Sunday, September 19, 2010

Losing Weight Fast is NOT My Goal Anymore

Weigh in: 184. I lost two pounds this week!

I have had a bit of a struggle in my mind over the past few months. It involves the conflict in my head between the desire to lose weight super fast and get this weight off NOW versus the desire to lose weight in a slower, less restrictive manner. This is not a "problem" I have ever faced before; all my weight loss efforts in the past took 100% of my effort *just* to get a few pounds off a month, if that, and I was just glad to be going in the right direction. But a pound or two a month, while it *will* get you to goal, feels rather tedious after awhile. When I was calorie counting, even when I was losing weight regularly it felt like I was always doing the maximum I could possibly do.

Now, it's different. The weight I am losing on Medifast is pretty regular without having to put ALL my focus into weight loss. Yes, it still takes effort (more some days than others) to stay on plan, exercise, avoid the trigger foods, and plan and prep healthy dinners for me and the kids. But I pretty much know I am going to lose weight every month unless I go way, way off plan. I lost 5 pounds last month and 7 pounds per month from April-July. That, to me, seems like a healthy rate of loss... 1-2 pounds per week. But I *could* be losing faster. And that's where the conflict comes in.

A lot of people on Medifast are very strict with it. They eat their five Medifast meals as is, not adding anything to them, not tweaking at all. They eat their 5-7 ounces of protein (chicken, beef, fish, whatever) and their 3 vegetable servings, measure their allowed fats, and stick ferociously to 3 or less condiments per day (if any). Shun the optional snacks or maybe have a pickle spear or celery stalk and that's it. Among Medifasters, this is called being a "100%-er": following the plan with no variations. And you know what? They lose weight pretty fast. In fact, some people who have been on Medifast about as long as I have, have lost *double* the amount of pounds as me. So I look at that and go, "Gee, I am not doing this strictly enough! I could be done by now!" And then I try to be a 100%-er, too. And my weight loss does speed up that week...

*BUT*... and this is a very big but... I end up feeling very insecure and unsure about my weight when I lose weight too quickly. My body changes too fast for my brain and I get this disconnect and end up overeating... probably to subconsciously stall myself and slow the loss down. My style has been to eat the Medifast meals but to add some condiments when I think they need a little spicing up. To add in a cup of coffee with sugar free creamer here and there when I want to unwind. To go ahead and have that optional snack of peanut butter or almonds because I *enjoy* them. When I eat that stuff I don't feel the least bit deprived, and I am not hungry (except during certain times of the month). If I *do* get hungry I might even have a low fat string cheese before bed, which is an extra and not on plan. But when I eat this way I feel so much more relaxed. The weight still comes off. A pound or two a week, my brain can handle. A slowly morphing body that I pay attention to is good. Losing 5-7 pounds a month gives me time to *be okay* with the changes, the skin issues, the clothes that I *just bought* turning too loose. If I lose faster than that, it gets scary. So while I say kudos to those who are strict and lose 12 or 15 pounds a month, I think that in general that is just a bit much for me *emotionally*. And I JUST came to that conclusion today.

So the nice part is, the struggle is over in my head. I don't feel bad anymore that I am not being super strict and losing rapidly; everyone is different, and *this* is what works for *me.* Yes, I actually could change my eating a bit and lose faster, but I don't really want to do that. If I were to drop 15 pounds this month, I think I wouldn't have time to do the mental processing that is essential for keeping the weight off. So, for me, though it will take me a little longer to get there, losing a little slower is worth it.

*FTC-required disclosure: Medifast provided me with its products for my personal use for free. Medifast states an "average weight loss of up to 2 to 5 pounds a week."*


30 comments:

Alan (Pounds Off Playoff) said...

Having gained a pound or so this week, after having lost 5 in the past 2 weeks, this post is just what I needed! Thanks. Also, I read your loose skin post and all the comments....another reminder to me that slow and steady has its advantages.

Autumnforest said...

