Weighing In: A Personal Perspective on Weight Loss.

author : Ontherun
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Most of us have gone up and down in weight so often that we have lost count. What we are looking for is a steady loss of weight which often is not found.

I, like many people who read this site, choose the sport of triathlon as a way to loose weight. The races are fun and a great incentive to continue competing all by themselves. To many of us though, weight loss is still the goal.

Most of us have gone up and down in weight so often that we have lost count. What we are looking for is a steady loss of weight which often is not found. There are daily fluctuations and plateaus. These can be depressing. In addition, when depressed, many of us go back to comfort foods, just adding to the problem.

So here are a little of my personal history to help keep things in perspective. Twenty years ago I was a freshman in high school. I wrestled (poorly, I might add) in the 187 weight class. At my peak in Oct. 2003 I tipped the scales at 250. That is 63 lbs of weight gain. The average was just over 3 lbs per year. Now 3 lbs. does not sound like much, but it multiplies.

Last year I dropped from 250 to 235 lbs and actually got as low as 218 for a short while at the end of my season. This weight loss came from training on the "Couch-to-Sprint" training chart on this site and a diet based on the book titled Picture Perfect Weight Loss. Over the winter I proceeded to put some weight back on. Instead of beating myself up, I looked at the bright side.

First, I knew I let my diet go and that was correctable. Second, long nights of work, along with an injury, disrupted my sleep and training schedule. These were just temporary. Finally, I increased my heart rate and intensity, taking me out of my most effective heart rate zone. This just slowed my weight loss down.

So my goal this year is to get under 230 and stay there through the off season. Translation: a 5 lb loss in a year. Not spectacular, but manageable. Keep in mind this is not just 5 lbs lost, but also 3 lbs not added. To me it is more like an 8 lb swing, which sounds much nicer, and it makes me smile.

Now time for some suggestions. Some people say not to get on the scale every day, and that works for many. I, on the other hand, go on daily. To me a scale is a tool like a heart rate monitor and bike computer. Getting on the scale every day allows me to notice small diet changes that affect my weight. It also shows progress when I am keeping up with the better habits. I know things like excessive salt and lack of fruit can cause short term weight loss for me. By watching my weight daily I can observe subtle changes and push past my plateaus.

As I said before, the scale is a tool to be used. I have also found a heart rate monitor to be very useful. When I purchased one last year, my weight loss was very slow. When I hit a rest week, my weight loss would increase. I found that overtraining was the cause. By lowering my intensity, I was able to shed more weight.

Last but not least, I learned that muscle weighs more than fat. I suddenly realized that I needed a new belt because my pants were falling off. Even though my weight was not significantly less, my clothes were looser. I was able to do the unthinkable - buy smaller clothes. This has been a huge mental edge. Remember, your weight may be stable, but your body mass is changing in favorable ways.

In the big picture look at healthy weight loss as a way of life. It took years to get the weight on and it may take years to get it off. In the mean time, enjoy the new jeans, flex a new-found muscle or two and admire it. You have earned it!

 

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date: April 10, 2005

Ontherun

Father of two, devoted husband, Clydesdale, hope to become just an age grouper someday. Competing in the 40-44 bracket this year. Have done a 1/2 Ironman tri, a marathon and a bunch of sprint and oly distance races. Member of BT since 12-1-03

avatarOntherun

Father of two, devoted husband, Clydesdale, hope to become just an age grouper someday. Competing in the 40-44 bracket this year. Have done a 1/2 Ironman tri, a marathon and a bunch of sprint and oly distance races. Member of BT since 12-1-03

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