Three Learnings from the Weekend

Alternate blog title: Two useless things and one really long rant about being discouraged.

So I learned a few things over the weekend.

#1. Mid-January is evidently the best time to buy a new calendar.

Sure, you miss out on, uhh, knowing what day it is for a couple of weeks, but you save big money! Some random store at the mall was advertising 75% off calendars, so I snagged this smexy Marilyn Monroe calendar for a whopping $3.97. #girlcrush

#2. I don’t know why I’ve ever bothered drinking from any water bottle other than my Hydro Flask before.

I bought one over the summer after witnessing its magical cold-maintaining powers at the pool one day thanks to my friend Lara. Despite sitting out in the summer sun for an hour and the outside being hot to the touch, the inside water was still ice-cold! Literally, there was still ice inside! Epic.

I kind of forgot about it after the summer heat faded, but dug it out again recently as I’m trying to increase my water intake (given this whole thing where working out makes me sweat about 50x more than I used to… and I’m already a really sweaty person…) and I’m still so impressed by it’s Elsa-like powers to keep my water iceeeey cold. I know that it’s winter, but drinking copious amounts of water is SO much easier for me when it’s cold. I think cold water just tastes better.

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#3. My body doesn’t want me to be sane anymore.

Here’s the skinny (HA, apt choice of words) on losing weight this time around: It. Is. Not. The. Same. As. Last. Time.

I’m just a little over two weeks into my — shudder — journey (I really hate using that term, but hey, you gotta call a spade a spade sometimes, eh?), so I realize that this may sound super whiny and annoying and entitled and generally make me sound like a brat, but I am feeling super discouraged right now. Why, you ask? Well, because despite carefully tracking my food (I use My Fitness Pal) and working out six days a week, I have yet to lose a single pound.

Yuppppp. Not one.

So, here’s the thing. Logically, I can kinda understand. My body is “adjusting.” Maybe it’s holding onto some extra water. I’m on my period (sorry dudes.) I get that there does technically exist some kind of reason why this may be happening.

But.

I don’t really know what that reason is.

And emotionally, I am not able to make peace with it. Because the last time I made some serious changes to my eating habits, you know what happened? I lost TEN POUNDS in one week. Yes, back in August of 2010, the very first time I started counting my calories, tracking my food, and cleaning up my diet, I had lost ten fracking pounds by the second time I weighed myself. I kid you not.

Now, again, LOGICALLY I realize that it was almost all water weight, that I was probably super bloated from my terrible eating habits and blahblahblah. It’s not like I was really expecting the exact same thing to happen this time, but I did expect SOMETHING to happen. I mean, even with all my admittedly half-hearted attempts to reinvigorate/kickstart my weight loss over the past couple years, I’ve at least been able to drop a pound or two in the beginning. You know, before giving up again. Heh.

Look, I know that weight loss isn’t supposed to be my main focus this time, my overall health and fitness is. And that’s still true. I am genuinely excited about the non-scale related changes that I am starting to see — completing P90 moves faster or more easily, my waistband leaving a shallower impression in the skin on my stomach, being able to hold a plank for more than 5 seconds (seriously, that’s how about how long I could manage the first time), feeling something that resembles muscles underneath my squishyness.

But, all that being said, as someone who, in the past, has really only measured her progress by the numbers on the scale, it is still SUPER frustrating that I am not losing anything. Frustrating and so, so discouraging. I just don’t understand how the scale can be staying the same when I AM seeing the above-mentioned changes!

If I was doing something blatantly counterproductive to my weight loss, that’d be one thing. If I was accidentally overcompensating for my new workout regimen by eating way more than I’m burning, if I was not actively tracking my calories and thus there was a big disparity between what I thought I was eating and what I was actually eating, well, that would explain things.

But I’ve been tracking my food and counting my calories quite diligently over the past 10 days. I’m averaging between 1500 – 1600 calories/day (some days lower, some days higher, of course), so wouldn’t you think that I should have shifted down a pound or so by now? Am I eating 100% clean? Of course not. But even if I ate, say, pizza, I kept my portions in check, logged it, and compensated with my food for the rest of the day.

