Results … Month #4

Results … Month #4

This is big. No … it’s huge. Results Month 4

And I’m now a little less huge after 4 months of this DIY hybrid diet!

Only avid students of diet might understand how big this is but let me see if I can explain.

This past month, the 4th month of my weight loss attempt, probably qualifies as one of my top 10 more stressful months. The physiological response to stress inhibits weight loss. And as most overweight people can attest, one of our typical responses to stress is to seek comfort in food. And I did that. I lost weight while under a burden of stress, and I was stress-eating. But I still lost some weight. If I wasn’t so stressed, this would be cause for great jubilation and celebration. Instead, this morning, I am simply grateful.

The other big thing about this is that I lost weight in the 4th month of a diet. Many of my previous weight loss efforts resulted in a plateau far earlier in the attempt. More often than not, the first plateau hits after about two months. Many times, this is justification for bailing on the diet. On those fewer occasions where I successfully made it past the 2 month mark, there is less doubt that a stall would have occurred in the 3rd month. And it was pretty much guaranteed to have happened by the 4th month. But not this time. And I’m not being cocky here, quite the contrary, I’m now stressed about when that stall will finally happen!

My regular reader might attribute this month’s loss to that 4 day fast I did during the 2nd week of the month, but that’s not the case. Whether it was stress, or a reaction to the extended fast, I pretty much binged ’til I regained almost all the losses resulting from that fast. And I then spent the rest of the month getting to this morning’s weight. Which is still slightly above my post-fast weight. I’m not discounting the value of an extended fast for weight loss. But I think I’ll wait for a more serene month before attempting another!

I should also disclose that I didn’t eat particularly well this month. There were more French fry days than I would have liked. I was adding more chocolate, much of it not the dark stuff, to my home made ice cream. And there were more ice cream days than a better planned month might have had. My body was screaming out for something green and I think I had my first salad of the month yesterday! Looking for the positives in all this chaos, the program seems pretty robust. If I can lose weight during times like this, while eating that poorly, this might be a good diet for me. Real life carries on, regardless of our weight loss goals. And we need a diet that can handle real life.

I’m not taking it to the bank yet though, who knows what pitfalls lie ahead. I’m expecting November to match the past month for having to worry about things. Hopefully, some solutions will fall into to place and all will turn out well. But if not, I hope the diet continues to do its thing for the next month regardless.

Wish me luck!

Speaking of luck & diet … I don’t think I’ll go Trick-or-Treating tonight! 🙂

And a Happy Halloween to all!

Stress & Weight Gain

Stress & Weight Gain

Hunt & Gather

Hunt & Gather!

I seem to need a little stress in my life to overcome procrastination. I loudly proclaim how much I detest deadlines. They are never far enough out to allow me to get things done, perfectly, before the due date pops up on my calendar. But the reality is that I seem to need deadlines to get stuff done. Maybe hard deadlines aren’t the best choice when it comes to diet and weight loss.

A little stress may have some motivational value. But too much stress is not constructive. And it doesn’t look like it helps me much, when it comes to hitting a goal on the scale. Quite the contrary, it can promote weight gain. My recent adventure with fasting illustrates the point well. I’ll save the actual numbers for the month-end review (one of those deadlines I like so much!) but I can tell you that I lost a big chunk of weight during my four-day fast. Yes, of course there was water loss. But I know there was fat loss too. By some twist of fate, I found myself under some heavy-duty stress during the fast. And it increased immediately following the fast. It was nothing to do with the fast, it was just a perfectly timed little stress-storm, coming from both the work and home fronts.

Among other things, stress produces a hormonal cascade of cortisol and adrenaline to help us do what our ancestors had to do in times of stress. Back in our caveman days, some might have grabbed a spear and went out to do battle with the saber-toothed tiger. While others made the choice to run away, hoping they weren’t the slowest runner in the group! It’s the fight or flight response. The hormonal rush gives us a big sugar boost, to meet that high energy demand, in times of stress.

Today, in times of stress, we tend to grab the tub of ice cream and plonk ourselves on the couch for comfort. And no, I didn’t totally lose it after the fast … I only ate my homemade, no-added-sugar ice cream! I actually ate almost-kinda-somewhat reasonably well in those days following the fast. But I tried to handle my stress by stuffing my face, while lying on the couch. This isn’t the best way to handle stress. I got away with it for the first couple of post-fast days, but the scale punished me badly for a few days after that.

I really do know better. But the stress burden somehow prevented me getting out. And I didn’t even have to worry about battling any saber-toothed tigers. Just a leisurely little walk by the water would have done wonders.  That’s not what I did, of course. And as I indulged in my awful, modern, couch-based, stress-handling technique, I restored about 75% of the fasting losses.

I’m just going to make believe that it’s mostly water gain! And that doesn’t count, right!?!?

Do as I say. Not as I do! 🙂