Healthy Byte: Forty Pounds to Freedom (Q & A)

2015 8-10 QnA

Now to answer some specific questions from one of my polls of what peeps would like to know:

Q: rayw89 Have you ever caught a few extra pounds coming back on and had to curb it? And do high calorie occasions throughout the year(if you do them) have any negative effects? Thanks. 🙂

A: You bet! I do have a set weight range for maintenance which I monitor quite regularly. My normal weight flux is 93 – 95 lbs → PLEASE remember that I am ‘fun size’ at 4’10” & petite frame … the average size of a 3rd or 4th grader so that # may seem borderline anorexic to some, my height & frame has to be taken into account. My ‘danger danger Robinson’ weight is 97 lbs. In my two year maint I have reached 96 about a half dozen times from my various little eating ‘experiments.’ HAHA For example, I went through a phase where I ate an entire BOWL of popcorn every night for an after dinner snack. I gained weight like nobody’s business! lol  What I learned is that I’m one of the unfortunate souls who do not process carbs very efficiently and had to resort to alternative tactics. ie. eat my dinner later, drink lots of water, leave the kitchen right after dinner so I don’t linger around and be tempted to eat something else just because it’s readily available etc. If I am really hankering for something else, I try to chose the most satisfying and healthy option. ie. PB&J on ½ of toasted whole wheat English muffin. For the second part of the question I’m not really sure what you mean by ‘high calorie occasions’ but I do live by my own variation of the 80/20 Rule. Therefore there are indeed occasions where I have gone as far as 1200 calories over my daily allotment → think bday, anniversary, graduation in the same week – YIKES. I usually am 2-3 lbs heavier for about 48 – 76 hours after, then I go back to my normal eating pattern and my weight goes back down within the normal flux range. No real permanent negative effect as long as it is truly a once in a rare occasion sort of deal → think 2-3 times a year … maybe. And let me just clarify that the 2-3 times a year is by choice. I don’t actively avoid indulgence. It’s just now that my body is SO use to eating well most of the time, when I do indulge in junk I just feel awful for the next couple of days. Sometimes I literally feel like I’m going to die! lol It’s kind of like my body has forgotten how to process junk so it rebels with GI issues. So like Pavlov dogs, the more I feel bad every time I indulge the more I don’t because I like feeling good. Seems silly and a little lame no? Regardless how many calories I consume, I log EVERYthing. If it passes my lips I log it. Instead of being seeing that blaring red number as a teacher wagging their finger at me, I see it as nothing more but data. It helps me to identify food items which make my weight flux more than others or feel more bloated than others. It’s a good tool for analysis & reflection. For example, by having the data to analyze I was able to delineate that it wasn’t so much the carbs that was making me feel sluggish & bloated but certain food groups (FODMAP sensitivity). I’d have never been able to figure that out if I didn’t habitually log everything.

Q: drmartz55 Read a good article on PsyBlog about the psychological secret to great exercise habits, so I’d like to know what prompts you to exercise regularly?

A: ahhhh great question! This goes back to being the tortoise nor the hare. Whenever I used to want to lose weight I’d would go full throttle, gungho and go to the gym 5 days a week for an hour and a half, sometimes two full hours. The first week was awesome – “YEA I feel great!’ The second week was less awesome – ‘This is okay.’ The third week I was starting to dread going to the gym – ‘hmmm, why the hell am I doing this?’ By the fourth week I’m like –  ‘pffft whatever I’m not seeing any results anyways – why bother!’ This time, since I know I am not a gym person by nature, so I started small. I asked myself what realistically can I consistently do without feeling like it is a chore? The answer was 15 minutes twice a week. I figure that anyone can spare 15 minutes twice a week so that is what I started with. For a few months I went to the gym religiously for 15 minutes twice a week. When that became second nature I increased the duration and frequency. I bumped it up to 30 minutes three times a week. And when that became this mindless autopilot mode that I just did without thinking (like automatically putting on a seatbelt in the car without thinking about it) I increased the duration and frequency again and so on. What I didn’t know was that by approaching exercise this way, I was fundamentally inscribing a new life habit. And now, honestly, even on days when I absolutely want to just crawl into my pjs & stay home, my auto pilot mode kicks in I mindlessly change into my gym clothes & I go. Once I am physically at the gym, even if I am just dog tired and say to myself, ‘I’m just going to dial it in tonight’, I never do because once I get going, my body takes over and my brain just goes along with it. Also, in my previous failures I did classes exclusively. This time I almost never went to classes but did my own thing because the classes was set to someone else’s schedule which often times meant a 2-3 hours lag time between getting off work until class started. That lag time was very dangerous for me because once I get settled in for the night it’s much more difficult to get myself motivated to go back out. Doing things on my own meant I can come home from work, dump my work stuff, change, go to the gym, knock out my little routine, then D-O-N-E Done! This has worked much better for me and when I get bored I just YouTube or Google something else to do. 🙂

Q: vmsolko I’m wondering about the transition from losing to maintenance. I recently switched from the setting to ose 1.5lbs/week to 1lb/week and I gained 4 lbs. :/ It’s only been 2 weeks, so I’m hoping it comes off eventually as my body gets used to the extra calories. Did you ever have issues getting your body to accept your “set point” of daily calories?

