Fitness Friday :: 9 Things I Learned from Gaining and Losing 20-ish Pounds
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1. It is a LOT easier to keep weight off than it is to lose weight. Your body strives for equilibrium and resists changes in weight. I always heard people say this, but I learned it first-hand, the hard way.
2. I am not exempt from a slowing metabolism. I used to think if I ate right and stayed active, my metabolism would run like a well-oiled machine forever and ever, amen. Not necessarily true. When they say your metabolism slows as you age, they aren’t joking. (You have been warned, young, thin friends. You have been warned!)
3. I need less food than I thought I did. Also known as, “Being a little hungry is not the end of the world.” Or “Staving off hunger pangs is not a worthy goal.” Or “For crying out loud, stop your whining.” I wrote an entire rant about hunger and how I deal with it here.
4. I am stronger than I thought I was. I have two words for you: Clapping push-ups.
5. Sometimes you really CAN be doing everything right and still not lose weight. Eat less, eat better, move more, eliminate stress, eliminate sugar, get rest, lift weights, try intervals: Done, done and DONE—Yes, I did it all, and I did it diligently. But despite my very best efforts, I couldn’t lose the weight—at least not for a long time (like YEARS).
6. The secret (if there is such a thing) to reaching your weight loss goal is sticking with it—even if it takes years. Most of us give up too soon. When we don’t lose our “1.5 to 2 pounds per week” we get discouraged, decide it’s not worth it and we quit. I learned that my best efforts produced results in the range of 1.5-2 pounds per quarter. It took me a full year to lose just 6 pounds. I am so glad I didn’t give up.
7. I am capable of developing an eating disorder. While I was sympathetic to people who suffered from eating disorders, I really never understood them–especially anorexia. “I don’t get the whole eating disorder thing,” I thought. “I like food way too much,” I thought. “I could never starve myself,” I thought. That is, until I reached my lowest emotional point (which incidentally, was my highest weight). Working out so hard, I could barely walk a flight of stairs. Eating so little, I was hungry all the time. And then stepping on the scale to see I gained (not lost, GAINED!) 2 more pounds—for a grand total of 23 pounds gained in about a year and a half. At that lowest point, I stood at my kitchen counter and thought, “If I just stop eating, I would HAVE to lose the weight. Maybe if I just stop eating….” I never followed through, but I came dangerously close.
8. I judged you. When you told me you were trying as hard as you could to lose your weight, I secretly thought, “She can try harder.” When you told me you were watching your portions and cutting out junk food, I thought, “I doubt it.” When you told me you were working out and counting calories and keeping a food log, I thought, “She must be exaggerating.” All these years of loving and supporting you through your weight-loss struggles (on the outside) I was secretly judging you (on the inside). It took my own weight-loss struggles for me to come face-to-face with my stinky, judgmental attitude. I didn’t like what I saw. I was wrong. And for that, I am truly sorry. Please forgive me.
9. If I had to go through the whole weight-gain fiasco, just to rid myself of my stinky, judgmental attitude, then it was worth it. Every last ounce of that stubborn weight–it was worth it.
Q4U: What have you learned the hard way?
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I think what is hard is how easy it is to fail at fitness because you don’t have a plan. I for a long time was naive and thought my plan was I would exercise several times a week and would decide what to the do each particular day. I failed time and again. It was a tremendous help when I finally planned what I would do over a longer period of time. If I planned what exercises or program I would do for the next 30, 60, or 90 days then that went a long way towards me sticking to whatever it was I was attempting to do. “Just get up and exercise” was a recipe for disaster for me. It helps also to write your plan down and keep notes on how you do each time you exercise.
Mark, the think I like about following a plan is that you do things you normally would not do and you do them on days you may not have done them. It forces the “variety” factor. I’m with you…when I don’t follow a plan, I don’t do very well. I’m in between plans right now and it’s just too easy to say “forget it” when the schedule gets tight.
oops..I typed in the wrong account so my picture doesn’t show up. 🙁 Here we go!
