Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lose Big or Fail

As I was watching the Biggest Loser last night, I started to get scale envy. One woman lost 100 pounds in 9 weeks. Others are dropping 10 or more pounds in one week. And here I am, all thrilled that I lost 11 pounds last MONTH. I started to get annoyed with myself.

Yeah, I know those people are eating 1200 calories of chicken and vegetables each day. I know they are working out for hours on end on a level I will probably never push myself to. I mean, it's extreme. VERY extreme. I would probably hurt myself if I did that stuff.

But it isn't fair that they are losing ten pounds this week and I am only losing one or two! It bugged me. And you can see the disappointment on each of their faces if they lose 4 or 5 pounds in a week... which would be a huge thrill for most of us.

How do we get from a state of wanting HUGE losses every week in order to stay motivated, to accepting and embracing the one or two (or less) pounds per week that most of us are losing? How can we get (and stay) excited about one measly pound when we have 40, 50, 100 pounds to lose?

The answer? Don't make the pounds the measure of success. Hey, there are lots of ways to see if your body is changing: measurements, pants sizes, fat calipers. You can measure your endurance and your strength. But as excited as I get when I see the scale move down (because that IS a goal, here), I am more excited about the change in the quality of my LIFE because of what I am doing.

I am happier. I have more energy. I enjoy my food more. I can move more freely. Since cutting way back on sugar, the arthritis pain in my hands has completely disappeared. That's big! Just a couple of months ago the pain in my hands was debilitating... daily... truly affecting me. Now it is gone. Just a couple of months ago I was waking up with a headache *every single day* and wondering why I felt so blah. People were even suggesting that I might need antidepressants. But I didn't need antidepressants. I needed real food. I needed to get off that *depressing* diet of junk I was eating and onto something that feeds me physically, emotionally, mentally. My quality of life is through the roof, and it's only going to get better.

After the Biggest Loser, I thought about trying to drop ten pounds in a week. I imagined cutting back to 1200 calories, super-low-carb, and increasing my exercise by a LOT. I thought about trying to bike TWICE a day, adding weights every day, and doing aerobics on the Wii Fit every day. If I spent 2 hours, maybe 3, per day working out, maybe I could drop ten pounds this week. But you know what? It's not worth it. It is NOT worth setting aside the rest of my life... my children, my enjoyment, my *life experience*... to speed up the weight loss. It is not worth risking injuring myself or burning out. You are not a failure if you don't lose huge amounts of weight each week. Because those ten pounds? They're coming off anyway. If it takes a month or two months or a week, they are coming off. I am not in a rush; this is no race. I want my life to be enjoyable while I become healthier. And that is my focus.

On another note, I made an Asparagus Gratin for dinner last night:

It was full of fresh asparagus and mushrooms and onions, and was pretty tasty. I followed the recipe here, except I halved all the ingredients except the asparagus so it would fit into a 9" pie plate. I used Egg Beaters instead of eggs and 6 slices of Kraft 2% reduced fat Swiss cheese, chopped up. One slice (1/8 of the pie) was 100 calories. I think I could improve on this recipe, though. I'll work on it.

This morning I woke up wanting one of those big traditional breakfasts you get at a pancake house, with all the goodies on one plate. I think the commercials for iHop have been getting to me. So I made myself this:

Two pumpkin whole wheat pancakes topped with walnuts and real maple syrup, one turkey sausage, two slices of real bacon, scrambled Egg Beaters, and fruit salad. Delicious! And not a bad start to the day for 375 calories.

I know you'll ask, so:
Pancakes = 1/2 c. Krusteaz wheat & honey pancake mix + the water it calls for + scant 1/2 c pumpkin + 1T flax, cooked in Pam. Makes 5 pancakes.
1/2 T toasted walnuts, 1/2 T real maple syrup, 1/4 c Egg Beaters scrambled with Mrs. Dash table blend in Pam, 1 Jimmy Dean turkey sausage link = 40 calories, 2 slices Hormel pre-cooked, frozen bacon = 80 calories. Half cup of store-bought, pre-cut fruit.

Enjoy your day. *Truly* enjoy it, and do your best. That makes you a success.


happyfunpants said...

I thought the same exact thing when I saw Shay's loss last night. 17 pounds in one week? HOLY CRAP!

I did think, if only for a second, about what the Sam Hill I am doing and questioned whether what I was doing was enough...

And then I realized that what I am doing now is changing the my identity. Crash dieting has never been the way to success for me - and that is what a 1200 calorie with 6 hour workouts a day would be.

I am satisfied with the changes I am making at the pace that I am changing them.

And I wonder if that wasn't my key to my long term weight loss. Acceptance of my true self and not comparing myself to others...

