Tomorrow will be one year after I wrote “Done Part I”, when I had stabilized at minus 40lbs for a couple of days. Since then the weight went up again somewhat till spring and then started to fall again. I’m currently back to where I was 12 month ago, between 76kg and 77kg, and still targeting a) 75kg or less and staying below 75kg for a year.
My diet is less restricted than last year ago (more sweets), I pushed my running up to 400km/250mi during the insane May (but didn’t lose any weight during that month due to increased eating), but it seems that my overall behavior was sufficiently changed to stop me from gaining it all back.
About a year after my first entry and about six month after I had lost 40 pounds. Time for a reevaluation:
|Sep 2006:||77kg/||169lbs:||-41||official goal|
|Oct 2006:||75kg/||165lbs:||-45||real goal (-20kg)|
All this by running a lot (somewhat above 1,000km/620mi within 12 month), doing pilates, ride my bike even more, eating less, eating smarter and shopping with my brain turned on.
What happened? During the winter months I got lazy, so I ran only a few times during December/January. I do Pilates mostly as a warm up, so this went out of the window too. In February I realized this was bad, started running again, overdid it, got injured and could not run for another month.
Things got better in March, ran a half marathon on April 1st, automatically increasing Pilates and decreasing the amount of sweets and unhealthy food.
There is an interesting connection here: I can life on vegetables and water, but I prefer chocolate and (diet) coke. But I cannot run for more than a couple of miles when on a chocolate diet, so the desire to run further drives me to eat healthy, much more than my wish to lose weight. Therefore running contributes to losing weight even more indirectly through a change in diet than directly through burning calories and building muscles burning more calories.
Currently I seem to be back on track to hit 75kg/165lbs (again) due to some Nike+iPod challenges which will drive me to run at least 200km/125mi this month. So vanity is also one of the factors contributing indirectly: I wouldn’t lose weight to look slimmer, but I will run to see the numbers topping 200km.
I will still consider this done once I stay at or below 75kg for a year.
When I wrote that I expected my weight to stay stable due to my permanent lifestyle change, I was wrong. Mostly about the permanent lifestyle change.
Once the 75kg were reached, the focus on what I eat somewhat got lost and a short time later I was actually shocked when I almost hit 78kg. There is always a little fluctuation, but this was too much. I got it down again by reentering “smart shopping” mode, eating a lot of fruit for some days and running half marathon distance in preparation for running a full marathon, but the shock remains.
This most likely hasn’t happened for the last time. I’m not sure about my current weight, but I’m very aware of the amount of food I consumed within the last two days, triggered by shopping not only in “dumb” but “zombies ate my brain” mode. A quick calculation results in at least 7000kcal, counting only the main ingredients, probably a lot more.
Motivation to control this might come from another direction. I started training for a marathon again in August after two months of injury. Everything went fine, but I felt exhausted after the long runs and had major problems crossing the 15km limit. Soon the suspicion turned to food, since I already had experienced that stamina directly related to what I ate the day(s) before. Once I switched back to “healthy” running got easier. The half marathon distance wasn’t even intended, I just wanted to see during training how fit I currently was and decided to run as long as there were no signs of injury or massive fatigue.
Turned out that the change in diet for just a week had a major impact on my condition. So now I have two incentives to “shop smart”: size and distance.
For at least a week now I’ve been at 75kg (165lbs), the official target weight, down from 95kg (210lbs). It took about 6.5 month and some major changes:
- do A LOT of sports, currently running about 40km per week (4h/w) and Pilates every morning (2h/w)
- move everywhere by bicycle, and since Berlin is wide-stretched this results in up to 100km a week (6h/w)
- prepare smaller portions: This seems to be one of the most important changes, because I have a tendency to eat until everything is eaten. Smaller portions and smaller plates helped.
- buy less food: Most likely the second most important change. Before I bought enough food to always have something of every kind of food. Now I buy a lot of healthy food, but only so much junk and sweets as I will eat in one day. This results in the junk being gone after the first day (I gave up controlling this), but after that there will be a few days where I will eat healthy, simply because I’m too lazy to go shopping while there is still enough food in the kitchen. It helps that I live alone and therefore don’t have to care about other people’s eating habits.
- wait till I’m hungry again: I try to stop myself once I’ve eaten something and wait for at least 20min. If I get hungry again, I’ll eat more then, but most of the time it simply takes a couple of minutes after eating to lose the empty feeling in my stomach.
- stopped eating fast food: I had a lot of it before, mostly due to convenience, the taste was not that important, so I don’t miss it that much
- I make sure I always have tons of fresh fruit, so that having it is the most convenient way to have a snack. This reduced the amount of sweets.
- Tried to replace sweets with things like dry fruit. This didn’t work, so I still eat quite a lot of chocolate, although not as much as before.
A number of other things happened and helped. The initiative to start losing weight came in late March with the premiere of a movie of a friend of mine, showing me as a sleep deprived pale wobbly mass during some interviews we had done in 2005. I didn’t like the way I looked before, but it took that last drop to get me going. Once I started losing significant weight, a lot of positive feedback kept me going. No longer fitting into any of my trousers was a daily success reminder, a lot of astonishment and compliments from my environment were nice too and I felt every pound that I did not have to carry during running or while climbing the stairs up to my flat on the fourth floor. Having it set as a goal at 43thing helped too, reporting progress is something I looked forward to.
