Sunday, March 13, 2011

Please Let Me Get What I Want

206.4 lbs.

Starting another week with 200 looming on the horizon. I sincerely want 200 to be like 205 now, just momentary blips on the chart over a short period of time. If I am correct, we probably won't be seeing 205 again. As of Saturday's weigh in, I am no longer clinically obese - I am 24.5% body fat which is still on the high side but nowhere near the 40% and some change I was before. The next 15lb loss after hitting 200 lbs will be significant in bringing that number even lower. After binge days, I can really feel it and see the weight now and I really couldn't tell you that before. That is the hardest part about weight loss for almost everybody - having a way to measure the progress. There is a definitely a threshold moment where you get far enough past where you should ideally be that 5 or 10 lbs don't matter either way. You might feel a loss of energy but even that can be negligible. I think that's why it is so much easier to gain weight than to lose it. There are some things I have learned and even though it may seem common sense to some, that might not be true for others. Being overweight is like being stuck in this evil infinite loop and the cognitive dissonance can be overwhelming. I got myself into this mess, how will I ever get myself out of it?

Here are some quick pointers from what I have learned:

  • Weigh yourself the very first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom. That's your true number for the day and don't weigh yourself again that day - ever. So many factors will effect how much you weigh during the day, good and bad. You will never get as good a number later in the day - ever. Remember, inconsistent measurements lead to inconsistent results. Simply: you'll quit because you can't see progress.
  • If you stumble during whatever weight loss program (or experiment) you decide to torture... uh, put yourself through, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and continue. Shit happens. Move on, tomorrow is another day.
  • Try to eat your last meal of the day at least 4 hours or more before you hit the pillow. More explanation in the next point.
  • Try to make your last meal of the day the smallest meal of the day. We eat for energy and, really, how much energy are you going to need to watch T.V.? If you do feel hungry, find something to snack on that is small, filling and without sugar but try not to overdo it. It will show up on your morning weigh in.
  • Get your sleep. If you want to lose any amount of fat, you must get your rest. Your body takes energy from your fat stores to keep you alive when you sleep - if there is nothing else to burn. Most of the fat you burn will be during your sleep cycle. You can see now why it is so important to limit calories at least 4 hours before you hit the sack. You can also discern that this is another reason why it is so important to weigh yourself first thing in the morning. Don't overdo it. Enough sleep is enough sleep. Try to avoid exercising late but if you have no choice, grab yourself some magnesium or melatonin. Late exercise will backfire if it delays or hinders a proper sleeping pattern.
  • Some things are going to be out of your control. The nasty thing about obesity is that little loop I talked about earlier. Most people with weight issues also have sleep apnea. Snoring can interrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder to lose weight. Lots of medicines will make it harder to lose weight as well. Talk to a doctor or do some research. Counteracting things you don't think are a big deal will pay huge dividends.
  • Eat within an hour of waking up, within 30 minutes if possible. Eat protein and lots of it. Your body is in a catabolic state upon waking, the same state that allows you to burn a lot of fat when you sleep. Avoid sugars if at all possible. Your body wants protein and it knows where to get it - your muscles. Bad, bad, bad.
  • Consistency, consistency, consistency. Whatever regimen you are on, keep with it and try to stay consistent. You could starve yourself and lose weight pretty quickly (and add it right the hell back on) or you can be consistent and take the smaller steps and be healthy.
  • Stick with it. A lot of diets and body building programs have an intake phase. Depending on what you are doing and how quickly your body adjusts, you might not see results for at least a month depending on what you are doing (no matter what the diet says). If you are incorporating exercise this is especially true. You might be trading fat for muscle and the scale will not show that if you are working out. You need to measure body fat and not get discouraged. The longer you go, the more the body fat will melt off.
  • Be accountable. You got yourself into this and you are the only one who can get you out of it. You are also the only one who can really screw you over. If you are going to use stress, your mother's birthday or Canadian Thanksgiving for an excuse to eat more or eat something you shouldn't - you have already failed. Try to lessen the damage when there are special events in your life by trying to still eat as well as possible. Breaking away from your diet or regimen isn't necessarily bad but if you do it all the time, it becomes consistent. Consistency goes both ways.
  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself. If you haven't done exercise in years and your are a great deal overweight don't just pick up and try to run and flail about because someone told you to on T.V. or in a book. You could really hurt yourself and kick you off of whatever regimen you've started. If you are morbidly obese, buy a pedometer for five bucks and just increase your level of activity each day. A lot of books and programs out there just expect you can pump out crunches (or whatever) like a machine. Some take this into consideration and tell you to do as many as you can but if you can't do one, it is discouraging and will not do you any good.
  • Read the label. When I go to the store I read every freaking label in sight. I could tell you the content of most things within a certain level of tolerance. Become a proactive consumer. Most things that say they are healthy - aren't. If they strip the fat out of your food and replace it with starches and sugars to make it more palatable, what the hell good is that going to do you? I love tearing apart supposed "health" or protein bars, more often than not you would be better off eating a Snickers (though I wouldn't recommend it).
  • A sugar is a sugar is a sugar. Fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, agave syrup, sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, white sugar - it's all the same on a certain level.
  • Avoid fake sugar. Sometimes your body treats them like real sugars. Other times, they don't act like a sugar but do significantly more damage than a real sugar ever could. Avoid them or limit them if you can't do without your Diet Soda - that doesn't mean limit yourself to a 1 liter bottle a day either.
Whew! Well that's about it for today. I think that is enough. It is Sunday after all.

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