Weight Loss Support - Envy and going "too slow"




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Windchime
04-11-2009, 01:10 PM
So I'm here to admit: I feel envious of some of you. Mostly I am really happy to read posts where others share their success, I truly am. But sometimes, like today, I just feel a little bit envious and not as happy as I should be!

I lost 7.2 pounds in January (before I started counting calories, just cutting back), 1.4 pounds in February (and that's when I started working out!), 7 pounds in March. Nothing at all in April. Zero.

So I did what any good programmer/analyst would do, and I crunched some numbers. I added my weekly calorie average to my spreadsheet where I'm tracking my weight loss, to try to see if there is some correlation and there really isn't much. I wish there was a way to add in my exercise but would that be apples and oranges? I mean, does 30 minutes on the elliptical *mean* anything as far as data goes? I could be strolling or sweating my rear off for those 30 minutes (usually it's sweating).

My stats are: 5'11", current weight 229.6, 47 years old. I am averaging 1718 calories per week. The Daily Plate says I should be eating 1749 if I'm sedentary, 2105 if I'm moderately active.

My plan is this: Switch out the elliptical for some good old-fashioned walking. I have a route with a killer hill, so that's where I'll go. My normal route is 2 miles but I can add a third mile some days, so I'll do that. Other things:

I'm a calorie counter, but I haven't been counting sugar in my tea. I also don't really KNOW how much a "pat" of butter is, so I will try to be more accurate there. Those things are small, but it's possible that they're adding up to more than I think they are.

Any other ideas? Most times I'm OK with my pace and my pants are getting loose, but I'm TIRED of sitting at the same weight for literally weeks at a time! Especially when people here are losing weight at 2-3 times the rate that I am--it makes me feel like I'm never going to reach my goal. I'm trying not to put a time limit on it because that's always been a recipe for failure for me, but at this rate it will take me another year to lose what I want.


Razorcandy
04-11-2009, 01:29 PM
I can totally understand you feeling envious. I feel envious of some of the members who have lots huge amounts of weight.

I am still a newbie, I have lost 5 lbs in 1 week. I am not keeping my calories the same everyday. They are ranging between 1500 - 1700. If I get up to 1700 one day, the next I only go to 1500.

Also, I had a day that I allowed myself to cheat.

I have heard people who hit a plateau have a nice big bowl of pasta for dinner one night, then go back to low cal for a week and that kicks their system back into burning fat.

I would like to ask you, have you been to the doctor to be checked for thyroid? Or have your fasting insulin levels been checked?

Windchime
04-11-2009, 01:48 PM
My calories aren't the same from day to day; they average out to the numbers that I gave. Five pounds in one week? That's the kind of thing that makes me feel envy, since it takes me a month to lose that (if I'm lucky). I had bloodwork done last week but won't know the results until I have my yearly physical in a couple of weeks.


meowee
04-11-2009, 01:53 PM
Hey Chickies I more than know how you feel . . . :hug:

It has taken me from January 2006 to lose 75 pounds -- for three major reasons (a) I'm old; (b) I'm a diabetic; and (c) I'm not always as OP as I would like to be.

But this is not a race; it's a whole new lifestyle we are trying for. I truly believe that the longer it takes, the better your learning curve and thus the better the chance the weight will stay off.

funniegrrl
04-11-2009, 02:37 PM
You've fallen into a lot of common traps, and they can really derail you.

First, you simply cannot compare your progress to that of other people. It's like being jealous of the neighbor who has the marble foyer and the backyard swimming pool whereas you have vinyl and a plastic kiddie pool. You don't know that neighbor's true financial situation and they may be sitting on a debt timebomb. The fact is that there are a million factors that go into how much weight a given person will lose in a week, and comparing yourself to someone else in this regard is not apples and oranges, it's apples and giraffes. That person who lost 5 pounds in a week? Maybe they have more muscle mass (or simply weigh a lot more) than you and thus a higher metabolism. Maybe it's the first week of their plan and they've lost a lot of water weight (also happens for women the week after their period). Maybe they are doing something crazy and are losing faster than they should.