I still consider this not completely done for two reasons:
- Since most people regain the weight they lost within a year, success can only be claimed if the weight does not rise again for at least this time. I consider my chances good, since I did not achieve weight loss by any kind of diet (I don’t believe in diets), but by a change in lifestyle, usually considered the only way to permanently lose weight.
- Although there is a massive change in my figure (from something doughnut shaped to slim, at 185cm (6’1”) I now have a BMI of 21.9), I still have a small belly. Doing Pilates (and about 50 crunches) every day has led to firm muscles in front of my belly, but they are not in any way visible under the remaining layer of fat. I’ll now consider my weight right once I see a six-pack, since this will only happen if the portion of fat on my body weight will drop below 12 percent. This will also make sure that I don’t slip now the official target weight is reached.
The scales showed something between 76g and 77kg for some days now. I started at 95kg in April, making the total weight loss about 18.5kg or just a little more than 40lbs. So yay me.
Since I think metric, my real target was 20kg, still 1,5kg/6lbs to go. That would be ‘Done Part II’.
But what I really want is my stomach to be flat. I don’t know how much that will take, but I believe it will be more than 1,5kg. That might even be a bad idea, since at 185cm/6’1” I currently have an excellent BMI of 22.4. Pilates and crunches produced some noticeable muscles, but they are still only felt through a layer of belly fat. As far as I understood the body fat percentage has to fall below 12% to change that. This would qualify as ‘Done’.
Or maybe this and not regaining weight for at least one year.
78kg +- 1kg for the last two weeks. Started running again, but only 7km every two days due to continuing problems. I’m not frustrated over the lack of progress since my health has improved a lot with more exercise and change in diet (BMI now a near perfect 22.7). Still trying to get rid of some of my belly, but I don’t worry too much about it.
Unfortunately “not worrying” also means less motivation to avoid the sweets department while shopping. 8 Snickers (8×310kcal = 2480 kcal) + 300g potato chips ( 3×540kcal = 1620kcal) = 4100kcal. Yesterday. Bought in the morning, gone (eaten) within 24h. And some fruit to complete it.
[BTW: I haven’t become a fanatic calorie counter. I just extended my obsession to calculate anything to food. A few days ago I tried to calculate the percentage of all light emitted by the sun that hits the earth in my head because I couldn’t sleep, woke up on a book of formulas, so this is normal behavior for me.]
This was the highest intake I had during the last months, but a massive dose of sweets vanishes at least once a week. Still far from what I’ve eaten in the past, but heading in the wrong direction. I guess I’m happy the weight is still falling and afraid that it might increase again if I slip back into my old behavior. The statistics about how many people regain their weight within one year are quite frightening, especially for those who lost weight very fast.
So far I try to keep up with my new lifestyle and believe the change will be permanent. And I’m still holding back with buying new clothes (everything is very “loose fit” now) till I’ve got my “flat” belly, so no giving up. The 17kg gone so far equal 37.5lbs, so I’m pretty close to achieving this goal, but it looks like more than 2.5lbs have to go before I switch to “hold my weight”.
Two days ago I saw 79kg for the first time in several years. But I acknowledge a new low record only if it remains stable for several days, which is not the case. Currently my weight twitches between 80kg and 82kg. I blame the heat resulting in a massive consumption of water every day, explaining the fluctuation.
Weight decrease has lost momentum while I’m waiting for my leg to recover to continue with my running. It seems that the running had a larger influence on the 13-15kg lost so far than I thought. Till recently I was sure that it was caused almost entirely by the change in my diet, simply because the calories burned during running did not add up to the fat I lost. Seems I was wrong.
Today the scales said 83kg, so I am up one. Not to surprising after killing 800g/28oz of chocolate in less than four days plus meals. I also had to stop my running for the time being do to an injury.
On the bright side I ate everything that should not have been in the fridge in the first place, so I am currently back on the track of eating healthy. Will have to resupply tomorrow, hopefully shop with my brain turned on.
My weight had dropped to 82kg. Maybe it is still there, but I assume that eating 400g/14oz of chocolate like I did during the last 36h does nor really help. The last time I did that (just about a week ago) I compensated by eating only fruit the next two days, but this time there is a problem: I still have 400g more of chocolate in my kitchen. And due to the “everything in the kitchen will be eaten” rule I somehow expect it to not stay there for long …
I stabilized my weight at 84kg/185lbs, finally more than 10kg lost, which took pretty long. I keep on running three times the week, which unfortunately gave me an excuse to follow a less strict diet. In consequence chocolate and sausage reappeared in my kitchen, where they did not survive for long. As a result I got stuck at 85/86kg for more than a week.
Losing weight seems directly related to the content of my fridge, not to what I try to eat, simply because I will eat whatever I find in the fridge. So the moment which requires discipline is not during the day by avoiding taking in too many calories (that won’t work), but while shopping. Currently my kitchen contains mainly crispbread, some salad, apples, bananas, pears and cucumbers, four eggs and some noodles. Ideally I won’t go shopping at all until everything is gone.