Last month I created a post titled “Can I Lose 60 Pounds in 16 Weeks?” where I was challenging myself to get down to 150 pounds by the second week in January, which is when I will be running the runDisney Dopey Challenge (48.6 miles run consecutively over four days: 5K + 10K + Half Marathon + Full Marathon). I weighed in at 210 pounds when I wrote the post and here we are six weeks later and I haven’t lost a thing. This morning I clocked in at 209.4 pounds. You can see my fluctuations here:
Why the almost six pound fluctuation? Easy. Your body can have six pounds of food or water in it’s system at any given time. This doesn’t mean that I lost six pounds of fat and gained it back, it simply means that I had less food and water in my body. That’s why those “Lose 5 Pounds the First Week of This Diet” plans don’t work. Many times dieters reduce the amount of calories they are consuming so they have less food in their bodies once they get on the scale. Also, if you are upping your meats and veggies and cutting out sugars and carbs you will have less water in your body. It’s 5 pounds of food and water not 5 pounds of fat.
Did you know that for every gram of carbohydrates you eat, your body retains three grams of water to store it. That’s why you feel so bloated after binging on sugary, starchy foods, Have you ever gone on a reduced carb diet? You’ll find yourself getting up in the middle of the night for the first few nights having to pee a lot. That’s because your body is getting rid of the unnecessary water it has retained to hold those grams of carbs. Same goes for salt. Your body will compensate sodium intake with water retention.
So here’s where I sabotaged myself…
I DIDN’T TRACK MY CALORIES EVERY DAY
Weight loss is simple math for the most part. 3,500 calories equals one pound. You have to rack up a 3,500 calorie deficit in order to lose a pound. Simple math right?
Did you know that if you laid in bed all day and didn’t move at all that your body would burn calories? Good news. It’s true. Your body burns calories to perform basic internal functions like keeping your heart beating, moving your lungs when you take a breath, processing food, etc. This is called your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. It fluctuates depending on your age, height and weight. You can calculate yours here: BMR Calculator. Mine is 1,700 calories. That’s a half a pound a day I burn if I do nothing and eat nothing. I’d be at my goal weight by January if I did this. Of course I would also be emaciated…and dead. But what if I would have consumed 1,200 calories and then burned 1,200 calories by exercising? Which brings me to my next point.
I DIDN’T HAVE A PLAN
Fail to plan and plan to fail. I made the goal public, but what did I do beyond that? Not a damn thing. 60 pounds divided by 16 weeks is 3.75 pounds per week or 13,125 calories per week or an 1,875 calorie deficit per day. My body was already burning almost that amount by not doing anything. I could have easily set up a diet and exercise plan to accommodate that.
I FAILED TO STRUCTURE MY DAYS SO THAT I WOULD BE SET UP TO SUCCEED
I’m a visual person. I should have set up a huge countdown calendar with measurable goals on it. Targets that I needed to hit each day and week. I had too many social outings that revolved around food (A HUGE problem for me as a foodie) It’s a real struggle when you lead a lifestyle like mine. I’m a blogger. I blog about travel, food and experiences. Many times those experiences revolve around food and alcohol. Two things that will ultimately lead to a zero weight loss or gain. I should have tried to eliminate a few of these from my calendar or work extra hard to earn those indulgences.
I ATE LIKE SHIT AND DRANK ALCOHOL
Self explanatory. Shit in. Shit out. Like soda, alcohol is empty calories. I need to eat to live and not live to eat. I’ve starting asking myself this question before I put anything into my mouth, “Is this going to nourish my body or harm it?” Basic question but it really works.
I DIDN’T EXERCISE EVERY DAY
You ate it, now negate it.
It doesn’t have to be a full blown cardio sweat session every day. Hell, I got up this morning and took a walk around my neighborhood and burned almost 500 calories. Just by walking a little over an hour. I’m training for several upcoming races and I don’t need to get an overuse injury. I’m running two days a week and then doing a longer run on the weekend. I’ve been pretty consistent with that, but if I want a calorie deficit every day, I have to exercise every day…period.
I RATIONALIZED TOO MANY CHEAT DAYS
An alcoholic doesn’t reward themselves with a cocktail when he or she is “so many days sober” just like a smoker doesn’t reward themselves with a pack of cigarettes. We often get the “I deserve it” mentality when we work hard to reach a weight loss or fitness goal. “I deserve it” is really abusive self talk. You don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve to abuse and self sabotage your body when you make strides to get the weight off. You deserve better!
Because of my profession, I have unlimited opportunities to sabotage my diet with foodie fanfare. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I don’t want to cut these things out altogether, but I can certainly pair them down. One cheat day leads to cheat guilt which leads to oh well I’m already off the wagon so I will continue down this slippery slope. Get it in check!
I LOST MOMENTUM
Deciding is the first step. On the first day of your new diet and exercise plan you are all gung ho, rah rah, I’m going to do this. And then life happens. You skip a day here, eat a bad thing there and the momentum is gone. I wanted to blog about my weight loss and diet and I didn’t do that. I found that when I lost the weight before I did so because I was sharing my struggles with you every day. I was documenting it. And in the process of documentation I found momentum. I’m going to get back to that.
I DIDN’T WANT IT BAD ENOUGH
I wanted it, but not as bad as that trip around World Showcase noshing and sipping everything at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. I wanted it, but not as bad as I wanted to sleep in and not get on my workout gear. I wanted it, but not as bad as I did to say no to someone else’s needs so that I could work on myself. I’m choosing myself and initiating the power of “no” from now until January.
These are the tactics that have worked for me in the past when I lost 35 pounds. But don’t take my advice. I’m a failure.