Full disclosure edit: I wrote this post last week and then managed to forget to upload it every single day until now, so that’s two weeks’ worth of loss you see up there instead of just one. The previous week I lost just over three, and added another one at today’s check in.
Losing eight pounds in two weeks is I think what could be quantified as a “breakneck pace” for a weight loser. It’s pleasing and slightly disturbing at the same time.
I have been working really hard though; committing to at least 45 minutes of exercise almost every day and keeping within about a 1,200 calorie per day goal. With my healthy appetite, that goal is hard to stick to. I work out pretty much every day so that I can tack on another three or four hundred calories to my meals. Sundays are my rest day so that my muscles can heal, and staying within the goal without a workout is tough on Sundays – usually I have to stick to vegetables and proteins all day to make it work, and boy howdy am I dying for some bread and potatoes by Monday morning.
My group leader says that the workouts really don’t effect the scale that much – and this is a statement I don’t precisely agree with, although I do see her point. She’s trying to steer people clear of thinking that as long as they get in a workout they can pretty much eat whatever they want. They can’t. A really hardcore workout may burn about 500 calories, and you can easily eat that back with a single serving of French fries, so it’s smart not to let a workout tempt you to overeat. On the other hand though, I think that the extra muscle I’ve been developing by working so hard must be chewing through calories pretty effectively right now. However, without combining it with that tightly controlled, highly nutritious food intake I agree that all the working out would be fruitless.
So last week they gave me an award and some applause in class for passing by another ten pounds. Usually when someone does this, our leader asks them what advice they have for new members. I said to make sure you love what you’re eating, and not to waste any calories on foods that you don’t like very much just because you think they’re ‘diet’. Also – find a physical activity that you genuinely enjoy.
Thinking about it later though, another thing occurred to me that I currently believe is very important: don’t lie to yourself.
I’ve seen a lot of this going on over the years, and I have certainly done it myself. People convincing themselves that this or that trick will help them achieve their fitness goals – like avoiding all of a certain food substance or not eating after 10PM. The truth is very, very simple: create a deficit. Burn more calories than you took in. Do that in whatever way works best for your unique body, and I admit the process of figuring that out for yourself is difficult (and sometimes frustrating), but not impossible.
I also believe that you absolutely have to know exactly what you’re taking in, and the only way to do that is to track it all. I actually pre-track my days, meaning that by about 6AM on most days I already know in advance exactly what I’ll be eating all day and how many calories are in it. If you don’t want an unpleasant surprise on the scale that week – it’s really the best thing to do. It’s so, so easy to over-guesstimate what you should be eating if you don’t keep track. I have said in the past that I won’t do tracking and measuring because it makes me neurotic, but I have learned since that neurotic obsession is actually completely necessary for weight loss.
I just hope it isn’t for lifelong weight maintenance – because I seriously do not want to be this obsessed with intake and output for the rest of my life. I kind of miss having other hobbies.