For the record, I think that what you're doing may not be the fastest way, but it is the way towards a long term/stustainable weight loss.

I'd take that any day.

NewMe said...

Personally, I think The Biggest Loser is an evil show that sets the vast majority of its viewers up for failure.

The extremely low-calorie, high exercise regimen the contestants are on is doctor supervised, first of all. Anyone who tries to do that alone could do themselves serious harm.

But what I really object to is that it's impossible to keep this pace up in the "real world", where "most" of us live. TBL creates envy, unnecessary guilt, totally unrealistic expectations, etc, etc.

I'd like to know how many of the contestants will be able to keep the weight off for five years or more.

Lyn, you should be PROUD of what you're doing. Leave stupidity for the drooling TV audience.

I've only watched a full episode of TBL once. I absolutely HATE that show.

Jeanne said...

I totally, 110% AGREE with you! It's not worth it to me to put aside my very busy and active life to devote hours and hours to exercise and to eat chicken, fish and veggies for days and days. NOPE! I guess I'll just have to be happy with that pound or two a long as it's a LOSS and not a GAIN!!! (lol)


moonduster said...

It took me a while on my journey to lose this weight to come to the realization that I wanted time in my life to LIVE, not just to concentrate on losing weight. My weight loss is slower now, but I'm enjoying life more.

Besides, my weight loss was slowing down anyway, 'cuz that's what happens when you cut calories too much and spend too much time exercising.

Diana Leah Wilson said...

You mentioned that you would probably hurt yourself if you did that stuff. The biggest loser is medically supervised and yet no one seems to notice that they DO hurt themselves despite that. On the first episode of the season, one contestant got helicoptered to the hospital, and another was unable to stand by the end of the episode.

Secondly, when they go home, alot of them are able to keep the weight off because they don't return to their lives - they spend all of their time working out and focusing on eating next to nothing. The ones that don't do this, gain it all back, it's really just another magic pill (not really magic).

You've changed your life for the better and because of that, I know you'll be able to keep it up and enjoy it.

Doug said...

yum good foodie pics :)

They are on TV, aspiring to be like anyone on any show on TV is not realistic and kind of disgusting in a lot of ways. I would not want to lose that much weight in a week. I like the slower lose and being able to do it on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

Biggest Loser, while motivating, is a crock. AND it can do more harm than good.

Losing 10 lb a week is a good way to destroy your gall bladder and end up having it removed.

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

It's not healthy, and I think it's borderline crazy what they encourage these people to do. What must someone's body be thinking that drops that much weight so fast?

I did pull one "Biggest Loser" style week during my current weight-loss journey, a week in which I ate perfectly and exercised intently and often. I managed an over 7 lb. loss but followed it up with a 2.5 lb gain once my intensity lagged. What I discovered was that it was simply too much... to much of a strain on my family, too much of a strain on my psyche... just too much.

Celebrate the small losses, I say, and continue striving to do a little better today than you did yesterday. This only has to be as hard as we make it...

Georgia Mist said...

1 - 2 pounds is optimum for losing and KEEPING the weight off -- I'm perfectly happy to lose just one pound per week.

Beth said...

My son (in 8th grade) said that in science he learned that when one takes off big amounts of fat, weight, the fat cells are still there. They want some fat to go in them- they yell for fat to be in them. Where if you take off 1-2 pounds (like the experts say) a week, the fat cells are starved and die as you go. The biggest loser people are going to have to wait until the cells die before they stop urging to be filled. I hate craving fast food and such so slow and steady seems to be a winning solution.

Jenn said...

It's taken me a year to lose my 30 lbs. At first I was disappointed with myself that it's taken this long. I've seen blogs of people who have lost 80 lbs in just 6 months. I realize now that I'm in a really good place right now. I understand how to eat healthy. I don't lust after food anymore. I enjoy what I'm eating. It's a great place to be.

Autumnforest said...

Good point. I think they pout over losing 5 pounds because they're playing a game and we get excited over 2 pounds because we're living in real life.

Lindsay said...

I read that the biggest loser is actually filmed for 8 months. So in reality (not tv reality), the contestants are actually losing a much more modest amount. You're doing great, don't pay any attention to shows that promote false hope like that:)

Larkspur said...

TBL is not life. It's a show. So much easier on your body, your skin, your organs, and your psyche to move gently towards your healthiest weight.

If we want big numbers we should go for ounces. "I dropped FOURTEEN this week!" :)

Dinah Soar said...

