Friday, December 26, 2014

Weigh-In: How to Define Weight Loss

Happy Holidays to everyone! Or you’re like me and thrilled that it’s almost over.

This week’s weigh-in:

Lbs. Fat82.772.570.370.870.368.166.968.469.5
Lbs. Muscle 67.366.865.267.36563.36467.368

A little up, but mostly the same. Not what I was expecting, since I had a good week and was expecting to have lost a pound.

Zooming out over the last few months, overall I’ve been frustrated. Things don’t seem to be adding up (or rather, down) and I feel like I’ve been around the same 3-5 pounds for months now.

The upside is that I’ve been tracking my food intake consistently since maybe last February, so I have a lot of information to work with and I don’t just have to sit around and stew in my injustice. This is one of the things that I’m really proud of - I try to track as honestly as possible, even when the last thing I want to do is admit that I ate 500 calories worth of bread at dinner.

The last time I felt this way, that the scale wasn’t reflecting my efforts, was in June when I was 192 pounds.  However, when I added up the numbers, I quickly realized that I had been having way more “maintenance” days than I realized, and in fact my lack of weight loss was perfectly in line with what I was eating.

So before I got too mad at the scale this time around, I knew I need to do some more number crunching to see if I’m actually weighing more than I “should” or it’s all in my head again.

I made one large chart with all measurements from June through the end of last week - net calories and calorie deficit based on an 1800 calorie maintenance level for each day; then I cross-referenced it with weight measurements. So I can figure out what the calories say I should weigh at a certain time, and what the scale actually said.

So here are the results, in sum: Since June, I have eaten about 60,000 fewer calories than I need. Score! Of those 60,000, about 13,000 are from the last ten weeks. That means I theoretically should have lost 17 pounds total by now, and a little under four in the last ten weeks (yeah, October was not a great month).

In reality it’s more like twelve pounds lost overall and two pounds of that in the last ten weeks. Not adding up, so perhaps my frustration is legitimate. But what has changed is the fat - today I have a little over fourteen fewer pounds on my body, and exactly the same muscle mass. In the last ten weeks, I’ve lost about 2-3 pounds of fat. My conclusion is that the fat mass measurements are much more accurate overall than the weight ones. Thus, perhaps I should focus on the fat numbers and have the overall weight be secondary, instead of the other way around? Revolutionary!

I try to keep in mind is that my body is not magic and can’t defy the laws of physics and gravity. If I keep eating at a deficit, I will lose weight and it will all add up. It seems it will be frustratingly, agonizingly slow, but what other choice do I have?

The other thing to remember is that even the best estimate, hell, even the nutrition facts on a label are probably going to be off by a bit. With that, the gap between what I do weigh and what I think I should weigh shrinks. Or maybe my body only burns 1750 calories each day, though I’ve been counting it as 1800. I think 17 pounds should be gone, in reality it’s 14 pounds. That’s maybe not so much, in the end.

I still want to get into the 160s by my 26 birthday, which gives me another 7-8 weeks to lose ten pounds. That may not be likely at this point, but I’m going to try to get as close as possible.


  1. Progress is progress, however slow. I've experienced plateaus. In the long run, I still lost weight. But very slowly. You can do it! :-)

    1. Thank you! I know they say that the slower it comes off, the easier/more likely it is that it will stay off.

  2. I really enjoyed all your committment to your journey. We should all be so dedicated. I have read Dianne's chapter on When you plateau and it does give me encouragement. Pat youself on the back you are going up instead of going down during the last six months and how many people do you know who have done that?

    1. That's an excellent point - down is down is down. Six months ago I have more fat than muscle, and now it's reversed.

      And thank you! Glad to have you here.