Feb 112015
 

dieting
Trying to lose weight during the holidays can be stressful and like you’re rolling a huge boulder uphill. Even when I was trying to lose 100 pounds, I never put too much pressure on myself to lose during the Thanksgiving-Christmas time period. My goal has always been just to maintain through the holidays and then get back to losing after that. It’s worked for years for me.

This year was no different. I knew I wouldn’t lose so I just tried not to gain back what I had already lost. January came and I was back on track. But then comes my birthday and that is a setback sometimes! I do indulge more for my birthday. The above photo of the tweet? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt that way! Well screw it, it’s my birthday and then it’s Valentine’s Day and then….yeah yeah yeah. Excuses!

This time I decided to go back to what I’ve done in the past (at various times of the year) and take one extra step: no alcohol for the month (except for my birthday weekend). So that glass of wine or two I have Friday and Saturday nights is on the back burner until February, maybe longer. We’ll see!

I weighed myself for the first time since right before Christmas. After getting back from Hawaii I was a bit lazy (for about a month) and then got my act together enough to lose 3 pounds of the 10 I’d gained on my honeymoon. Then the holidays came and I gained that 3 pounds back.

As of early January, I now officially have 13 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-engagement weight. About 10 of those pounds were pre-wedding stress/honeymoon/holiday weight. So 13 pounds. That’s better than the 20 I had in my mind before stepping on the scale but still. I will be happy to AT THE VERY LEAST, lose 8 pounds and get back under my GOAL WEIGHT. That would be the best feeling in the world.

I talked about this in a previous post but the mentality of LOSING WEIGHT versus MAINTAINING WEIGHT is very, very different. It’s a different mindset and I fully admit that I had not gotten into the losing mindset until now.

I feel like in some ways maintenance is a lot easier. I didn’t have to restrict. I could be “fuzzy” on some of my calorie counting and portions and rarely saw a drastic gain on the scale. That was my reality for 6+ years. I’d FORGOTTEN just how hard it is to be in “losing” mode. Losing mentality is all about portions. Accurate calorie counting. Denying myself MOST (not all) treats I want. (Back to that moderation thing…) Restricting my calorie intake. The truth is I haven’t been in the loser mode. I’ve been often eating back the calories I burn in the gym, instead of creating a deficit–which is how to lose weight.

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I really appreciate all the supportive comments on a recent post. Here were just a few:

Jamie said: “You are not alone! I am right there with you. I lost 100 lbs and over the last 6 months have gained 15 lbs. The journey ahead of losing that weight seems much more daunting than the 100 I lost before. Yeah, go figure! I’m learning how to navigate through this next part of my journey and I agree it is a slippery slope that once you start gaining it is so easy to continue.”

Jane said: “I tooted my horn and preened when I lost 220 pounds. When I gained back 15 I was silent and fearful, perhaps afraid I would become the person who ‘gained it all back’ ? I don’t know what would happen. Then I gained back a few more pounds. I labeled myself a failure and beat myself without mercy. I hid. I lied, I hurt in silence. It didn’t help me lose a single one of the regained pounds. Losing 200 pounds without surgery or medication is nothing short of miraculous. I am a miracle in progress. You are a miracle, too. Stay positive and stay honest. You will get past this.”

There were so many great comments. It sounds like a lot of people could relate to the struggle I was going through. Several of you had great suggestions that I already knew but needed the reminder. Limiting liquid calories is easy to do–not fun, but easy. Staying clear of packaged foods is a huge one. I tend to fall back on the Lean Cuisine type meals because that’s what I did for so long to lose weight (and it worked). You go back to what worked before. But if that isn’t working anymore, it’s time to shake things up.

So this is what I’ve been doing for the last month or so:

1) No alcohol (except for my birthday weekend).

2) Limiting sugar intake.

3) I changed the settings on My Fitness Pal to lose 1.5 pounds a week, which reduced my calories a lot. My base calories each day at 1510.

4) I am trying to create a deficit of calories every day (i.e. not eating back all the calories I burned in the gym). I eat some of them back but I am trying to keep at least 200+ leftover each day. Rest days are difficult!

5) So far the fitness aspect has remained the same. I’m still taking a break from the Warrior Room. I’m focusing on swimming, yoga, running, and some weight lifting to keep the strength in my glutes that are keeping the runner’s knee at bay.

Sounds pretty reasonable, right? After I got back from my birthday weekend I immediately got back on track and was doing really well! The only bummer was Friday nights. After a long week, I’m tired, I’m burned out, I want a glass of a wine. So far I am abstaining and while I can do it, I don’t enjoy denying myself my 1 or 2 glasses on the weekend! :(

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Making the mental shift was HUGE for me. For the last 4 months I just hadn’t made that switch in my head. I was struggling a lot; I was feeling deprived; I was RESISTING the “diet” with all my might. And I failed. But once I had this “click” in my head that I was going back to loser mode instead of maintenance mode, it all got easier.

I weighed in  on 1/16/15 and lost 2 pounds! I stayed on track for most of January and the start of February. I did have a few slip-ups here and there but hopefully when I weigh in this week I won’t see damage done to that previous loss!