Not only is comparing yourself to others pointless from a scientific point of view, but as others have said, the point here is changing your life, not reaching a deadline. Think of it this way: Five years from now you'll be living your healthy lifestyle, having been at your goal weight for a while if all goes well. At that point will it matter if you got to goal in 6 months or a year or two years? You are trying to turn your entire life around, and that takes practice and trial and error. The weight will come off eventually -- what's MORE important than the weight and how fast you lose it is that you are building habits that will last the rest of your life. In that regard, SLOW loss is actually better because you have more time to learn how to be a healthy, fit person.

And, as a science/computer person myself, I hate to tell ya, but crunching the numbers isn't the whole story. Tracking all of this mathematically gives you an idea of the ballpark, but it's not entirely predictive. The fact is that our bodies are messy, idiosyncratic, organic organisms. Sure, various formulas are available that purport to calculate how many calories per day your body should burn at rest, and how much more for a few lifestyle activity tiers. But, at best, they are gross estimates, and they assume that your body and metabolism are completely 100% average. If not, there goes the estimate. Even if it is, there are things that happen every day that cause your body to speed or slow your metabolism. So, those numbers are just really broad rules of thumb and shouldn't be taken too literally.

As for not counting the sugar, not knowing how big a pat of butter is, etc. ... you've gotta do that if you want to keep the numbers in that ballpark. Measure and record everything, at least for a couple of weeks. Counting exercise can be really hard -- no two calculators I've ever seen agree. I just don't factor that into my calculations.

If everything checks out and your calories aren't significantly higher when you're counting more accurately, here are a few things to try:

If you're eating 3 squares a day, try breaking up your food into smaller meals/snacks. If you go more than 3 or 4 waking hours without food, your metabolism can slow. Keeping the furnace stoked will help it burn hotter. Also, if you don't eat breakfast, eat SOMETHING with balanced nutrients (carb, protein, fat) within an hour or so of waking. The sooner you eat, the sooner your metabolism wakes up.

It sounds like you do different things exercise-wise, and that's good. Just keep mixing it up. Also, when doing cardio, try intervals. During your routine, do 3 or 4 spurts where you go as hard and fast as you can for a couple of minutes, interspersed with a more moderate pace. You can also alternate days of shorter, intense workouts with longer, more moderate ones. The idea is to keep your body guessing and not letting it get too efficient as it "learns" your routine.

If you're not weight training, start! Adding muscle mass (and no, you won't bulk up unless you take steroids) is the best way to rev your metabolism. Check out www.stumptuous.com for some great info. I also like Kathy Smith's Lift Weights to Lose Weight DVDs.

Windchime
04-11-2009, 03:04 PM
Thanks for the detailed response, funniegrrl. I laughed when you said that about crunching the numbers, because us analytical types really do fall into the trap of trying to reduce everything to a formula or a data set! I had actually started the original post earlier in the morning but then thought, "wait, maybe I should analyze the numbers first."

I do understand what you mean about comparing. I'd rather have the plastic wading pool with a nice savings account than the huge mansion with the scary debt, just as I'd like to do this the right, maintainable way instead of the crash-diety, temporary way. It is just hard not to be discouraged when I seem to be surrounded by success stories. I would imagine it's kind of the same way I felt when I wanted to get pregnant and was surrounded by families with babies, or when I got divorced and all I could see were happy couples holding hands and buying engagement rings.

I am going to crack down on the calorie counting. I really try to be as accurate as possible but there could be a lot more calories buried in the pats of butter and teaspoons of sugar than I think there are. And I've been mulling over the idea of starting to lift weights, so it sounds like you agree that might be a good idea. I know I won't bulk up; I'm not one of those women who have bought into that myth! I'm already doing the interval training on the elliptical; I don't remember who here suggested that but I've been doing that for a couple of weeks.

Hopefully it'll all add up to something positive. I know it's not all about the scale but it's really the only way I have to measure right now; my waist measurement fluctuates but up to an inch a day and it always takes me at least 30 pounds to drop one pants size. (Why? Again, other people who are heavier than me are saying that they're dropping a size with 5 or 10 pounds!!??)

