all. And in the afternoons there have been cookies, brownies, cheesecake, and yesterday even chocolate birthday cake (one of the participants had a birthday and the organizer had one brought in, which was nice). None of which have I touched. Sometimes I feel like I ought to get credit for the things I DON’T eat! There’s also always been fruit, for which I am very grateful! It’s the only thing that’s kept me out of the baked goods.

I tacked an extra mile onto my run this evening to try to mitigate some of the slight damage I know I’ve done this week with all the extra fruit and today’s lunch, and the general laxity I’ve been operating under. I’m happy that tomorrow is the last day of the all-day hotel-conference-room meetings for now. I can get back to my regular schedule of food and no temptations!

Week 18 Results

We’re well into transition now. This past week we were down to 3 meal replacements per day, starting tomorrow it’ll be 2 per day. That means we have to replace those with real food. Normally this would be great but the Optifast system of exchanges is so complicated and non-intuitive that I find it quite intimidating. I was just about able to keep things straight this past week, but the upcoming week…I just don’t know. I may have to staple the list of exchange units I’m supposed to eat each day to my forehead or something just to get through the day.

  • Change this period: -1 pound
  • Total change so far: -45 pounds
  • Current weight: 189.5 pounds

I didn’t expect or intend to lose another pound this week. I expected that with the added food (and the glass of wine I had Saturday night and Monday night) I’d be maintaining this week. The only thing I can put this loss down to is that there may have been a couple of days where the math and complexity of the system eluded me and I just threw up my hands and gave up and went hungry. I probably missed a couple of units of dairy here and there because I just don’t like skim milk and non-fat yogurt enough to have a cup of it each day. (Bad news: this week we’re supposed to add another exchange unit of dairy. Ugh.)

So I’m a little bit worried about the upcoming week. I think that maintenance programs that people are meant to follow for the rest of their lives should be SIMPLE and INTUITIVE. This is the opposite of that and I’m struggling to see how anybody could do this forever. I’m very much looking forward to being done here so I can go back to what I used to do when I was maintaining with HMR: 7-9 servings of fruits and veggies every day, writing down my calories, and burning at least 2000 calories in exercise each week. Hard to get simpler than that.

Before and After Pics

All right, here we go! About once a month my husband and I would take progress pictures after our class. We always made sure to wear the same thing every time. What I learned is that a month of weight loss doesn’t really show much of a change, but 4 months does. Also that straight-on shots aren’t flattering for anyone. ANYONE. So, without futher ado, here’s what a 44 pound difference looks like on me:

LainaBeforeCroppedFrontLainaAfterCroppedFront

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And here’s proof that the “Red Carpet Pose” exists for a reason:

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Ahh, that’s refreshing after months of unflattering straight-on and side shots!

And my husband. Here’s what 52 pounds difference looks like on him:

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And the male version of the “Red Carpet Pose”:

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So there’s the results in visual form. Worth 5 months of not eating? It was for me. Everything fits better and I’m happier in my own skin. My scars don’t hurt constantly from the strain and stress being put on them, and my joints are happier. I know my husband feels better in his skin and in his joints as well. I will post later about the pros and cons of the particular program we used (mostly cons).

WARNING, RANT AHEAD: For the record, I DESPISE the WordPress photo handling functionality. Jeez they make it hard to format with images! Grr. I just know it’s going to come out all wonky in the emails. If you receive this by email and the images are all misaligned, I urge you to click on the link to check it out on a web browser. There’s a slight possibility the alignment is better there. Not great, but slight. Stupid WordPress and their stupid RichText “helpfulness”. I swear to god LiveJournal does this shit tons better.

The Countdown

Just a few more days until I can eat real food again – in a limited fashion, but real food nonetheless. I’m ambivalent about it because on the one hand, I would like to drop a few more pounds, although I realize that I will likely continue to drop a few more through the transition period. I’m worried about the maintenance of what I’ve lost and that I’ll be too easily tempted off the path of righteousness – I always worry, it’s what I do best, I think. And on the other hand, boy it will be nice to have a less constrained social life. I really miss deciding on the spur of the moment to go out to dinner with my husband, or to mix up a cocktail after a hard day. Or having brunch with friends on a weekend.

