Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When Two Plus Two Doesn't Equal Four

Well, after my oh so enthusiastic I’m in love with numbers post earlier this week, I am not so enamored of them right now. I was loving them so much that I created a whole Excel spreadsheet to track all the factors that contribute (or not) to losing weight. On it I’ve got current weight, daily calories eaten, base metabolic rate, calories burned, and weekly estimated weight loss based on those numbers. Then I’ve got actual weight loss, weight watcher points, and BMI.

I know this sounds geeky, but please understand that this endeavor really is new to me. Besides after having babies, I’ve never consciously tried to lose weight and have never been on a real diet in my life. And, given that in the first three weeks I only lost one pound, I think it is understandable that I have gone a little overboard in making this a Big Project, bringing in Science to help. Anyone who knows me personally knows that when I put my mind to something, I tend to go all the way with it. I want to be successful at this!

Well, I tried to add my xcel psreadsheet but can't figure it out. Oh well, just trust me it is complicated and very thorough.

So, guess why I’m not seeing the beauty of numbers so clearly this week? This week the numbers don’t add up, and I only lost 1.2 pounds. Okay, the main reason is the 1.2 loss rather than the 3 pounds of the past few weeks, but really, it’s not what it’s supposed to be! I know that this is within normal and safe loss range. But by my lengthy and detailed calculations, my estimated weight loss was 3.02.

I could see it coming because throughout the week when I weighed myself (obsessively, as I do) most of the time I wasn’t dipping below 189. So, really I’m surprised that the scale showed 188 this morning. Now, here’s where I have to listen to those wiser and more experienced in this little thing called losing weight. MauiShopGirl on SparkPeople, who is a Weight Watcher lifetime member, advised me earlier this week,
“Long term, non water weight loss doesn't usually happen at more than 1 lb per week so don't feel discouraged if you don't have a 3lber each week. Celebrate those weeks that are 0.5 lb, 1 lb or maintain.”

My initial response to even the anticipated smaller loss was to start slipping into that dark place of soothing my disappointment by eating. One of the major changes I’ve made in my eating I haven’t talked about at all up until now. That is eating in the middle of the night. When I’m alone, i.e., nobody’s in bed with me, I almost always have been eating something either before going to sleep and/or if I wake up in the middle of the night. I liken it to a baby with a bottle or breast.

Eat something so I can go to sleep. It’s soothing. And what is more soothing than carbs and cheese?

Remember, my cheese is your chocolate. So, for quite a while that was more often than not a tortilla and cheese or a sandwich. Mind you I usually added something healthy in there like tomatoes and/or lettuce, but don’t forget the mayo. Sometimes it was “a little leftovers”, translated: another mini dinner. And those of you who count calories or WW points know those attempts at soothing myself probably added up to 300-500 calories or 3-5 WW points. Right when I wasn’t going to burn them off. Remember, nobody in my bed. So, I have really cut that out. I mean, other than an occasional LCLW or a bowl of berries and yogurt, I’ve stopped eating in bed. And when I do eat those things, they do count. I meticulously add them the next morning to my previous day’s totals.

Well, last night when I woke up in the middle of the night I weighed myself sometime during those few hours, and I was still 189. So, what did I do? I made myself a LCLW and tomato corn tortilla quesadilla. Not as bad as what I would have eaten in the past, but still not a regular stop I want to make on this journey. So, then the dilemma was where to add the calories and points – to yesterday’s totals or today’s? Technically it was already today, but since I went back to sleep, it was also last night. I was going to add it to today’s, but while writing this, I decided to add it to yesterday’s since I hadn’t done my official Wednesday Weigh-in yet.

So, the revised estimated weight loss was 2.97, and since I forgot that last week I was 189.6, not 189 like I had in my head, my actual loss was 1.6 pounds. Now, that doesn’t sound so bad. The numbers still don’t add up, but I like that extra almost half pound. See how I'm already beginning to accept that every week isn't going to be a 3 pounder, even if the numbers say they should?

Still, I have to watch that “emotional eating” component now and in the future, and take the lesson my friend Michelle (who just finished her first tri! Yay, Michelle!) has demonstrated so well. If I keep doing what I know will contribute to a healthier lifestyle and weight loss, the pounds will come off. A setback or a small loss does not mean it's all over, the goal is to change my lifestyle and maintain that. That doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t keep tracking numbers, because I really do love them, those silly little predictable units.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I was singing along with you there at the end! I was so impressed with your calorie thing working out exactly but I guess I didn't consider things like water retention, or slower metabolism for some reason or another, or god knows what else. Pesky thing are throwing off your science!

I think it's great that you're tracking all this stuff. I'm a numbers fan myself, even though my tracking has been in the shit-can these past few weeks :O

What I think is even better is that you are making the kind of long term changes that will lead you right to your goal. Maybe not on the timeline you had in mind, but eventually you'll get there. Sooner than later too I might add! Keep rocking it!!