Thursday, May 5, 2016

I'm Not Losing Weight

For nearly four weeks now, I've been logging all my food into MyFitnessPal. I used MFP for about two weeks a year or two ago when I needed to be a little more mindful, but soon stopped because I didn't like how obsessive I was getting.

This time is different. Even though MFP forces you to count calories, I've been using it as a glorified food journal and basically ignoring the calorie count. Am I eating mindlessly? Am I eating a handful of fun-sized chocolates when I could be eating grapes or peanut butter on carrots or an apple or whatever?
I'm choosing more veggies and fruits these days instead of candy, pastries, and crackers for snacks, and I'm making fresh lunches instead of eating canned soup every day. 
This exercise has done the trick, and I'd like to be able to move away from using the app and back to trusting my instincts, but I don't think I'm there yet.

I very rarely weigh myself, but I was curious to see if making smarter food choices was making a difference beyond my energy levels and stamina during workouts. My doctor weighed me at my yearly checkup in February and I weighed the same as I have since 2011. This week, I put the battery back in our scale - we never use it so we keep the battery out in case we need it for something else! - and stepped on first thing in the morning.

I weighed exactly the same as I did in early February.

Now, that alone doesn't seem that crazy, but consider this: I've been the exact same weight for five years. For awhile I was stable at one weight; then I began running and over a year or two I put on some weight (probably mostly muscle - I can tell because my thighs and butt are much curvier and stronger than they used to be), and since then I've been stable at this new weight.
I'm adding way more fresh vegetables to my dinners by sticking with what I know I'll eat - I could eat mountains of zucchini, so I've found a way to eat it almost daily instead of making something like spinach or peas, which I'll barely touch.
I'm fine with this weight and actually, being here is a relief because I know it means my body is consistent. I know I'm feeling better and I probably have more muscle now than I did even a couple months ago. But I just think it's funny and weird that my body has found equilibrium and is just so damn predictable.

I know that consistently making good choices - with some indulgences here and there - is going to allow me to keep getting stronger and feeling better, which will help me become a better athlete. That's what counts.
This has been my mantra over the last few weeks and I think it's working.
So while my new workout schedule and meal-journaling haven't altered the effect of gravity on my body, it's done something under the surface, and for once that's enough. I weigh the same, but I feel stronger, more energetic, and generally better! That's something to celebrate, and I think this acceptance is a milestone for me!

Weight and scales can be a touchy subject - do you weigh yourself? Why or why not?
Do you use a food journal or meal tracker?
What's your favorite vegetable?

ABK

20 comments:

  1. I had a co-worker once that liked to call that her body's "happy weight". No matter what she did, her body liked to sit at that certain weight and that's what was healthiest for her body and mind. I try not to focus too much on weight, but food choices have definitely made a lot of difference in how my body feels! Keep up the great work!

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    1. I think my body has found homeostasis, but not necessarily its "happy weight". I'm fine with where it is, but my optimal weight like a mere 3 lbs less haha.

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  2. Your weight barely tells you anything. Like you said, it basically is the effect of gravity on your body. It doesn't tell you the percentage of body fat and muscle you have. It doesn't tell you what your metabolism is like or how many calories you can eat without gaining weight or how fast you can run or how far you can run or how many tricep dips you can do. As you can see, I'm not into weighing myself as that number really tells us very little about our health. (Unless someone is 5'2 and weights 300lbs. Then it probably says a lot about their health.)

    I don't weight myself. I stopped because I cared TOO MUCH about what the number said. When I go to the doctor I tell them not to tell me the number. My clothes fit from season to season... although sometimes shirts get tighter in the back and shoulders because I have gained muscle.

    Right now my favorite veggie is zuke! They were on sale at Aldi so I bought a bunch and have been making those zuchinni fries! They are soooooo good I can't wait to have them again tonight! I thought of you last night when I was making them. :)

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    1. Two days after I weighed myself, I felt like I should try again. And then I realized that was not a smart pattern. The battery had to come out of the scale again haha.

      Mm zuke fries?! Please share the recipe!!

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    2. I thought you made them before! http://meggorun.blogspot.com/2013/06/zucchini-fries.html

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  3. I don't weigh myself. I'm blessed with good genes and I've always been really healthy, and I'm like you in that it takes a LOT for my weight to fluctuate. Like you I'm more concerned with how I feel and whether I'm healthy.

    I get a lot of comments on how "skinny" I am, and I think those people would be surprised to find out how much I really weigh (yes, I do know). I know I was kind of surprised, since it doesn't fit the number I had in my head for what someone of my body type would weigh. Apparently I have lots of muscle and heavy bones!!

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    1. I hate when people comment on my apparent weight. I'm like you - people assume I'm much tinier/lighter than I am (maybe because of how I dress?) and they feel free to comment on it. It's really uncomfortable. They also seem to think my body is this way naturally, but really I work pretty hard to maintain a figure I'm comfortable with, and I don't like my hard work to be discredited by "oh well, you're so small", like I don't understand the struggle and sacrifice that comes with training.

