Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bariatric Betty Faces the Inevitable

So I knew this time would come - the Stall.  When anyone loses weight, they go through periods of time when they don't see much progress.  The first couple weeks/ months are usually full of rewards like watching the numbers on the scale go down steadily, fitting into new sizes of clothes.  It's great!  But at some point your body say "Hold on, let me adjust." and your numbers stop going down. 

In the past, this was very hard for me.  I would be following the plan, eating healthy, working out, and want to see results.  One way to get out of a stall is to eat less, another is to workout more.  When I was a teenager I did both those things repeatedly until I wasn't eating for days and started passing out.  Not good.

In my adult life I have understood that stalls happen, and yes - you can shake up your exercise routine and sometimes it will start the losing again.  But once you're on a healthy low calorie diet, eating less will not help weight loss, it will start a process where you body will go into starvation mode and hold onto weight in an effort to "save" you.  And if you increase your exercise, you have to be prepared to keep the same level of exercise.  So when I was on weight watchers and started biking 5-6 miles a day it helped me earn points and lose more weight - but when I couldn't bike that much any more I gained it back - because my body adjusted to mega exercise and when I went down to just being active the weight stopped coming off, and eventually started to come back on.

Imagine swearing off your favorite foods, working out over an hour a day, eating less and feeling hungry most of time, and then the weight stopped coming off and you were STILL OBESE.  Still not fitting into regular sizes and still getting the looks and comments from rude people who thought you were lazy and lacked self control, and still having major health issues.  After months of dieting - 6 months, 9 months, a year.  Still being obese.  After a while, you start thinking "Why am I doing this if I'm still going to be obese???"

So here is the change - I have hit a stall, and been warned it can last weeks to months, but this time, I am already NOT OBESE.  I am already NOT DIABETIC.   I already have a lot more energy and abilities - thanks to the surgery I was able to change enough things before this stall to be prepared to stick it out.  I already know it's worth it, even if I don't lose another pound.  But I do want to lose more!

I also prepared for this in another way - I have been measuring my body to see the changes in inches as well as pounds, and monitoring my body fat percentage.  I have not lost weight and my body measurements haven't changed for almost two weeks, but my body fat percentage has gone down 1.2%!  That means that I lost over 2 pounds of fat and gained that much muscle.  So I am making progress, this isn't a stopping point, it just means my progress isn't as easily measured or observed.

I am also continuing to up my physical fitness with the couch25k program.  Yesterday we started Week 3, where we doubled the longest time we had jogged so far.  I have to say, I really like this program and would encourage other non-runners to try it.  You can find it at   I keep waiting to get to a point where I say "Oh my gosh, this is too much!" but it really keeps you progressing at a good pace.  Was I tired after the longer runs?  Yes.  Was I happy to see the time was up and slow down to a walk - you bet.  But I'm not scared of doing it again tomorrow.  My boys are continuing to do really well on it, too.  My older son finally got sweaty yesterday at week 3 - yay, we caught up with his physical fitness level!  My younger son handled the bump up yesterday incredibly well.  He doesn't want to talk about how well he's doing while we're doing it, but at the end he says "it wasn't that bad".  For him and running - that's high praise. 

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