Thursday, April 26, 2012

Woo! So you've lost weight! Slap me some extra skin, bro!

Down to 215. I'm 35 pounds lighter.

Confessional time: Here's a dirty little secret about weightloss. For a while I think I actually looked slightly LESS flattering at 35 pounds down than I did when I had lost only 25 pounds.  That's changing now that my skin tighted up, but for a while the excess skin was noticable to me.


It wasn't super prounounced, but I could see it. My skin just felt looser. Like I'd put on some sort of fat suit or something, even though I'd lost weight.
Turns out, it takes a while for your skin to shrink to match your actual size. This is a new concept for me. I know, I know. I'm a slow learner. But one of my goals here is to chronicle the process of weightloss and this is one of them. Extra skin.

Extra skin is one of the many reasons you're supposed to lose weight at the recommended 2 pounds or so per week. Cuz any faster and your skin doesn't have time to keep up with weightloss and could actually lose some of its elasticity. I may be frustrated at the slow pace of weightloss, and that I've failed to meet my goal two months in a row....but on the plus side, my skin had tightened up considerably over the past two months so I FEEL a little thinner even though I haven't really lost much.

Obviously, the bigger you are, the more loose skin you're going to have.

But the good news is that for most of us our skin is going to tighten back up over time.  Here's a great article with details about the process of your skin returning to normal. Hint: It's complicated. Eat a healthy diet, hope for a good genetic code for your skin, don't lose weight too fast. That's pretty much how it goes. Don't panic too soon, you probablly won't need surgery. Give it time. Lost of time. Like a year or two before you start to worry.

Extra skin or not, you're going to be healthier and live longer when you lose weight.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

And this is why it's bad to lose weight through diet alone

This is traditionally the point at which I'd become frustrated in diets past. And once again, I'm frustrated. I'm at 217. Still. After about a month of being at or near 217. This is what is technically known as a Weight Loss Plateau.

See...I theorized early on in my diet that I should have a diet plan that closely matches my current lifestyle so that I could maintain it for the rest of my life. I made some modest changes to my physical activity. But most of my changes were dietary. I ate fewer calories, ate more vegetables.

Here's the problem with that, though. When you lose weight through reduced calories, you lose muscle --> and when you lose muscle your metabolism slows --> and when your metabolism slows, you need fewer calories to get by.

And when you need fewer calories to get by....suddenly you find that a reduced calorie diet isn't causing weight loss anymore. Oops.

Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say:

A plateau occurs because your metabolism — the process of burning calories for energy — slows as you lose muscle. You burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight even doing the same activities. Your weight-loss efforts result in a new equilibrium with your now slower metabolism.

At this new equilibrium, calories eaten equals calories expended. This means that to lose more weight, you need to increase activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially may maintain your weight loss, but it won't lead to more weight loss.

So I've been getting up in the morning and taking long walks. Lifting weights in the basement while watching Scrubs on my Laptop via Netflix. Also...a nasty flu has given me a healthy headwind. Though we're back to the muscle loss thing.

The moral of the story: An effective weightloss regimen needs some form of muscle building or muscle maintaining exercise.

Dieatary change alone is going to lead to a hard core plateau as your body constantly slows its metabolism.

Here's some suggestions from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Reassess your habits. Look back at your food and activity records. Make sure you haven't loosened the rules, letting yourself get by with larger portions or less exercise.

  • Cut more calories. Reduce your daily calorie intake by 200 calories — provided this doesn't put you below 1,200 calories. Fewer than 1,200 calories a day may not be enough to keep you from feeling hungry all of the time, which increases your risk of overeating. In addition, this reduced calorie intake should be sustainable. If not, you'll regain the weight you've lost and more.

  • Rev up your workout. Increase the amount of time you exercise by an additional 15 to 30 minutes. You might also try increasing the intensity of your exercise, if you feel that's possible. Additional exercise will cause you to burn more calories. Consider adding resistance or muscle-building exercises. Increasing your muscle mass will help you burn more calories.

  • Pack more activity into your day. Think outside the gym. Increase your general physical activity throughout the day by walking more and using your car less, or try doing more yardwork or vigorous spring cleaning.

The next challenge is, what type of exercise would I incorporate that I'd be willing to do for the rest of my life?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saved by the veggies

And once again vegetables save the day.

Today I had the munchies all day. I kept putting food into my mouth. Just some instictual habitual action that seemed almost undead. Reanimated. Something my body was just DOING without my mind's permission.

But I was able to redirect my body from the junk food and the pizza leftovers to things like carrots and celery. I had three, cup sized bowls full of my homemade sauerkraut. I ate more carrots. I made a massive pan of fried vegetables for dinner: cauliflower, broccoli, more carrots, onions and served it with tilapia (200 calories for half a pound). Drank a lot of water.

I kept tabulating my calories as I ate. And I ate. I ate and ate and ate. I ate a mound of vegetables. I ate a half pound of fish. I felt full, and miserable, and regreftul that I was unable to get back on track after hitting a weight loss plateau for a month....

...but when I added up all the calories for the day, it was just a hair over my recommended intake for my ideal weight. And playing some touch football with the kids outside for a bit shaved all that off and put me a bit below my ideal weight calorie requirements.


Running from the munchies

Can't.............. stop.............. eating today. Resistance....futile.

For some reason my body just wants to cram things into its mouth. We have so many leftovers of crap from the birthday party and the easter and the other birthday party.

I've really blown through the calories today. 1400 calories and it's only 2:41. Holy smokes. I'm to the point of throwing furniture in the way to slow down the munchies chasing after me.

Since I seem to not be able to resist the munchies (I swear, I haven't smoked anything), I'm trying to distract myself from Easter candy to carrots and celery. Thatm seems to be doing the trick.

It's really the tactile sensations of eating I'm after right now anyway I think.

I found an interesting and useful website about "super foods". I really apprecaite the criteria they use to designate things a "super food", specifically that it has to be relatively easy for some schmuck in small town Midwest like myself to get it. You know, things like broccoli, turkey, apples....beans. Stuff like that.

Uh oh...I've been sitting too long! The munchies have found me! Where's my home made sauerkraut? Only saurkraut can save me now!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The TurboTax Workout

Excercise. That seems to be saving me from myself and holding my weight in check. This month I intend to get down to 210. I'm not entirely sure how It got to be the 9th already. I haven't even done all the taxes I need to do. Does that count as exercise? Doing taxes? Seems like it should. I wonder how many calories sitting in front of TurboTax burns. Howsabout if I itemize deductions?