Tag Archives: plateau

A Word About: Falling off the Wagon

I’ve had a very naughty week. September is a hard month for me, full of birthdays (including my own) and Father’s Day all of which tend to involve either eating out and cake or just high carb meals at hone….and cake. Usually I make the cake, and usually I’ve got the willpower to withstand the temptation. This last week, however, started with our little holiday. I behaved mostly, save for on our last night when I ate that bloody cake. It was awesome cake and you’ve got to be able to indulge yourself every once in a while or you’re bound to go crazy. Unfortunately for me, it also broke down my willpower for the next few days: my brother-in-law’s birthday was on Friday and I made the most awesome cake. I was actually extremely impressed with myself; so impressed I had two pieces. Again, I felt I needed to let off some steam, and in all honesty I didn’t/don’t feel guilty about it at all, but the physical reaction was quite impressive as well.

I could barely sleep that night: too much caffeine from the chocolate frosting and way too much sugar. Basically, I’d overloaded my system with carbs that it was no longer really equipped to handle. The next morning, my skin was gross – okay, not ‘gross’ but definitely not as pretty as it has been since I started LCing – and my hair was having a bad day. I also noticed that my lymphnodes were swollen and actually quite painful. In other words, all that bloody sugar had instantly compromised my immune system and my body was doing its best to fight off whatever I’d picked up from the Cafe that week. Yay, much fun.

Next problem: birthday cakes tend not to get completely eaten at parties right? And you can only send so much home with your guests. So that meant that there was left over cake in the fridge just begging to be eaten. And guess what? I did. Not all of it, luckily it was such good cake that my non-sweet-tooth husband ate most of it! Phew!

My point is, there’s going to be a week here or there where you fall off the LC wagon. I’ve done it before and I’ve done it again; I’m back on it now, but I know I’ll fall off again. This isn’t always an easy lifestyle decision we’ve made, and I think we all know that by now. We’re going to face temptation, whether it’s at a private birthday party or just at work when someone’s bought everyone coffee with cream and sugar just because. You’re not going to be able to plan the unforeseeable. The only thing we can do, as humans, is navigate those temptations as best as we can and if you fail once or twice that’s okay. I’ve been saying it a lot lately, and I’m not just trying to justify my week of bad eating here; we’re not just looking after our bodies here, people, but we’ve got to look after our minds too and if that means that once in a while you’ve got to eat that cookie: then eat the damned cookie. Just try to hold back and not devour the whole pack okay? And once we’ve had our little day(s) off, we have to climb back on that horse and get back to where we we were heading. Yes, it means you’ll likely have to face a little bit of carb flu again, and yes it means you’ll have cravings, but ask yourself this: isn’t it worth it? Remember where you’re going, not where you fell off your pony.

Clear Skies,

Vee

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Weigh Day Blues

Yesterday morning after celebrating a family birthday the night before, the scales showed that I’d ‘gained’ half a kilo again. I know that it’s probably just water weight and it’ll disappear quickly enough, but there’s still that psychological blow that you get dealt when you see the scales going in the ‘wrong’ direction. That psychological affect can be just as detrimental to your health as obesity, so today I want to talk about weighing in, guilt, and the stress that can come along with the battle against obesity.

I used to weigh myself every Monday morning after my shower, before breakfast. I felt like this week-by-week weigh in gave me good oversight of how much weight I was losing. It did. In the beginning I was losing between 1.5kg and 2kg a week, perfectly healthy; but then my husband and I moved homes, and the stress of the move, combined with the new routines and cooking patterns put my weight loss in a stall. It was incredibly frustrating, and in a desperate attempt to keep myself motivated and accountable, I started weighing myself every morning.

