Yes. I know math.
But hear me out…
I made the realization this week (not sure why it took me this long!) that I was not, in fact, going to meet goal weight this year. Not that this should be such a surprise, but it still kind of hit me. I realized that the most that I could possibly lose by the end of the year is 30 pounds. And, frankly, that’s a crazy stretch. Like ca-razy. I can’t remember the last time that I actually lose 2 pounds per week, let alone 10 pounds per month. I know that 10 pounds per month isn’t a whole lot, and it isn’t unhealthy, but my body just won’t let go of weight that way.
So I started think about why. Why can’t I consistently lose 10 pounds per month?
I started to think about my Aunt, who has recently lost over 45 pounds in 14 or so weeks. I am so pleased that she’s been able to lose weight; however, she had some pretty big changes to make. She was focusing her food on processed stuff. She didn’t “shop the perimeter”. There were very few fresh (or frozen) fruits or vegetables in her diet. She used food as a prize. She didn’t know that it was important to eat smaller meals, and do so every 3 or so hours. She favored high fat cuts of beef to chicken, seafood, or turkey. She ate out regularly, always choosing the most decadent thing on the menu, as a celebration. Even if it was a random Tuesday night. She made things like white truffle oil macaroni & cheese.
My goodness was that good. But when she sent me the recipe, I deleted that email. Because I knew that there was no reason that I needed to ever make that meal. None.
Oh, and she did not move her body.
The thing is: She needed to change everything. So when she started making relatively easy changes (says me – I’m sure she’d remark something much differently!), the weight started coming off. Immediately. Cutting out salt didn’t hurt – according to my mom, she lost 11 of those 45+ pounds in the first week, which I can only attribute to water weight. But it’s kept falling off of her!
And I’m jealous. Because I have made the “right” choices for years. I have followed her “diet” (don’t even get me started on “diets”) for years. YEARS. And I am 211 pounds. I just cannot wrap my mind around this.
So then I was really asking: WHY?!? What am I doing so wrong that I’m still this size?
And while some of the reasons that I came up with came out as excuses, I legitimately believe that I cannot physically lose 10 pounds per month because I don’t have the ability to cut that many calories.
I have not been logging my food the way that I would like to. But I do know that more often than not, I make good choices. I do not eat fast food. I limit fried food. I eat fruits and vegetables and lean protein. I enjoy healthy food more than unhealthy food. I steam my meals, or eat them raw.
But, I eat too much food, and need to make changes in my portion size, even for healthy foods. I also tend to make small choices that are adding 100 to 200 to 300 extra calories to my day. But, even cutting an extra 300 calories per day from what I eat now, that only adds up to 2,100 calories per week. And we all know that 3,500 calories = 1 pound. So I need to cut about 1,000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds a week. Even with a few ‘bad’ days, my caloric average intake is about 2,000. So to cut 1,000 calories per day would be a 1,000 calorie day. Which is not healthy.
Add in my exercise: at least 60 minutes, 4 days per week of cardio, lifting, Pilates, or swimming. As my trainer says, I have the exercise thing down. But I’m trying to increase my burn, because I don’t have enough calories to “play with” in my food. Up that to at least 5 days per week, and add in a few 2-a-days.
So moving forward, I’m incorporating small changes.
Small change + small change + small change = BIG change
And because I can’t make big changes to the way that I eat or how I move my body, I need to do all that I can.
Changes that I’ve made so far:
- Choosing grapes as my oatmeal “topping” instead of granola at breakfast yesterday
- Choosing water over a flavored iced tea at lunch yesterday
- Eating only my banana for my snack in the afternoon, instead of having the apple as well
- Walk across campus to meetings, instead of dialing in
- Grapes with my sandwich for lunch, instead of Baked! Doritos
In each of these cases, I had to stop. Think about what I wanted. And make a different choice than what I wanted. But then when I had the other choice, I wasn’t deprived. Actually? The grapes instead of granola? Better. The apple? Would have been too much. The Doritos? They make my tummy hurt. So in the end, I made the choice that I needed to make. And I made the choice that I really wanted in the end.
I’ve set a target, with my trainer, to lose 1.5 pounds per week until the end of the year (and moving into the New Year). Ahhh, I can’t believe I’m already planning the New Year! Over the next 13 weeks, until the end of the year, I envision a number of other changes in the way that I make these choices. Are you ready?
What are some big or small changes that you’ve made that have made the most difference in your weight loss?