Honestly, I’ve been mostly off track for the past six weeks or so. I’ve been over on my points for several of those weeks and haven’t had a calorie deficit a lot of the time. I’ve had a couple of good weeks, but more bad weeks than good weeks.
It is still hard to exactly gauge my true weight due to post-surgery swelling. I am almost 3 months post tummy tuck/breast lift so that is starting to lessen, but is still present. I still see my waist line changing by 2 to 3 inches during the course of the day. Still, I think that I am truly up about 2 or 3 pounds from my September weigh in. I will be weighing in Saturday and currently am up almost 4 pounds from the September weigh in, but I don’t think all of that is true weight gain since my weight is still fluctuating a lot.
So, this seems like a good time to talk about going off track and how to get back on. I do think I have caught this early and feel I am getting back on track. So far, this has been a good week.
So, what caused me to go off track? I think there are several factors:
Change of Routine – This is the biggest factor. I do well when I have a routine and have good habits. When we moved to our current home, I gained about 12 pounds in the first couple of months after moving. At that point I had lost almost 50 pounds, so the regain was a real shock. And, that gain put me in a downward spiral that ended up as a 35 pound weight gain. The first step on going off track at that time was that I wasn’t following my usual routine. We were looking at houses a couple of hours away from where we were living so we ended up eating out a lot more. That put pressure on my caloric intake and so I got into a calorie surplus and it all spiraled down.
Now, I recognize that my surgery over the past few months has also been a big change in routine. Obviously, there were many weeks during this time when I was totally focused solely on healing. Food was important only in terms of eating what I needed to eat so I could take medication and eating enough protein to promote healing. Exercise was forbidden for 6 weeks after both sets of surgery. And, even then, only light exercise was initially allowed.
And, I wasn’t eating the same foods particularly during this last surgery. With the tummy tuck, during the initial few weeks of healing I felt awful, couldn’t stand for long, and couldn’t lift any weight. So, mostly my husband made my meals or I had frozen foods. So, I wasn’t eating the same things I was used to eating.
I didn’t entirely quite doing my usual routine. For example, I tracked everything I ate. Even when I had my eye lift and couldn’t see I had my husband write down what I ate so I could record it later. And, the first weeks after each surgery I actually burned more calories than usual due to healing and I wasn’t hungry so I had a calorie deficit despite my lack of activity.
But, still, the past 5 months have been a huge disruption to my life. And, all of that threw me out of my routine. When I am going by my routine, I find that weight loss (or maintenance) goes very well and isn’t hard. At times like that, I think that I could never regain my lost weight. When I am wrenched out of that routine, I can see how I could end up regaining a lot of weight if I don’t get back into my routine.
Not Following My Rules – I have mentioned before that I have certain rules that I followed while losing weight and maintaining my loss. For example, I don’t buy cookies for the house except (1) a single serving that I plan to immediately consume such as a cookie from Which Wich or (2) cookies that will be immediately consumed by a group such as when family is present during a holiday. So, I don’t buy packages of cookies at the grocery store. I find that makes it ever so much easier for me.
And, I have other rules. Now, I haven’t broken the cookie rule. But, I have broken some of the others. For example, I have a rule that I will have a Cinnamon Crunch Bagel from Panera no more often than once ever 3 months. I actually went for a full year without having one. Well, I’ve had one a couple of times during the past two months. That is a small breaking of the rules, but these kinds of things add up.
I actually plan to soon do a post on my weight loss rules. I need to remind myself of them.
Not Following Good Habits – I see habits and rules as different. Rules are very specific (see above). Habits are things that aren’t quite as rigid but are things that I regularly do that help me keep my focus on weight loss and maintenance. Many of those habits have gone by the wayside over the last 5 months.
For example, I used to regularly read various weight loss blogs. I followed them on Bloglovin and I would go and read them a few times a week. During my recovery from surgery when it was hard for me to sit at the computer and read, I quit reading the blogs. That matters because that was time every day I thought about weight loss and got good ideas and inspiration from others.
Another big habit I haven’t followed is going to Weight Watchers meetings. Even though I only have to weigh in once a month as a lifetime member at goal, we have usually gone every week. Now, I couldn’t do it for several weeks after the tummy tuck/breast lift. But, after my first post-surgery weigh in during August (when I just weighed in and didn’t feel well enough to sit there for a meeting), I didn’t go back until the September weigh in. And, we haven’t been back since then. Part of that has been events conspiring. We’ve had several things that conflicted with the meeting. Still, that doesn’t explain every missed meeting. Part of it was just getting out of the habit of going.
I find that I do much, much better if I go to meetings close to weekly. It is fine to miss a meeting here or there, particularly when I am doing well with all of my other habits. But, going to meetings keeps my head thinking about weight loss and maintenance. And, I am more likely to follow other good habits when I am usually going to meetings.
