Thursday, March 12, 2009

+16 (∆ -0.8)

I've been having a friendly banter with my friend Austin who's also on a weight loss program of his own called "Pounds & Inches". To be honest, I haven't read the manual he sent me about it (yet), so I can't legitimately comment on it. It seems to be working for him and I'm always a strong advocate for doing whatever works for you.

Nevertheless, I remain skeptical whenever I hear of a sudden weight loss (17.5 lbs) in such a short amount of time (less than 2 weeks). As I understand it, a sharp weight loss—though instantly and enormously gratifying—is a shortcut to long-term weight loss and statistically not sustainable, i.e., without realistic expectations, people stop seeing results fast enough and tend to relapse into their old eating and sedentary lifestyle.

In my opinion, baby steps work better. Small, nearly imperceptible changes to eating and exercise stand a better long-term chance of becoming permanent because you have time to adopt them into your life. For example, when I first went to the gym, it was only twice a week for 15 minutes. Now I go 6-7 days every week, for an hour or more. Had you told me back in January that I would end up wanting to go to the gym for as much and as long as I do now, not only would I not have believed you, but I'd have only focussed on the down sides: ...but that's so much time "wasted" at the gym... and I'll probably be so tired all the time from going so much... and what do I think about when I'm on the treadmill for an hour? and so on and so on. Instead, I limited my goals to something simple which I knew I could handle. And sometime after that, I raised the bar a little, and then a little more...

It got me thinking, though. What exactly has been my experience with weight loss? Haven't I also lost a ton of weight in the first few weeks? What's my average weight loss per week? At Day 50, my average weekly weight loss was 2.45 lbs. That seemed like a lot, but maybe there was more than one pattern at work... so I plotted out my weight loss since January 19:

If you look carefully, there are two trends on this chart—the first goes from January 19th to February 9th, where I lose a lot of weight in only 3 weeks. The next trend is everything after that. Here's how the two trends break down:

Time Span1/19-2/92/10-3/12
Starting Weight+33.5+21.6
Ending Weight+20.0+16.0
Total Weight Loss-13.5-5.60
Average Loss/Day-0.64-0.19
Average Loss/Week-4.50-1.31

It's typical in the early stage of any new eating program to drop a lot of water weight, so an initial weight loss of 4.5 lbs / week was expected. Though sometimes frustrating, the comparatively "slow" weight loss of 1.31 lbs/week starting on February 10 is exactly the rate I want to maintain until August... because by August, all my new eating and exercise habits will have forever become solidified as part of my new lifestyle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with you. However- one aspect you fail to take into account... I've been an athlete my whole life. That last couple years have brought a ton of life changes, and thus the weight got packed on. It's discouraging to have soo much weight, especially to someone who isn't used to having it. That, in itself, is even more discouraging, and allows for even more weight to come on.

The HCG Diet has been around for 30+ years, and proven to be extremely effective. It's much more widely used than most people know. For people like me, it allows to get the initial weight off, so that it's easier to jump back into their 'normal' lifestyle they've already established from years of training as an athlete. Your body has memory. Your muscles and tissues have memory. Your psyche has memory. Once the initial weight is off, it's no longer as discouraging to get back into the lifestyle of working out, eating healthy, etc. You and your body remember it, and embrace is like a long lost friend coming back home.

However, for people who have always been overweight, who have never been athletes, who just flat out don't know any better and their body has no 'memory' of being in shape- drastic effort must take place in order to establish the lifestyle of working out, eating healthy, etc etc. Certainly, if you revert back to the same lifestyle that got you our of shape to begin with, the inevitable is going to happen and you'll just gain the weight back. The common denominator here is that you must change your lifestyle to incorporate cardio, lifting/building muscle, and eating healthier. That, is the key- and how easy or hard it is relies on each individual.