Monday, August 16, 2010

30 x 30: Week 6

Well, I’m essentially half-way through my 30 x 30 journey – as least as far as time goes (not necessarily by way of results).

And you know what?  That’s okay.

I read a really well-written essay earlier this week on one of the MFP community boards.  Here is a little bit of it:

Phase 1. The start of a brand new day! (or week, or month, or year)
Expectations are sky high, usually so is motivation and intentions. This is where most people lose the most weight. At the start it's not uncommon to see 4 to 8 lb losses per week. The reasons for this are mostly (sorry to disappoint) water weight. You drop excess water quickly, and you can have up to 5 lbs of water weight. The next biggest reason is the fat that is right next to the blood vessels, the stuff that you put on in the last month or three, it will melt like butter usually.

Phase 2. Reality setting in.
At about week 3 to a month or so, people suddenly realize that they are no longer dropping 8, 6, or even 4 lbs a week. This is a crucial phase in your journey. Expect this, it is natural. You have shocked your body by changing both eating habits and exercise routine. Now it has had a little while to become used to the new lifestyle, it's going to compensate. Your body still doesn't believe it's permanent yet, so it will still try to store some fat, so now that it knows how to regulate it's new metabolic levels, it tries to store fat in earnest. It's not uncommon for people to hit a wall here, no loss for weeks. Expect this as well.

Phase 3. The routine.
At about 2 months or so, your routine is pretty much set, your body is beginning to believe that you really want to STAY the way you are going now. You will start to see more consistent (but lower, usually 1 to 2 lbs a week) loss, also, you should start seeing some muscle tone (depending on how much you had to lose in the first place). If you stop to think, you should realize that you have improved dramatically in your exercise levels. If you do cardio, you should notice how much longer and harder you can work. This is important to realize as it is just as big of an indicator as weight loss. Also, by now you may notice that your clothes no longer fit right. This is also very important. The weight may not be falling off anymore, but you are becoming a smaller person. Weight is arbitrary, if you are building muscle (which your body is doing at a furious pace by now) you won't notice huge losses, but you will notice wholesale changes in the mirror!

Phase 4. Really digging in.
This is where the second wall can happen. You're probably at between 3 and 4 months by now, and if you have gone this far, you feel like you have already succeeded. This is where many people stumble. they are tired of the routine, tired of eating different things from all their friends, limiting their alcohol intake. Basically the shine has worn off. this is when your really need to plant your feet. Maybe change up your exercise routine, make a concentrated effort to find different, but still nutritional food. Talk to people. And examine how far you have come. At this point, no matter how much external motivation you receive, it's all about believing in yourself!

Phase 5. End game.
5 or 6 months in you are probably working on that "last 10 pounds". This can be discouraging for many as it is a slow burn. Remember, your body probably feels like it is where it needs to be, your brain might think you need to lose 10 more, but your body is quite proud of itself now, it feels like it has "Done enough" and it wants to stay RIGHT HERE. The body LIKES to have a little fat around just in case, especially for the ladies (sorry girls, it's just human physiology). If you feel like you still need to lose it, prepare yourself for some guerrilla warfare against your body. Design an exercise regimen that is very dynamic, forget the "same thing every day". Make a plan that challenges you both physically and mentally. Make sure you give yourself a day off here and there to just veg. And by all means, remember, muscle burns fat at rest. So get some weight or resistance training involved.

The last 10 may take 3 to 6 months to lose. I know nobody wants to hear that, but it's true. And forget the idea of increasing your calorie deficit, healthy bodies need good nutrition, your body no longer has the fat reserves to handle the large deficits you could when you were 30 40 or 50 pounds overweight. Better to make it a 3 or 400 calorie deficit (NET, please count your exercise calories too!). It may take a bit longer, but your body will like you for it. Plus it feeds those new muscles and keeps them burning fat, keeps your skin healthy (elasticity is important when you want those places that were stretched out to "snap back") and keeps you from getting head aches and depressed.

Obviously, I’m not as far into the phases of my journey as are touched upon in this essay, but some of what the author was saying about expectations really resonated with me.  I think having that weight gain back in week four really caught me off guard and made me reevaluate not only the how but also the why of this weight loss journey.

Anyway, I have really adopted a healthier attitude about this 30 x 30, and I’ve vowed to myself that it doesn’t matter what the number on the scale is on my birthday, as long as I’ve done my best to exhibit self-control and make good, healthy choices each day.

That said, I can’t help but admit that this week was a positive one, by way of results.  Here’s a quick recap:

Random Tips:

  • Divide bulk packages of treats into manageable portions as soon as they come in from the grocery store.  Jim was actually the one to observe, “if you put an open 4-lb. bag of trail mix in front of me, the odds increase that I’m going to eat a 4-lb. bag of trail mix.”

Things I (re)discovered:

  • Keeping MFP up on my laptop all day is my saving grace.  Just seeing what something is going to “cost” me before it goes in my mouth does one of two things: makes me put it back, or makes me really savor and appreciate the treat.

Favorite foods of the week:

  • Celery and peanut butter.
  • All kinds of yummy-flavored Yoplait yogurt.
  • Kroger cheddar rice cakes – a new flavor, and just as surprisingly good as the caramel and berry ones.

Weight loss:

  • 3 lbs. =)  It would only be sweeter if they weren’t pounds I’d already lost this summer.  But whatever.  Onward and upward.
    • Total lost since July 6th: 8 lbs.
    • Pounds to go in Phase Two: 8 lbs. Half-way there (again).Mini-goal is still to be done with Phase Two by August 12 August 25, but I have a feeling that September 1 is going to be a little more realistic.

Yea me for being back on track!  How was y’all’s week?


gottaluvboyz said...

You have done a great job getting back on track, Monica! What a great article to include...I needed to read that:)

Keep it up, girl! You can do it!!

Anonymous said...

Great job on the loss! I'm dealing with something similar... somehow, I've gained about 12 pounds this summer! Um, Yikes! I knew better eating all of the crap, but did it anyways. Nobody can tell that I've gained it really, except for me, but it makes me feel horrible! So, today is day 1 for me!

Ellie said...

Yea you! I fell off the quitting-smoking wagon this past week (but then jumped right back on), so I know how you feel. Onward and upward!

phasejumper said...

I lost one pound this week (thank you taekwondo) but haven't been as faithful with my food tracking.

Kelly said...

Proud of you too Monica!!
Interesting article, thanks for posting.