Sometimes it is nice to know that you are in a group of the "world's best" at something. It is my opinion that we are the world's best at losing weight. I do not mean to imply that once we have had bariatric surgery, we are good at losing weight. I am willing to say that, prior to your surgery, you have lost (and gained) tens and tens of pounds over your lifetime. You have tried at least six or more diets and you were probably successful in losing a significant amount weight on each of them. I have done this too. The problem is we are world class weight gainers also ...ugh! Thankfully, we have weight loss surgery to help us eat fewer calories.
However, each time we lose weight, we must face the "STALL." You know, that period of time when we don't lose weight even when we think we should. Everyone dreads these time periods. If you are interested, I would like to share with you some information that has helped me over the years to overcome and understand stalls.
First, I am not a doctor nor am I offering any sort of medical advice. I am simply trying to provide you with information from my own personal experiences. You are free to believe or not believe. Every single person is different. If you know something that works, please share. I would love to learn from you. Until then, here are my thoughts.
Vary your exercise routine. This is pretty simple. One must understand that we come from a long, long line of survivors. Just think, there is a very good probability that several of your ancestors survived the black plague which eliminated almost half of the population of Europe. Over time, our bodies have learned to adapt to new "challenges" so to speak. Here is a secret to assist weight loss: YOU MUST CHALLENGE YOURSELF to avoid your body's natural ability to adapt and become more efficient to your routines. If you are doing any kind of exercise, you will need to vary this exercise every few weeks. For instance, I am currently using an elliptical machine for cardio. Every two weeks, I change my routine. I went from just moving for 30 minutes at any speed for the first two weeks to adding intervals of going as fast as I can for one minute and then slowing down for three minutes. I have also changed the interval times. For example, I went fast for 30 seconds and then slower for two minutes for a period of two weeks. Next week, I will be changing to a stationary bike for cardio. In a few more weeks, I will be heading outdoors for walking/jogging, etc. The point is to change it up so your body must adjust to new challenges.
Build muscle. These are the facts. Muscle burns more calories, even while resting, than fat does. Did you know that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson eats more than 5000 calories per day? The man is a beast and definitely is not fat. He is able to eat so much because he has a huge amount of muscle mass. That muscle burns a lot of calories. Check out what he eats in a typical day here: The Rock's Diet. I wish I could say the phrase "build muscle" and, magically, I would build muscle...*sigh* Until then, I must incorporate strength training the old fashioned way. I lift weights. At the moment, my routine consists of body weight type of exercises, pushing and pulling. My goal is to preserve as much muscle as I can while losing weight. I want to burn the maximum amount of calories possible...even while sleeping. YouTube has many, many videos to help just about anyone.
Keep track of your food intake. I measure my food and keep a daily log. I know how much food my stomach can hold and I do not over eat. But my personal opinion may be different than yours when it comes to caloric intake. Personally, I cannot live for the long term on 800 calories per day. Many of us were/are eating about 800 calories or so per day after surgery. I have no plans to eat only 800 calories per day for the rest of my life to maintain my goal weight. Therefore, I have increased the number of calories I eat per day. At the moment, I am eating around 1500 calories per day. I am about six weeks post surgery. The bulk of my calories comes from protein. I try to add calories to my day without adding a lot of volume to my stomach. Here are some things I do in order to add calories. Once per day, I drink a protein shake instead of water. Also, I will add the following ingredients to meals throughout the day (not all at the same time, mind you): olive oil, avocados, sour cream, cheese, mayonnaise and peanut butter. These are generally healthy fats which allow me to consume more calories at every meal. I try to eat approximately 400 calories three times a day and then supplement with a few snacks in between meals. I typically eat 5 to 6 times per day.
Set realistic goals. If you do not know, one pound of fat is 3500 calories. To lose one pound of fat, you must create a deficit of 500 calories per day for each day of the week...500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories lost. Create a deficit of 1000 calories per day and lose two pounds per week. 1500 calories = 3 lbs. per week. This is the idea...a 500 calorie deficit per day equates to one pound loss per week. A typical male burns about 2000 to 3000 calories per day (typical female: 1600 to 2400.) You can play with these numbers all you like but the reality is: it is very hard to lose a large amount of fat in one week. Last week I lost three pounds. I believe that this result is fantastic. That loss is a 10,500 calorie deficit for the week (equivalent to NOT eating 37.5 Snickers Candy Bars.) I believe this is a heroic effort on my part...I celebrated with a quiet "YES" and a fist pump while standing on my bathroom scale. Fist bumps to all of you who have shared the same win.
NOT an exact science. Things change. There is not a perfect formula. When you lose weight, you lose fat AND muscle. This is NOT avoidable. No one is able to lose 100% fat. It is not possible to do so, therefore mentally prepare yourself for some disappointment. If you do not have strength training in your schedule, you will lose more precious fat burning muscle than you would if you incorporate strength training. Either way, you will burn fewer calories per day when you, eventually, weigh less. It makes perfect sense. At 300lbs. you may have burned 2500 calories per day. At 250lbs you may only burn 2200 calories per day. You were bigger so you burned more calories. Therefore, it is harder to create a calorie deficit when you weigh less because you are burning fewer calories. Again, this concept really sucks but it explains why we lose less weight as we get closer and closer to our goal.
Okay...so this turned into a much longer post than I originally anticipated. Some of the words above make it sound like I have it all figured out. But alas, no. I have issues too. I gained over 100 lbs. in the last six years eating pizza with extra cheese and trying to diminish the world's supply of beer. I am somewhere in the early stages of this particular weight loss journey. My goal is to make this my last weight loss/gain journey.
I truly wish all of you the very best life has to offer. The struggle is real and I know, like me, you are fighting every day.
I look forward to all of your comments and learning from your experiences.