Being my own “lab rat”

Experience is a great teacher.  Isn’t that what they say?  Well I seem to be good at not bridging the gap between education and application.  What does that mean?  In layman’s terms, I don’t learn from my mistakes.  If so, I wouldn’t be in the predicament I’m in with my weight.  I knew what worked because I had great success before doing it.  I eased up on my portions, cut out the booze, exercised and hid from sugar as much as possible.  Quite UNsurprisingly, I lost weight.  Lots of it.

But like some mad scientist, I started testing those limits.  Quit drinking?  Or just cut back?  And, define “cut back”.  From a 12 pack to a 6 pack?  And how MUCH exercise?  And so on.  Since I was my own lab rat, it seems the rat started to run the experiments.  And then the combination of comfort and alcohol made the rat forget the experiment.

Then, the first round of Biggest Loser with CMC came around a couple of years ago.  It started very much as this one has.  A memory that dredged itself up yesterday as I was slogging my tired legs home from a tough run and headed to my first week weight in.  Last time, I lost 10 pounds the first week.  This time I lost 12 pounds.  And while some may say that is great, it’s not.  It’s not accurate, it’s not healthy and if it happens next week I may want to see a doctor.  Any doc will tell you losing 24 pounds in two weeks is dangerous.  I don’t WANT to lose that much each week.  My personal goal was 4 pounds a week for as long as I could sustain it.  Even that type of loss per week is substantial and “healthy” weight loss is 1-2 lb per week.  So my 12 pounds may seem impressive, but I think I know why it happened.

I cut out booze (again).  With the quality of beer I was drinking came calories.  LOTS of calories.  Sometimes 300-400 per 12 ounce glass.  It doesn’t take many of those to DESTROY your intake.  Second, my portion sizes were HUGE.  I filled my standard dinner plate or bowl just about every meal and had seconds most nights.  And don’t even get me started about eating out (something that still concerns me).  I exercised sporadically and poorly.  I always had deserts, snacks and other goodies.  My guess is that on a normal day with my level of exercise I needed about 2200 calories to MAINTAIN weight.  A rough calculation based on what I ate and drank came up with an average daily intake of close to 4000 calories.

So the difference is I have cut my calorie intake to about 2000 calories and added about 800-1000 calories burned in exercise per day.  Now I’m burning about 3000 calories and I’m taking in about 2000…  Yes, I think I’m going to lose weight.  However, it still doesn’t add up.

Making some assumptions:

To lose 1lb per week, you need to burn 3500 calories more than you take in.

I am burning 1000 calories per day MORE than I am taking in.


Total intake per week 14,000 calories

Total cal burned  21,000 calories

Difference: -7000 calories

That means in 7 days, (divided by a loss of 3500 cal/lb)I should be losing 2lb.

So… where the hell did 12 pounds come from?

Some possible suggestions are clothing (I did weigh with my shoes on last week by accident but that might make a pound of difference), water (retention/dehydration) could make a couple of pounds difference.  Time of day, meals eaten, etc.  But even if you take 2lb for each of those, I’m still short 2lb (10lb vs the 12lb I lost)

So what does all this mean.  What it means for me… and what it meant last time as well that I should remember… is that this 12lb is an anomaly.  It’s leftover weight that was hanging on by a thread and just looking for an excuse to jump off.  I don’t know what it means but I do remember what is next.

bathroom-scale1Last time (and it still makes me mad to say that because it means I gained it all back), that initial success was short lived.  In the following weeks I lost little to no weight.  Partly because I thought it was going to be easy and I relaxed, but partly because I went from the weight that wanted to leave to the weight that wanted to stay.  And convincing it to leave was MUCH harder.  I will be lucky to lose 3-4 pounds in the next week and I know it.  And it gets even harder as you go.

I’m not talking about anybody but me.  Others may put up huge numbers until April.  I hope they do.  But I really don’t care.  I’m not losing their weight.  I have to focus on mine.  I need this competition to help me knock another 29 pounds off.  I have from now until the first week of April.  That’s 12 more weeks.  Divide that by the total and my target is 2.5 lb(ish) a week.  That is MY only goal.  If I can top load that with a couple of bigger initial weeks, I’m good with that, but the prize is 175 pounds.  If I can hit that weight, I win.  Regardless of the competition.  However, since I have done this before I can tell you, it will NOT be easy.

I guess by saying all of this I’m really just trying to set my jaw.  I’m in this for the long haul.  Last week means nothing.  What I’m doing NOW is the only thing that will help me succeed.  I’m going to have tons of opportunities to say “no thanks” to booze or bad food over the next 3 months.  Or to say “yes” to the extra workout.  I have to win all those battles to achieve my goal.

After that, I need to leave the experimentation to the pros and move on.  Somebody else can be the lab rat.


One Response to Being my own “lab rat”

  1. sarahdudek80 says:

    Good for you. It sounds like you know what to do and you have me inspired now. Ugh its the sugar for me!


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