I’m still working on the “slower metabolism, less food needed” thing – ha! It’s so hard to reconcile in my mind that though I THINK I have the metabolism of a 12 year-old girl still, I actually HAVE the body of a 39 year-old.
I will have to go back and read about the hunger issue, but what did you do when you would have an entire “hungrier day?” There are some days I am content with a moderate intake, then after a couple of days I’m just so HUNGRY! Don’t know if it’s just cravings partly, or working out too hard, or are my calories over all are too low? (have you tried some of those “calculators?” They range anywhere from “exercise 90 minutes a day and eat only 1300” to “the average woman burns 1863 calories just sitting.” Never sure what to believe – though I know the one I WANT to believe;)
Also, I know I have built up more muscle over the past year – while I wouldn’t trade it, it does make the scale higher and my jeans fit differently. I can’t tell how much is “muscle weight” and how much is “cookie dough and buttercream” weight.
Sorry this turned into such a long comment! Have a great Friday!
I think you need to constantly adjust your diet to accommodate your goals. I think there is a big difference between “yeah, I’m a little hungry” and “I feel shaky and sick to my stomach and can’t think-hungry.” A lot depends on the food I eat (when I tried a Paleo diet for a month, I was hungry all the time) and the workout program I’m doing (Insanity made me very hungry). But when my goal was to lose this stupid, stubborn weight, I had to get to the place where I ate what my body needed, and ignored the hunger pangs until my next meal. If you are trying to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. And you will probably feel a little hungry when you do that.
If you are building muscle and you are a woman–which you are–your scale might get higher, but your jeans should be getting looser. I’m guessing your jeans issue is “cookie dough/buttercream.” 🙂
I learned that your eating habits when in your teens can really screw up your metabolism later. I did fall in to the cycle of eat little as possible workout as much as I could end each day with negative calories. I was probably 11 when that cycle started and continued off and on until I was 19. Well marriage and two kids and 9 years later I need to lose weight and now that I am trying to do it the right healthy way I still struggle and find that my body don’t respond like others my age do. I know its from my past eating/non eating cycles. I also find that its very easy to slip back to those old habits of wanting a negative calorie balance when bedtime comes.
I wish you could talk to every 11 y/o girl and tell her what you told me. Keep doing the “right way.” It will pay off in so many ways–your heart, bones, overall quality of life. I’m proud of you!!
At that age I didn’t have a clue that what I was doing was wrong or would affect me later. I have two boys and I am very cautious about what I tell them in regards to weight I don’t want them to feel like I did that you have to be skinny etc to fit in. Soiciety is cruel they lead us to beleive that the people on tv and in books are the way we “should” look and its not. I’m still learning and trying and falling down and getting back up.
Wow, love this post. So insightful. I actually have to think about the judging part because even when I am not trying hard, I am sometimes guilty of judging others of “not trying hard enough”. Didn’t think about it until I read it here. So thank you for that. The most important thing I have learned the hard way has been that I have to listen to my body. It is how I’ve found out I had thyroid problems (which caused me to gain weight), its how I knew I had to try harder to lose the weight, but also how I knew I was overtraining. We have to get really in tune with the body, and it will let you know when it is not well-oiled and will avoid worse problems down the road. So glad I found your blog!
I agree about listening to your body–especially with the over-training! So many people miss the signs of that! When i started listening to my body, I realized that sugar and chips make me really groggy. Chips!! Of all things.
I get what you’re saying. I’m glad to hear that once you get the weight off it’s easier to keep it off!!! I won’t constantly be in this limbo – LOL!
Hey, I’m hosting a running blog hop at http://feetdominatingpavement.blogspot.com/2012/09/friday-runners-blog-hop.html. I’d love to link up to your blog! Check it out. 🙂
Oh, so much easier!! I promise. Thanks for the invite to the blog hop!
What a great post!
Here’s what I learned (repeatedly) the hard way: you can really never eat just one of anything… one whole cake maybe but then the next day you’ll want and need two cakes! 🙂
Eeek! Yes, Sandy, woman cannot live by buttercream alone. Or even a little bit, really…so sad:(