Let me say right off the bat that weighing yourself every morning isn’t going to give you the best picture of your weight loss journey; we gain and lose entire kilos day in and out while on this LC thing, and trust me when I say it can get incredibly frustrating and depressing to watch yourself go up and down like that despite your best efforts. Now, knowing that – and having told myself that countless times – I’m still stuck in the habit of weighing in every morning. It’s a habit I’m going to have to break, so, I’m going to take a page out of I’m Done Being a Fat Girl and, just like her, make a Weigh-in-Wednesday aside post. I like the way it rolls off your tongue and with any luck it’ll stop me from obsessing over my day-to-day weight and keep me on the straight and narrow during the week!

Which brings me to the guilt and stress I mentioned earlier: no matter how strong we are, no matter how high our self esteem, we all have our pressure points. If we’re trying to get to a target weight, repetitive setbacks and stalling is going to be one of those pressure points. We’re all going to have a month or so where nothing’s changing, hell you might even have a week where you’re putting on  a kilo instead of losing any.

“I know exactly what you mean. It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, and it can be downright depressing! I hate it!”

I know. It’s almost painful, especially when we’ve been so good and then bang! No loss anywhere to be seen, not even in measurements! ‘Frustrating’ doesn’t really cut it. I had a morning last week where I was literally ready to throw the towel in and have that damned piece of toast because nothing had budged for a whole week. Luckily my husband just mentioned off hand that I looked amazing, and that lifted my spirits to the point where I found my willpower again.

The point I’m trying to make is that yes, it can get hard but don’t ever let your new lifestyle get into the way of your happiness. You’re not only taking care of your body here, remember? You’ve got to look after your mental health as well. I’m certainly not saying that you should give up when you have a bad day, instead, I suggest you dig deep and hang in there: you’re a beautiful human being, you’ve put in so much effort already, why waste it? You’ll get there! Find something positive to think about and focus on that, you’re in control here not the diet. We don’t do this to torture ourselves. We’re doing this to become the person we want to be, inside and out. That goes for all genders, male, female, and all other varieties: you’re your own person, don’t let the down and outs of the day depress you, be positive.

“That’s well enough for you to say, Vee, but some of us can’t seem to do that!”

I get it, and I know that I’m stubborn and some of you might find this whole thing a lot harder than I’ve found it. In that case, remember that it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not losing weight as fast as someone else –no one’s the same. Don’t drown yourself in guilt if you just can’t stay away from those pastries: work on it, one day at a time, cut back one muffin at a time, it doesn’t all have to happen at once. Build your diet the way you think you can handle it and if that means having a cheat day a month, that’s fine. Most of all, and this one is vital to remember: don’t ever let someone else make you feel guilty for eating or not eating, they’re not you, you know yourself best.

Clear Skies,

Vee

Measure twice, Weigh Once

The slightly irritating thing about weight loss is that you, as the primary person affected, can’t really watch it happening. Most of us will need some external input to let us know how fabulous we’re starting to look! But hey, what beats the string of compliments that come when you’ve really started to make progress? There’s a running joke in my family where they poke me or hug me and accuse me of wasting away; they’re all extremely proud of my effort and my progress and are all very supportive. You need support sometimes to carry through the cravings and other obstacles you might hit: like that darned plateau we talked about the other week.

MaggieMay pointed out that I haven’t discussed the art of measuring yet, which is lax of me because it’s important. In a short light-hearted comment string off the back of The Boring Plateau, MaggieMay and I talked about how it’s important not to lose sight of the big picture. The big picture here being: your weight loss. There’s a lot of ways to keep track of your weight loss, but clearly most of us tend to favour the weighing scale.

Time to let you in on a little secret: the scales are the least reliable means of tracking your weight loss.

“So basically you’re saying I’ve been wasting my time and tearing my hair out for nothing?!”

Well, no, not exactly. As part of tracking your weight loss it should certainly be one of the tools you’re using. Just don’t forget that the scales literally only measure weight: they can’t differentiate between muscle weight and fat weight, and they certainly can’t tell if your shape is changing as you’re losing those extra pounds. What can help you keep track of those things is you and a measuring tape.

