Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Now THAT Is Progress

I went to my third weigh-in today.

The good thing about my Weight Watchers group here at work is that no one* is following my progress except me.

The notable thing about my Weight Watchers group here at work is that everyone seems to be making progress except me.

Here's how it's gone:

The sessions are 12 weeks long. I joined at the end of the first session, so there were two weeks left. I just went "informationally" to see what the hell it was all about. I got my slidey scale thing to help me measure points in foods. I got some basic literature. And I got weighed.

Ooof. What the hell have I been thinking?

I avoided the next meeting because I didn't want to be weighed ever again. Also I had read the literature and discovered that the entire system is really (as I pointed out earlier) a very elaborate "eat less, eat better" plan. It seemed very restrictive and made me cranky. I did not feel ready to get on board.

But this did not stop me for signing up for the next full session (12 weeks). Because I felt guilty and scared and it's the only way I will ever weigh myself regularly.

"Now I will weigh myself regularly!" I announced to my head, "Even if I don't follow the Weight Watchers plan!"

And then didn't go to my first meeting.

But by the second meeting, I was feeling a little sheepish. I didn't want to bail out -- which would make me feel even WORSE about myself -- and I'd already paid my dues. So, knowing that I might not follow WW but that I should just know what sort of weight issues I'm really dealing with week-to-week, I went. I got weighed.

And was horrified to discover I'd gained 4 pounds simply by OWNING THE WEIGHT WATCHERS LITERATURE.

Right. So THEN I got SUPER discouraged and confused and felt bad but still not ready to do WW and unsure of everything and then it was my birthday and fast forward to my last entry about weight.

The results of all this? Well, I was much better eating-wise last week and have been pretty good so far this week (though the World Cup saw some pretty unhealthy behavior...). So I weighed in again today.

And after two weeks of SORT OF eating better, I have gained another 1.5 lbs.

Clearly, the "making it up as I go" needs more than a few days to take effect. And also maybe I should re-evaluate.


*I was kind of afraid that the group leader would be all in my business about what I'd eaten and all that. I have been pleased to discover no one does that unless asked.

* * * * * *

One of my dearest IIFs, who is a wickedly smart and adorable attorney/musician in NY sent me this link yesterday. It's an e-book, essentially, about losing weight. It is written by an engineer and laid out to be uber-logical. (If/when you click there, don't let the facetiousness of the title fool you.)

Here's a snippet:
If, over a period of time, the calories in the food you eat exceed the calories you burn by 3500, you'll put on about a pound. Conversely, if you reduce your food intake so that you burn 3500 calories more than you eat, you'll lose about a pound.

Please reread that last paragraph. It contains essentially everything there is to know about weight control. All the rest are tools, techniques, and details, important ones to be sure, but useless unless you first understand the system. Any tools that achieve the same end, balancing the calories you eat against the calories you burn, will have the same results. (You can dig a ditch with a pointed stick, a shovel, or a backhoe. The result is the same, but you can get the job done faster and with less effort by using the best tool. Still, don't confuse the shovel (the means) with the ditch (the objective), as most diet books tend to.)


The whole book is here.

And I think it all makes a ton of sense.

7 comments:

  1. Um...muscle weighs more than fat?

    I don't know, but it's what people always seem to say when weight is gained on a diet.

    And that's a fan-freaking-tastic snippet.

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  2. it's so simple. it really is.

    except for the actually losing weight part.

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  3. As an overweight person I too have a lot of trouble with diets. I was able to control my weight when I worked out like crazy and did not binge on food/drink. But getting back to that takes a lot of discipline. However...

    I came across the Shangri La diet by this Berkeley prof http://www.sethroberts.net/ who has a new and interesting take on the subject.

    It is so counterintuitive and simple. So I am on it now and I can tell you it does make a difference. I can actually get by on one meal a day if I can get over learned habits and my other fatal attraction, wine.

    So don't be guilty and beat yourself up, try something new.

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  4. Aw shucks, I got blog love.

    I don't know if you got through the signal/noise chapter yet, but the point of said chapter is there is 13 or so pounds of water in your body and the actual amount varies *wildly* throughout the day/week/month. Water weight will mess with the results of weigh ins ("I was perfect on my diet and gained 2 pounds!" what if you lost 2 pounds of fat and gained 4 pounds of water, it happens). That's why the linked e-book gets into "smoothing constants" and spreadsheets and all other sort of nonsense.

    Point is, don't sweat the weigh ins, if you insist on weighing yourself, do what the man said and get into the spreadsheets and algebra, and don't lose heart.

    Yeesh I sound like Tony Robbins.

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  5. Hey Kiki,

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    As a total nerd myself, I really like his tools, but his overall theory of eat less, burn more is WAY oversimplified. He overlooks many other important things such as the thermogenic effect of food and how anaerobic exercise can burn calories after the workout, only to name a few.

    Be careful of the "simplicity", and best of luck to you.

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  6. I've read the Hacker's Diet and found it very helpful. None of that "carbs are evil" "only eat fruit on Sundays" "if you eat after 8 pm you will explode" nonsense in there. If you’ve read the “Dexter’s diet” bit in there you know better than to let a few little numbers on the scale over a short period of time upset you. I actually weighed my self daily and charted the numbers just like the example, and guess what? It makes so much more sense to me now. If I weigh 2 more pounds today than I did yesterday I know there’s no reason to freak out, because I know I did not consume 7,000 more calories than I burned in 24 hrs, no matter how much of a pig I was. Chalk it up to water/waste/etc. weight, eat less sodium, and move on. You’ve got this ball rolling, you’ve just gotta keep moving with it.

    ReplyDelete