Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Weigh In: Fat vs. Muscle Edition

Another week gone. I love that the scale is out of sight and reach during the week. It forces me to focus on doing well, that day, because I can’t know if the scale is reflecting it.

This week’s numbers:

Lbs. Fat82.772.570.370.868.167.166.967.666.565.3
Lbs. Muscle 67.366.865.267.363.363.963.96565.164.4

Well, look at that fat number back down! I’m so, so close to having more muscle weight than fat weight. That feels like a huge milestone. Net weight is about the same, but (as should be obvious from my previous post) that’s not shocking. Another funny thing is that my fat loss is higher than the total loss on the scale!

Now that it's just three weeks till my 26th birthday, I think my goal of getting to the 160s might not be in reach. I'm going to keep trying, of course, but my second goal/deadline is to get there by the end of February.

This has been a good week overall, despite the PMSing (see previous post for how that was). I worked out five times, with some strength training, brought my lunch in every day, and have been a faithful food tracker since June. 

However, I repeated my tired pattern of going overboard on Friday and Saturday and having to reel it in the rest of the week. Because it’s been a while, here is the calorie breakdown for this week (first number is gross calories, second number is net calories, so if there’s one number it means I didn’t work out):

Wednesday: 1530, 1100
Thursday: 1625, 1245
Friday: 2520, 2175
Saturday: 2200
Sunday: 1600, 940
Monday: 1585
Tuesday: 1350, 1100

So four low calorie days, two high calorie days, and one in the middle, for a net deficit about about 2260, or a little over half a pound. Obviously not ideal, since I’m aiming for a pound a week, but honestly? I’m okay with it. I really think that what I’m doing now, how I’m doing this, is a way that will stick. .6 pounds a week adds up to 30 pounds in a year. That means that if I do all the weeks exactly as I did this one, I would be at 145 next year - a weight I’ve NEVER been at as an adult.

Does it sound like I’m rationalizing a not-great week? Maybe I am, but I’m okay with that. So every week, I’m going to aim for a pound deficit - a great, sometimes lofty goal. But I’ll know that even if I can do half that, I’ll make incredible progress.

Do you have trouble going overboard on weekends?

How do you make the best of it?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

When You Think About Something and Then You Want It

Sometimes my stomach and uterus like to gang up on my brain. The conversation usually goes something like the below.


Brain: Ok, dinner is over, I’m out of calories for the day, I had a smaller dinner after a big and caloric lunch and I’m satisfied. Lalalalala, weight loss is easy, just need balance.  
Stomach: I’m doing okay.  
Brain: Lalalala, everything is awesome. 
Stomach: *off-key* Everything is cool when you’re part of a team! 
Brain: Oh yeah, Chinese food exists.
Stomach: I demand Chinese food! Bring me dumplings! 

Uterus: *Sobs Uncontrollably.* Yes! I need you to eat! What if we get pregnant, you need weight on you! 
Brain: Hey, Uterus, it’s been a few weeks since we’ve heard from you. Soooo, um, listen, Uterus, you’re okay. Did you get a new haircut? Nice suggestion, but I already have an extra forty pounds of fat on me, so we’re pretty much set in the evolution/starvation/apocalypse arena.  
Uterus: *Uses ovary to flip off brain* No, we need more! Chinese food is so delicious, it’s all that will make me happy. 
Stomach: Holy crap, literally all I want is Chinese food now. That is the only thing in the world that matters. Hey, Brain, it’s as easy as ordering it online. Order some. Chinese food is all that matters now. All we are is Chinese food.  
Brain: Whoa, okay, I really want Chinese food. Yes, Chinese food is all that matters.

And it’s hard to resist, whether it’s because it’s that time of the month, a really stressful day, or just one of those things. 

I must take full responsibility for my eating decisions, but sometimes, it’s just feels so much harder to make good ones. I’ve given into this, sometimes after a great calorie day where I said no to the donuts at work. I’ve never once been happy about my decision, mostly because I know so well that there’s room for pizzas and chocolate chip cookies in a healthy eating plan. Just not every day, and probably not the entire pizza.

So, what do you do? What do you do when all you want is a melty chocolate chip cookie, or a whole pizza, but you don’t have a thousand calories to spare that would still let you lose some weight that week? And you want to lose weight? When you feel so conflicted, even though you feel silly for feeling so conflicted?

The only thing that’s actually helped, at least for me, is to explicitly articulate exactly what I want and how much I want it. Admit it, out loud. “I really, really want some dumplings and moo shu chicken. I have the ordering tab open, and I really want it. I feel like I actually need it.”

This happened just a few days ago. John listened to me explain to him, for several minutes, just how much I wanted to order Chinese food. 
He then said, patiently but matter-of-factly, “Listen, if I thought that ordering the food would help you, I’d tell you to go for it. But I know it won’t make you happy. We’ve ordered this in before, and each time you’ve ended up eating much more than you wanted, and have been disappointed and regretted it.”

