Saturday, March 06, 2010


I am feeling utterly defeated.

I spend a lot of my spare time learning about health and nutrition. I find it fascinating. I think it is so interesting to learn the science and apply it to my life and my way of eating and exercising and living. I look for different and interesting ways to cook vegetables so that we don't get bored with the same old thing and so that I can cook healthy for us. I meticulously watch my carbs and try to eat healthy. I log my food and try to be smart about what I put in my body. I pack in a bag of meals and snacks to work every day. I lift weights and do HIIT.

I have gained 4 pounds in the last 2 weeks.

I've documented my lapses here. Last Sunday with the poor planning and the breakfast and lunch of pumpkin bread. Thursday with the high calories (though, like I said, in low carb calories aren't supposed to matter quite so much. You CAN overeat, of course, but 2100 calories isn't egregious, especially since by BMR is 1600 calories anyway).

Oh, and lest you say, well it's not really the scale that counts, I'm doing all over measurements as well. In the last 2 weeks I have lost half an inch off my bust. That's the only loss, and frankly, I'm none too pleased about it. Everything else is the same.

I had a long discussion with Jason last night, just venting my frustrations. I weighed myself yesterday morning and had a good idea what the news would be for my official weigh-in this morning. I talked about how frustrated I get when I read articles about people who lost weight who say things like, "Well, I realized I needed to stop eating that pint of Ben and Jerry's every night" or "I quit eating a dozen donuts every Saturday".

I find those types of comments so incredibly unhelpful because I DON'T eat like that. Jason even said last night, "No, you eat salmon and broccoli every night." That's an exaggeration, but his point is, I eat some protein and a big pile of vegetables every night. Then I might have a glass of milk or a tablespoon of peanut butter or a small smoothie for a snack. Maybe. Often it's just dinner and then I'm done.

I have 30 pounds to lose and I wonder if people look at me and think, "Pssh, just stop eating that ice cream every night!" People make comments like that on article and blogs about obesity. I can guarantee I'm not the only person with weight to lose who doesn't eat piles of candy and pastries every day.

Jason, however, has lost 10 pounds in the last couple of weeks. I am so pleased for him, of course, and so proud that he is making an effort.

His secret? When he goes to lab functions, he only eats 1 cookie instead of 10. He still eats his footlong from Subway every day. He eats whatever I cook for dinner (some sort of protein and vegetables generally). He went jogging a couple times this week.

In the past, low-carb has been my magic bullet. I lost 5 pounds in one week. This time...

I am at a loss and I am sad and I may have cried a little.

I feel like giving up. I'm supposed to go to the gym this morning and do weights and swim. I don't want to. I want to sit here and be depressed and just think about how futile it all is.


Weighting Around said...

I understand why you are so upset. You seem to be doing all the right things. I don't have the answer and couldn't even venture a guess but here is a website where you can ask a dietitian:

Michael Gifford is the person to contact with your questions and he will ask the dietitian. It certainly couldn't hurt.

Good luck!

Kim said...

Oh Kelly, I know how you feel right now. :( I do. And I wish I had an answer for you on how to make things easier. To make the payoff be there for the work that you are doing.

I don't have the answer though. And I struggle myself all of the time with the same issues.

The one thing I do know for sure is that you cannot give up on yourself.

Donna said...

Kelly, I read this post earlier today but did not have my laptop handy--anyway, what I wanted to say was this: I *know* you're making progress just by being so diligent and good. If it doesn't seem to be working right now, it will pay off and soon.

In the meantime, I totally relate. My God, I don't think I'll be able to drop weight unless I just eat salads all day everyday...*sigh*

And FWIW, you really are a great inspiration to me. Reading your blog always leaves me so impressed.

Anyway, I'm glad you're feeling better now. :) Enjoy yourself tonight!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I totally know how you feel. As I think I mentioned before, I have lost about 30 pounds in the last year. Was I eating lots of ice cream, cookies and unhealthy food when I was 30 pounds heavier? Absolutely not. Was I frustrated beyond belief? Yes. It took a LOOOOOONG time for me to lose the weight. Often about 1/2 pound per week. Sometimes none.

Honestly, if you had told me a year ago that I'd be 30 pounds lighter today, I would have not believed you because I really didn't think it was possible (as I was already living quite healthy). Here are a few things that worked for me (I know some of them don't apply to you at all, but it's just so you get an idea of what I did).

I really started to watch my portions and accounted for everything (including "little tastes" while cooking, bites I took from hubby, etc.). I switched from diet coke to water. This one was huge and did things for my body and health that I can't explain. In my unscientific opinion it really helped with my cravings (again, this is pure speculation).