Lyn--I think the show BL is a one healthfully loses 10 pounds in one week. Please do not believe that show...I'd advise you to not even watch it. Never compare yourself to others when it comes to weight loss. FYI--not everyone who blogs is always truthful about everything either. I think you probably know that, but have you processed it?..just sayin...if you lose one pound a week that's 52 pounds in a year and that is awesome.

Steelers6 said...

Larkspur's ounces comment made me chuckle.

Lyn, you are so spot on w/your post here. And y'know, while ppl can speak negatively of TBL, and how things are done, it is a show that changes lives & helps ppl. And not all those ppl who's lives are changed & who have been helped are even ON the show. Plus it is often a real snowball affect which touches the lives of many. (remember Sione?) I have had the feelings you have had, scale envy, and some of it is even due to the bloggie world, not the show. But I do get that I am not on the show, yet I am encouraged by the whole premise of WL. Some of the tips and recipes are helpful, and the battle, goals, and journey. Perhaps my watching the show encouraged me to buy TBL workout DVD's. So right there was a real benefit from the show. Jillian kicks my butt! =) So we just need to remember to be encouraged by the show, & not compare & get wrapped up in the numbers. It is not the life of a mother of 5 kids. [the same goes for the bloggie world, really as far as comparing. Bloggie world is for motivation purposes only! ha. Not comparison discouragement.]

Good points, you!

100in12 said...

that Asparagus Gratin looks amazing! yum!

Susannah said...

Well, I've never seen TBL and don't want to. I try not to condemn something I know nothing about but after having read some recaps of the show on and off over the years, I have to say it must be total BS and dangerous BS to boot. Do we really need one more cultural "event" to make us feel unworthy?
Lyn, you are doing great! And I am glad you know it. I have never lost 11 pounds in a month - can't imagine. But over the last 2.5 years, I have lost 90 lbs and kept it off. And I am proud of that. I am going for the last 15 pounds and it's really tough. Thanks for the reminder to look at everything I have gained in the last 2.5 years! Your posts are really inspiring to me.

elizblogs said...

you are doing great! you are losing weight and getting healthy and doing it in real life, not on a tv show where that is your only responsibility. you're an inspiration!

antgirl said...

You can NEVER compare yourself to anyone else. That is a recipe for nothing good. Only compare to yourself and your own past.

It is better to lose 1 pound at a snails pace and learn to never gain it back, then to lose it in 3 seconds and have to repeat down the road because you learned nothing.

I don't watch the show anymore. They cry too much. and it just isn't right.

spunkysuzi said...

Honestly i had to stop watching TBL it was just too frustrating to watch.
When someone is unhappy because they "only" lost 5 lbs that week i simply can't watch it.
You on the other hand are doing great!! And i love reading your posts :)

Hallie said...

10 pounds a week? The Biggest Loser? That's just ridiculous. You're not REALLY envious of that are you? This is real life, and we know better. 11 pounds in one month is fantastic, keep it up!!!!

screwdestiny said...

"But it isn't fair that they are losing ten pounds this week and I am only losing one or two!"

But, it is fair. You said yourself that you realize they workout a lot harder and a lot more than you do, and they eat a lot less. So I think that's fair. The thing about The Biggest Loser is when the contestants are on that show, their life is about losing weight. Nothing else. It's like their job. If that was everyone's job I'm sure they could have the same kind of results. But weight loss is not your life. Your life is your kids and housework and finding time to do things that make you happy and lots of other things that I probably don't even know about. So managing to lose a couple pounds a week when there are so many other things that require your attention and time is great.

Shelli Belly said...

"Don't make the pounds the measure of success."


Simple words with huge impact. Every decision is a mile stone and pretty soon you have covered the course. The tortoise wins in the end.

Thank you for your insight.

rmslil said...

the frittata looks delicious and we have those corelle plates with the green flowers.

kelly said...

I read through this post twice - very good. I would be thrilled with a fraction of their loss but I, like you, want to have a life. Did you notice they didn't follow-up with Shay?

Anonymous said...

There is a reason that the contestants make it onto TBL... they can't do it on their own. They reached rock bottom.

Please do not compare yourself to them. You did it ALL on your OWN!

You didn't need to put your LIFE on hiatus to go on a show, you don't have people supplying you with the right food, you don't have a personal trainer, etc.

That isn't real life, unless, of course, you can afford it.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race...

Bethany said...

That breakfast is amazing!!

Anonymous said...

The Biggest Loser is not a realistic or even a remotely healthful way to lose weight. Don't even imagine to compare yourself to them. Keep going, Lyn. You have accomplished much!

Anonymous said...