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  4. We don't have a scale but I do sometimes weigh myself at the gym. Weight might be a good fitness tracking number for people who are starting out majorly overweight. But for people like you, me and Matt who are already at or only slightly above or below the "ideal" weight, I don't think weight changes (or the lack thereof) tell us anything useful. There are lots of quantitative measures and qualitative indicators of health and happiness that are more useful than weight. E.g., how fast you go, how strong you feel, the shape and pliancy of your various components. If my weight is up, but my other indicators are good, I don't worry about the weight. Only if I was getting slow and squishy would a higher than usual weight make me worry. Matt probably told you about how we both gained weight and body fat % when tracking our diets on MFP... and yet our paddling power increased. I'm glad not be tracking things on MFP anymore, but the big useful thing I learned was that going by hunger and habits alone I got enough (or more than enough) of everything except protein. So I'm making a point to eat more protein now, and that probably makes me eat a little less other stuff.

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    1. Matt did show me the results from the protein trial you guys did. I found it so interesting! I've found that eating the same number of calories but through better foods - because I love snacks and sweets and junk - has had a huge impact on my energy and performance. Go figure! haha

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  5. I do weigh myself. I don't care what it says but I do. When I got injured last year I knew I would gain a few pounds from the reduction in cardio plus, I tend to not watch what I eat. So lately about once every couple of weeks or so I weigh myself. I have lost a few pounds since back to running but nothing extreme which pleases me. I don't want to lose too much.

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    1. I think when injured, weighing yourself is a good way to monitor if you're adjusting your habits accordingly...But I think if you weigh yourself often then you must care what it says, or else you wouldn't do it. But it's okay to care...I think it's how much you care or how it ends up affecting your choices and habits that matters. I think it sounds like the way you monitor is healthy and good!

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  6. I log - I have logged for years on my Lose it. I do it to keep accountable, so I won't do that mindless here and there grazing.
    My thyroid has changed since menopause (I am old) and i have struggled to even maintain a decent weight. I finally gave up after trying to lose for three or four years and now I just try to really tighten thing sup when I train for a race. A few pounds can make a huge difference in how well I run, but in every day life, I just can't stress myself about a few pounds.

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    1. I'm sure my metabolism will change and eventually my thyroid will change (my mom developed issues as she aged), but I hope I don't have to log forever! I find it so tedious. But I also agree with you that a few pounds here or there aren't worth the stress!

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  7. I weigh myself every day and I have been tracking food since mid-January with My Fitness Pal. My trainer has been helping me with nutrition and he thinks my daily weigh-ins are a bad idea, but I know they keep me on track and also that I am not likely to tip into compulsiveness.

    Here's another thing I know. I thought I was at my "happy weight" because I had been within 3 pounds of the same weight all of my adult life (almost 30 years) aside from pregnancy and thyroid getting out of whack. I made some dietary changes and over the last 15 months, I have lost close to 15 pounds. This is a pretty serious change because I was not overweight to begin with (and I don't think I'm underweight now). I lost the weight because I thought it would help me run faster, which I think it does. I don't think my diet has changed much in terms of "healthiness". I already ate healthy. But it has changed in terms of composition.

    I am bothering to write all this because I am really so much happier at this lighter weight, but I was close to convinced that my body was unwilling to leave its set-point. I'm really glad that my trainer convinced me I was wrong.

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    1. If I'm being honest, I'd say I'm totally aware that my "happy weight" is about 3 or 4 lbs lighter than I currently weigh and my "happiest weight" is 8 lbs lighter. (I'm petite - anything more than that would be drastic.)

      I know I'd run faster if I lost it, but I also am not willing to do the work do lose it. At this point, I'm happy with where I am. I know I'm making progress, but the kind of work I'd have to do to get back to the weight of my mid-20s would be ridiculous. (Counting macros and all that stuff.) I think I've found good balance - a weight I'm happy with, more strength, and a diet I can be totally happy with and live with longterm.

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  8. I agree with the message in this post 100%. Eating healthy is so much more important than just its effect on the scale! If you're feeling stronger, better, and more energized, your diet is absolutely working for you. Your meals look delicious!

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    1. Thank you...I think it's so important for women to take a more well-rounded view of health and food and their relationship with it than just its affect on weight and the scale. The scale CAN be a good tool, but it shouldn't exist in a vacuum.

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  9. You are really lucky that your body is that consistent!

    Weight/weight loss has always been tough for me. Very slow. Maybe I focus on the results too much, LOL?

    I don't own a scale. They make me crazy, or at least they did when I still had one about 20 years ago. I weigh in once a week at my Weight Watchers meeting -- I need that accountability.

    I have mostly maintained my weight the last 3 years, but it still fluctuates -- especially doing the winter!

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    1. I've noticed my clothes aren't as comfortable over winter - it must be all the holidays and comfort/stress eating. I'm hoping that by next year I'm in enough of a routine and new mindset that I can avoid too much over-eating.

      I think having someone else kind of monitor your weight is a smart alternative to owning your own scale. That way you can't drive yourself nuts but you're still accountable!

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  10. I think it's very smart of you to not give the number on the scale much thought... and to not keep a battery in it!

    I love that picture of zucchini everything!

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