Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weight Loss

I've probably lost and gained a gazillion pounds in my life. Every time I lose weight I think that it will finally be for good--that this time my new eating habits will stick. But, they never do and the weight creeps back on until I decide to lose weight again. This time around I'd like to have a different outcome--I'd like to lose weight and not gain it back.

Albert Einstin is credited with saying that the hallmark of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, I guess I need to change my behavior to get a different result.

With this in mind, I thought I'd take some time to identify what I've done in the past that might have contributed to regaining weight. If I can pinpoint what I do that leads me to regain weight, I can work to change them, right?

So far, I've come up with three big ones, but I'm sure there are more.

I stop weighing myself. When I am losing weight I weigh myself everyday. It helps me stay motivated and regulate my eating. If I haven't lost any weight, then I know that I'm eating too much and/or not burning enough calories. But, when I'm not actively trying to lose weight I stop weighing myself regularly. This means that I might not even realize if I've gained five to seven pounds. Then, once I've realized I've gained weight, I still avoid the scale because it is the bearer of bad news.

Ideally, I think it would be best if I continued to weigh myself everyday or every other day. I don't want to obsess about every miniscule fluctuation, but I do want to be able to catch myself regaining before the amount I have to lose gets overwhelming. It is much easier to lose three pounds than it is to lose twenty pounds. Even if I allow myself to overindulge too much, if I can recognize weight gain and use it as a signal to return to "diet mode" I shouldn't regain all of the weight I lost.

I rationalize anything and everything.

"Peanut butter has lots of protein"
"Nuts are the good kind of fat." 
"A small dessert every night is part of eating in moderation. It isn't good to deny yourself"
"Cheese is good for you in small quantities."
"I have to eat to stay awake in class."
"It is okay to have a huge portion of x, it is homemade and healthy."
"It is okay to indulge, its a celebration."
"It is okay to indulge, I had a hard day."
"It is okay to indulge, we are at a new/special/delicious restaurant."
"It is okay to indulge, I'm going to eat really healthy tomorrow."
"It is okay to indulge, I've been so good all day/all week."
"It's just 250 calories. No big deal."
"A five pound increase is no big deal. Weight naturally fluctuates."

I think it can be tricky to find a balance here. Because its not like it is never okay to indulge in some comfort food after a long day, but rationalizing everything all the time is problematic. I think the first step is to work on recognizing when I am doing this in the moment because if I have to rationalize it to myself, I probably shouldn't be eating it!

I "forget" that its about calories in versus calories out. This is something I did when I first made my new years resolution to lose weight. Instead of focusing on calories in versus calories out, I started focusing on cutting out preservatives, avoiding prepackaged foods, drinking more water and less soda, etc. Eating whole foods is certainly healthier, but eating these sorts of food will not automatically result in weight loss. Pizza is not all of a sudden diet friendly just because it is homemade (unfortunately). Ideally, I think healthy eating is a mixture of being mindful of calorie intake and what the food is made from. I'm pretty good at thinking about what I put into my body, but I need to remember that for losing weight the final number is what counts.

oh avocados, you are delicious and healthy. 
but, you are more than 300 hundred calories

Can you help me think of any other ways that I might sabotage my weight loss? How do you keep yourself from gaining weight? I'm not too far away from reaching my weight-loss goal and I really want to have a solid plan for how I will keep the weight off.



  1. I am also on the "struggling with weight loss" wagon. I too rationalize everything and definitely over use the "celebrating" excuse. Since it is basically calories in vs. calories out, if I decide to eat a whole Snickers bar, well I had just better get my butt off the couch and play 280 calories worth of Wii Fit, or go for a 30 min walk/run!!

    I also try to buy lots of things in 100-150 cal portions, like the skinny cow candy and the wholly guacamole packets (yay avocado), so I have no chance of accidentally over serving myself. Obviously this really can't be done outside of the house, but I've also started measuring everything in order to keep a more exact calorie count.

    Perhaps put your current and goal weight on the fridge or pantry as a daily reminder of what you are working towards? Just keep up your motivation and don't rationalize - you can do it!

  2. You sounds like me. I'm still trying to find a good way. I've found work out tapes, a class or a partner help me work out more. :)

  3. I hate tracking calories, water intake and exercise, but it's honestly the only way I can lose and maintain successfully. I also absolutely have to eat less carbs and no refined sugar if I want to lose, and eat them less if I want to maintain (um, I LOVE CARBS). But tracking really makes me realize how much I eat, how high in calories or fat something may be, and really helps me make better decisions (if my calorie intake by lunch is pretty high, I know that I need to be more aware of what I make for dinner).

  4. I go more for balance - if I am going to splurge (go out to eat, have dessert), I try and make sure my other meals are super clean & cut calories there. I'm also trying to get better about eating right after a run or workout when I am still burning calories!

  5. Another blogger I know lost a ton of weight and laid out exactly how she did it!
    Hopefully that can help you out :)

    And I know what you mean about eating to stay awake in class. I started eating pomegranates in class-- you have to work for every little (low-calorie) nibble, and it totally does the trick for me without making me full ten minutes into class. I also chew gum/drink tea when I'm at home working on homework instead of snacking when I'm not really hungry.

  6. oh gosh, i am not the best person to ask for weight loss tips... i've failed to keep up with a diet and exercise plan many times! ;) but right now, whenever i feel hungry i make sure to eat a little something. i've read that's better than starving yourself, and then eating a big meal later on. ;)

    P.S. i have a Perricone giveaway going on right now, i hope you can join! :)

    <3, Mimi

  7. Motto: Eat less, workout more.

    And most importantly, the workout more - find something you love! Everyone is different. I love to run. Running keeps my mind sane and lets me eat. But for my sister, she LOVES yoga and that keeps her fit too. Hope this helps :)

  8. While pregnant I had to count carbs due to the gestational diabetes. I found it to be a lot more manageable than counting calories, and I did lose weight while eating within the bounds that were set for me. Maybe you should consider seeing a nutritionist - at least to help get you on the right direction!

  9. What a great post! I'm learning to say "It's ok if the scale goes up, as long as the pants size goes down:)" Love you blog- I'd love to know what you think of mine too.

  10. I am SO GOOD at rationalizing. So talented at this, I wish it was a sport. I would win the gold medal.

    Your realizations sound like they will put you back on the right track.

  11. check out this blog...they are pretty great at giving some health related advice that is useful for weight

    Good luck!

  12. I think the hardest part about working out and dieting is to stop looking at it as "dieting". It becomes an unhappy chore when we do that. I know for, it worked better when I tried to change certain habits. For example, I use to drink a lot of soda. So instead of thinking, I have to stop drinking soda because of the calories. I tried to focus on drinking water and adding some flavor to it and tried to enjoy it. I guess the key is to try to find a habit to break and find a way to enjoy it. Then it won't seem to dreaded and it wil stay long term.

  13. oh my, i just needed to read this. i rationalize all the yummy and unhealthy food there is just so that i won't feel guilty when eating them.

    what i do is i scare myself with the person that i don't want to be - overweight. so every time i think of eating some peanut butter or chocolate cookies, i imagine myself a huge oversized blob. and when that scares me, i think twice about eating that cookie.

    though of course, i make sure that i do sufficient exercises as well. so that kinda motivates me at the same time. :)

    thanks for sharing, A! x


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Every comment brings a smile to my face!