Grrrrr. I hope tomorrow is a better day. I know from experience that I MUST count calories or else it is just too easy to overeat, but sometimes I feel that I've just moved my food obsession to a different form.....from over eating to contstantly analyzing calories.

CountingDown
04-11-2009, 03:09 PM
funniegrrl had good advice, pretty much what I would have said.
DEFINITELY weigh and measure EVERYTHING! and COUNT everything that has calories in it. Those little BLTs and spoonfuls of sugar can really add up!

Make sure your calories are balanced, and that you are taking a multi-vitamin. I do like breaking my meals up into 6 eating occasions - and I try to make sure each of them is balanced as well. (40/30/30).

DCHound
04-11-2009, 03:16 PM
it always takes me at least 30 pounds to drop one pants size. (Why? Again, other people who are heavier than me are saying that they're dropping a size with 5 or 10 pounds!!??)

My guess is because you are 5'11. I'm 5'8. In general it takes me about 20 lbs to lose a size. However, I'm in a similar boat to you in that I haven't lost a single stinking pound since Valentine's Day ~ but I've lost 2 sizes. I'll take the being smaller over the being lighter any day of the week though.

kuhljeanie
04-11-2009, 04:33 PM
one other thing to consider: the folks who are losing so dramatically may be more inclined to post those envy-inducing success stories than people like, say, me. :) what could be more compelling a title for a post than "i lost 35 lbs in just over a year! and i still have 30 lbs to go! until i reach my goal weight!"

just sayin'! ;)

Windchime
04-11-2009, 05:05 PM
one other thing to consider: the folks who are losing so dramatically may be more inclined to post those envy-inducing success stories than people like, say, me. :) what could be more compelling a title for a post than "i lost 35 lbs in just over a year! and i still have 30 lbs to go! until i reach my goal weight!"

just sayin'! ;)

Hahah, thanks for the laugh! I'm sure you're right about that! Nobody is going to read my post entitled "Yay, I lost 1.4 pounds in February!"

It's really funny how I can feel my pants getting looser and my sister, who hasn't seen me since Christmas, said that my "girls" look smaller, but the scale really isn't reflecting that so much. Last time I was stuck for 3 stinkin' weeks at the same weight and then BOOM I dropped 4.5 pounds the next week. So I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that will happen again soon.

WarMaiden
04-11-2009, 05:52 PM
I get some mild envy, time to time, about other people's weight loss successes. But then it's possible that another person could envy -my- success...the very success I think is "not all that great." Even if you've only lost 10 pounds, or are losing 1 pound per month, the person who is gaining weight or only maintaining will likely consider YOU a huge success! It's all about perspective. And as long as we all keep at it and are smart about things, we'll get there sooner or later.

kaplods
04-11-2009, 06:58 PM
Hey Chickies I more than know how you feel . . . :hug:

It has taken me from January 2006 to lose 75 pounds -- for three major reasons (a) I'm old; (b) I'm a diabetic; and (c) I'm not always as OP as I would like to be.

But this is not a race; it's a whole new lifestyle we are trying for. I truly believe that the longer it takes, the better your learning curve and thus the better the chance the weight will stay off.


It's so nice to see someone else talking about being a slow loser, and being ok with it. I so often, feel like I have to apologize for losing slow - even though I'm happy with my slow progress. Unlike other weight loss attempts where I really had to suffer to lose weight (and would eventually go off plan, because I couldn't take the suffering any longer), this time around I chose to only make changes I could see myself making for life. At first there weren't many, but I was losing - and then I found there were a few more things I was willing and able to do, and I'd give those a try, and have a little more success.

It could conceivably take me a decade to get all of my weight off, or maybe it will only take a couple - but as you say this isn't a race, not only with other people, but even with myself.

It's hard, because we are taught that faster is better so much more than we are taught that slow's ok too. I'll take slow and easy over fast and miserable, and I shouldn't have to apologize for my choice (and yet I still feel the need to).