Lack of Activity – Of course, this one wasn’t my “fault” so to speak. Due to my surgery I could not exercise for weeks after each surgery. Even now, I still have some restrictions on certain exercises (I’m now allowed to do weight lifting, but not abdominal exercises yet). After my facial surgery, I was just starting to get back into walking and then I had my tummy tuck and breast lift. That said, I haven’t gotten back to it as quickly as I could have. I’ve been allowed to walk for the last 6 weeks. It has been hot around here so I didn’t want to walk outside. And, I dropped my YMCA membership since I couldn’t use it. But, that is no excuse because I have a very nice treadmill right there in my bedroom.
And, I’ve walked some. I’ve used the treadmill a few time. As it has started to get cooler, I have walked outside a few times with my husband. Still, I could have made it a priority to consistently use the treadmill over the last 6 weeks and I haven’t done it. Exercising is something that I really have to do consistently or I can easily just drop doing it for months.
Since I now burn fewer calories due to the 6 pounds removed during surgery, I really do need to burn more calories. So, it is important to be active just to maintain my weight. And, of course, I want to be active for general good health. And, I feel better when I am more active
Psychological Factors Due to Lack of Certainty on Weight – The swelling that is off and on has really done a number on my head. For most of the past 3 months, the weight on the scales hasn’t necessarily been that reflective of much. The day after surgery I weighed 10 pounds more than I did the morning of surgery — and 6 pounds was removed during surgery. It took weeks for me to get to my new baseline of 141 pounds (the 147 pounds I weighed before surgery less the 6 pounds removed). That was all swelling. Then, I started having what I’ve heard referred to as swell hell. I would start out the day fine, and by evening my waist line would be 3 inches larger and I would have lots of swelling. This was due to drainage pathways needing to be re-established after surgery and that takes time. Some days I would have not a lot of swelling. Other days I would wake up already swollen. So, on any given day, it was hard to know if a gain on the scale was a real gain or just transient swelling. As a result, I didn’t get as alarmed by a gain as I would usually get. So, I think that obscured for awhile the fact that I actually did have a real gain.
Less Crisis Motivation – I certainly want to get back to my new baseline. After surgery, I weighed about 140 pounds. In August, I weighed in at 139.8 pounds at Weight Watchers (I was about a pound lower at home in the morning with no clothes). Ideally, I think I would probably like to be in the 130 to 135 pound range. This morning I weighed about 144 pounds.
The thing is that 144 pounds is still within a normal weight range and is below my Weight Watchers goal weight of 146 pounds. I know my body fat percentage is still too high. For best health, I would like to have a lower body fat percentage. In my case, that means weighing less since I find it hard to build muscle. I need to maintain my existing muscle and lose body fat. I am skinny fat and I know it.
Still — I am way better off than I used to be. I am not obese any more. I am not overweight. While I can see excess body fat on my thighs and other places I am pretty happy with how I look.
So, I don’t feel the same sense of crisis I felt when I went back to Weight Watchers in 2010 or even when I started this blog in late 2013. When I started this blog, I weighed 186.8 pounds. I had already lost 20 pounds, but I still had a long way to go. I was very highly motivated to lose weight. I knew my weight wasn’t healthy for me. I wanted to do better. I didn’t like how I looked and I wanted to look better. I had a lot of motivation.
Now? I still have motivation, but it is all less urgent. If I stayed where I am today, I would be so much better off than when I started. And, that is why I haven’t really lost much weight since getting to my goal weight 15 months ago. On July 31, 2015 I got to my goal weight and weighed in at 145.8 pounds. And, I stayed close to that until my mommy makeover surgery. My low was 142.8 pounds in April of this year (so about 136.8 pounds if I deduct the tissue removed during surgery). At my last weigh in before my facial surgery, I was at 146.2 pounds so up only .4 pounds since I got to goal in 2015. Not bad even though I knew I wanted to lose a few more pounds.
So, that was OK especially since I knew I would be having the tummy tuck/breast lift and I figured I could better determine a true goal weight after surgery. And, I really think somewhere between 130 and 135 pounds is where I want to be. But, as I said, it isn’t a real crisis to get there. It is more….optional.
So, I start each week saying I will stay within my points and have a good calorie deficit. And, then I eat out extra times or decide to have this treat or that treat. All of that is fine to a point. It is just a little more than I should be doing. During most of the past 5 months, I was doing OK maintaining. When I weighed in at home the morning of surgery in July I weighed exactly 147 pounds. So, 6 pounds of tissue removed put me at about 141 pounds. At my lowest, I weighed 138.9 pounds here at home. Right now, I am up 3 pounds from my new post-surgery baseline. And that has basically all been gained in the last 6 weeks.
And that really does put me off track. While it isn’t a crisis for me to stay at 140 to 141 pounds post surgery, I don’t really find it acceptable to me to go up beyond that except on a temporary, fluctuating basis. It has been the fact that I have been up 2 to 4 pounds for the last 3 weeks that has really hit home to me that I have gone beyond fluctuation due to swelling to actual weight gain. And, that forces me to recognize that I really have been off track.
I am catching this early so I feel confident I can get back on track. I have to weigh in this Saturday since I need to weigh in for October. I am going to have a hefty gain, although I will still be below my goal weight. I know that the best way for me to get back on track is for me to go back to doing the things that got me goal weight.