Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Scale Game Update

I'm here for a report on the scale situation I told you about a month ago during my 5 year post-op update. I am working to drop the extra 5 pounds that made an unwelcome visit.

Here's what I've done so far:
  1. Began tracking all food eaten and logging all calories. 
  2. Began wearing my Body Media Fit again, renewed my online subscription and religiously ran my reports to track the number of calories I burned.
  3. Increased my consciousness of protein intake, carb moderation and a focus on healthy fats. 

I did #1 and #2 for two weeks so I could get a clear picture of where I was starting. I wanted to see if I was on track with what I believed was happening or if I'd learn something new. Let me explain...

Calories In:
On the calorie intake side... I discovered two main things: 1) I was too carby in my nutrition balance with an average of 50% carbs, 25% protein. I quickly corrected that with a few minor tweaks. And 2) I wasn't eating enough calories and was averaging around 1,000-1,200 calories per day. Once I discovered I was low on calories, I started adding a snack as often as I could remember (yes, I still forget to eat even after 5 years). 

Calories Out:
In the past several months I've been working a lot -- which means sitting at a desk. I've also been going to school 3/4-time -- more sitting at a desk. I've also been carrying a fair amount of stress with an overloaded task list at work and some side design business. Plus, I have not been sleeping as much as I should be. So I was expecting the BodyMedia Fit to tell me that my calorie-burn figures were down from the average I established back in 2010 when I wore the armband for a year. 

But my assumptions were wrong. I am still burning an average of 2,300-2,500 calories per day on a fairly sedentary day with a slight boost on days when I was "up and about" more often (shopping, running errands, housework, etc.). I have not been doing any type of formal exercise program, so I don't have a recording of an exercise day. This calorie-burn range was surprising to me because it's in line with where I was during a fairly active time in my life when I had a formal exercise program in place.

SIDE NOTE: Remember back when I bought my BodyMedia Fit armband and paid around $260 for the whole system? Well I just checked Amazon and you can buy one for $99!!

Calorie Deficit:
So if you've done the math you'll see that the calorie deficit is around 1,000 to 1,400 per day. That deficit is WAY too high and I had probably thrown my body into a semi-starvation mode where it was hoarding energy. I've probably been sitting on this type of deficit for about 6 months or more, so it was inevitable that I'd be in danger of weight gain because my body was in a survival mode. 

(There's a lot of science behind all this and I won't get into all of it here. But just realize that a "too-large-deficit" does not apply to new weight loss surgery patients, so don't freak out. This mostly applies to long term post-op and regular-gutted people who have never had WLS.)

The Strategy:
I increased my calories to be a solid 1,400-1,600 per day so that my calorie deficit sits around 750-900 calories per day. I focused on This seems to be my body's comfort zone for maintaining my weight (yes, I know I'm an anomaly and normal people would be losing weight at this range, but my body maintains, so that's what I'm doing for now).  So that's what I did for about 2 weeks and the scale showed some movement and dropped 2 pounds -- so I was well on my way to losing those pesky 5 pounds. 

The Wrench in the Gears:
I've said it before, but I'll remind you again: "I'm a stress-non-eater." Which means when I'm under an extreme amount of stress, I lose my appetite and any desire to eat. In fact, when I do attempt to eat, my stomach seems to reject food and I get sick. (Anger is my emotional eating trigger, so that's a whole other story.) A couple weeks ago I suddenly came under a big load of emotional stress in my personal life that I'm still struggling to get "fixed" but unfortunately most of the fixing is out of my control (and you all know how much of a control freak I am!). I'm purposefully being vague because I don't plan to share the details, sorry.

So yep, you guessed it.... I'm having problems with the calorie deficit thing again. And the scale is back to that 5 pound mark again. I'm highly conscious of the fact that I'm not eating properly right now and I'm making an effort to get myself back on track. Yesterday I ate three complete meals and today I've done fairly well too. It probably doesn't hurt that I shared this situation with my good friend Nikki and she basically kicked my butt and put me on her "list." 

Still Working:
I'll continue to work hard in dropping these extra 5 pounds until they are solidly gone ... and then work on the other 10 pounds that'll drop me to the low end of my comfort zone weight. I'll keep you posted on the progress. 


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