It's important, I think in weight loss to seperate the nonsense from the truth. it's not always easy, because most of the stuff we think about weight loss, we don't even realize we were taught (so unlearning stuff can be a challenge), and a lot of it we "know" isn't true, but feel it anyway (again, mostly because we don't realize that it's the way "we all" have been raised to feel and believe).

I don't have any simple solutions, just empathy - because it is tough.

Jacqui_D
04-11-2009, 08:39 PM
You know, I never find myself feeling envious. I am genuinely happy for those who are able to lose weight faster than I am. I am also genuinely happy for those who are able to lose 1.4 lb in a month! Why? Because I know how hard it is! How can I not be happy for anyone who achieves even the slightest success toward their goal? How can I not be happy for anyone who achieves a big success? We all know what it's like to weigh more than we should and how hard it is to finally make the decision to change that. It's hard! And then not only do we have to take it off, but we have to keep it off! So I am happy whenever anyone is able to keep the scale from going UP! It's a victory, and an inspiration for me. I have tried all the "fast" fads and diets, only to have my weight come back, with even more pounds, year after year after year. I am 47, and I wish at 40, I hadn't thrown in the towel, thinking it was just too hard and was taking too long to take off the weight. I definitely thought, "At this rate, it will take me a year!" Now I think, "Okay, if I had kept it up at 40, then at 41, I would have been thinner!" But instead, here I am at 47, trying to get out of the obese range. So, now, it is what it is--I am 47, about to turn 48, and when I am 49, I want to be healthier and hopefully thinner. All I know is that I don't want to be this weight 10 years from now, so this time, it doesn't matter how fast or slow anyone else can do it. It doesn't even matter how fast or slow I can do it. It just matters that I stick with it, no matter how long it takes! :)

teawithsunshine
04-12-2009, 12:09 AM
Hi windchime!! :)

It's tough, I know to try to lose weight PERIOD. Heck, I didn't even lose 130 pounds in order... I lost 101 lbs, then gained 50 back due to depression and other issues and then got back on track to lose up to where I am now :)

Do you mind listing a typical meal for a day (plus the calories) and also how much you exercise (time length) with cardio & resistance training on a weekly basis?

we 3fatchickies can help!! :)

~ tea

redlight
04-12-2009, 01:48 AM
You lost 15 pounds in less than 4 months! That's a considerable step in the right direction. If you lose 15 pounds in each of the next 4 month periods, you would have lost 45 pounds in less than a year.

Keep it up!

fatmad
04-12-2009, 10:27 AM
Remember, very few people post about regaining their weight, until they come back to try to lose it again. Your slow steady loss may be more sustainable than the quicker losses others may have.
I get discouraged at times too, but my recent experience with going off plan with my dads critical illness reminds me that I haven't yet succeeded in changing my lifestyle habits for good. Thats ok, its only been a few months and I didn't do too much damage. But no sense in losing if I'm gonna regain a lot right? Think big plan, and the long term is looking very good for you.

Windchime
04-12-2009, 10:56 AM
Thanks for all your encouragement and good advice. You're just the best bunch of gals ever!

I'm down 2 pounds this morning. What the heck!??? I'm not complaining, believe me! I'm coming to find out that my body seems to be VERY susceptible to water retention from sodium. I think that my plan of having an official weigh-in day is kind of tripping me up, so from here on out I plan to record my daily weight and then on Friday, I will average out the week's weights and call that my official weight.

kelly315
04-12-2009, 11:11 AM
I agree that you should celebrate the fact that you've lost something. However, I think the daily plate and a lot of those sites like it will tell you to eat more than you should in order to lose 2lbs a week. I think they're counting on your exercising enough to burn all the extra calories they tell you to eat. I'm not as tall as you, by far, but when I was around 230, I was barely losing eating 1500. Now, around 200, I eat around 13-1400, but usually on the lower end. I think maybe a trip to your doctor is in order, to find out what you really should be eating to lose 2lbs/week. I would estimate 1500, however.