You’re going to want to take regular measurements – I do monthly ones, at the start of every month – of your waist, neck, and hips. I also measure my bust, because well…I hate bras that don’t fit comfortably. This isn’t just for the ladies, by the way; guys, you should be measuring yourselves too – no, that bit won’t be affected, trust me, you’ll be fine, – and measure your chest too! As you progress with your weight loss, you should be noticing that your clothes are getting loser and loser and aren’t sitting quite the same way they were before. That’s awesome: progress right there, no need for the scales!

Now, you can either keep track of this all by hand – and it’s always good to have a notebook with this stuff in it anyways, – but I like to use a little app called ‘BMI Calculator’. This app is awesome because not only does it calculate your Body Mass Index number for you according to height, weight, gender and age, it also helps you keep track of your measurements and calculates things like your Body Fat Percentage, Weight-to-Height Ratio and Basal Metabolic Rate. I use this app right alongside MyFitnessPal and this way I get a pretty good ballpark of where I’m at and where I need to go.

That’s the big picture: a combination of information that gives you a better overview of where you’re at and where you’re headed.  If you keep track of that you won’t get so bogged down with the idea that you haven’t lost any ‘weight’ this week. Like MaggieMay said in her earlier comment, weight loss is weight loss, whether it’s 100g or 1kg, as long as it’s going down you’re doing fine. Just remember to keep looking at the big picture.

Clear Skies,

Vee

The Thing about Exercising…

There’s something to say about all these people getting up at the break of dawn on a Sunday morning in the Dandenong Ranges of Melbourne and going cycling. Every weekend like clockwork there’s several dozen that bike through the winding streets of the Hills, holding up traffic and suffering through the weather. I’m of several minds about cyclists, but my first and foremost thought is always:

Why are you people up this early? If I didn’t have to be, I wouldn’t be! Go back to bed!

I hate mornings. And yes, I know, I work in a Cafe that opens at 9am so I have to be up at 7am. It’s awful but I do it because I believe in a strong work ethic and sucking it up when I have to. But golly, it’d be nice to stay in bed. Together with my morning-hating I also hate exercising. I don’t like going to the gym because I’m self conscious about the fact that I don’t know how to use the equipment and that I don’t actually know what I’m doing – and gyms, for some reason, all have those large windows that scream “Look at me, I’m fat! I don’t know what I’m doing! I’m a klutz! Come and make fun of me!”. (I know they’re not actually for that, but they feel like that to me: a shy little girl who’s trying to make the best of the world around her.) Then there’s the gym membership fees… Yeah, let’s not even discuss those. I’ve tried to guilt trip myself into going to the gym by paying for a membership card, but honestly, it doesn’t work for me because I lack the motivation to get out there and just exercise. A one minute walk from the Cafe, on the Main street still, Upwey has the Pinnacle Health Club. We get many of their clients coming into the Cafe for lunch or breakfast before or after their workouts and there’s nothing but good to be said of the place; apparently their prices are reasonable, their equipment is great, and they’ve got interesting and engaging programs. Awesome! And yet, I still can’t make myself go, but that’s me not the place.

Now, I know a lot of people who love exercising. I’ve got a friend who goes running every morning at 5:00am. I admire his tenacity, but you couldn’t pay me to do that.  It’s like these cyclists stopping outside the Emerald Bakery every morning as we drive passed on the way to work. Again, admirable, but what the heck, people, it’s Sunday morning, go back to bed! They won’t of course; this is what they love. I often wonder if you could grow to love exercising. I’ve always been of a mind that short of a few things, you could grow to love just about anything, you just need to make those first few steps.

“But, Vee,” you start, “you’ve been banging on about how important it is to exercise…”

I know, I know. And it is! So since I hate exercising in public, I walk. I get a lot of walking in at the Cafe and when I get home I’ll take often the dog for a walk if he hasn’t been walked already. I also weight lift in the comfort of my own home. I’ve got a versatile pair of 2kg weights that I use to exercise my arms and legs and a latex resistance strap that helps me get a full body workout in. It’s actually very satisfying. I try to get in two rounds of 20mins in every day – once in the morning and once in the evening. These include a couple of sets for my arms and legs, and then some simple jumping jacks, sit ups and stretches afterwards. I’m not sure how much it’s helping, but in my book it’s better than doing nothing. I imagine if you work a desk job you’re going to want to be stricter and do more, but if it’s all you can do, it’s all you can do. Look for things you can do that you might not think of as exercise: physical activity of any kind can help burn fat. My mother-in-law turns gardening into a sport, one of my best friends uses the Wii Fit, and someone else I know uses books as weights while she watches her favourite show. There’s plenty to do, you just have to work it into your day!

