Dealing with disappointment
“If I quit now I will soon be back to where I started. And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now.”
I am at now my lowest adult weight (well, 5 lbs above it.. but I hit it last month and the month before that). Like literally this is lower than any weight I’ve recorded since I started recording my weight 20 years ago. I want to say that the reason I’m having trouble going lower is because of my body. It has a set point and is unwilling to go below that. It’s an easy out. “My body made me do it”. It’s not entirely true. I suspect there’s some element of this which is mental. I’m a little bit freaked out to be at my “lowest weight ever”. I’m also fatigued. Being “good” and making good choice all the time is exhausting. Sometimes I just want the sandwich.. or I’m sick of meat and cheese and veggies and a handful of chocolate chips calls my name. I suspect that fatigue is my body’s way of nudging me to gain that weight back because the set point is high.. but it’s wearing on my will power. I also know that outside stresses are stealing my willpower (financial worries, over-commitment, work, etc).
Seeing a gain two months in a row is a disappointment. Somewhere in the back of my head is that little voice that says “well if I’m 90% good and I still see a gain then why can’t I be 80% good?”
But then I look back at my graph.. and see the way that I gradually regained all of the lost weight the last time I got here and I become grimly determined to hold on to what I’ve lost. I’m here and I want to stay be here (or lower).
Since Christmas I’ve been voraciously reading a lot of diet based books.
– Always Hungry by Dr. David Ludwig- Good description of how hunger happens and why low carb diets tamp down the hunger signal. Also good for shedding light on something I’d never really thought about (more on this later). Advocates a low-carb lifestyle. I’m looking forward to trying some of their sauces and sides.
– Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung – Frankly I loved the first 3/4 of this book. This has a fabulous description of the obesity problem, how we got here and why dieting is hard(and ultimately doesn’t work). Then it was very hand-wavy about the solution without a lot of good firm guidance. I’d recommend getting it just for the description of the problem.. but I feel like I need to dig further to get to the “solution”.
– The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung – One of the hand-wavy solutions offered by “Obesity Code” was fasting but that book was very vague about the details (frankly it was offered as a solution in an appendix, not even really part of the solution offered). This book was authored by Jimmy Moore and co-authored by Dr. Fung(the author of “Obesity Code”). There are not as many anecdotes as “Keto Clarity” (below, authored by Jimmy Moore) but there are a whole lot of “you gotta do this because the nay-sayers are wrong” without a whole lot of science to back it up. I read this after reading “Obesity Code” and while I had just started to slog through “Keto Clarity” I was very excited about it. Unfortunately this has more of Mr. Moore’s writing style to it and it turns out I really don’t like his rah rah style. I’d rather the author give me facts and figures backed up with peer reviewed studies over personal anecdotes any day.
– Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon- Very short and too the point. Interesting but I still feel like I need a whole lot more data around the whole idea of fasting.
– Keto Clarity by Jason Moore and Dr. Eric Westman – Very rah rah book. I really wanted it to be better. To be honest I’m only about half way through this one. It’s a slog though a lot of personal anecdotes sprinkled with a wee bit of science.
So.. here’s what I’m doing to work around my current sticking point:
– I’m adding more fiber to my diet. I suspect I haven’t been getting enough roughage and hopefully upping it with both more whole veggies and with some chia seed puddings will help tamp down the “missing out” hungry/craving vibe that’s harshing my mellow.
– I’m adding chia seed pudding with some artificial sweetener to appease my sweet tooth. I miss the end of the day bit of sweet. I’m figuring that chia seed pudding is less bad than a handful of chocolate chips.
– I’m going to actually try doing 24 hour fast two days a week. This means from after dinner one day I don’t eat again until dinner the next day. I will still be drinking water and coffee and taking my normal vitamins. I figure since I’m already not hungry in the morning (and have occasionally skipped breakfasts) it will be not-too-hard to extend this out to skipping lunch a couple days a week. This should give me a nice steady calorie deficit (of about 500-800 cal/wk) even with normal eating on the other days. If I have low blood sugar issues I may drop coffee from fasting days.
Fasting makes sense to me.. and I can feel that horrified voice in the back of my head freaking out about not eating.. but so far maintaining a steady daily calorie deficit has led to my body turning down my metabolism so that I need fewer and fewer calories to continue to lose weight. If my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is supposed to be over 2k calories per day then I should NOT see weight gain when I eat slightly over 1600 calories per day. That gain tells me that my metabolism is depressed.. and that cutting my calories even more is just going to perpetuate the issue. The books I’ve read about fasting say that since it’s intermittent our body keeps the engines reved so that it’s a meaningful calorie deficit which doesn’t turn down the metabolism. I do wish there was more proof (and studies) to back up that claim but it seems plausible enough that I’m willing to try it.