I think I’m losing inches more than weight…

May 15, 2009

Having been away from home for almost 2 weeks I was so anxious to weigh in I did it last night.  Never mind that I know better, that I know we weigh more at night, that I am pretty confident that my small amount of gelato was the only real cheat I’ve had in 6 weeks so I knew I’d be more or less okay.

But I was kind of excited to see a big drop on the scale because I have been feeling like I’m shrinking – the same clothes (the Fat clothes) that I’ve been wearing for several months (ok, to be honest, it’s been about a year) are starting to feel loose.  I mean baggy seat of my pants loose.  A skirt that was bought because it somewhat hides my big belly is now sliding a few inches down my waist.   Since I travel frequently I have a small number of basics that pack well that I wear over and over – and so the same items have been feeling loose for a week or more, giving me Hope.

But the scale yesterday said Nope.  Granted it was at night, but still, clearly no big drop would be greeting me this morning, the overnight weight loss would show me either steady or with a very small drop, but nothing more.  And in fact, that’s what it showed this morning (although I’ll make the weigh in official on Monday).

I still reacted in a panic.  I’ve really been closely following this carb-restriction pretty much to a tee.  I mean I sometimes eat berries and maybe a bit more veggies and nuts than ideal, but I’ve cut the nuts back these past 2 weeks, and even with veggies I’m training myself not to think of them as unlimited but rather ‘to satisfaction’.  I haven’t been counting carb grams nor regularly testing for ketone bodies (sign that the carbs are low enough to force my body to find fuel in my own fat stores).

So in my panic after the weigh in I started thinking about this diet and what I’m doing and what else I could do to make it work.  Which was weird, because it’s when I started thinking about it that I realized it really is a way of eating that I can live with quite happily.  Eventually I’d like to add more fruit to my diet but the truth is I don’t suffer from cravings nor from moments of hunger other than when it’s been too long between meals or I’ve had to eat very little because low-carb fare was hard to come by (has happened a few times – just eating the inside of a sandwich, for example – not enough calories to fuel me back up so I’m hungry soon afterwards).  Also it’s turned out to be easier than I expected at restaurants and hotels (as long as eggs are a possibility at breakfast, and not just ‘continental’).  I’ve also found salami snacks to keep with me for on the run eating – lower carb than the nuts I used at first, and acceptable for my taste buds, also not something I’d just eat forever (unlike nuts), and shelf-stable, not needing fridge or special handling.

Which is probably why I was so upset to see a number on the scale that I thought might indicate that I’m not losing weight this way.  The problem-solving part of my brain (which is working on overdrive these days in my professional life) kicked right in with a few options :

  • Maybe I need to restrict calories along with carbohydrates.  Yikes.  One of the reasons I think this is working is that I’m allowing myself to indulge in things like cheese and a good splash of olive oil on a salad, and cream in my tea, etc… So I feel indulged by the diet, not restricted by the lack of sweet etc. But an option, and the low carb world is full of people on both sides of this issue, so it could be an area to explore.  So far when I have spot-checked a day, the calories have been pretty much in range of what I’ve eaten to lose weigh the traditional calorie-restricted way.
  • Maybe I need to count carb grams.  So far I’ve done this without really counting but with pretty much sticking to the rules.  Still, larger servings of veggie, more dairy products, and my frequent strawberry splurges all add carbs, and it’s possible I’m eating a lot more carbs than I should.  The only way to know is to count.  I’m a bit resistent to it as I’m enjoying a counting-free approach, but I’ve been successful in the past with counting things, so I could adjust to doing this.
  • Maybe I’m not in ketosis (low enough carbs).  This was a thought I had even later (related to the counting point) so I dug out my ketosis test strips thinking it might not be a good indicator, as I’d had a lot of water all afternoon (therefore less concentrated for testing) and I’d had a big salad for lunch at the airport (only low carb option) so knew it was possible I was in ketosis and it wouldn’t show up in the evening.  So I decided to test then and also re-test in the morning if it was negative.  But surprise, it was a deep pink right away, indicating that all is well, my carbs are low enough to force my body to burn fat.  All was good, I relaxed a lot.  And came to another possiblity.
  • Maybe I just lose slowly no matter the approach.  This actually isn’t a maybe, it’s kind of known fact, although I guess I hoped that with a restricted-carb approach I’d be one of those renown people who lose 10 pounds a month.  Ha!

This morning’s weight showed a one pound drop from a week ago Monday.  Not as much as I’d hope, but also down, which is definitely the right direction.

Conclusion : chill out and stay the course.  Maybe try to take measurements so I can see progress.

Getting dressed this morning I tried on 3 pair of pants from my closet (not the “travel” – 2 are the “fattest” of the fat pants, both were pretty much too baggy to wear and I was wearing them in January.  The other is a pair of pants with the tag still on, that I bought to go with a jacket but they’ve been too snug to wear.  They still were in my opinion, but frankly they were passable today and will enter into the rotation when I’m down another 4 pounds.  So the progress I was starting to think I imagined seems to be real, even if the scale is being a bit miserly.

Long post, but I wanted to capture the thought process I went through yesterday, because I went from near panic to being pretty reassured and resigned to just losing it slowly.

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