If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season therof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. D&C 59:18-20

Monday, July 25, 2011

Know your maintenance level

I think there is so much that is wrong with our attitude about how to lose weight.  I follow The Biggest Loser religiously and am really motivated by the success stories.  They put the contestants on strict calorie budgets that are pretty low--at least compared to what I've been on.  I believe the usual is 1200 calories for the women.  And they work out 4-5 hours a day.  On Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, it appears the trainer follows the same strategy -- low calorie count and lots of hours of working out every day.

Let me bring you up to date with my program, which will explain why I think this is the wrong attitude.  At the first of July, I started to feel some stress following my calorie budget of 1750 per day.  On July 1 I reached a new low of 177.2, which marked a 36 pound loss in 6 months.  As you can see by my weight chart, that's been a pretty steady rate of loss.  As I've noted before, my personal trainer is the Lord -- I make whatever changes in my program that He inspires.  I was troubled at the beginning of the month because I felt like I was losing control again of my eating.  The inspiration that I received startled me -- it was to increase my calorie budget to 2000.  The other thing going on with me is that at the end of June I was feeling a lot of fatigue and discomfort from aches and pains.  I was still doing a lot of yard work while keeping up with my 1000 steps per day program.  It was just too much.  I felt inspired to take a break from the step program while I was doing so much yard work.  I didn't feel uncomfortable about that, because I knew I was getting a lot of activity, but adding an increase in calories to it worried me sick.

I didn't implement the new calorie budget right away -- on July 5th I did up it to 1900 calories, but finally on the 6th I brought it all the way up to 2000.  And what happened after that has shocked me.  I hit a new low on July 3 of 176.8, then had a bump in weight to 178 by July 6, hitting a high of 178.4 on July 8.  I thought, well here goes 6 months of work.  I was again at 178 on July 11.

By the 11th, the yard work had decreased and I was feeling a lot better.  I was inspired to start doing steps again, but just 500 steps and just using 20 lbs of weight.  On the 20th, I started alternating doing steps without weight to doing steps with upper body exercises.  I now alternate between 500 steps with no weight and 300 steps with 3 lbs weights at 50 steps for each of 6 upper body exercises.

Wow!  I've upped my calories and decreased my physical activity, and I'm not gaining weight; I'm not even just maintaining; I'm actually hitting new lows.

The American public seems to have an All or Nothing attitude about losing weight.  It's either go on a very low calorie budget and do hours of strenuous exercise OR do nothing, make no effort at all.  Once people decide they are going to lose the weight, they demand it come off right now!  Not all of it of course, but enough each week to deserve bragging rights.

Now, when winter comes and the summer-time activity ceases, I most likely will be inspired to up my steps again -- we'll see what happens.  But I think the point of this exercise has been to show that a person can lose weight while enjoying a much higher calorie level than is generally recommended, and that more activity, not necessarily strenuous exercise, does a lot to help promote a good reaction to the calorie budget.

Here is my updated weight chart.  I put a green arrow to mark July 1.  Click to enlarge.