What I won’t miss, though, is the crankiness. It’s easy to only write about the great stuff – to document the success and the progress, but you know what else? My husband and I have been a bit more short-tempered than usual these last few months. We’ve been snapping at each other more, bickering over stupid little things more. My husband’s impatience behind the wheel has been epic because being hungry all the time? It’s hard. Seeing him short-tempered and easily angered has been especially hard because it’s not at all his nature. He’s usually the most patient, considerate, thoughtful person I know. Feeling myself lose my cool much more often than is normal has left me feeling ashamed more than I would like to admit.

As apprehensive as I may be about the end of the program and the beginning of the rest of our lives watching our waistlines, I’m happy that this hard few months is almost over.

Systems vs Goals

A friend just posted this article:

Forget Setting Goals. Focus on Your System Instead.

This really resonates with me because for most of my weight-management life (over 10 years now) I’ve only very reluctantly set goals. They feel like a distraction for me, in fact when I first joined the HMR program over 10 years ago I was hesitant to set a goal weight and only after they insisted did I pick one that was extremely modest (I decided that since I’d never been able to lose more than 10 pounds, I’d put 30 pounds – I ended up losing 100). A goal has just never been as important to me as the tools, skills, plans, and execution of that system. Once I have all of those working, the goal will come. And sometimes, I find that the goal can change once all the moving pieces are firing (just like my experience with HMR) – sometimes once the system is in place you learn something new about yourself that can re-frame your former goals and allow you to reach new ones!

So check it out, and tell me – do you prefer to set goals, or focus on working your system?

Demotivating

Jury Duty really knocked my program out of whack, as when I got home every evening I was completely and utterly wiped out. The emotional toll that sitting jury for a murder trail would take was a complete surprise to me. Now that the case is over, I’ve got a few spare cycles in my brain, and the conclusions I’m coming too aren’t the best thoughts to be having for motivation.

As I told you, I started off January with a bang, tracking my food, dieting hard, exercising as much as I could possibly fit into my schedule. What I found was that I dropped about 7.5 pounds in the first two weeks, and thereafter I was up 2 pounds no matter what  I did. It seemed that the stricter I was with my diet (I was averaging 950-1000 calories net per day) I was not going to drop down below the 5.5 pound loss I’d seen. I wandered around up above that number for several weeks, despite stricter and stricter regimens, but no luck.

What it seems I’m learning is that there is nothing I can do to lose any more weight. And the difference between denying myself and feeling hungry all the time, vs being lax and enjoying food and free time is: about 3 pounds.

09 Feb 2013

09 Feb 2013

It’s hard to stay motivated with this kind of feedback. Also, I look fine – here is a picture my husband took this weekend. It’s hard for me to kill myself with strictness and discipline when I feel like it’s not getting me anywhere and where I am now is just fine.  I may have to re-evaluate just how necessary it is for me to even bother.

I don’t really know that I have a point here. I guess I’m just extremely dispirited and wondering if what I’m finding is a valid realization: could I just settle and be fine with my body without being strict with it one day? Recognizing that I’m never going to be a size 10 or even 12 ever again?

Maybe I’m deluded. My BMI says I’m overweight – significantly, even. Yet I’m not sure how much more I could do to change that. I’ve already seen that all the effort in the world doesn’t seem to make a difference. Have I reached the mythical (and possible fallacious) “set point”? I’m not even sure I believe in it, but it seems to believe in me. Or maybe what I’m seeing is the culmination of 10 years of harsh dieting regimens. Maybe what I’m seeing is my body demonstrating “Diet Fatigue” and just saying Enough is Enough. I just don’t know but it’s something I’ve noticed over the last several years – severely diminishing returns upon every attempt to lose. I’m not sure if I have a path forward, or if I even need one.