October 16, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
I did everything right this week, or so I had thought. I got in all of my workouts as planned. I did my runs in the morning before I ate breakfast in order to help speed up fat burn. I consumed the right amount of protein after my weight training sessions. I only had 2 beers all week. I kept to my calorie limits every day. I even kept within my fat / sugar / carb allotments for the most part. It was a stellar week for reaching my goal to hit the end of the year feeling lean and mean.
And then, before my flight Sunday morning, I stepped on the scale, and found that I had GAINED 1 pound. How on earth did I gain weight this week? I had been spot on from every conceivable direction. It made no sense. I stepped off and got back on, thinking that maybe the scale had a brain hiccup. But alas, still up a pound. I felt my heart sink. All that hard work, all that ‘being good’ and sacrifice for what? I found that little voice in my head saying ‘Give up! If you do it right and can’t lose weight, what is the flipping point?’ And I wanted to give in. Jump in the car and go have a big breakfast with cheese and biscuits and honey and everything I don’t eat when I am trying to hit a goal.
It was super tempting, but instead, I slinked off to bed for a while, comforting myself in the safety of my happy place, and then got up, took my pooch for a walk, and then had some steel cut oats with protein powder and soy nuts, like I do most mornings.
I’m sure everyone deals with this issue from time to time, and it never gets easier. No reward from the scale when you work so hard can be super disappointing. It can make you want to give up, throw in the towel and never look back.
I think when you face this type of letdown, there are a couple of things that can help you to overcome your disappointment and bounce back even stronger the following week:
1) Remember that you are getting fit and eating healthy for many reasons, not just to lose weight. Sure, weight loss is a great reward for taking care of yourself, but so is avoiding disease, living longer, feeling good, and being happy. I can run half marathons and do 30 day treks across Spain, things I wouldn’t be able to do if I weren’t focused on my fitness and my diet.
2) It isn’t just about the math. Your body is very complex. Stress, sleep, the kinds of calories you get, when you exercise, hormones, you name it can be behind a weight gain even when the numbers tell you differently. This is especially true for women. The time of month can greatly impact your weight fluctuations. You have to look at your weight loss over the course of a couple of weeks, not just a single week, especially when you are doing right by the numbers.
3) Look at weeks where you have been successful and see if there are any patterns. I know that this week I was trying to play the numbers without caring too much about where those numbers came from. While I hit my calorie goals and my macro nutrient goals, some of those calories came from dairy, others from booze, others from gently processed carbs. The weeks where I tend to do the best are those where I eat as cleanly as possible – no oatmeal, no drinking at all, nothing from a bag. I tend to do even better when following a vegan lifestyle. I need to remember that when I deviate from those known paths to success, I may become disappointed in my weight.
4) Break a pattern. If you have been doing the same thing week after week after week, your body might be adjusting to what you are doing to lose weight. It is tricky and crafty. It will adapt quickly, so you need to be one step ahead of the game. Next week, do things differently. Train differently. If you are a runner, take the week to cycle. If you are a meat eater, take a week off and be a vegetarian. Do something to mix it up and throw your body off kilter.
5) “Lighten up, Francis!” Don’t pressure yourself. Your brain can have a huge impact on your body. If your brain is so stressed about weight loss, you are probably not going to lose a whole lot of weight. I have no science to prove it, but I know from practical experience that when I lighten up about my weight loss, I tend to lose weight. Stay positive, if you let the mind lead with a positive attitude, the body will follow.
6) Talk about it. Just writing this blog has helped me to let off some steam and feel better. Vent your frustrations with a friend, or your partner, or your trainer. You’ll get encouragement and support and validation – all things you need to be successful on this journey.
On those disappointing days / weeks, do whatever it takes to hold on. Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t cry defeat. This journey is no different from other journeys. It has ups, it has downs. Good days and bad days. But over time, you get to where you want to go. Standing still or going backwards has never ended with me getting to my goals. Only pushing onward leads to success.