I'd have to say I disagree with a lot of the criticism of Biggest Loser. I will start with that I have thought about the fact that a healthy amount of weight to lose is 2 pounds a week...In order to lose 1 pound, you need to cut down 500 calories per day...However,and this is a BIG however, the people are the show are MORBIDLY obese-and their very lives are at great great risk. The show is intense because there is no other choice at the point they are at-some even have 200+ pounds to lose-at home, it can take years and they run the risk of losing the battle (as in their lives) before that time. Plus many went on because they could not do it at home-they needed that kick in the butt, the education about food, the therapy, the doctor telling them they have Type 2 Diabetes, etc.

Additionally, it needs to be realized that in order to maintain such a high weight, these contestants are used to consuming a great deal more than 1200 a day and are not exercising at the rate they are on the ranch and so of course there are going to be big losses. Are some unable to maintain their lifestyle? Sure, but you can say that about anyone that makes the committment to lose weight and falls off the wagon. I would like to see exactly how many revert back-I know the first season guy did and admitted he was starving himself but I think overall people make lifestyle choices on that show-if you don't, of course you are going to fail. But rest assured if you keep up with eating healthy and exercising, you won't become morbidly obese again (absent some health issue.)

And some referenced that fact that people do get injuried-like Tracey-Tracey walked ONE mile and ended up in the hospital. It was an indication of just how badly out of shape she was-not a reflection on the show's failure to keep the contestants safe.

Just my two cents.

No knock on Lyn here I will note.

Erin said...

I don't know about the science of weight loss, etc - but I do know that if all of our responsibilities were taken away from us and we could focus on JUST ONE THING (weight loss or finishing my wedding thank you notes, anything!) then we would certainly succeed. But this is real life, and we still have to earn money, raise kids, maintain friendships, pay bills, the list goes on and on. I think the most unrealistic thing about the show is they really only have one thing to do. Do they even need to load a dishwasher?

You are doing fabulous! I love looking back on old posts and reading these new ones. It is so wonderful seeing you in such a great mental state. All the best!

Rebekah said...

Lyn, I just want to say I respect and admire the fact that you are real.
While I do enjoy the show (though we don't have TV here set up yet) I enjoy your blogs much more.

I know you have been working on your lifestyle change for quite a while, as I have, but its great to see you are far beyond that "I must lose 20 pounds in a month" mindset.

I appreciate that you are real, and work hard for your successes and learn from your failures. I feel it is a very different situation for those on TV because, that is their entire focus.

I think back to when I was thinner, my weight rarely crossed my mind, I had far better things to think about.
I am hoping that one day I can get back to that. Not a specific weight, but just letting life over take me instead of dieting. (having the exercise and proper food portions and eating patterns down pat).

I had managed to lose about 35 pounds last year before I had major surgery,I know I can and will do it again, but this time it will be the full 50 pounds I want to lose and regardless of if it takes 6 months or 5 years I will still be proud of myself.

Anyways I ramble but yeah jsut wanted to say that, and thank you for your dedication to your blog readers :)

Leslie said...

Hi Lyn,

I've asked you before and I'm asking again: will you please come cook for me? Your food looks great. You're doing really great now, and this loss you're experiencing in a reasonable (if slower than you'd like) manner will be lasting and not cause crazy health issues. Hang in there!

Steelers6 said...

Re Erin's query "do they load the dishwasher on TBL"..ha Yes, & see the online clip about Liz' rant on washing the blenders! Ug.

Yes, I believe they must make their own food, clean up after, and I think they do their own wash and maintain their rooms. Not sure what else the contestants are responsible for.

Oh, and there are some follow up clips on Shay online. You can also get her Jay Leno visit online.

MB said...

I agree it is all about the journey and not the destination.

There are so many things I love about the Biggest Loser but one of the things I hate about it is when they are disappointed to ONLY lose 5-10-17 pounds IN A WEEK! It is so crazy and unhealthy.

I wish there was a show about real people losing weight in a healthy way like you. ;)

Vickie said...

I do watch TBL - but when I watch - I am seeing it from a different angle.

My expectation is that ONE OR TWO from each season are actually going to get to their goal range and then be able to maintain.

So I am looking for the inner changes that are going to allow a person to REALLY understand and be able to APPLY rather than just go through the motions.

And when I watch it from my view point - I have NO scale envy.

Really fast outside changes often do not allow for the inner changes that HAVE TO COME or one is not able to maintain.

Anonymous said...

I think that TV show should be banned! Talk about an unhealthy image to send to the viewers. Ugh.

oshea12566 said...

I weigh myself daily but do not use the number as an indicator of success or failure. I am actually gaining weight, but loosing waist inches. My pants fit looser and I have had to tighten the belt even more. So why the weight increase? I am chaulking it up to muscle gain.