A: hmmmm okay – my first question to you is have you reran your TDEE#? For example,  if someone is 5’5” at 200 lbs the BMR will be more than if the person is 5’5” at 130 lbs. Why? Simply because there is less of you → the body overall will need less calories (fuel) to function & support – the exception of course if someone is training for bodybuilding contest or Iron Man or some extraordinary physical activity. Make sense?

SO to answer your question … I actually changed very, very little from losing to maintenance – calories wise. For example, when I was losing, my daily caloric allotment was 1200 + whatever I earned from exercise, let’s say it’s 300 for a total of 1500. No matter what my total calories was for the day I would leave 200-300 to create that deficit. SO 1200 (base) + 300 (exercise) = 1500 (total) – 1300 (actual consumption) = 200 deficit

In maintenance, the first thing I did was reran my TDEE. There will be a difference between 43 years old at 4’10” 136 lbs with zero and 45 years old at 4’10” 95 lbs going to the gym 6 times a week. Secondly, I didn’t really ‘increase’ my calories per say because I was never starving on 1250 – 1300 calories a day while losing. So what I did was I tried to eat more of what I earned from my exercise calories.

Using the same example above this is what a typical day would look like for me now: 1300 (base) + 300 (exercise) = 1600 (total) – 1400 (actual consumption TDEE) = 200 deficit

I basically ignore MFP base calories and concentrate the daily total. And even though MFP may reward me the 300 exercise calories bringing my daily total to 1600, I would never consistently eat the full allotted 1600 because my TDEE is below that.  So to think about this logically –  if my body ONLY need 498 to support my current level of activities then it would make no sense to go over that.  To the last part of your question, no not really. I did not forcibly up my calories I just gradually ate more towards my new TDEE which was not a huge difference from losing.

That’s why I always strongly encourage people to have some idea of where one should be eating and not just blindly upping calories according to MFP because that’s what we’re suppose to do in maintenance. Just try to remember that MFP algorithms are for the average person, of the average age (36.8), and of the average height (men: 5’10” women: 5’4”) so it’s not something to put a lot of stock in if someone falls out of the ‘average’ spectrum … like me. The important thing I try to remember in maint especially is to eat based on my height,  current age & weight, and level of activities. I rerun my TDEE annually on my birthday because our calorie needs decreases as we get older. Although our actual appetite may not reflect that. haha The other thing I have really focus on in maint are macronutrients. Primarily because my fitness routine & goals are different. Since I am doing less cardio & more strength trng, I do feel more satisfied longer with more protein. SO I have upped my protein, lower my fat and maintain the carbs. This tweaking helped me a lot. Hope all that makes sense.

Q: blc1971 Transition tips would be great! Also, weight fluctuations, your set-point (if you have one), weight range, etc. Plus anything you want to share!!

A: hmmmm … my weight flux is about 1-2 lbs on any given day. Maybe up to three during that lovely time of the month. lol My typical weight range is 93 – 95 lbs & my danger weight is 97 lbs. I really had no official transition because I made incremental changes throughout losing so once it was time for maint I just pretty much carried on just like any other day with some tweaking here & there as my goals change from losing weight to fitness oriented ones. ie. muscle definition SO SORRY …  that was probably an incredibly lame answer but by the time maint came around, all the new habits have taken root so it was more a matter of continuing to get the most ‘bang for my buck’ approach.

Overall I think maint should be more about balance and allowances for ‘life’ happens. For example, during the months when the hubs & I were running into the four winds with kiddos spring sports I didn’t get to work out regularly. The old me would have had a complete melt down of how I’m was going to gain weight and be fat again – a thought which horrifies me. But the new me understood that and I control what I could control … which was my eating. So during spring, I ate pretty much on plan near 100% of the time to compensate for the lack of exercise. Maint is about incorporating everything we’ve learned from losing weight and being flexible. Otherwise we’re going to drive ourselves completely mad! lol

HB Sig

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