What To Do With The Weight When You Lose It

Here’s how I was going to start this blog entry:

I simply can’t believe it–it snowed yet again yesterday.  Will this accursed winter never end? The drifts on the driveway (oh, lord, another few hours of shoveling!) have already enveloped my car in a duvet of white, and little tempests are performing pirouettes in our back yard, propelled along by the wind. 

The newscast today said that we’ve already received 72 cm. of snow this season (that’s about 33 inches), when the average for a Toronto winter is around 20 cm.  That’s more than triple the snow we usually have–pretty much a new record!!  That’s more snow than I can remember in the last decade!  That’s more snow than any human should reasonably be asked to shovel or trudge through or brush off their coats or blink against as they stumble through the assault of bitter cold flakes!  That’s just TOO. . . MUCH.  . . . SNOW!!!!!!! 

 But since that would have sounded totally juvenile and excessively emotional over, well, snow, I decided not to start my entry that way.  And so, instead, I will start it like this:

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is the ongoing discovery of new blogs I like to read, and, of course, learning about the people behind the blogs. Comments are great for this (and I never cease to be delighted–and always a bit amazed–each time I receive a new comment on any post). Memes are also useful this way, as they provide more information about the authors as well. 

And so it was particularly rewarding (pun intended!) when I discovered that a blogger I’ve recently “met,” and one whose blog I regularly enjoy, presented me with an “Excellent Blogger” award.  Whoo-hoo! Thanks so much, Romina!  I’m very honored and extremely delighted.  What a great way to enter into the weekend. (“We are so proud of you, Mum!  Um, so is this a reward of food, Mum?“)

excellentblog-award.jpg

Part of my responsibility as a recipient is to pass along the award to others.  I’ll take a few days to mull it over before posting about it (I take my duties very seriously!).  In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about some other weighty issues.

While driving to meet with my book club cohorts the other night, I heard an interesting interview on the radio, and one that got me thinking.

[Short pause for puerile rant:  the book we were discussing was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even though I wasn't entirely enamoured of the author's own portrayal of her personality during the year she spent hedonistically chowing down, assiduously seeking spiritual nirvana, or unintentionally attaining true love.  I found her writing to be evocative and entirely engaging, frequently burning with a hard, gem-like flame of well-crafted prose, yet still highly accessible and firmly rooted in the world of the mundane.

And so, you can only imagine the depths of my dismay when, while surfing the net in preparation for our discussion, I came across this piece of information.  Can you imagine a better way to ruin a perfectly good book??  The irony is palpable. Ah, well, there goes another movie I'll never see.  *SIGH*].

Ahem. Sorry about that.  Back to the radio interview:  the host was chatting with Rick Gallup, the man who popularized the concept of the Glycemic Index, in his book The GI Diet Now, rather than being just another diet guru, Gallup is extremely well equipped to discuss such issues as blood sugar levels, lipids and hormones, as he was the past president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

Surprisingly quick-witted (not to imply that doctors can’t be funny, or anything), Gallup offered a wealth of information about the diet itself, and how to lose weight by eating whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy protein sources.  Basically, he was advocating a NAG-friendly diet.  That much, I already knew.  It’s how to stick with that diet that I find inordinately difficult.

Well, the interview provided one more item in my endless search for weight loss motivation, which I thought I’d share here.  Gallup suggested to people in his diet clinic that they keep a bag, box, basket, or any other container in the bathroom alongside their scale.  Then, as they lost weight, he said, they should place an item of equal weight into the container.  In other words, if you lost a pound, put a one-pound can (or box, or bag) of something into the bag.  The following week, if you lost 3/4 pound, add something of equal weight to the bag.  Eventually, you’ll have a bag that weighs quite a bit–just as much as you’ve lost (just be sure the items are non-perishable, or you’ll end up with a compost bin in your bathroom).

This seemed a brilliant idea to me, and I’m determined to try it out.  Imagine, if you lost 10 pounds, how heavy that bag would be!  In my case, if I were to lose my desired 40 pounds, the bag would actually be too heavy for me to lift!  Quite a sobering thought, as I am obviously already carrying that much weight around with me right now.