Windchime
04-12-2009, 11:36 AM
I agree that you should celebrate the fact that you've lost something. However, I think the daily plate and a lot of those sites like it will tell you to eat more than you should in order to lose 2lbs a week. I think they're counting on your exercising enough to burn all the extra calories they tell you to eat. I'm not as tall as you, by far, but when I was around 230, I was barely losing eating 1500.

1500 is too low for me at 5'11" and over 200 pounds. I could probably soldier through it but I think I would be continually obsessed with my next meal at that rate. Some days I'm down that low, but not as a rule. It's not just TDP that says that; all the BMR calculators that I've seen seem to agree. So I'm comfortable with being around 1800 for now, with the understanding that will need to be adjusted downwards as I lose.

Kelly, something that you said triggered an idea for me, so I went back and checked my spreadsheet and I think I figured out what happened in February to cause the big stall. When you log your exercise in The Daily Plate, they subtract what they think you burned from your calories, thus allowing you that many more calories to eat. I was tracking my exercise that way in TDP, until someone here mentioned that it was NOT a good idea. And I was doing that....in February. So that was what the problem was--I was simply eating too much. I was probably up around 2100 on many days instead of the 1750-1800 that I was shooting for.

paperSkin
04-12-2009, 12:39 PM
Sometimes it can be something small that creates the stall. I've been stalled for the last two weeks and I was getting really frustrated. Then on Thursday I said I am going to take this into my own hands and see where I was going wrong..

First thing I cut out was the diet foods, with aspartame. Sometimes that can hinder weight loss.. no more low fat no sugar added chocolate puddings, or skinny cow popsicles. The other thing for me was cutting down on the bread.. I have always found bread, even whole wheat bread bothers my system.. so instead of two pieces of the bodywise whole wheat bread (45 calories each), I am using probably 1 every two days.. and I also stopped eating cheese. I LOVE cheese, but I think it bothers my system too. I still eat other carbs like rice, and other dairy products like yogurt, but making different choices (ones that I was making when things were going well in the weight loss department).

So, maybe you can look back at your success, and look at the things you were eating when you were losing and what little things you may have added in the recent past that may contribute to your stall.

I know examining the amount of calories is important, but also looking at the composition of those calories is important too. We need to be balanced, and that includes including the good fats too. Oh and check the sodium content too..

Windchime
04-12-2009, 01:03 PM
Thanks, PaperSkin. Like you, I think that aspartame really bothers me. For one thing, I think it's responsible for most of my migraines which have been greatly reduced since I cut back. But I am still getting some aspartame, so that's a really good place for me to look to cut back. I would hate to give up the Skinny Cows, but I will if that's what it takes!

It's a good reminder to keep things balanced. I am veggie-challenged and I know there is a forum for that, so I should probably try to hang out there a little more and change my ways. I do love fruit, though, so I'm fortunate there. (Obviously I count calories for the fruit I do eat).

And sodium--yikes. That stuff is EVERYWHERE. I tried to really be conscious of it this week, especially the last few days before weigh-in, and it seems like they add it to everything!

OK chicks, I'm off to hit the elliptical. I need to exercise, shower, pack for my trip to my sister's house, and make a fruit salad in 3 hours! Yikes!

kaplods
04-12-2009, 07:41 PM
You lost 15 pounds in less than 4 months! That's a considerable step in the right direction. If you lose 15 pounds in each of the next 4 month periods, you would have lost 45 pounds in less than a year.
Keep it up!

I think we tend to assume that 1 to 3 lbs per week is "normal," or typical, and we don't realize how rare it is to acheive that amount of weight loss over time. If I average my weight loss from the point I started losing "this time," about 4 years ago, I've only lost 1 lb per MONTH. If I take the average for the last year (when I feel I found my "groove" and a plan I can follow indefinitely), it comes to a little over 3 lbs per month, still far from impressive (unless you know the truth about how rare it is to lose and maintain any weight loss, especially for anyone with more than 50 lbs to lose).

When I complained to my doctor not all that long ago about how slowly I was losing - he pointed out that even losing one pound per month consistently soon becomes more than "most" people do (whether you're talking about people with 15 lbs or 250 lbs to lose), because most people give up before getting very far. As a result, if we think of weight loss as a race, many of us assume we're trailing far behind, when we're really at the head of the pack.