You have a great attitude. I admit that over the past several months I decided to get a divorce, filed for divorced, moved out of my home into an apartment and am starting a new life. Funny, but no longer being in that really screwed up relationship, I don't need food. I dropped weight really fast. I was putting my clothes away in my new closet and realized that none of them fit. I had a huge pile on the floor of stuff to give away. A year ago that would have made me so thrilled but right now it kind of surprised me. I stopped and looked down at my body and lifted up my arm and looked at it and it looked like someone else's arm. I had a moment of disconnect with my body. I'm reentering my body again now by lotioning it up, feeing the new contours, getting some clothes at fit, but I still stop at mirrors and go "is that really my body?" I used to do that when I gained weight "I'm a really that fat lady?" It's funny how the mind has to play catchup. I had no trouble at all adjusting to being single or on my own for the first time in my life, but the weight--that shocked me. haha

Floriana said...

It's all the matter of perspective. In my eyes 5-7 pounds a month is not slow at all, but for you it is. We are all different. Good for you for finding your own pace.

spunkysuzi said...

I find when i try to be too strict with my eating i'm setting myself up to fail.
But by trudging along at my own pace and stepping less often on the scale i'm feeling a lot more secure in the knowledge that i'm getting healthier and losing weight is definitely a by-product of that.
As usual i love your post :)

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought as Alan about the loose skin issue. I wonder if losing the fat at a slower rate would give the skin more time to adjust.

laine said...

I'm curious about the restriction on condiments. Do they explain why you can only have 3? Is it to take away the "tastes good" aspect of food so that you don't want more?

Lyn said...

laine~

technically it is because condiments have carbs. The limit is 3 per day and each condiment needs to be about 1 gram of carbs. Since it is a low carb plan, too many condiments can slow the losses. It might not seem like much but a lot of extra seasonings do add up the carbs. And yes, I think also making sure the food is not TOO YUMMY helps. The food tastes good but it is not triggering as is.

solidice242 said...

I needed to read this post. I am so frustrated whenever i step on the scale and it doesnt more or it only moves 2 lbs in a week or two cause i feel like I am working out and eating right and its all for nothing. But I should be focusing on living healthy rather than losing fast. the weight will come off in time

MargieAnne said...

To stay in the game for the long haul there are a couple of things that are essential. You must enjoy what you are doing. It sounds as though being a 100% would be stressful so why change what works.

You live a busy life ... Keep it in balance. I suspect that being so strict regarding food throws the balance out the window.

You have proven that what you are doing is successful for you and the goal is in sight. You need to be living so that when you transition to maintenance you can continue to manage.

I'm sure you have an idea in mind of how you are going to make that transition and it won't be 100% Medifast. You can't live on it forever.

Blessings.

MargieAnne said...

Sorry. My last comment was meant to encourage you. Maybe it sounded a little sharp.

I meant to say something more like this. Medfast is a weight loss tool and the day is coming when you will chose to eat mostly natural foods. To depend 100% on Medfast seems like setting up for long term failure or at best a really difficult time adjusting to maintenance.

All the best as you follow your plan and believe in yourself.

NewMe said...

Without providing you with all the academic references (etc. etc.), I would say that most serious people agree that a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is by far the healthiest, sanest way to do things.

I suppose if you start out weighing 500 pounds or so, initially the weight will come off faster, but generally speaking, the 1-2 pound pace is the best.

So hats off to you!

Anonymous said...

That is so important that you found your own way to do it. You are the best person to know what is the best pace for you.

Martha said...

You are an inspiration. I have been following you from afar but wanted to say that you just speak sense. Fab :)

Trixie said...

That's a very healthy way to look at it. One of the reasons I'm losing weight with the Lap band is so that I can do it slowly enough so that my brain can adjust.

Years ago I lost nearly 100lbs pretty quickly and I never really handled it mentally and I think that's why I regained. Now is the time for me to go slow and do the 'head work'.

Dinah Soar said...

Being too strict can be counter productive. Better to go a bit slower and stay the course. That old saying 'slow and steady winds the race' is true.

Madame said...

One of my fitness role models blogged one day, "Don't lose weight fast, lose it forever." It totally put me in a different position as to how I approached my journey and ultimately, my goals.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Lyn! I think people who strictly adhere to a certain type of diet or weight-loss protocol that is designed for the masses are trying to crowbar their unique bodies, habits and bodily responses to weight loss in a way that automatically sets them to up compare their progress with everyone else who's doing it, and that makes no logical sense. I borrow good tips from everything I've read and see how my body does with it, and make the necessary tweaks for the results I want, and it works. Ultimately, it's an individual journey. -- CK

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

It's good that you have discovered this and come to terms with it. I don't think we do ourselves any favors when we compare to others. We need to find out what is right for us.