I’d love to add this tip to my (far too short) list of “What Actually Works,” but will wait until I’ve tried it out for a while. Of course, this presupposes that one actually loses weight.  Another sigh.

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Comments

  1. Well my tongue in cheek question is, what do you do with these weights in the box if you put the weight back on?

    Seriously, it is a startling experience to actually try and lift the weight you lost – I realised this when travelling just after losing a lot of weight and realising my suitcase weighed how much I lost and I could barely lift it!

    And the excellent award is thoroughly deserved!

  2. Johanna,
    Well, I suppose the anticipated heartache of having to remove something from the box would prevent you from gaining in the first place–hard to say! According to Gallup, when his clinic participants felt like overeating, they picked up the container and carried it up and down the stairs a few times, and realized it wouldn’t be worth “cheating.”

    But I am more interested in your own loss! Amazing! You don’t deal with this much on your blog, but I’d love to know how you did it and how you stayed motivated. And thanks for the positive feedback about the “E” award. . . I saw yours, too, and thought the exact same thing :) .

  3. Congratulations. I completely agree with Romina. I know I haven’t been reading your blog for long, but it’s quickly become one of my favorites. Now don’t let the kids down– go celebrate with some tasty vegan food ;o).

  4. In December, I realised that I’d lost 50 pounds, and that my son weighed 50 pounds. It was nuts, especially because he seems really heavy. I can barely lift him. I don’t know how I carried all that weight around for so long without noticing it.

  5. Courtney says:

    Congrats on your blog award! I have only been enjoying your blog for a short while now, but it is well deserved!

    Courtney

  6. So much to comment on -

    Congrats on your reward!

    I feel most books should never be made into movies, they just don’t do them justice. I’ll pick up a copy of Eat, Pray, Love – to read, not watch :)

    I think the idea of keeping a basket full of your “loss” is a great idea! When we look in the mirror we don’t see the difference in ourselves but if you can literally lift a basked full of your “loss” it will make a great point.

    Myself, I maintain my weight by counting calories. I burn off more then I consume, period. I thrive/love/live on carbs. If I could re-name my blog it would be “The carb queen”.

  7. Ricki, congratulations on the well-deserved Excellent Blogger award!!! :0)

  8. Choccoveredvegan,

    Thanks so much–means a lot to me! And have no fear, The Girls have already gobbled up their own rewards!!

    Megan,

    WowWowWow. Congratulations! Fifty pounds!! Funny, I’m sure such a loss wouldn’t be something I just “realized” one day–makes it sound almost like you weren’t aware at the time! Please, share. How did you do it? Help! Tell all!!!

    Courtney,

    Thanks so much! And I’m so glad you enjoy the blog (and it may be cliche to say, but I really enjoy writing it!).

    LisaRene,

    Thanks so much–very appreciated! I have to admit that I often enjoy a movie made from a book, but just not the ones with J.R. in them ;) . But I think you’ll enjoy Eat, Pray, Love.

    Your maintenance method is tried and true, and I have counted calories in the past (may need to go back to that). I’m not one of those anti-carb people–I think as long as they’re complex carbs, you should be able to eat as much as you’d like (as long as you know how much is enough for your own body–I’m not quite there, yet).

  9. Ha!

    Until the day I realised I’d lost 50 pounds, I had never thought about the total loss before. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I think it’s partly because I wanted to focus on the total loss of inches instead of pounds, but in any case, I stepped on the scale and it suddenly hit me that I was 140 pounds, exactly 50 pounds less than my starting weight.

    That was ten weeks ago, and I’m now down to 132. I’m happy at this weight — the issue now is to figure out how to get onto a maintenance diet after almost a year of eating 1500 calories a day. I’m used to eating less now, but my problem was always the mindless eating. I didn’t realise how much the little things added up.

    I think I’ll probably always need to count calories, but it has been very freeing for me. I never feel deprived because I can always have 100 calories’ worth of anything I want.

  10. To both Megan and Ricki. I lost a good deal of weight (155 to 128) in about 4 or 5 months and have been having to keep it off lately–I totally get what you mean about feeling like you’ll have to count calories for the rest of your life!

