Archive for January, 2009

Week 47 & 48 moderate progress

January 25, 2009

I’m still not doing great on the regular posting here, but that is more life stress than a reflection on loosing sight of my goals.

I successfully started the slow calorie reduction mentioned in the previous post and am this week aiming to eat an average of 2,600 cal/day. In the last couple of weeks I’ve actually been surprised by my possibly (very possibly) incorrect understanding of calories.

I have been reading the New Rules of Lifting For Women, and as most training books / experts say women often eat too little when we are trying to loose weight. I know this, in theory at least. Somewhere I got it into my head that the average maintenance (that is non-weight loss) diet is around 2,000 cal/day for a woman. I also know many diets range from 700 cal/day (Dr. Bernstien) at the extreme end to around 1,500 at what seems the more moderate end, with many falling into the 1,200 – 1,400 range. So I figured myself fairly well prepared when I figured my dieting calorie range should be between 1,500 and 1,700. Not too low and not so high that I wasn’t trying.

This seemed to be validated the first time I slowly reduced my calories. Between the calorie reduction and the gym workouts I lost 6 dress sizes! Although at the time I did note that I was surprised to start seeing results when I was getting into the low 2,000 cal/day range.

WIth the scale out this time, and taking body measurements with three weeks of data I can see that I have really had no change from 3,200 to 3,000 to 2,800… at first this may seem like a bad thing. However, I had at this point expected that I would be gaining weight since 3,200 cal is significantly above 2,000 cal.

Then I got to the chapter in the New Rules of Lifting for Women which described their suggested nutrition plan, including a calorie range. Using their formula for BMR and calculating what I should be eating on day-to-day I should be eating between 2,200 – 2,500 to see results. So, it’s not surprising then that I am seeing no change at 2,800 cal instead of an increase.

This is by no means permission to suddenly jump back to a 3,500 cal/day diet on the assumption that I will not gain weight. Even if it isn’t over double of what my intake should be keeping it that high would undoubtedly produce negative results in the long term.

While I have made reasonable progress on the diet side, I need to get my butt back to the gym. I’ve got three excuses why I am not going:

1. It’s cold, and I’m a wuss.
2. I’ve not been and I want to change my routine, and I’m trying to think ‘how to’.
3. I’m very busy right now.

None of these are adequate reasons to keep me away. To solve problem number one I just went out and bought some nice winter gear, nice warm boots, gloves, hat, better layered insulated jacket, oh, and I do have a car… so no more excuses on that front.

I’m never going to know ‘how to’ if I don’t ‘do’ something so that’s a pretty lame excuse.

I’m always busy, sure I’m busier right now, but I need to prioritize me in my life otherwise the lack of fitness and nutrition will come back to bite me in the way of a heart attack later. If I think getting to the gym for a couple of hours is inconvenient, imagine the hospital stay!

So there’s me kicking my butt.

Crunchy bits:

Week 2 Q4 – January 10 – 17th, 2009
Overall: 88%
Household: 57%
Health & Beauty: 81%
Finance: 81%
Career: 110%
Entertainment: 110%

Week 3 Q4 – January 18 – 24th, 2009
Overall: 70%
Household: 81%
Health & Beauty: 62%
Finance: 71%
Career: 110%
Entertainment: 24%

Running Average
Overall: 83%
Household: 76%
Health & Beauty: 79%
Finance: 84%
Career: 105%
Entertainment: 83%

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Week 46: The Beginning…Again…Almost

January 12, 2009

I spent the past week tracking everything I ate and I didn’t make it to the gym. The gym falls off when the food falls off. The bad news is that I’m right back where I started (food wise). In the space of a few short weeks all my well developed eating habits, healthy home cooked food and calorie control went out the window.

When I had finished tracking my calories this week I was eating an average of 3,200 cal/day. This says a lot about yo-yo dieting. Not that I’ve been thinking of myself as on a diet, but it has been a conscious effort towards positive change. That being said it produced (almost) the same patterns. I did well for awhile (much longer than I ever have) and then when I let go, I reverted to old bad habits and then some. In this case the and then some is an extra 200 calories per day.

It is very clear from this how given my usual pattern of success for about 3 months and then diving off the wagon for 3 to 6 months why in the past I have lost 20 lbs and then proceeded to gain 20-30 lbs progressively increasing my total body weight year over year.

The good news is that I’ve only really been off the wagon for a couple of weeks, really since the week after Christmas. My size 14 clothes feel a bit snug, but I’m not back up to a size 20, and instead of letting myself go until I am a size 20 or 24 I am recommitting now.

I am going back to the beginning in some ways. I’m not going to drop my calories to 1,500 immediately, or say that every meal I have from now on will be healthy or home cooked, that would be too drastic of a change to maintain all at once. I’m going to aim for 3,000 cal/day this week, and 2,800 next week and so on and so forth until I am eating between 1,500 cal/day and 2,000 cal/day.

I am also slowly going to increase my activity again, and look at new exercises beginning with the tips from Health Habits “Why Can’t I Loose This Fat HIIT series” and a book highly recommended by a number of my friends New Rules of Lifting for Women.

I have also re-introduced the scale after being without it for almost a year. I had gained some weight between the beginning of last week and this week, but instead of freaking out about it, and starving myself that day I took it in stride. Of course I gained some weight I was eating 3,200 cal/day on average, how could I not gain some weight? In fact, I actually managed to see it in a productive light. That with the scale I will be able to see when my weight starts to plateau and then go downwards. This should be an interesting experiment.

Re-evaluating

January 4, 2009

Every 12 weeks on my online motivation group (Wagon Jumpers) I do a 12-week consistency challenge, which I myself have failed for the previous two attempts. This is phase II of the current “plan”. The idea is that after I manage to work my way down to eating a reduced number of calories and up to exercising what I think is an achievable number of days per week (phase I) that I will try to maintain that for a given time period.