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Jan 192015
 

Well, we are a few weeks in to 2015! How are your new year’s resolutions going? Are you still on track? If your goal was to lose weight this year, I hope you are finding your groove and settling in to your new routine.

I think there are a lot of different ways to approach weight loss. Weight Watchers is a great program and I think it’s one of the best options out there (although I never did WW). It teaches you portion control and how to eat in a healthier way in the “real world” as opposed to a Jenny Craig type program where you only eat their food.

Whatever your path, here are a few tools that can help you along your way:

Scale

I know, I know, the dreaded scale. If you can get away with losing weight and not using a scale–just go by measuring and how clothes fit–more power to you. You’re probably better off. But for most of us, a scale is a necessary evil. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of factors that go into weight loss and health and they can’t all be measured in a number. But this is a good place to start to track your progress.

If you can, find one of those fancy scales that don’t show the number. They sound fantastic and someday I’d like to have one. Basically you set up the scale, weigh yourself, then put in your goals. The next time you step on the scale it will tell you your progress without telling you your actual weight. I like the concept–I think it’s healthier emotionally than seeing a number and feeling devastated but instead you see that you lost a percentage of your weight compared to the last weigh in.

No matter what you decide to get, make it a habit to weigh yourself consistently. Whether it’s once a week or every other week or once a month, try and be consistent: same time of day, before eating or drinking any water. Keep a journal or track the progress in some way.

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Heart Rate Monitor

I’ve talked a lot about heart rate monitors on this blog. I never had one while I was losing weight and I kind of wish I’d had. I think it could have spend up some of the weight loss. What the HRM did for me was twofold: 1) It taught me to TRAIN SMARTER and 2) It gave me better accuracy in the gym.

With training smarter, I noticed it first with running. It taught me how to pace myself. It really did teach me how to run. When I first started running I thought it was “run as fast as you can as long as you can” and that’s not right. Or healthy. Or effective training. The heart rate monitor taught me how to pace myself and stay within the zone for extended periods of time. I am such a better athlete because of my HRM.

With the accuracy, I finally knew how many calories I was really burning. The cardio machines aren’t accurate at all, even putting in my age and weight. And when I don’t do machines, I want to know how many calories I’m burning lifting weights or doing body weight exercises. It helps knowing the actual number.

Read this old post for more details: Polar Heart Rate Monitor Tutorial.

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Food Diary App/Journal

I think tracking is THE number one way to lose weight. Being aware, being consistent, being HONEST with food tracking WILL work. The trick is to be honest with portions and calories you are consuming. If you aren’t honest in your journal, you won’t see weight loss. And this is something I know well!

There are a ton of free options out there. I know that Spark People was a really popular website for people. If you are on the go and want something that you can use anywhere, a smart phone app is probably the best choice. I use My Fitness Pal and I know that Lose It is also a really popular app.

The reason I think a calorie app or food journal is so important because it’s right in your face. It makes you be aware. You are aware of calories in food, you are aware of what you are eating, you become aware of what food makes you feel good and what food does not. Tracking your calories will show you where you need more work (for me, it’s sugar). If you get an app that breaks down your intake you can see if you’re eating enough protein and fiber, if you’re eating too much sugar (ME!), if you are deficient in vitamins. It’s just all around a great tool to help you in your journey.

Check out these old post for some more suggestions:

How Do You Track?

How to Count Calories

The Battle of The Calorie Counters.

 

Water Bottle

I am always trying to drink more water. I am so bad at this, but I’m getting better. Having a large water bottle at work that sits right next to my computer reminds me throughout the day.

Drinking water is a good thing all around, but if you are trying to lose weight drinking more water can be essential. It fills you up. It takes the edge off hunger pains. How often have you thought you were hungry and you mindlessly munch of snacks when in reality you were just thirsty? I’ve done that many times. Listening more carefully to body cues can help with weight loss (am I REALLY hungry? Or just bored? Thirsty? etc).

My tip would be to ditch the sodas, the juice, etc, stop drinking your calories and switch to water.

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Food Scale

This has done so many great things for my weight loss. For a long time I just went off the nutritional labels and then eye-balled portions. Portion sizes have always been my downfall and you can go along, thinking you’re doing great and then discover you’ve been tracking for 1 serving when really eating 2 or 3! No wonder weight loss wasn’t happening. For awhile I did the food measuring with measuring cups. This is better than eye-balling it and guesstimating, but it’s still not perfect.

A food scale was so eye opening for me. We got one a few years ago and one of the first things I used it for was cereal. The box says a serving size is 3/4 of a cup or 1 cup. Okay cool. I measure out a cup and think I’m doing ok. Then I used a food scale and measured out the serving according to grams (per the nutritional label) and HOLY COW. I had been eating way more than I thought!! (Read this post: M is for Measuring Mistakes!)

A food scale is fantastic. If you buy ONE THING to help in your weight loss goals, this would be the one I’d recommend.

Finally, if you’re new to my blog, check out this weight loss series I did a few years ago:

How to Lose Weight Series: 

Week OneWeek One Check In

Week Two , Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Five Truths of Maintenance

Hope it helps jump start your weight loss resolutions!

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