Monday, July 20, 2009

Reflections on Gaining it Back

Over two years have passed since I lost 85 pounds and then went off low-carb. Regardless of diet, I did pretty good at first in keeping the pounds off. This was mostly due to excessive walking during the six months last year that I spent working in Paris, France. But after returning home to a mostly sedentary lifestyle, my weight began creeping up again. I have now re-gained about 70 of the 85 pounds that were lost. However, the weight is not distributed the same as before. My pant size is up to a 48 but the last time I weighed this much my pants were size 54. I have not calculated my percent body fat recently but am certain that I am more muscular than I was a few years ago. This may be due to lugging around a 3 year old child.

I wonder how clearly I see myself. It's hard to be objective when looking in the mirror or at photographs. I know that I am a bit larger than most men but don't think that I am sloppy fat. What scares me is that I often see people who I think are enormous only to find out that they weigh less than me or have smaller pant sizes. The other day, an enormous co-worker was telling me that he didn't need a seat belt extender on airplanes. This shocked me as he looks huge and is even taller than me. Granted, he doesn't have much of a butt. This makes me wonder if I am seeing myself clearly. My calves and thighs are big and strong. I have always had a bigger than average butt. I think that most of the people who look really fat appear this way because they have skinny legs, fat necks, and/or fat faces. But, maybe I do look as fat as I am. Maybe I am simply not able to see myself clearly and objectively. Yeah, I'm fat. I'd like to think I'm football player lineman fat. But do I really look as fat as other people my size? I don't think so.

Why did I allow myself to gain back this much weight? Unlike the last time I weighed over 300 pounds, I currently feel great. My feet and back don't hurt. I don't tire out as quickly when I go on long walks. Overall, I don't feel bad. I actually feel pretty good both physically and emotionally. I'm comfortable. But at the same time, I know that I'm now on the cusp of having major health problems. Also, I admit it, I am fat mostly because I love food. When not kept in check by a structured diet, I eat much more carbohydrates than is healthy. And, the more carbs I eat the more carbs I crave. On top of this, I spend 12 days on the road each month. On these trips, I work late then eat late, then go straight to bed without any real exercise.

What sort of exercise am I getting? I'm not the type to go to a gym. I find the monotony excruciatingly boring. On travel days, I get virtually no excise. When at home, I have started finding more constructive alternative forms of exercrise. Much of this revolves around yard-work. I'm working on building wooden borders around our flower beds. This entails digging and sawing and hammering. I hand-plowed my tomato garden. I'm going to build a shed and have begun digging out the side of a hill to make a flat area for it to sit. I'm moving dirt by hand to fix irrigation problems. Soon, I'm going to dig up a row of Hollies to make room for new landscape plants.

When will I get serious again about losing weight? Many of you are probably thinking that I should start this vary minute. I find it hard to just jump right into a diet and stick with it. Instead, I think it's easier when I plan ahead. I'm going out of town labor day weekend and will begin when I return. This will give me time to get my head together as well as to clear out most of the unhealthy foods in my kitchen.

What will be the diet strategy this time? The last time that I did straight low-carb, each month, I lost half of what I did the previous month. While I lost a great deal of weight, it became quite frustrating after my body metabolism adjusted to the diet. At that time, I experimented with carb cycling without exercise. This seemed to break my stall but after a few months my metabolism seemed to adjust and the weigh loss slowed to a halt again. This time, my intention is start with a cycling program from day 1. The thought is that it might prevent my metabolism from adjusting. The plan is to do low carb 5 days followed by my eating anything I desire 2 days. This will allow for me to be "normal" on weekends. I expect the initial weight loss to be less than it would be doing straight low carb but my hypothesis is that I will not plateau. If after a couple of months it looks like the carb cycling is not working then I'll switch to straight low-carb with maybe one floating "cheat day" each month (to use on birthdays and special occasions). I expect to take about nine months to get close to my ideal body weight. Afterwhich, I do not have a good strategy to keep it off besides to stick with the low-carb lifestyle.


~Oct said...

I'm glad you are back ... you were always one of my great inspirations. You can do this again. Pick a day and go seriously from that point. None of us find this easy. I know what you mean about not being sure just what your size is. I often have to ask my husband if I'm as big as so-and-so because I honestly don't know.