The catch is that when I don’t maintain it, then I need to deduct half the weeks that I’ve accomplished. This is what always kills me. I never seem to make it to 12 weeks, I’m always almost there, and then half way back.

So, this is not working.

Following the mirror incident which now has let me know how much I currently weigh, I’m thinking of doing the following:

1. Keeping phase I of the plan and starting there again.

2. Adjusting the calorie intake to a range of between 1,500 – 2,000 calories per day averaged across a week. I know that I am easily satisfied at 2,000 cal/day, and that I have weeks where I do manage to keep it as low as 1,500 cal/day. I also know that I was loosing size at 2,000 cal/day.

3. Allow myself to use the scale. Now that I am 9 months without a scale I think I have learned a lot about listening to my body and not measuring every success in pounds. It’s time to test that theory and see if I can use the scale as a tool to measure my success but not as the sole factor.

4. Balance the use of the scale with also measuring body fat, body water (my scale does both) and taking body measurements.

5. Implement phase I and phase III of the plan, cut out phase II since it no longer applies as I’m using the scale from the first day this time.

6. Re-evaluate the time needed to exercise. My gym time right now is, as I have learned over the past year inefficient, I am doing 1 hour of cardio, 30 min ab exercises, and 30 min hand held weights. I need to increase my basal metabolic rate (BMR) by building muscle, and I can do that by increasing weight lifting using full body weight exercises as Health Habits describes, and possibly using the New Rules of Lifting For Women as recommended by many friends.

I won’t set any exercise goals for now, for the next 12 weeks I am simply concentrating on logging my calories and getting them under control. This does not mean that I am not going to go to the gym. I certainly am, but I’m going to use these 12 weeks to see how much of the NROLFW I can do and which of the Health Habits exercises I can do, and if I can’t do them yet (i.e. pull ups) how I can modify them so that I can create a routine to progress towards them. In the next 12 weeks I will set exercise targets.

Weeks 43 – 45: Not Good

January 4, 2009

Well I gave into the cliche and fell off the wagon over the Christmas holidays. Actually I didn’t do too badly in the week leading up to, and of Christmas, I sort of fell off on Christmas and then didn’t get back on through the rest of the week, or the new year’s week.

It’s been a fairly spectacular fall, right back to ordering too much high calorie, high fat, high carbs, low to no nutrition take away, not making it to the gym and generally doing nothing for myself on the health and wellness front.

What Have I Learned?

1. I have a new trigger for falling off the wagon: the week after. I’ve become good at planning for the stressful week, but I fall apart after I get through the crunch.

2. I was a lot heavier than I originally thought. When I began this back in February 2008 I new that I had grown out of all my size 16 clothes and some of my 18’s so that I could not even put them on, I was up to a size 20. I figured myself somewhere around 225 lbs based on an estimate that I was 205 lbs at a size 16 and adding 5 lbs for every dress size.

My size 14’s are a bit tight on me at the moment, but nothing to worry about with a week of exercise.

The surprise came a couple of days ago, while putting up a mirror and needing to know the weight of the mirror (wall load bearing) that I stepped on a scale to get my weight (then the mirror’s) and HOLY COW I was 217 lbs! ACK!

So, if I’m 217 lbs at a size 14, then when I was a size 20 if we round size 14 up to 220 lbs, and estimating 5 lbs per dress size that would put me at a whopping 250 lbs when I started this journey. I’ve looked at the pictures, and I have to say it’s not improbable.

3. If the food is going well, all is going well. Food tends to be the first area of failure for me. Once I resort to take away then I use it too often and too much of it. If I can keep the food on track, then I can keep myself on track.

What Success Have I Had?

1. I have not given up. This is a big thing for me. I have a long history of trying to loose weight January – March, giving up some time around April, maybe making a few half hearted attempts the rest of the year but generally rounding the next January heavier than I began. I have not had success 100% of the time. I have not gone from a size 20 to a size 6 in one year. I have however stayed with it, week by week, day by day, ups and downs and not given up on it for long for 9 whole months.

2. I am smaller than when I started. I will never know exactly how much I weighed when I began. I do know that a size 20 was beginning to stretch across my belly last February 2008, and now a size 14 is only slightly snug.

3. I can feel full, and have great meals at 2,000 calories and I have a lot more energy and feel much more positive when I am exercising I just need to stick with it, and I can. When I put my mind to it I can and have filled the house with great healthy food and made it to the gym on a regular basis. I have seen results.

The Crunchy Bits

Week 43
Week 11 Q3 – December 14 – December 20, 2008
Overall: 65%
Household: 124%
Health & Beauty: 4%
Finance: 86%
Career: 71%
Entertainment: 36%

Week 44
Week 12 Q3 – December 21 – December 27, 2008
Overall: 26%
Household: 52%
Health & Beauty: 43%
Finance: 19%
Career: 14%
Entertainment: 0%

Week 45
Week 13 Q3 – December 28 – January 3, 2009
Overall: 0%
Household: 0%
Health & Beauty: 0%
Finance: 0%
Career: 0%
Entertainment: 0%

Quarter 1:
April 2008 – June 2008
Overall: 55%
Household: 75%
Health & Beauty: 62%
Finance: 46%
Career: 36%
Entertainment: 53%

Quarter 2:
July 2008 – September 2008
Overall: 45%
Household: 63%
Health & Beauty: 55%
Finance: 34%
Career: 30%
Entertainment: 41%

Quarter 3:
October 2008 – December 2008
Overall: 60%
Household: 68%
Health & Beauty: 52%
Finance: 61%
Career: 67%
Entertainment: 50%