Report: Weigh-in date Friday September 7, 2012. Weight 276.0. Down 0.0. Total loss at the end of 16 weeks, 24 pounds. Well, if I was back on track last week I’m off again this week, but as my mom and husband both told me – you won’t lose every week.
In my usual spirit of total honesty, the weights on my scale actually edged down a tiny bit. Like, maybe 3/8 of a pound. (My scale is amazingly precise. That’s why I like it.) However, one of my rules for weigh-in is that I don’t officially record anything that is not at least a complete half-pound in either direction.
Last week I followed my own advice and did not worry about food during my trip to my mom’s. Since she has good eating habits, it wasn’t that far off plan. The biggest treat was the low fat vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries. Yum! So, I may not lose this coming week either, but if that is the case, I don’t think it will be due to what I ate in Virginia.
As the weeks go by, I’m realizing some things about weight loss in general. One thing I’ve mentioned before. Weight loss is cyclical. Even if you stick to a plan perfectly week after week you’re going to have some weeks with a good loss and some frustrating weeks. Everything in nature is cyclical and our bodies and changes to them are just as much a part of nature as an African antelope or the birds I feed in my back yard.
The second thing I’ve realized is that gender makes a difference. I’m not saying this in a mean or jealous way. It is simply an honest observation. Men have the advantage when it comes to weight loss; I have no idea why. That’s for the scientists to explain. I’m sure there’s a reason or five. Makes no difference. I happen to be female so weight loss is going to be more difficult and that is just something for which I must account in my plan.
It took a while to realize what the third factor is and how it works. Weight loss is not just cyclical; it is delayed. In fact, I think weight changes, plus or minus, are delayed, especially for those over 50. How many times have you strayed from your eating plan a little and still lost weight that week, only to stall the following week (a week when you stuck to plan)? It has happened to me lot; so much that when I analyze changes in my weight (or lack of change) I’ve learned to think back two weeks at least.
This is just my opinion, but I think our hustle-bustle, do everything at top speed, instant gratification society makes us think that what you weigh tomorrow is due to what you eat today. In reality it takes much longer than 24 hours to see most food effects. Some things happen quickly, like fluid retention from salt, but the factors that have an effect on true weight change take much longer to become evident.
Most of us are aware that our physical systems, like our metabolism, slow as we age. Combine that with the fact that food just doesn’t work as fast as we think at any age and you can see that dieters over 50 face a major mindset adjustment. We need to remember that there is a reason this is a long-term project, and it’s not just because of the number of pounds we want to lose (although in my case that is a factor). It’s also because the effect of everything we do along the way is cumulative over time.
Don’t be in such a hurry. There will be ups and downs, successes and frustrations. Talk to your diet buddies, stick to your plan, and try to relax. We will all get there, and the ones who get there first will wait for the rest of us, cheering us on!
Until next week….