Obviously, if you love exercising then you’re not going to have a problem with this, just be careful to not overdo it, especially if you’re new to the LC diet. Remember that you’ve drastically changed your diet, your body and your metabolism are going to have to make some adjustments to your exercise regime. Too much exercise might stall your weight loss – so make sure to balance your exercise and your kilojoule intake!

Clear Skies,

Vee

The Boring Plateau

I often get asked how I cope with working in the Cafe and not being able to eat the things I make.

When I first started it was actually easier than it is now, for me to just bake without tasting or trying. The trouble starts when I realised I was losing weight really fast and really easily, so obviously my brain has started thinking that it might just be okay to try a really thin slice of that chocolate cake I just made. If I do give in, I pay for it by stalling with the weight loss for that week which frustrates me intensely as at this point I’m stalling more and more.

The stalling – or plateau-ing – is normal. As your body adjusts to its new metabolism, you’re going to need to be patient, the kilojoules/calories you were eating before might have been low enough for them to add fuel to your weight loss, but now that you’ve lost all that weight you might need to drop the count a little bit! Not too much, mind you, you don’t want to put your body into starvation mode, that’ll slow everything down!

The fact of the matter is, everyone will plateau at one stage or another during their weight loss journey, it’s normal so don’t freak out. This week, for example, I’ve been stuck at 62.5kg, I haven’t budged and it’s driving me crazy. I just keep reminding myself that my body is adjusting to my new weight: I’ve lost nearly 20kg in 7months – I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but it is – and no doubt, it’s affected my ability to lose weight. I remember reading an article somewhere – and if I find it again I’ll post it up here – in which the researcher had come across a young woman who had weighed around 120kg. She’d gone onto a diet – not necessarily a LC diet, but just an eat-less one – and cut her regular KJ/calorie intake by 50%. So, let’s make up some numbers here to make it easier; say she was eating 12,000kj a day, well above the average adult 8,700kj (in Australia anyway), and she cut her intake by half so she started eating 6,000kj. Much better certainly, but remember that the human body is like a car: the bigger the car, the more fuel you need; the smaller the car, the less fuel you need. Now, fuel = food, so the lower your weight drops the slower the weight’s going to go unless you cut your kj back even further. For example, at 120kg the woman now eating 6,000 is going to experience dramatic weight loss; assuming she’s losing weight safely at about 3.5kg a month (at most!), she’ll be dropping weight like she won’t believe. Say that she halves her weight in a year and a half, that’s great, but now she faces a new problem: her new kj count is slight too high to maintain the weight loss speed. That’s okay.

Remember this isn’t a sprint race, it’s a marathon. Pace yourself. If you lose weight too fast you risk harming yourself and putting yourself at risk of various health issues! If you feel like you’re losing too much too fast, slow down. You’re in control here, so take charge and make sure you’re doing right by yourself! So make sure you’re eating at least 5030kj per day: any less and you will end up in starvation mode and put yourself at risk of plateauing even more or worse, doing yourself some serious harm.

As your body slows with its weight loss, you can either speed it back up by cutting back on carbs – go back to your earliest limitations, if you like – increase your exercise regime and drink more water. Avoid cheat days until you’re losing steadily again, but above all don’t blame yourself, you’ll get through this! You’re a fantastic marathon runner, not a sprint racer.

Clear Skies,

Vee

Here are some resources you might want to look at:

The Average American Daily Caloric Intake
What does 8,700kj mean?
Kilojoules to Calories
How much weight can you lose in a month?