I knew he was right, but I still wanted it. But I waited a bit, and of course, that urge to eat faded, and then went away. And I was so glad I hadn’t indulged in a thousand or more calories of food I didn’t need.

I’m trying to remember the very point of the title of my blog - that when it comes to the delicious things I want to eat, it’s goodnight, not goodbye. Not having the Chinese food that night doesn’t mean I’ll never have it again, it just means that on that particular night, Chinese food wasn’t in the plan. If I really want to have some, I’ll work it into my day in a reasonable way. I can even plan around the really good deep-fried stuff.

This over-dramatization brought to you by Teenage Girl, Inc, and Reader’s Digest.

Have you had the overwhelming urge to eat something? 
What did you do about it?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Milestone Hit, and Why Weight Loss is Not Black and White

This week didn’t start out great, and didn’t end wonderfully, but overall it was a good one because I worked to work within the flexibility of my eating plan, and I think it was good practice for weight loss under (almost) all circumstances.

My plan is simple: eat a minimum of 1000 calories per day, plus any calories burned while working out. Those calories, plus another 2000 “weekly” calories that can be split up however I want allows me to average 1300 calories per day. That adds up (er, down) to a pound loss every week - but with a lot more flexibility than a standard 1300 calories/day plan.

The only issue with this is that if I eat a lot on Wednesday, the first day of my week, I spend the rest of the week playing catch up. That’s what happened this week, so by Saturday, I was out of weekly calories and would have needed to net 1000 calories every day until it reset on Wednesday. Not easy, and probably not going to happen without a lot of planning, and workouts.

Here's where the flexible part came in most, and it applies to any weight loss plan. So I've said this before, but it should be said over and over again: weight loss is so not black and white. There are many areas between “lose a pound this week” and “gain a pound this week.” Yes, ideally I’ll follow my plan and have an average 500 calorie deficit each day, for a weekly calorie deficit of 3,500, which is a pound. But if I end up with a 3,000 calorie deficit, or even a 2,500 calories deficit, that’s still a loss.

So as much as I really, really, want to try and get that 3,500 calorie deficit each week, it’s not always going to happen. On the last day of my food week, Tuesday, I was at a deficit of 2,200. But I realized that just wasn’t feasible to eat at the calorie level that my plan dictated, so I decided to let myself eat up to a full 1,800 calories for the day - maintenance level. That way I could eat a decent amount, but not have it spill over onto other days and still end up with that 2,200 calorie balance. I could even theoretically have eaten 4,000 calories that day and broken even for the week because of the previous deficit.

The results of yesterday’s weigh in:

Lbs. Fat82.772.570.370.868.169.567.166.967.666.5
Lbs. Muscle 67.366.865.267.363.36863.963.96565.1

Awesome, another pound down! It's more than I was expecting, because I did not have a pound's worth of calorie deficit this week, but since when does the scale perfectly reflect the last seven days? Still a win. This means that I have officially lost 25 pounds from my highest weight. (Hopefully the next 25 won't take as long.) Fat isn’t cooperating as much, but it’s back down from last week, and I’m really happy.

In other news, I realized that between drafts and published posts, I have 99 posts. So I got 99 posts, but… actually I have no idea how to finish that. Help?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Weekly Weight & High School Nostalgia

Here's the weekly number: 

Lbs. Fat82.772.570.370.868.169.567.166.967.6
Lbs. Muscle 67.366.865.267.363.36863.963.965

Of course, the week after I decide to focus on the fat number and less on the net weight, my fat is up and weight is down. Maybe I’ll switch for the week? So yay, I'm down almost a full pound!

This was a pretty good week, though I think now I'm getting into that fun monthly time where I want to eat everything. I've been going to the gym consistently 4-5 times a week, even when my husband doesn't join me.


Our friend who joined a CSA let us take it over for a couple of weeks while she was away, which let to our having a ton of parsnips, eggs, and pears. Awesome! I made a blended parsnip soup with a couple of potatoes, light coconut milk, and Indian spices (based on this recipe). It was sweeter than expected, but still good and only 120 calories per cup. Overall though, I need to get consistently better about cooking. The main reason is that lunches out are expensive. 

In other news, I think going to the gym has officially become ingrained in me. I don’t dread it, and sometimes I even enjoy it. Working out is just something I do now, apparently. It helps that the machines at the gym all have televisions attached, so when I go in the morning I get to look forward to watching an old episode of Charmed. Approximately 27% of my high school years were spent watching this show.

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t easily revert back to old habits. I’ve done that before. But this time actually feels different. When I get up early so I can go to the gym before work, it feels like “Okay, this is something I should do for the rest of my life. Okay, I can do that.”

