Saturday, January 04, 2020

End of Year Check-In, 2019

Here's the charts for 2019:

Weight in 2019
Waist in 2019

The project for 2019 was to increase my weight by ten pounds, while losing half an inch off my waist. The weight-increase worked fine. But things went off the rails twice -- there were two periods in which I had a week or two of not eating according to program, and some binges -- not on the scale of binges as I used to know them, but bad enough. Things may or may not be under control again: it's too soon to know. I ended the year with my waist an inch and a half larger: not at all what I was aiming for. 

The unevenness itself is telling. My eating is not "fixed," and I doubt it ever will be: I think the safest assumption is that my appetite is permanently broken, and I will always have to monitor and deliberately control my eating. So that's discouraging, although I expected it: most people who have maintained weight loss over years report the same thing. The other thing to note is that going off the rails corresponds exactly with stress: it's not difficult to locate my parents' health troubles in the summer, or the onset of the holidays, on either graph. That's the decisive factor, and it's largely out of my control. This probably runs into the ditch any time my family has serious worries.

But backing off a bit, it's worth pulling up the full charts, back to the beginning of this project in May 2017:

Weight Since May 2017

Waist since May 2017

On this scale, the failures of this year look less important. Basically I lost the weight in the course of 15 months, and have kept it off for a subsequent 16 months.

I decided from the start that "success" in this project meant still being on track and in control five years later -- to wit, in May 2022. And in fact, my goal at the start was to get down to 180 lbs and stay there -- my present 160 is way beyond what I had thought possible. I need to remind myself -- since I tend to forget -- that this has still been, according to my original goals, wildly successful.

Other notes. The experiment in quitting red meat, and substituting bean salad for my nightly hamburger, was a resounding failure, and is involved in the end-of-year collapse. I've backtracked on that one. Maybe someday. Maybe not. 

The other thing to note here is that now, in maintenance mode, exercise actually matters. I attribute part of my success in losing my weight to totally ignoring exercise as a contributor to weight loss: it's a trivial factor, not worth taking into account, if you're trying to lose a pound a week. Calorie intake totally swamps calorie output ("you can't outrun your fork," as they say.) But when you're talking half a pound a month, or half an inch a year, the exercise is an important factor. I had cold viruses twice in December, and basically stopped lifting for that month, and even stopped walking for a week or two, which had a lot to do with how bad the numbers look there. I'm lifting again now, and have done some thinking and planning about how to get back on track after exercise setbacks: hopefully I won't be so derailed again. Not exercising at all feels really crappy and depressing. I need to get back to it as quickly as possible, even if it's just "ghost workouts": going through the motions with light weights (or none.)

So that's the year: 2019 is a wrap.


am said...

This documentation is intriguing. It does appear that you have found a dynamic zone where you can maintain your gradual and sustained weight loss by continuing to do what works and paying attention to new information that your body gives you. So few people are able to lose excess weight through the multitude of means, expensive and otherwise, that are offered by "weight loss professionals." You have crafted an intuitive and rational system tailored specifically for you. I've only known a few people who have been able to lose weight on their own; you are one who has demonstrated that this is entirely possible. I personally know a handful of people who have been able to do this through the variety of 12-step groups that address disordered eating with the goal maintaining a healthy weight and of recovering physically and emotionally in the company of others.

You mentioned that binges are mostly history and those that have occurred are nothing like previous binges but still triggered by emotional situations that are no longer roller coaster rides. That is my experience, too. Sometimes I eat much more food than my body needs, but the feeling-crazy-and-out-of-control factor is completely gone. I don't want to live the way I used to, using food as a drug,

2020 is 33 years later for me on this maintaining-a-healthy-weight-through-getting-to-know-what-works-for-me journey. Healthy eating and a healthy weight can be maintained year after year. I am living proof of that. The only exercise I get is through walking and yoga. My appetite remains broken, but now I know how to live in peace with that. It's a peace that I have no intention of giving up (-:

Kind wishes to you in all aspects of your life in 2020!

Sabine said...

This is impressive and I have followed your weight loss tale with increasing admiration.

I am on a totally different journey healthwise and weight is only a problem when it occasionally decreases rapidly which is not nice because it usually involves other nasty symptoms and diagnostics.
My biggest desire is that I would love to binge from time to time. Like tonight when I returned home to the smell of freshly baked banana bread but knowing that this would result in sitting upright all night with colicky cramps (I think I can eat some in the morning).

Anyway, whatever you do, however you want to define success in the future, don't be too hard on yourself.

Kathleen said...

How wonderful! Congrats on your health project and your insights! Happy New Year!