    I know I certainly don’t count anymore (I’ve been maintaining for 3 months or so), though I did for a very long time (and have the notebook with a page each day with my weight that morning, the foods I ate and their calories, for a few months worth of days..) and the knowledge definately has stuck with me. Now while I don’t write it down anymore, I still know how much everything is worth so making lower calorie selections is a lot easier. That being said, I don’t know just how successful I’ll be in the long run–I can’t study when I’m hungry, AND i eat when I’m nervous or procrastinating, and now that its crunch time I’m gaining weight like crazy. I’m trying to cut back on my intake to shed some of it again: I’d really rather not have to diet intensly again. :-/

    Ricki I wish you the best of luck: I know for me the biggest motivation was seeing the pounds come off DAY BY DAY. Feeling hungry sucks but it helps a lot when the next day you step on the scale and literally see you’ve lost an entire pound, sometimes more. I know a lot of this is attributable to water flux, when you last ate, how active you were, bowel movements even–but who cares? When it comes down to it you see a smaller number and you go YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. You’re totally willing to do it agian because you cant wait to step on the scale the next day and see another one shed (which mind you isnt how it worked–many days were ‘cut even’ with the occasional up–but overall it did work.)

    Another big motivation was revamping the wardrobe. Felt amazing to have a whole new set of nice, shape-fitting clothes that showed off my body and got me lots of great compliments.

    Best of luck, I’m reading along (though most of it is ‘lurking’) and definately rooting for you!

  11. ***um, i went from 155 to 128, not I lost 155 pounds… and yes I know 27 isnt as much as others, but to me it was something.. I’d been 155+ since grade 6 or 7. In fact, I was around 180 in grade 9… 155 was me after being on two swim teams and moderately dieting for a few years. I thought I could never lose more as I was already following a very healthy lifestyle (which I was)–but one day I just decided, this is it: I’m going all in.

  12. Megan,
    Hard to believe you could be unaware of that much weight coming off–amazing! Congratulations on what is truly a monumental achievement. And glad you’re now happy with where you are (indeed, buff enough for your recent Hasselhoff-esque photo shoot). Just curious, how long did the first 50 take??

    Amanda,
    Thank you so much for your comment. I know what you mean about the motivation of the scale. I’ve actually been trying to get away from that, to focus mostly on the health aspects of eating well and not worry too much about the scale (except for the weekly progress tracker–hmm. Rethinking that one, too!). Thr irony for me is that I’ve been through this cycle a few times already. The first two times, gave away my “fat” clothes, only to have to buy more down the road when I regained weight. But I do remember the days of wearing skirts and clothes I actually like–would love to return to those days! Thanks for the great words of encouragement.

  13. Wow this site is great! I just started reading it after looking for chocolate recipes online…now that I too am going through my chocolate fast.

    As for weight loss, have you checked out this post from Timothy Ferris where he proves that this slow-carb diet works? He shows pictures of himself and talks measurements like a guy…who’s just lost fat and gained muscle. You eat protein (like meat..sorry) along with beans, and a small rotation of the same kind of veggie. You can also eat quinoa — but no bread, no rice. Then on the one day off every week, you eat whatever the heck you like.

    It’s been working great for me, though I am not allowing myself any sugar or chocolate until Easter.

    check out his site here for more deets:
    http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/

    Also note that he’s a 20-something guy and isn’t a chef. His depictions of food are, for the most part, a way to get calories and certain nutrients in, as opposed to blissfully biting in to something…

  14. I lost 50 pounds in six months. The other eight pounds came off in the last ten weeks (that time includes the holiday season).

    I wouldn’t have imagined it, but the transition to a maintenance diet is actually harder than going on the diet was. I’m still not sure how much to eat, and I really don’t want to gain the weight back. At this point, if I gain it back it’ll be really unhealthy.

  15. A coworker is doing the “Slow Carb” diet so I did some searches and found this posting. I like the comments — it’s great to see this discussion.

    I’m vegan – and allergic to legumes, but reading all this just underscores the need to get back to my usual diet of

    - protein shake breakfast
    - salad for lunch
    - quinoa & veggies for dinner
    - small snack and no food after 8:30 or 9pm on weeknights
    - no snacking!

    Idea of a “binge” day really makes me think about eating disorders — I like to look at my caloric intake over the course of several days or a week at a time. As others have said – a calorie is a calorie, burn more than you take in.

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