I am the kind of person who either needs to be 100% (or very close) or I would slip into 0%. That's just how I roll. I've had a hard time losing weight because it was like looking at a huge mountain and having a tiny shovel. Where if I have a bigger tool (like a bull dozer), it doesn't seem so daunting. That's what Medifast has done for me... has given me the ability to conquer that mountain that I haven't been able to do with any other tool.

We have to compare ourselves with ourselves and not with each other because we're all so different. I think a lot of women relate to you and in that way you are able to be an inspiration and upliftment to many people. That is an awesome thing! Plus, you are improving your own health and life. Kudos to you! ;)

~Margene

Theresa said...

Being "too strict for what you are comfortable with" is like running up hill on loose shale......
conterproductive and you backtrack more than you progress....
Good for you finding your sweet spot. :)

Lisa said...

you are smart to do what works for you.

Lori said...

We all have to choose our own path and do what works for us. I'm glad for you that you have found your path.
Lori

FYT614 said...

@Margene--That's me completely. I know me just as Lyn, you know you and everyone has to do what will work best for themselves.

I've been trying to lose weight for what seems like all of my life and for the first time (I'm 36) I actually can see my weight loss goal. Losing the weight quickly is keeping me motivated. I've lost 114 pounds and have 61 more to go.

As for the skin issues, if you have a strong toning and exercise regimine that helps. I haven't done my toning as strictly as I should and it shows. But when I do them, I see the difference.

Great post, though Lyn. We all have to find our own way.

brighide said...

I think I had an ah ha moment while reading your post! I once lost 30 lbs in 3 months counting calories. I remember feeling a disconnect from my body and for some reason fear set in and I began binge eating again and regained it all back plus some. I need to find out why I got so scared. That's the root of this for me. Thanks Lyn!

Lanie Painie said...

Awesome post. WOrk the program as it works for you. Nobody knows your body and mind better than you do. As long as you're comfortably losing, continue doing what you've been doing. Your results are still pretty fantastic!

icannotweight said...

Oh man! i think getting down 1-2lbs a week CONSISTENTLY is fast for me now! I have found I tend to lose for a few weeks, hover or even gain for a week or two, then start the cycle over again.

Blythe said...

Congrats on amazing journey. You inspire people to take power back from their food, lives and emotions. Keep up the good work. From someone who's been there and back, it will become second nature to you after time. But, having been previously obese, there are just caveats I have to accept. Keep trigger foods out of the house, know portion sizes and basic nutrition.

You're absolutely right, this is a journey that doesn't end until we do!

Keep up the good work,
Blythe @
SupperSmiths.com

Steelers6 said...

I think it is probably good to lose at the rate you are...not too fast. This way you find foods more enjoyable, too, thereby not feeling 'punished' or deprived or anything. Seems it makes it more doable, which in turn makes it LAST longer.

Probably good that you are writing it out here, so that you can see for yourself that "relaxed vs. scarey" which makes it pretty clear about your program choice and loss rate.

Really liked what spunkysuzi said "I find when i try to be too strict with my eating i'm setting myself up to fail. I think that is pretty true. Way too many regulations is a bit much for the brain. This is about something we can stick with for a lifetime, after all. Bizarre, I know, but I have to kind of 'play tricks' with my brain. I can't say that X is totally off limits and such, or it won't work. And my loss rate is quite slow; the power to speed it up lies within myself, but this is working. So I think I'll stick with what is working. And has now for 2.5 years, so that says something too, eh?
Chrissy

Happy Fun Pants said...

I get freaked out when I lose weight too fast - and it's a mental game to not eat stuff just because it is sometimes worries me.

Honestly, every time I get to 56.2 pounds (exactly half the weight I want to lose) I freak out and gain some - even only a little bit - that week.

(sigh)

The Serial Slimmer said...

Good point. Really agree with the idea of losing weight at a slower pace. These days, we're programmed to beleive, if you want to lose weight, then results must be immediate, but why?

Surely it's better to aquire habits that will last a lifetime and keep us slim!

Nicole said...

I totally identify with this post. I have a friend who was a very successful jackrabbit on Medifast, so it's hard at times not to compare myself, since I am definitely a tortoise! I find that if I force myself to adhere 100% to the plan, that I'm more prone to binges. If I allow myself a little more flexibility, I don't go off plan hardly at all.

Way to go, girl!