Even if I was underestimating my calories and logging less than I’m actually eating (which is technically possible, since I do have to making estimations when I eat out and whatnot), I can’t imagine that the difference is so great that I’m actually eating at maintenance level for my current weight. I mean, I weigh a lot. So, even without working out, or hell, even without walking around my daily life, my BMR is around 1,900 calories just sitting there, doing nothing but breathing.

I really wish I could blame this on something. I know I talked above about how there might be a few reasons why things are progressing so slowly this time, but there’s no real way for me to know for sure what theย reason is. And I honestly think it would make me feel better if I could just figure out what specific something is making the numbers stay stagnant. If I could identify the problem and attempt to “fix” it.

But, sadly, for the most part, there doesn’t seem to be anything I can pin this on. Nothing apparent to me, at any rate. And while I’d love to be able to lay claim to the old adage that “muscle weighs more than fat” (technically a fallacy — muscle is more compact than fat, so it takes up less room, but a pound is a pound), that really shouldn’t be a factor at this stage in my fitness, or at my current weight.

So, I gots nothin’. Le sigh.

I know that I need to keep a level head about this. After all, these things take time, and two weeks is barely any time at all when you’re talking about a lifelong journey (there’s that word again). And I know I really shouldn’t compare this time to the first time, because there are so many factors that have changed. I’m older, for one thing. I’ve already lost and gained a significant amount of weight, so my metabolism may not be functioning quiet the same way. And the fitness thing is, as I’ve already explained, a really big change for me, so maybe it is just taking my body some time to figure out how to deal with that, haha.

It’s just… hard. I don’t want to feel like this — emotionally tied to a stupid number on a stupid scale. I want to be able to be confident that what I’m doing is making a difference, whether the scale wants to admit it or not. I want to feel proud of hitting milestones like two weeks of daily workouts — a real achievement for my lazy ass! — instead of despondent because it’s not working fast enough.

But… I also want the reassurance that what I’m working for (because it really does feel like work right now) isn’t in vain. I want to be able to see myself doing this — eating well, working out, leading a fitter life — well, I dunno, like, forever? And it’s just hard to really imagine that without receiving any kind of incentive or motivation along the way. I mean, you wouldn’t work at a job you didn’t like if you never got paid, right?

But hey, I just gotta stick with it, right? Discouraged or not, unmotivated or not, I keep going. I whine a lot, but I keep going. Who knows, maybe this week will be the week that things regulate and the number starts dropping. Or maybe once my monthly ladybusiness is all tied up and I’m feeling a little bit more balanced, I’ll just feel differently. Maybe I’ll be able to focus more on the positive notes that I totally glossed right over in this post, haha.

So here’s to the next two weeks, and the next two after that, and the two after that. With hopefully at least a little bit of good news, a smidge of motivation, and a few encouraging results along the way. Okay, rant over. ๐Ÿ™‚

18 Comments

  1. Lizsays:

    I’m basically in the same place with a new routing and calorie count. Did you take measurements and photos before you started like Beach body recommends?

  2. Friend, you are singing my song.

    I started right after Christmas. Doubled my vegetables. Daily yoga. Run/walking 3 times a week. Minimal sugar and alcohol (not none – I like to have a good time). I feel fantastic. I can see a difference in my forward fold (finally). I am doing everything (and a little more, honestly) that has equalled success for me in the past.

    And the scale hasn’t budged. Not even a single tenth of a pound. And it isn’t broken. I’ve checked.

    So what am I doing? I’m doing what I need to do for me. I’m eating well. I’m yoga-one and running. And my husband hid the scale.

    I’m walking my talk. I am doing this for my health. And if I lose weight? Great. That’s gravy. But I’m trying so hard to make healthy choices for health’s sake and not vanity.

    Like I said, friend, you are singing my song. I’m glad I’m in good company!

  3. Aprilsays:

    I hate that the scale has got you down. I understand how frustrating that can be, but I know you know that the way you’ve been eating and moving has improved your health, whether you can SEE that improvement on the scale or not! Try not to beat yourself up about the scale. So many factors there that you cannot control! Have you read Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size? It really helped me, if you’re interested.

