Yeah. April was not, umm, great. Actually, in a lot of ways, it was sort of bad. It was, by far, the worst month I’ve had this year. Overall, I would say it was the worst month since I started this blog back in December, 2013. And, last week was particularly awful:
Yes, I ended the week a full 98 SmartPoints in the hole.
Let me count the ways that April was not great. I walked an average of 2926 steps a day which was just awful. My cardio exercise averaged 79 minutes a week. It was 219 minutes a week in March. Strength training averaged 32 minutes a week. That might not sound too bad, except that I was theoretically doing 2 half hour personal training sessions each week so that should have been closer to 60 minutes a week. And, largely due to the inactivity, my calories burned per day were the lowest this year. Actually, the lowest since I started the blog. And, that was coupled with the calories eaten being the highest.
The net result? Fitbit tells me that I averaged a calorie surplus of 200 calories per day for April. So, that works out to 6000 excess calories for the month. The result? Well, on my home scale, I was up 5.2 pounds since I weighed in the first week of April. No, I don’t think all of that 5.2 pounds is real extra weight. 6000 excess calories does not equal 5.2 pounds of real weight gain. Part of the excess is probably from water retention due to higher sodium meals (we ate out more than usual) and the other part is that I have eaten a bit higher carb and so my body is holding on to more water. So, some of that 5 pounds will probably swiftly go away if I eat at home more where I tend to not eat foods with as much sodium or carbs.
That said, I also think that my actual calorie surplus might be more than the 6000 excess calories shown. Why? Well, historically, my actual weight loss has been less than that predicted by Fitbit’s calorie burn estimate coupled with my calories eaten. I do think I try hard to record food properly when I track. But, I am sure that I am not perfect. Even more importantly, I don’t actually think that restaurant nutrition information is always accurate and even packaged foods may not be entirely accurate in terms of nutritional information. And, there are times when I must estimate when I eat places where I don’t have nutritional information.
So, probably I really gained about 3 actual pounds during April. Why the bad month? Well, there are a lot of reasons.
April and early May are always tough for me. Between April and early May, we have my birthday, my son’s birthday, Mother’s Day and a family event in early April. All of these involve eating out. This particular April we also went out of town one day, and ate out. Let me see. I just went to my budgeting program and checked. We ate out 15 times during April! Part of this was due to special occasions, part because of travel, and part because we were out and about more than usual.
The lack of activity was a combination of various things. Some of the lack of strength training was because of having to cancel due to other events (the day we went out of town, when I went to the hospital to do my lab work, etc.). On some occasions, I had actually rescheduled cancelled appointments and then those appointments were cancelled due to events beyond my control. Once, the Y was closed due to flooding and then, just last Thursday, the Y was closed was due to the power being out. And so on.
A big factor I think was simply that I was really focused on other things this month. One of the major things was going to the plastic surgery consultations, deciding to have surgery and scheduling it for May 9th. Suddenly, I was really busy either preparing for appointments (lots of questions), to preparing for the pre-op appointment (still more questions), to doing all the things necessary to prepare for surgery. I had long To Do lists from the doctor’s office and had to buy lots of stuff in preparation for surgery (prescriptions, supplies, etc.). All of this took up a lot of time and was a factor in eating out so much. And, even when I was at home, I was often more focused on other issues and staying on program was simply not a big focus.
Another factor is what I guess I would call weight loss fatigue. I am sort of at an interesting spot right now. My Weight Watchers goal weight is 146 pounds which puts me at the top of the normal BMI range. I got to goal last July. Since then I have sort of wanted to lose a little more, but haven’t been intense about it. I have always sort of felt that anything within a normal BMI weight range was OK with me, but I wanted to improve my body composition. That is, I felt I still had too much body fat. I had eventually come to a recognition that — for me — I wasn’t likely to improve my body composition much unless I lost more weight. While I had no set goal, I thought I would probably need to be around 135 pounds.
Despite this, I really hadn’t been able to maintain a lot of focus on losing more weight. I actually didn’t lose anything really from the time I got to goal until SmartPoints started. In fact, I slightly gained. On July 31, 2015, I weighted in at 145.8 pounds. On December 5th, I weighed in at 146.6 pounds. When I weighed in at the start of April, I was at 142.8 pounds. So, I did lose a few pounds with SmartPoints. At this point, though, I expect to weigh in during May above 146, but hope it will be no more than 148 pounds.
I think that I really am fatigued from working on weight loss so much. When I weighed over 200 pounds losing weight was really urgent to me. Now that I am within a normal BMI, it is harder to maintain the same intensity. And, it is harder to create a calorie deficit since my now smaller body burns fewer calories. And, my overall calories eaten have gone up this year. And, as someone at goal, that isn’t inappropriate. That is, it really is OK for me to decide to maintain. This month, of course, hasn’t been a maintain but I think that trying to lose weight this month made it harder for me to simply maintain. If I set out to maintain and I do, I feel fine about it. But, if I set out to lose and start to maintain, I feel like a failure. This month started out OK but with everything going on I was maintaining for the first third of the month. That was frustrating since I wanted to lose and I think it made it easier for me to just chuck it all. Well, not quite all. I still tracked everything.
I also realize that right now is probably not the best time for me to be focused on weight loss. Right now I need to focus on getting ready for surgery one week from today. And, once that occurs, my focus needs to be on adequate nutrition so that my body can heal. And, after I recover from this surgery, I plan to have a tummy tuck and breast lift which will also require me to further heal. My priority needs to be on nutrition and healing, not on losing weight.
And, there is another factor. I sort of picked 135 pounds because I wanted to have something to work toward. But, that was based upon my body as it was. That is, pre-surgery. I realize now that I probably need to not really decide on my final weight until after I complete both sets of surgery. In other words, I will want to look at my body composition after my body surgery to see what more weight I need to lose (if any).
So, I think that for now, my real goal is going to be to maintain and stay within my Weight Watchers goal weight of 146 pounds. I plan to eat well this week. My son’s birthday is this week so that will involve eating out, but we are going to a restaurant where I can get fish so it should be fine. Then, once I have surgery my focus is going to be eating sufficient protein and calories to heal properly. I will track what I eat, of course. If I end up losing some weight that is fine. It is possible that in the short-term after surgery I may not be that hungry. At the same time, though, I will be less active so I won’t be burning as many calories. The main point is that my focus will simply be on eating healthy and being totally happy to maintain during this next few months.