Josi said...

I started reading your blog several months ago--you have some GREAT recipes and I've appreciated them very much. it sounds to me that you hold your weight well AND that because of the changes you've made, you are healthier now than you were before you lost the weight last time. That's good news. I recently read Barry Groves book, Natural Health and Weight Loss. I've been following his plan for a month and find it MUCH easier to live with. My weight loss has been comparable to Atkins but I feel better and I can better forsee a life this way. Good luck.

Dr. Usha C said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fitterby40 said...

Your post hit so many familiar notes for me. I am also a long time low carber that has gained back about 40 of my 80+ pounds.

I also am one to have no idea of my true size. I honestly usually don't see a fat girl in the mirror. However at 5 ft 4 and 183 I sure am not slim! Photos show it though..

I have been reading three books on metabolism type diets. In all three I qualify as a meat eater with intolerance to wheat. I found all 3 books very interesting and not as restrictive as Atkins. I like your carb cycling idea. When I lost my 80+ pounds I low carbed 6 days a week and ate whatever plus a big sunday every wed. I can't wait too see how you do!

It is excellent that you feel good even with the regain. Maybe all that protein on lc built your muscles up?

I figure even with my big regain the only way I or anyone else fails is to quit trying. I picked my serious point to restart tonight. You'll get prepared and find your start again.
Best of luck!

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

I appreciate your candor in sharing your struggle with weight loss--especially in a low-carb blog. I, too, was able to lose and keep weight off on a low-carb diet, but found that I could not lose the last 10 pounds or so unless I starved myself for 3 days and as soon as I ate something, it came back with a couple of friends. I determined that I was metabollically resistant so I did the Atkins diet for metabolic resistance (the "Fat Fast") a couple of times. I lost a couple of pounds, but nothing significant nor sustainable. I realized that low-carb was a great way to take off pounds initially, but maybe not the healthiEST long-term solution. I am now eating a (mostly) raw vegan diet. Like any lifestyle change, it takes a while to get used to, but I am feeling incredible and I missed eating the fruits and vegetables that were considered "bad carbs" when I was strictly Atkins. (How can any fresh fruits and vegetables be bad for you?) I know that I am eating the healthiest and best possible foods on the planet and I have finally shook those stubborn pounds that I couldn't get rid of when I was living low-carb.

If you want to read a great and inspiring weight loss story of one of my heroines, Angela Stokes-Monarch, please visit Raw Reform. I'm not advertising or anything. I don't get paid for recommending this diet/lifestyle. I just know it works. I believe that when one is truly committed to getting healthy and losing weight, they will being their lifestyle change IMMEDIATELY. Not "after just one more slice of pizza" or "next week." When you are ready to jump on the bandwagon RIGHT NOW, then you are ready to change.

I wish you the best of wishes in your own personal journey toward health and weight loss. Keep us posted and thanks for your blog! ~*~Love & Light~*~

PJ said...

Darin! Good to see you buddy!

OK, so you gained most the scale-weight back. Remember that some of that is water. And, that you may have a little more muscle now than you had then. That doesn't mean there isn't some weight to re-lose, it just means that maybe that's why you feel better now and are a smaller size now.


Shanygne said...

My husband and i have been doing what is called a "healing diet" - which is NO carb for the first two weeks and NO cheating - then you bring back good carbs like berries and then rice and other easily digestible grains (avoid wheat like the plague)...

the first two weeks we did sooo great! my husband even better than I... he was working out. I had lost 6 lbs and then even 4 more when we added the other stuff back. in 4 weeks I had lost 10 lbs! Yay! THEN we went on a trip... I gained 4 lbs back in those two weeks and have struggled to get back on track... I keep gaining/losing two of those 4 lbs over and over... letting myself eat carbs, even just a few a day has made it take a lot longer to lose it again... but today I saw a glimmer of hope... I lost another of those 4 lbs again!!
SOOOO long story longer... I think your idea of the cycling is great... but maybe start off with a couple weeks that don't allow a "normal day" just to jump start...
Just my two cents... not that you asked