Apathy, messy life and weight maintenance

I haven’t bored you, Dear Reader, for a while with my weight loss (now maintenance) battles, so now I’ll do a quick post, for myself (to keep my attention on this effort). As any long-term readers know this was a common type of post in months past but something I’ve largely abandoned, partly out of disappointment in myself, partly as I don’t want to admit what’s happened. But that’s how it happens, the yo-yo weight loss and so now I’ll put myself on display as part of the incentive to myself to maintain my discipline. Here’s the history, as a reminder:

weekly146-weeks

Note: I’m also suffering from the failure of my WiFi repeater and thus poor Net connectivity that makes posts, especially uploads of these graphs difficult.

So for about 10 months (the left side of the graph) I was on a steady downward march. The red line is the actually once-a-week (Sunday) weigh-in and the green line is a 6-month moving average which smooths some of the bumps. Previous bumps were due to vacations, which is a pardonable relapse of some weight gain, usually quickly reversed, because eating out is part of my vacation fun.

But of late (last five months or so) I’ve struggled to do the harder task (no mental reward of a nice steady decrease) of weight maintenance, better seen in this shorter-term graph:

weekly146

The starting point of this graph is my return from a vacation in Boston, with the usual weight gain due to eating out, but with the usual rapid loss. The next bump is the end-of-year (Xmas, New Year’s) holiday bump, again with fairly rapid decline, although not quite to previous levels.

So it’s the fairly steady gain starting in week 126, about 5 months ago that is alarming. This is how it starts, one over-indulgence after another, one excuse (I’ll get back on track next week) after another, and then over the last couple of months where my life has been turned upside-down by having to put much more time and effort into caring for my 100YO mother with her end-of-life issues.

What doesn’t show on this graph (but in another in my spreadsheets) is the fairly steady 0.33lb/week gain since March 2015, resulting in about 10lb gain since my last low (which was near my target of 185lbs). Lots of reasons why this is happening, but the real message (to me) is that it is happening and undeniable, and unlike the vacation gains, not a short-term, easy-to-reverse kind of gain.

That means I need to calm my life and restore my discipline and get those 10lbs (real fat this time) back off. During my sustained loss I average just under 2.5lbs/week, so IOW, I have five weeks of the same type of discipline I had to get back to where I should be. My life circumstances aren’t (yet) very helpful for maintaining my focus, but I just have to not let that become a perpetual excuse.

So that leads to my first term in my title – Apathy. It was much easier in my first 10 months of significant and sustained loss. I was almost totally focused and rewarded for my effort with a nice set of numbers, providing the positive feedback to stay focused. But now, facing hunger every day for the next five weeks, plus a general tiredness and fatigue doing my exercise, I have a difficult mental battle with myself to actually care enough to put in the effort.

My initial weight loss was triggered by a doctor visit recommending drugs I didn’t want to take. Not only did I succeed in avoiding that I even eliminated the previous drugs I’d been taking (cholesterol control, BP control) and I really enjoyed accomplishing that. But today I’ve already had that “reward” and so I’m just looking at preventing getting back to the bad state I was before, which is, simply, not the same kind of incentive.

So my real battle starts now and as part of that I need to return to all the visible progress (or failure) via these posts, so stay tuned as I really try to turn the corner on all this.

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About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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2 Responses to Apathy, messy life and weight maintenance

  1. I’m not a regular reader (I took a hiatus from blogging), but I saw this on my reader and was of course drawn to it as I am with anything weight loss related. I struggled for a long time with weight problems and it wasn’t until I started letting myself eat everything that I started losing weight and keeping it off. I had restricted myself through so many crash diets that I was always craving something I couldn’t have. Finally, I just started eating whatever I wanted for a year. I gained some more weight, but I was happier and never craved food. I was able to redirect my addiction to food into other pursuits since craving food was a huge time-waster for me. Then, I read a book called Intuitive Eating. It changed my life. My brain had been so detached from the process of eating that I never knew when I was full. Most of the time I wasn’t even enjoying the food I was eating. I was just mindlessly eating it. It took a lot of time (years) to finally change my habits for good so that maintaining my weight was just a matter of doing manageable things each day. I’ve kept the weight off now for two to three years and even managed to bounce back quickly after my pregnancy. Anyway, all that is to say, it sounds like you’re on the path to figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t. That is the key. Everyone has their own “thing” that will get you into maintenance mode for life. I wish you luck on your journey and I hope it goes well for you. Thanks for sharing your struggle so others can learn from it.

  2. dmill96 says:

    Thanks for the comment, sorry I haven’t been monitoring my blog and acknowledged your comment. And thank you for your encouragement and I offer the same for you. Since much of my loss came from greatly increased exercise I have not only weight loss but a big increase in fitness and so can dream about a long walk (like Camino de Santiago) now.

    Maintenance is the tougher part (than loss), at least for me, because those wonderful attaboy pats of the back of a declining number when you step on the scale or getting rid of old fat clothes and buying skinny clothes is wonderful feedback you’re succeeding, so keep it up. But once you’ve stabilized those rewards are gone and months of careful calorie control and exercise leading only to the same number you had six months ago is less of a pat on the back (even though it is equally important). So, as you say, whatever works for you is what is right. The “expert” opinion rarely is based on evidence and science and in this case, anecdotal data, i.e. you, is all the statistical sample you need. If 99% of the world does something different than me, but what I do works for me, I won’t let the 99% tell me what I should be doing.

    We both agree that crash diets (and I’d expand that to almost any “fad” diet) are ineffective. I find they’re all premised on some magic formula (avoid this, go for that) that has no scientific bias and also ignores the real issue people with weight issues face.

    While I haven’t read the book you reference I’ve seen this concept mentioned in various places. I empathize with the idea sometimes we eat just to eat (done plenty of that myself). And in terms of eating everything you want I’ve certainly ranted to opposition to the “superfood” idea or the “toxic food” idea enough to agree.

    But the place where I might differ is just that it’s almost entirely quantity that matters. Pizza makes you fat faster than kale simply because it has more calories per volume or weight – find a way to eat enough kale and you’ll get just as fat. The good calories and bad calories idea is almost entirely flawed (there is a potentially valid issue for people who also need to control blood glucose levels, where different foods with the same amount of calories are processed by the body at different rates, sugar is fast and spikes blood glucose levels, but the same number of calories of oats will make you just as fat).

    p.s. I hope you actually get this response even though it’s three months late.

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