Keep the light turned on: Energy efficient weight loss

An airplane gets most of its wear and tear during takeoff and landing.  Stop-and-go traffic is brutal on your gas mileage. Frequently turning a light on and off takes more energy than just leaving it on. As my husband tells me, that’s why those energy efficient light bulbs turn on low, and gradually get brighter and brighter.

Red Light Green Light. Photo by Nick Krug.

Remember that game we played as kids – Red Light Green Light? Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Don’t get caught moving.

The actions of stopping and starting are brutal to a lifelong weight management/exercise regimen. It breaks you down. It saps your energy. It’s discouraging. It costs your body a fortune.

I’ve noticed that a lot of fellow bloggers who have lost—or are in the process of losing—large amounts of weight are doing it in chunks. Pun intended. 🙂  They will lose 30 or 40 pounds, maintain that weight for a while, then continue on their downward, forward motion. Even with a maintenance “break,” they are making a continuous progress in the right direction. They never fully stop. And once in maintenance mode, they don’t stop watching their intake (food) and output (exercise).

In my 20s, I remember being constantly unhappy about my size. I was always trying to lose weight. In the meantime, I worked out fairly regularly on my NordicTrack. I played indoor soccer.

Because I was always looking at the negative, I failed to recognize the positive, wonderful truth:  I could basically eat what I wanted (within reason) and not gain weight, as long as I kept exercising.

The last several months of weight maintenance have been a great test. Everyone is different, but it seems my metabolism rewards me for regular workouts. I can enjoy occasional, delectable, decadent meals without doing serious damage to myself.

It’s such an encouraging, hopeful feeling. Because there is a little voice inside my head saying, “Why bother losing all this weight? You’ll never change, not really. You’ll just gain it back. You have before.”  Because I’m a girl who loves food. Apparently, I can have my cake and eat it, too, within reason—as long as I keep my body moving. As long as I don’t stop.

I can lose this weight. And I’ll be able to keep it off.

There is only one condition: Don’t ever stop. Keep the light on. Keep my butt moving.

Now we’ve just got to get back to the gym after a 2-week hiatus.

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Undeserved weight maintenance. Again.

My husband and I had a kicka** session at the gym today—after having seven days off. It felt so good to MOVE, to get the blood flowing, to use my muscles, especially after feeling so awful last week.  We were completely exhausted afterwards—but it was that kind of tired that feels so good and relaxing.

Before working out, I weighed myself on the scale in the locker room: 189 lbs. The gym scale has always registered my weight at one pound higher than the scale at the Lindora clinic; thus, I have not gained any weight. I have not gained any weight!!! (From now on I’ll be using the gym scale as my primary, official gauge, even though it’s a pound higher.)

It is, once again, undeserved weight maintenance as I’ve been off program for about three weeks.  Except for last week, we’ve continued going to the gym, which I’m certain has helped offset the extra food I’ve been eating.

Mind you, my jeans are tighter, so I know I must have gained fat and lost muscle, but I’m still totally tripping out that I didn’t pack on 5-10 lbs. That’s what I expected.

This hasn’t been my usual gorgefest that is Christmastime. I haven’t gone all out crazy, but I have imbibed. Oh yes, I have. Tamales. Tacos. Spanish rice. Refried beans. Chocolate chip cookies. Popcorn with butter and parmesan. Barbecue ribs, mashed potatoes and buttery bread. But not every day. I’ve also eaten lots of soup, salad/veggies, fruit, yogurt.  The only thing I can figure is I’ve been much more aware of what I’m doing. I haven’t just mindlessly porked out.

I have enjoyed eating off-program food guilt-free, knowing I’m taking a break from the diet, knowing I’ll get back on track soon.

Because if you’re not going to enjoy it, then what’s the point?

So… I’m on a total high, knowing I don’t have too much damage to repair as I refocus my eating and exercise efforts toward my goal.

By the way, I love the new Weight Watchers commercial where Jennifer Hudson’s old and new self are singing “Believe.” Fun to imagine the former old me and the future new me standing right next to each other. I’m standing here beside myself…

Weight Watchers – Jennifer Hudson: I believe in you and me