Just being here puts you at the head of the pack.

s0nali
04-12-2009, 10:15 PM
That's almost EXACTLY my weight loss for Jan-March as well! I think it's great! It's gonna take time but slow and steady wins the race. Just keep doing these things - if the scale goes down, then you're on the right track. If your pants are loose, you're DEFINITELY doing something right.

15 pounds in 3 months is 5 pounds a month - think of it, in one year you'll be down 60 pounds at that rate. Even if you don't, you can still lose 50 pounds in a year or 40. That's a lot! :) But day by day, it's gonna go a little slow. I'm sitting at a very annoying "plateau" right now (weight yo-yoing like mad - water and swelling and forgetting to eat dinner playing a big part) and averaging right at 150, which is frustrating!

But I'm keeping at it... going to gym... being gentle with myself as I recover from injuries because this is for the rest of my life, not just to lose these 40-50 pounds... and if I lose slow right now, then at least I weigh SOMETHING less at the end of the month.

I try not to be jealous - instead, I just look at how far I've come and look forward to the road ahead. Think of how many people say they'll lose 15 pounds for their New Year's Resolution and never do it. You knocked it out in the first 3 months of the year! You're doing great :)

CountingDown
04-12-2009, 10:33 PM
Probably the most important thing I learned on this journey is - that it is a journey. Time doesn't matter. Not in the long run. It really doesn't matter how long it takes - just that you don't give up and keep at it until you reach your goal.

Looking back, I felt that the weight came off very, very slowly. I often referred to myself as the "tortoise". It took me over a year to lose my weight.

Now - in hind sight - it wouldn't have mattered if it took 6 months or 2 years - the important thing is that I kept at it until I reached my goal.

The lessons I learned on the journey helped me once I hit my goal. Thus, I truly believe that maintenance has been easier BECAUSE I lost the weight slowly.

nakedmango
04-13-2009, 09:19 AM
The lessons I learned on the journey helped me once I hit my goal. Thus, I truly believe that maintenance has been easier BECAUSE I lost the weight slowly.

Agreed! I just posted my in the goal forum, since I hit my goal weight last week, and I realized I'm not afraid of trying to maintain anymore. There was a period of 5 months where I was trying to maintain (ensuring I was eating a healthy diet after becoming vegan) and ended up losing--so I know I can maintain if I try, and that to maintain I may have to consciously eat more than I think I need. If I had gone straight from losing to maintaining, I would have been scared and may have ended up sabotaging myself.

And the point others have made, about selective posting, is true too. My celebration post would have been titled, "Yay! 34 pounds in 16 months!" But that would be incredibly boring. And while there may be posts like, "4 pounds this week!" ...those same people won't post the weeks that they lose half a pound, when they gain, or when they fall off a perhaps too-restrictive diet that enabled them to lose fast initially.

As thay say, "Slow and steady wins the race." But there's no "win" or "lose" when it's your own weight loss journey--it's whether you are happy with yourself. Be happy with whatever you lose! :carrot:

annie175
04-13-2009, 09:23 AM
I would try to cut your calorie counting down to 1450. I think most sites go a little on the high side to avoid any lose weight fast cause health problems scare they may get themselves into. Anytime I used to follow Ediets, they would say 1700 cals a day, I could never lose, so I dropped to about 1400 and did much better. Just a thought.

jajabee
04-13-2009, 11:44 AM
I had the same problem with The Daily Plate before I got my Gowear armband, I was counting on it to tell me how many calories I burned during exercise, and then eating those calories. I'd stay on plan for a month or two, lose maybe 4 pounds, get frustrated and give up. Now that I have my armband, I know that TDP was over-estimating both my base "sedentary" calorie burn, and my activity burn, so I was eating between 500 and 800 calories too many each day. D'oh!

If you don't have an armband, I'd agree that the best way to use TDP would be to eat the base "sedentary" calories it tells you do, still work out or move around each day, but not actually count those calories towards what you can eat. That way you'll be much more likely to hit a good "burn" range for you.