Weighty Matters

Just another WordPress.com site

Breaking Through the Plateau

I have a theory. As you know, after a year and a half of stellar, fairly rapid weight loss, I entered a lengthy period of plateau sometime last fall. It was agonizing to me emotionally. So frustrating to work so hard at being clean with my food plan and physical fitness and achieve only painfully slow, small results. I really hit a low last December when I’d only lost a ridiculous four or five pounds in three months! That’s when my surgeon recommended I cut my calorie intake by 25%, which would have put me somewhere in the 600-750 calorie range per day.

I certainly whined and complained about it here often enough. I engaged in some periodic small rebellions, ate more sugar and carb things than usual from time to time. Bitched a little more about the plateau and so on. From October to mid-January, my weight fluctuated from 211 to 216, depending on if I’d eaten more carbs. My body really likes to hold onto carb-induced weight gain.

I did great on my cruise, then hit the fluctuation pattern again for a while. I also got a temporary, “Screw it” mentality and stopped worrying about whether I ate some freaking carbohydrates or good chocolate. As long as I stayed in that five pound range and continued to exercise, I wasn’t going to agonize.

About two weeks ago, I took a deep breath and told myself that playtime was over. I’d reached the allowed time limit on the “Screw it” mentality and knew it was time to bear down again. With a better quality of cleanness in my food plan, including fewer carbs and higher quality in the ones I do it, plus the continued commitment to exercise, I’m now seeing weight loss at a good rate. I’m down from 215 to 208. I feel great not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. It isn’t a struggle to eat a balanced food plan with the appropriate amount of protein and allowable carbs, even that treat of high quality chocolate when I need some. Recovery is alive and strong.

Here’s my theory. I think that after losing so much weight so fast in the first year and a half after weight loss surgery, my body put on the brakes. Maybe it got too used to the high protein/low carb intake and stopped responding. Maybe I developed a new set point. I don’t know, but the body wouldn’t budge. I theorize that taking the break from the strict adherence for a more extended period, helped me readjust. Now my body is responding again to the formula of low calorie/low carb/higher protein/ample exercise and is giving up the pounds.

I don’t know if any of you have experienced something similar. If you have, I’d love to hear about it from you. I only know that I feel that I’ve truly broken through the plateau and am once more on a great losing pattern.

Leave a comment »

Emotional and Physical Revolt

I had my every-three-months follow up appointment with my weight loss surgeon. This is the worst period of weight loss I’ve experienced since my surgery almost two years ago. I had ups and downs and the last couple of weeks were better, beginning with the post-Thanksgiving detox. However, overall, the total number of pounds was somewhere between few and pitiful.

Frankly, I’m puzzled. I believe that I’m doing good with my food plan. For sure I’ve stepped up my exercise. Simple math of calories in and calories burned should have added up to more significant weight loss, but my body apparently didn’t get that memo.

I went down the list of info with my doctor, explaining what I eat each day and how much physical activity I do. I don’t know what I was expecting in terms of advice, but I know I wasn’t anticipating that his suggestion would be that I cut out more calories. Seriously? I eat between 800 and 1000 calories a day and between my regular basal metabolism rate I burn more than 2000 calories daily. Honestly, I cannot fathom how in hell I’m going to eat less, take in fewer calories. The doctor acknowledged that I’m taking in quality with high protein and low carb. However, he feels that perhaps my body’s metabolism is lower/slower than normal. He went into a lengthier explanation about how cells of the body, etc. but I had a little trouble following the explanation and difficulty focusing on what he said. I do know that in his mind, reducing volume — cutting by a quarter in his words — is the strategy I should try.

Friends, color me shocked and shade that with some accents of dismayed and confused. Emotionally, I’m in full revolt tonight. I’m pissed off, even though I’m not sure at what or at who my anger is directed. It’s unfair of me, I guess, to be ticked off at my surgeon. I guess I wanted some magic solution that would wipe out the slow progress and put me back on the path of rapid loss. It isn’t his fault that I had unrealistic expectations. He told me what he medically believes. It just didn’t jive with what I wanted to hear.