Five more weeks until my goal time of getting into the 170s.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Weekly Weight: Down Again!

Here's the weekly number:

Lbs. Fat82.772.570.370.868.168.469.567.166.9
Lbs. Muscle 67.366.865.267.363.367.36863.963.9

Excellent, down by another half pound! My expectations were low since I was sick for half the week and didn't move at all, let alone exercise, so I'm especially happy.

A few random bullet points: 

  • Today, I wore another pair of pants that a year ago I couldn't even zip up. I think they were maybe borderline too tight in some places, but the waistline fit great and I was too excited not to wear them. "Why, these old thing that look like generic black slacks? Yes, they are part of this magical day!"
  • I've been putting the scale away during the week and just checking in on Wednesdays. I think it's much better for now. It forces me to not focus on the number because you can't focus on what you don't know. I do still like to check in weekly, but those daily reminders were helping more than hurting. 
    • I have six weeks left until my time goal to hit the 160s. Maybe I can actually do this!
  • I was crazy sore yesterday. Is that what happens when you don't walk farther than the distance between your bedroom and the kitchen for four days, and then do some strength training and cardio? 
  • We've starting watching Star Trek (though Jay has already seen most of them) and it's awesome. 
  • I'm glad everyone is obsessed with Serial because there's many fascinating analyses to read. 
  • I just realized I have 69 posts from 2014. Totally an accident - even my unconscious mind is in the gutter.
  • Winter is here. Everything is cold. I hate it. 
    • My father-in-law lives in LA, and he likes to mock us by sending photos of his wife and himself on warm sunny bike rides on the beach.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Last Weight of 2014 and No, Zip, Nada New Year's Resolutions

In our house, the end of 2014 involved the kind of cold medicine they use to make meth, tea with honey, and snot. We both got sick, and it wasn’t too fun. The good news (or the bad news, I can’t tell) is that I was sick over New Year’s, when I had off from work anyway so I didn’t have to use up personal/sick days. Hence the delay in reporting my final weigh in, which is below.

I relaxed a bit while sick, but kept tracking and averaged about 1400-1500 for those days. I’m okay with that, especially considering the break from exercising and generally going outside that was happening.

I want to talk about the fourteen resolutions I have for 2015. Nope, kidding. I can’t do New Year’s resolutions. I get them, I understand why people make them - new year, new opportunity, new you. Blank slates and all that.

They bother me simply because I wonder, why are we waiting for the calendar to give us a new start? We should just fucking take it. Now. Right now. For whatever it is that we’re trying to do. On December 28th, or April 14th, or if it happens to be January 1st, then January 1st is fine too. Waiting till January 1st is like "starting on Monday." I guess this is more relevant in the middle of May than the beginning of January, but I digress. 

The most common resolution in the U.S. involves weight loss. Anyone who attends Weight Watchers meetings or goes to a gym can see the crowds of "resolutioners".  Weight-loss hipsters - people who have been on weight loss plans for more than six weeks - don’t like resolutioners. They sniff at the crowded gyms, at the optimistic Facebook statuses, and then laugh evilly that they’ll all be gone in a month or two anyhow, and go back to eating air popped popcorn and taking walks during lunch.

I don’t want to be a weight loss hipster. Because in reality, people don’t fail at their weight loss resolutions for any exciting reasons that have to do with when they were made, but rather because of the same reasons that people might fail at weight loss in general - too much too soon, no plan of action, no specific goals, not setting up their environments or a million other small things. So I’d like to treat anyone who’s made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight with the same attitude as I would treat anyone who’s trying to take control of their weight, because that’s a hard thing to do no matter the time of the year. Sure, maybe most people will stop using their gym memberships. But not everyone will.

Back to my weight: Here is the last weigh-in of 2014. Since it’s the last one, I’m just going to compare it to my first weigh-in back in June, and last week’s.

Lbs. Fat82.769.567.1
Lbs. Muscle 67.36863.9

Finally, real progress! Two pounds down, and the fat measurement agrees with the net weight. Muscle is way weird, but it changes so much from week to week that I don't usually give it much attention. I’ve been frustrated the last couple of weeks, so it’s good to see the number reflecting that.

I would love to reach my goal weight in 2015 (does that make me a resolutioner?), but I’m also trying really hard to not have that as an expectation. Life happens, my losses so far have been kind of slow, and I especially don’t want to diminish whatever weight loss I do achieve. My current goal is to get into the 160s by mid-February, my 26th birthday. Last week I decided to focus more on fat than the net number on the scale, so my “real” birthday goal is to have under 60 pounds of fat on me by that time. That’s just seven pounds and change, and a bit over six weeks away. I can get there, or at least pretty close. If all the weight that comes off between now and then is fat, I’ll accomplish both.