  4. Laurasays:

    I like to measure my blood pressure when I’m working out more and getting healthier, since that often shows more quickly than the el bees. It sounds like an old lady way of measuring healthy, but seeing a drop in numbers can be really encouraging, especially when you know it indicates and overall improvement in HEALTH!

    Another nsv I like is the amount of time it takes to get back to a resting heart rate after getting it up – this will show you improvements in overall fitness. I’d try measuring things like this in this in between period to help remind you of the other reasons you’re doing this. It can feel surprisingly awesome to show yourself that you’re more fit, even if you don’t weigh less yet.

    I would also try alternating some days off during the week, even if they’re active rest days. A) you don’t want to burn yourself out (it happens after a few weeks of daily workouts, and it can be really hard to get back at it after the burnout), and B) sometimes it can hinder your weight loss (because things don’t ever make sense). Maybe try doing a yoga day on a wednesday or going for a long walk if it’s above 40.

    Good luck dude! Keep at it!

  5. Fleursays:

    Exact. Same. Story. Here! I have been logging and counting and exercising, and the scale hasn’t budged. But, I really think that I’m gaining muscle. And it sounds like you are, too. It doesn’t take much exercise to gain muscle, two weeks of exercise is more than enough to gain a few pounds of muscle. Look at the evidence: you can do longer planks, your waistband is looser, you feel better. So, figure you maybe lost two pounds of fat, and gained two pounds of pure muscle. That’s a huge deal! Keep going, and the extra muscle will kick up your metabolism and the fat will come off more quickly. You WILL see results! It’s the “being patient” part that sucks. I’m going to start taking my measurements to track progess. I also saw that you can get a cheap body fat percentage measuring tool on Amazon. Keep up the good work, I’m still betting on you!

  6. Been there, had these exact same thoughts. I evevtuLly had to quit weighting myself so often (I switched to once a week, Tuesday mornings) because it was driving me batty. I agree with above posters that it will take a little bit, and there are lots of reasons for it, but doesn’t it just suck?

  7. Margotsays:

    Thanks for such an honest post! I love your blog and am cheering for you!! Keep it up and don’t get down on yourself!

  8. Hannesays:

    Have you considered keeping track of your measurements in stead of using the scale for progress? You’ll probably see a difference rather quickly considering how much you work out (thighs, waist, upper arms, etc).

    Also, as counter-intuitive as it may sound, your body may be holding on to some weight due to the shock of going from very few to a whole lot of work-outs – you may actually se a quicker loss if you factor in a rest day or two each week (no guarantees, of course – bodies are weird). However, it will probably “get over it” when it gets used to your new regime, and start cooperating.

    Keep up the good work, anyways – you WILL se a change eventually!

  9. Katiesays:

    i’m excited to see you blogging again! and i’m super impressed with the p90 workouts… that takes more balls than i have!

    i had the same thing happen when i got my butt in gear last summer… i was working out with a trainer 2x/week and working out alone 2-3x, but wasn’t seeing any change in the scale. eventually i figured out that it takes time for your body to change for real, and also muscle weighs more than fat, so i was losing but also gaining a ton of muscle ๐Ÿ™‚ someone else suggested measurements… that’s a good way to see non-scale losses for sure.

    also, food related, do you pay attention to your macros at all when tracking calories? i didn’t look at this at all for a while, and i found when i ate a more balanced 1800 calories – 33% each of protein, fat and carbs – i saw the scale change.

    keep with it! you’re doing great!!

  10. My body totally went through a shift after I left my mid-twenties ands started approaching my 30’s. Before then, I could diet and drop weight pretty quickly. In fact, I dropped it so fast that I didn’t stress if I put on ten pounds. That was just a few weeks of switching to diet and not eating snacks! Easy-peasy!

    Now? My body does NOT like losing weight. I can eat picture-perfect diets, exercise, give up any joy food or drink, and STILL, I lose ounces, not pounds. I finally put the scale in time-out, because it was either that, or cry into some Ben & Jerry’s.