I started to work out every day (one day being a very light day focused on stretching, yoga, etc). I realized that at my age four to five times a week wasn't enough anymore.

What made a huge difference I think was that I got serious about weight training. I had always done "some" weight lifting (maybe three exercises for my arms with pretty light weights twice a week). I started a comprehensive upper body routine and really pushed myself to lift heavier. (I think this actually caused me not to lose any weight for a while though. But it really helped in the end...). I now lift three to four times a week. I also set cardio goals to make sure I kept pushing myself.

I stopped celebrating "special occasions" with food. I realized that I had somehow gotten in the habit to excuse food to celebrate or because it was a "special occasion." I didn't usually eat a lot more, but I ate more on "special occasions". And I had declared lots of things "special occasions:" eating at my in-laws, eating out, having friends over, celebrations at work... I realized that "special occasions" weren't reasons to eat unless I had planned for it. Something switched in my brain regarding this and celebrations and "special occasions" became about the people again.

I know that lots of this does not apply to you, but I thought sharing what I did may help you a bit. I also read your follow up post and am glad that you are hanging in there. You'll get where you want to get to! It's frustrating. BUT YOU WILL GET THERE!!!

Kelly said...

WA, thanks for the suggestion. I'll check out the site.

Kim, thanks for the commiseration. The endorphins help so I'll keep working out and hoping I'll see some progress eventually.

Donna, thanks so much for your support. I'm glad that even when I feel like I'm getting nowhere, at least you're getting something from this. I guess we are all here to support one another on this journey, right? So when are you starting your blog? :)

Andrea, it is SO frustrating to realize that the only way this will work is to watch every single bite, but I think I'm there. I am enjoying strength training more now and feel like my muscles are getting stronger even if I'm not seeing the results in the numbers yet.

Deborah said...

I know exactly how you feel. I'm often in the same boat as you, and it really isn't fair. The mathematician in me has a hard time reconciling the fact that if I carefully record and measure everything I eat to get an accurate assessment of calories eaten, and I carefully record my activities, a deficit of 3500 calories pretty much never translates into a loss of a pound, and it drives me crazy.

I've come to the following two conclusions:
1. Whatever goes on in our bodies is far more complicated than that, and there are far too many variables to control for.
2. People like you and me probably use energy more "efficiently". I have to believe that those BMR equations overstate how many calories my body actually burns just surviving, or how else can I explain consistent weight gains when I'm eating 1500 calories/day? A (really skinny) former co-worker talked about how she was always putting off tons of heat, especially at night, and she was always hungry and always eating. I, on the other hand, am almost always cold, so my body clearly doesn't naturally burn as much fuel as hers does.

It's really easy to feel frustrated and jealous when you are doing everything right with limited success and those around you succeed without nearly the same level of dedication. Men lose weight more easily, because testosterone really helps with that sort of thing. (Not to mention that they tend to be larger than women, so they burn more doing pretty much everything, so they can eat more and still lose weight.) Not fair, but only fixable by taking anaobolic steroids or other such bad things, which really isn't an option.

I've managed to lose a whopping half a pound in the past two weeks despite hours of cardio and hours of weight training and only one day where I went off the rails with my eating. This is annoying, and I think it's OK to be annoyed. But there are really only two ways one can go from this point. One is to let it defeat you, determining that doing nothing gives the same result as doing something, and nothing is much easier. The other is to focus on the other things that are good about your healthy lifestyle.

For me, being consistent at the gym just makes me feel better. Depending on the day, I don't always feel great when I'm doing it, but I always feel great when I've done it. I also feel better when I don't eat crap. My bad eating day was a dinner at a fancy restaurant that the office was paying for, and so I certainly had to try lots of things. I woke up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours and just had to sit on the couch and drink water to help digestion along before I could finally get back to sleep.

I also try to focus on what I can do. I love that I'm strong, and I love that I once got whistled at in the grocery store parking lot for lifting one of those 5-gallon water jugs (approximately 40 pounds) from my cart to the trunk of my car. So even when I can't reliably lose weight, I've never had trouble building muscle, so that's one place I can always see measurable improvement. Perhaps it's a few more reps of something, or perhaps it's making it through Jana's killer weightlifting class with the 15-pound weights instead of the 12-pound ones, but there are tangible improvements I can look at as progress.

At any rate, try to focus on how you feel and the numbers you actually have control over, such as what you eat, how much you lift, how long and how often you work out, and how far you swim. Even if your body doesn't cooperate in the weight and measurement realm, you'll still be a healthier and stronger version of yourself. I have to believe that eventually things will right themselves, but I don't think you'll ever be able to be like Marissa, who can just eat ice cream for all her meals and still keep the skinny mii on Wii Fit.