Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Philosophy on Small Weigh-Ins

On the whole, with my own weight-loss attempt, I've been consistently ahead of schedule. This is still largely thanks to the rapid weight-loss of my first two weeks, but I've kept seeing losses every week so far, and my monthly averages have by-and-large been perfectly on track.

But the weight loss isn't constant and steady. Rather, I tend to have one or two weeks of above-target weight loss, followed by another couple of weeks where I don't reach my weekly target. Overall they average out, but on those below-par weeks, it was quite easy to become frustrated, especially since I was sometimes seeing daily gains after being especially good on the diet, or after exercising.

But as the weeks have progressed and I've got a broader view of the pattern my weight-loss is taking, I have come to see the smaller losses as something of a good thing, for a few different reasons. Here are some of them:

- They 'lock-down' the previous week's drop. As I've said, the smaller losses seem to follow quite big ones, and as nice as it is to see a big loss, there is always a part of your brain which worries that perhaps the scale was wrong, or perhaps you've just lost some water weight and will gain it all back, or perhaps that the loss is unsustainable and you'll just bounce right back up. I've certainly worried about that, especially now that I'm boasting a 12-week constant-loss pattern, and am loathe to give it up! But by recording another loss, however small, you have proved that the previous week's result was not a fluke, and it's 'in the bag', so to speak. That's always nice!

- I am now OWED a bigger drop! On week's where I've dieted really well, and exercised regularly, it can be a bit disheartening if the scales don't seem to reflect it. But now I've changed my view on that. If I've eaten and exercised enough to warrant a loss of (say) two pounds, and the scales only show a drop of half a pound, I now say that my body owes me 1.5 lbs next week! And it really does seem to work out. Not perfectly obviously, but at the end of the day, if you use up more calories than you take in, you will lose weight - if the scales don't reflect that one week, stick with it, and you'll see the changes eventually!

- It's the deep breath before the plunge. Sometimes I view my weight-loss as a kind of rollercoaster (a bit of a cliched metaphor, but it helps). On weeks when I only record a small loss, I picture myself on the rollercoaster, slowly creeping up to the top of a rise. Its just my body adjusting to the new, lower, weight I have achieved. It drops, catches its breath, then drops again. If I record a small loss then I picture myself pausing briefly at the top of the rollercoaster, before I tip over the top of this particular rest-point, and see another steep drop the following week!

- Maybe its just water weight! Because when I started I restricted my carbs, I know some of the weight I lost was just water. I now seem to go through cycles of not eating carbs, and then including them in my diet again (I don't intentionally cut them out completely, as I don't want to start burning away muscle). And I do occasionally notice, if my diet has been especially carb-heavy one week, my weight doesn't seem to drop as much. This could just be me regaining some of the water I lost when on low-carb, so I know that when I next reduce my carbs again, some of that extra weight will drop right off!

I've rambled for long enough, but those are some of the things that go through my head when I record a loss that doesn't quite live up to my weekly target. To be perfectly honest, all I need to have a satisfactory week is a loss of 0.1 lbs - anything more than that is just a bonus!


  1. I wish I knew some formula or trick to steady the peaks and valleys, It seems that instead of slowly losing weight I lose big, then gain some, then lose a little, then gain again. Its quite frustrating.

    Luckily you are noticing some trends and you can use that to help you get through tough times.

  2. The steady little losses really add up, if it's consistent you know you're doing the right thing, which clearly you are :-)