I’m a bit behind on my posting so I’m playing catch-up.
Week of March 4 progress: -1.4 pounds
Total loss: -89 pounds
That was a good week. Now the next week…not so much.
Week of March 11 progress: +6.6 pounds
Total loss: -82.4 pounds
There are no good excuses for why such a big gain occurred. I know exactly what happened, and why. About 2 pounds of that is water retention that normally happens around that time of the month–that’s biology. The other 4.6 pounds? Reckless eating and lack of exercise caused that. You see, my birthday was last Saturday, and traditionally, I have celebrated for a week prior to my actual birthday–I call it BirthWeek. I could hem and haw and make excuses for the gluttony and the sloth, but why? There aren’t any good ones, and whatever excuses exist are lame ones anyway.
Needless to say, the gain was a much-needed wake up call, and one that really got me thinking about new goals and new ways to tackle this plateau I seem to be on. You see, I’ve been at or close to the same weight for the last 5 months. My weight has not changed too much since October, which is really discouraging. I know that anyone who has attempted to lose weight has hit the dreaded plateau, but I seem to have been stuck on a damned mesa with no end in sight. It’s kind of depressing to know that I’ve worked this hard only to get between a rock and a hard place with no way out.
I read Chris Powell’s book Choose to Lose to see if he could provide me with any insight as to how to bust through this plateau. His book outlines a type of eating plan that utilizes carb cycling–the alternation of high-carb days with low-carb days, plus a strength training and cardio plan. I like his ideas about strength training, since they incorporate natural movements that we all do on a daily basis, like getting out of a chair (squat). His ideas about cardio are good as well: do what you like, as long as your heart rate is elevated for at least 30 minutes. I have no problem with that, as I dig riding the recumbent bike at the gym for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time, on an incline. If I could ride a regular bike, I’d be on it every single day, but alas, I never learned to ride a regular bike as a kid. And quite frankly, I’m not willing to learn now. The falling down part isn’t as easy to recover from when you’re an adult. 🙂
So what have I done to get back on track? For starters, this week I’ve cleaned up my eating considerably. I’ve also gotten my chunky butt to the gym twice this week–I plan to go for the next four days to lift weights, and ride the bike for 30-40 minutes. I started doing Tabatas on the bike to build endurance, and will be working up to a point where I can do at least 4 sets of Tabatas during a 30 minute bike ride. If you’re not familiar with Tabata training, it is a type of intense interval training that builds strength and cardiovascular endurance. I did my first set yesterday, and holy crap, 4 minutes never lasted so long! But I felt incredible afterward, and my legs were like jelly. The current plan is to do at least one set of Tabatas during my ride for the next two weeks, and then after that, work up to two sets. My bike ride yesterday went like this:
2 minutes of warm up at 60-65 rpms
Tabatas: 20 seconds of cycling at 90-100 rpms followed by 10 seconds of 50 rpms x 8 sets
9 minutes of cycling at 70-80 rpms, followed by another 15 minutes of interval riding (preset program on the bike itself)
Then I hopped off and did a 10 minute walk on the treadmill to cool down before I came home for the night.
Something else I did to refocus was to set a new goal for myself. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I wasn’t sure what thin felt like. On my Facebook wall last week, I posted a question about how would I know what size I should be. After getting feedback from friends, I determined that my next goal should not be my final desired size, but somewhere in between. Couple that with an idea gleaned from a story on the Weight Watchers site about a woman who’d lost over 100 pounds who used a pair of pants she’d purchased in the size she wanted to wear as motivation, I decided I’d do the same thing. Instead of pants, I chose this dress in a 20, 8 sizes smaller than I am now. It’s not my final desired size, but it’s close to where I think my body may eventually settle. At minimum, it gives me something tangible to aim at, which is something I’ve been lacking and that I sorely need.
I am going to give the carb cycling a try to see if it kickstarts my body into shedding weight again. Maybe my problem is that I’m not eating often enough? There have been two things during this whole process that have been extraordinarily tough for me to do: control portions, and eat more than 3 times a day. Portion control is easier to learn, because I can measure things and use my hand as a guide for how much of something I should eat. Forcing myself to eat more than 3 times a day has been tougher to do, since it’s not a behavior I was ever taught. We were always told never to eat in between meals, and I guess that’s stuck with me even after all these years.
Something else from Powell’s book that stuck with me was this line: “Who you think you are dictates how you react to situations you encounter daily.” I thought about that, and let it ruminate for a bit: am I going to continue to be overweight, or am I going to uncover the curvy athlete I know is under all this fat?
There is an athlete in here somewhere. She’s buried under my fat, and I’m determined to let her out, bit by bit.
Now you’re probably wondering after all this why the title of the post is “39.” I turned 39 last Saturday. Going into the last year of my 30s has really forced me to think about how I want to begin my 40s. I’ve decided I want my 40s to be healthier than my 30s have been, and I will get there, come hell or high water. I will be smaller and healthier at 40 than I am now at 39.
I’m not backing down.