  11. I know how good it feels to have something to blame, because then you feel like you can take action, but let me hit you with this. I’m not saying this to be a bummer, because once you wrap your head around it, I really think it will help. There might be nothing to blame it on. There may not be any problem for you to fix. For reals. Our bodies aren’t these perfect machines, and so we can’t always predict our results or the way our bodies will react. You might be doing everything right for your body to lose weight, and it just plain ol’ doesn’t show yet. I would urge you not to change a damn thing, just to keep chugging along for now how you have been. Wait to re-weigh yourself in a few weeks. Hopefully at that time you’ll see a loss, and if not, then may be the time to reassess and possibly talk to a nutritionist or doctor. You may need to up your calories, actually. You may have a hormone imbalance stopping you from losing this time around. You may have a food sensitivity preventing weight loss. You could have thrown your metabolism out of whack, and need help resetting it. But I think two weeks is too early to get worried and start making changes. You are doing well, so keep doing the same thing and give it a little more time. It may feel immediately uncomfortable not to have something to blame, but wouldn’t it be cooler if you find out it was actually a fluke, there’s nothing to blame,and you’re already on track? Or if you hit a blockade, you hit a blockade, and then you can reach for the tools to fix it.

    But actually, I’d argue that you already do have something to show for these awesome changes you’ve been making! Your clothes are slightly looser. I’m sure your energy levels are feeling great due to working out, and you’re probably getting better sleep at night. I bet you’re feeling confident and proud that you’re making good decisions like working out and eating pretty well, even though it’s hard and sometimes sucks and makes life feel unfair. Think of yourself as being an unpaid intern at a dream company. You might not be makin’ da moolah yet, but you are working towards a cause you really fucking care about, you’re learning along the way, and you’re still seeing lots of benefits even if they aren’t the money-kind. And life’s not all about the money, so there’s that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Adriennesays:

    Long-time lurker here to say: Get outta my head today!!!
    Started to re-count calories and get re-committed after the Holidays a couple weeks ago, and decided to step on the scale this morning, all excited and whatnot. After all, I’ve been running again, eating under calorie goal (thanks to a new FitBit….so I KNOW I’m being at least more accurate than I was before), aaaaaand….a GAIN?!? ugh.

    I’ve thought all your thoughts today. Your rant has been my rant. All I can tell myself is to KEEP GOING. I’ll never know why my body reacts the way it does, and I still won’t know when, on a random week, I’ll LOSE weight after a night of margaritas and tacos.

    But let’s keep doing this! Because things will change, and things will get better, and we’ll be stronger as a result : )

  13. Ugh, man I hear you!!! I’ve been in a plateau for MONTHS! You’ll get there…you’ve done it before, you’ll do it again! (P.S. Loooong time reader, first time commenter- I loved your book!)

  14. Kashisays:

    You can do it! Don’t give in to the dumb ol scale. Think of all us cheering you on from out here and how proud we are to watch you do this super hard stressful thing. You got this and the scale will have to admit it soon enough!

  15. Take your measurements too. I started weight lifting last summer, and I lost ~28 inches while losing very little on the scale.

    It’s discouraging not to see that number move, but it helps when you can see it in your inches and how your clothes fit.

  16. Chloesays:

    It’s my understanding that you shouldn’t eat below your RMR – so if you are eating well below that, your body is most likely holding onto weight. Is eating 1600 calories a day sustainable for you, especially when working out? It may seem counterintuitive, but try & bring up that number & see what happens!

  17. I haven’t consistently lost weight since 2010. I started my year at about 283, and with eating well, consistent exercise, and a new waitressing job, I got down to 238. I looked and felt amazing. I’ve since gained it back, and then some, and have been having trouble getting the scale and the measuring tape to budge. Frustrating, but just keep on going, and hopefully the new healthy habits will start to make a big change.

  18. I agree with Chloe about maybe upping your calories a bit to see if that helps. With as much as you are working out, you may not be fueling enough, so your body is holding on to the extra stores. I find that when I’m on a more intense fitness schedule (not the case at the moment), I do better with 1800-2000 calories per day (I’m 5’1″), but everyone’s body is different.

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