Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In: The Free Lunch

I did not leave off on a great note, but things are better. The good part is that even though the last couple of weeks have been somewhat challenging, I haven’t thrown in the towel. I was able to splurge within my limits, and balance out a few really caloric days with even more lower calorie ones. Right now it’s not about vanity - it’s about health and, to a lesser degree, practicality. My current body fat percentage lies around 38% - that’s really unhealthy, and I’m pretty sure that most of my winter clothes are snug.  

Anyway, here is last week’s weigh-in:

June 8thAugust 4thAugust 12thAugust 19thAugust 26thSeptember 3rd
Pounds Fat82.774.570.472.571.873
Pounds Muscle 67.368.266.466.867.367.2

Annoying, but I am hoping that some of this is bloat. Meanwhile, according to my calorie counting, I have had a calorie deficit of twelve pounds over the last three months. That means I “should” be in the 170s, so I’m counting that as a win. The rest of this week has been much better. I’ve had couple of “why did I eat that/that wasn’t worth it,” but I’m still at a good calorie deficit for the week, and I know feeling guilty won’t help anything anyways. I’ve had to remind myself of that a few times - that punishing myself will really just make me feel worse and more likely to overindulge.

I’ve been thinking about these past couple of weeks, trying to figure out what’s been so challenging about it. Besides the stress, I think a small part it is that I’ve been really bad about making and bringing my lunch. Usually, my motivation is more about the financial aspect than the calorie one. After all, I’m working in an area where there are ten different healthy options on my block alone. So even though I know it’s not the best idea in terms of money, I’m able to justify buying lunches that fit into my weight loss goals.

However, I overlooked the importance of choices and willpower. Every day at lunch, even if I ended up at the healthy place eating the calorie-friendly, superfood-by-day-ninja-by-night food, even if the choice was easy, I still had to figure it out. There is research that suggests we have a limited amount of willpower and decision making abilities - so the tiny decisions we make all day, every day really do take away from some internal strength (NY Times article linked). Everyone is different, but we all have that point where we just can’t decide anymore.

My weight loss success depends on controlling what I can and doing my best with the rest. The more I can reasonably control, the less willpower or decisions will be required to eat well. That means that I need to start packing lunch. It doesn’t matter that I have lots of healthy options available because deciding what to have for lunch is still a decision. Even if I end up with the salad, I’m still looking at the brownies and deciding not to get one. Why not avoid all that? It’s the same reason I realized that I can’t handle having ice cream in our home. If it’s there, I will think about it, and I will want to eat it. And if it's not there, I'm probably not going to go out and get it.

Bottom line: I need to figure out a way to bring lunch. It means some preparation, but the reward is that I don’t need to worry about food during the workday. Tonight for dinner I made tilapia, rice, and some roasted onions and asparagus, and will bring leftovers for lunch. Tomorrow or this week, I’m going to make a list of a few no-prep, reasonable lunches for which I can always have the ingredients.


  1. Left-overs are just fine and so easy. Sounds like you have a good plan!

    1. Agreed, I love leftovers. I actually ended up bring lunch every day this week except today.

  2. Whenever youre feeling down, look at your overall progress!

    1. That's a great thought, thanks for the tip! I need to keep a 20-pound weight handy to lift up and remember what used to be on my body.