Summer – In all its sticky glory

The plateau that is my weight continues. I went for a 2 mile jog before weighing in, so I shed some water and dropped 1.5 lbs from last week, but it’s basically the same ol’ same ol’.

Today’s weight: 182.5 lbs.

I find it a bit demoralizing that the new Withings scale shows a “normal” weight range that starts around 122 and ends around 168 lbs.  I cannot imagine myself being a normal, reasonably happy person at 130 lbs.  I would need to have radically changed everything about how I consume food and had liposuction to get down to that kind of weight.

In other news, here’s another defense of “calories in, calories out.”  The latest was a Opinion piece by Frank Bruni in the Times:

[Aggressively marketed pills, products, and plans] show no signs of going away anytime soon. Worse yet, they belong to, and are complemented by, a brimming culture of micro theories and boutique science that seeks explanations for excess pounds in equations well beyond the sturdy maxim of calories in, calories out.

Yes, that maxim oversimplifies. Yes, we learn more all the time about the asterisks to it and about which kinds of calories set you up to be hungrier (and to continue eating) or not.

But consult the most respected physicians in the field of weight loss and they’ll tell you that the maxim remains as relevant as ever. And the vogue for painstakingly tailored eating regimens and dieting techniques is to some extent a distraction from that, a dangerous one, because it promotes the idea that basic nature and fundamental biology can somehow be gamed, cheated, transcended.

“In terms of diet, the general laws of thermodynamics hold,” Rudolph Leibel, an obesity expert at the Columbia University Medical Center, told me. “The issue of — ‘If I eat a diet of all watermelons as opposed to a diet of hamburgers with the same number of calories, will I be able to lose more weight on the watermelons?’ — that’s a specious argument. We’re dealing with chemistry and physics, not imagination.”

I’m no doctor.  I’m not even a Times OpEd writer who gets quotes from doctors.  I agree that miracle pills aren’t the way to lose weight.

My “woo-woo” integrative health doctor – who my husband thinks is a quack and whom I am considering ditching because she is routinely 20 minutes late for appointments, even when I schedule early in the day so there won’t be a back log of people waiting – last year suggested I try cinnamon pills as a way of suppressing appetite and increasing my body’s use of sugars.  Didn’t seem to work.  There’s $10 down the drain.  So what did I do this year?  I let her suggest another supplement – lipoic acid.  Both of these supplements, when I look them up online, appear to be primarily for diabetics.  Does she think I’m pre-diabetic?  If so, she’s never mentioned it.  Nor did I get even a “good job” for losing 20 lbs this past year.  It’s all very discouraging.  Also, she told me to drink more water, and when I said it makes me use the restroom ALL THE TIME (by which, I mean, about every 45 minutes) she said to drink mineral water or put salt in my water to increase retention so I wouldn’t use the restroom so much.  When I did that, not only did I continue to use the restroom constantly but I also gained nearly 3 lbs in retained water.  It worked all right, but not in the way I had hoped.

So, I agree with Bruni about miracle pills, but I think the falling back on calories in/calories out is not as useful as it could be, because, at least for me, exercise makes me hungrier and I don’t think I get enough metabolic burn going from the exercise to make up for the uptick in calories.  Plus, it’s hot and muggy out.  Hello summer!

I’d like to try to stick to Michael Pollan’s rule: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  

Post Half Blues

Where have the past two weeks gone?  I didn’t run much the week after the Cap City, and then this past weekend we drove up to Chicago for a wedding and I didn’t keep track of what I ate, so who knows really.  We did do a very pleasant 5K Monday along the lakeshore, and I made it to the gym Tuesday for an ab workout and out for a 2 miler this morning, so some uptick in activity there.

I’ve been feeling listless and depressed lately and am trying to figure out if it’s procrastination, lack of exercise, poor diet, or something else.  About the only thing I am doing is getting enough sleep most nights, but I’m starting to feel guilty about sleeping in when my spouse has to haul out and go to work.

I was really hoping to get a long run in today to juice my numbers a bit for my yearly physical.  I’d like the numbers to show me down 20lbs from the last visit, but right now, it will probably be slightly less.

J got me a new wireless scale for our 3-year anniversary.  It’s going to be a very useful gift, but I think he was worried I would think it was unromantic.  He looked concerned and asked, “Too utilitarian?” as I opened it.  I got him leather cufflinks and a book of poetry, so in a fairly rare turn of events I probably did end up giving him the more romantic gift of the exchange.  They weren’t exactly love poems, though.  It was a collection by Mary Oliver, an Ohioan, queer, nature poet (seems disrespectful of a person to reduce them to three adjectives like that).  Go buy her book so I’ll feel less bad about my reductionism.

In any case, I’m going to set a few SMART goals for the next week and update on my progress next Friday.

Goal One – Use my tracking tools: weigh in each day, record everything I consume on LoseIt, use my Fitbit to track sleep in addition to steps.

Goal Two – Exercise at least 30 minutes, 4 times a week.  This should be an easy target.  I’ve already exercised 3 times this week and I’m signed up for a 5 mile charity run on Memorial Day.

Goal Three – Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day.  I find this hard.  Guess I’ll go get myself a glass now.  

I was 183.8 lbs at my weigh-in this morning.  13.8 lbs to my goal.

Half Marathon Accomplished

J and I successfully completed the Cap City Half Marathon this weekend there are three things about it that I am particularly pleased about:

1. We made it in my goal time of 2:30 — about 2:29 was our finish — and that was after being put in the slowest corral and having to move our way up through the course.

2. We didn’t walk — not even at the giant hill at the end of the course.  It helped that the DJ on the corners started playing Regulate as we turned the corner and faced the hill.  Nate Dogg had our back on the incline. Warren G, if I had wings I would have flown up that hill.  (As an aside: based purely on themes, street fights, picking up a car full of ladies, it doesn’t seem like this would be my style of song, but I love the third verse when they start explaining G funk and say “the rhythm is the base and the base is the treble” and “we brings…melodies.”)

3. Friends and co-workers are supportive — I’ve been getting lots of congratulations on finishing this race, which makes me feel happy about telling everyone I was going to do it!

There’s something about my physiology that makes me lose salt like crazy on these long runs.  J was wiping salt off my face at the end before we took pictures.  I’m wondering if the salt loss led to my body hoarding it the next few days because by Monday I’d gained a few pounds from my last weigh in.  I’ve been making an effort to stay hydrated the past couple of days, which means constant bathroom trips for me, and I’m now back down a couple of pounds.

Making my official Wednesday Weigh In = 183.4 lbs.

Not super, but I can work with this.  Here are my goals to start working back down again:

  • 60 oz a day of water.  People who drink 100 oz, I applaud you.  Maybe on days when I can live on the toilet.
  • Eat out no more than once a day.  Baby steps, folks.  I had double Panera on Friday.  Yes, you can do worse, but 2x a day is excessive.
  • Track my food.  LoseIt! here I come.