Pointless as this is, I think I’m angry at my body, my stubborn, holding-onto-fat, cells and my underperforming, uncooperative metabolism. I resisted whining in the doctor’s office but, believe me, I’m whining to myself here at home and mentally stamping my feet in tantrum mode. I don’t want my metabolism to be slow. I want it to rev up and melt the freaking remaining pounds off of me asap.

I can’t let this derail me. I have to reconnect with my own focus and remember the promise to “go to any lengths to get it”. If that means cutting back on the already small portions I eat and compensating with even more water if I’m still hungry, then that’s what I’ll do. Or at least I’ll try my very best to do so and remember to have convenient small snacks available if all of the exercise triggers the need to eat. All that I can do is my best effort and hope that it’s enough to keep me going. I hold onto the thought that even though I didn’t lose the amount of pounds I hoped, at least I lost and didn’t gain. I know I’ve reduced my body size and my percentage of body fat. I am still moving in the right direction, even if I’m moving slowly.

To share a quick funny, in our appointment the doctor cautioned me about the approaching holidays. “It will be tough, he reminded me. “Lots of food around all of the time.”

“Dr., food is all around me all of the time every day,” I replied. “It has to be my choice to not eat it.”

On a brighter note, I ran into Kohl’s while I was “off the rock”. I needed new black pants that go all of the way to the tops of my feet versus stopping at capri or cropped pant length. Before I could get to the Women’s Department with its more familiar clothing sizes, geared toward heavier women, I had to walk right by the Misses Department. I get really confused about all of the different departments in a particular store, but I decided to brave the Misses section and see if I could figure it out. Yes, I know, it sounds on the surface like I’m pitiful. Imagine a grown woman of almost 56 getting confused and intimidated by store clothing departments. Still, if you don’t know and have never shopped them, you really need time or help to navigate and find the clothing you want.

The good news is that I went into the Misses section and found the Simply Vera Wang line. “Oh what the hell,” I thought. I grabbed a gray sweater that I thought was pretty and went to a dressing room to try it on. I’m at a weird place with clothing sizes. In some I’m still an XL, as opposed to a 1X, 2X, 3X or 4X. In other styles or cuts, I’m a L with tops. I can wear a 16 W pant, but still need a straight 18. Anyway, I found a couple cute sweaters from Vera Wang in XL. They look terrific with the new pants I purchased. I’m almost as pleased about my navigation of the store as I am about the clothes themselves. It’s a great advancement for me to take this on, silly as that sounds. I’m so glad I was successful.


To Assess and not Obsess

It’s difficult to not obsess about my weight in terms of the actual number on the scale. Sometimes I think I should simply stop weighing myself, or at least stop weighing myself so often. Other times, I’m in such fear that I’ll grow lax and gain weight that I feel I have to be vigilant and keep a steady check on myself.

Simple truth. As far as I’ve come and as solidly as I’ve worked on the emotional and mental aspects of my disordered eating along with the physical, I still do not trust myself to not eventually screw this up. I prefer to think of this realization as crystal clear self-awareness rather than painful self-flagellation.

My scale number obsession is worse this week because I have an appointment my surgeon on Friday. I had that good weight loss when I did the post-Thanksgiving detox but then I stalled again. So, the total number of pounds lost since I last saw him four months ago is nowhere near where I wanted/hoped. I’m really trying to put the obsession aside and assess my progress in a healthy, rational way. It is what it is.

It is what it is, and I shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that all that it is happens to be pretty damned awesome. In doing the new exercise program that I bought, I’m actually delighted that I can lie on the floor and do abdominal curls/crunches. I can lift my butt and hips off of the floor in a bridge and hold them up there. I can walk for extended periods of time and distance or ride my bike for close to 20 miles. (I can probably pedal even further but I haven’t tried yet.) I’m in smaller size clothes than I’ve worn since probably high school.

I make far healthier food choices, eating more fruit and vegetables than candy, cake, cookies, deep fried foods or fast foods. My attitude is positive and I’ve developed an honest pleasure and enthusiasm about being physically active and fit.

To let a number on the scale cloud all of the good would be a mistake and a real injustice to myself. I need to cultivate the positive assessment. Right now, I feel like the mental fatigue of staying on the reduction part of the program is a bigger threat than anything else. I need to remember that the food program is only one aspect of the entire effort. There’s so much more to it; so much more to me.

I’ll get where I need to go, even if it’s one slow pound at a time.