Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beating the Set Point Theory

I am up 7 pounds since March and all of my clothes are tighter.

You can call them 7 pounds of wedding bliss, but whatever. Fat is fat.

It's interesting to me that I can workout 45 minutes a day 7 days a week and gain weight steadily. But I know this about myself: I am either losing or I'm gaining. (Yo-yo anyone?) I don't actually ever maintain my weight.

One of my issues is that my body is used to eating a very small amount of calories. This "gain" has happened because I allowed myself to begin eating like a "normal woman." Ie: I've been eating 1500-1800 calories a day. To my body, this is tons. After many years of terrible low-calorie eating, my body thinks it only needs around 1200-1400 tops. Anything over that makes me gain weight.

A conundrum, yes?...

What I'm actually referring to is Set Point Theory. Basically, this means your body becomes accustomed to what your doing/eating and you have to make a drastic change to pull your body out of that set point.

Or, atleast that's what I've always thought.

But, I'd like to approach this Set Point Enigma from another angle. Something
Miz recently talked about on her blog, and something I really agree with is another rather simple concept: Consistency.

I don't need any schooling to tell you that consistency is the key to lasting weight loss. You will see countless bootcamps, purges, detox diets, lose-15-pounds-in-15-days miracle weight loss plans, but the truth is these things are teaching us only how to lose weight in a vacuum. Instant gratification, without sharpening the tools that help you learn to live after the diet or detox. It's the American way (gee, wonder why americans are obese?...) I sincerely believe the only tried and true method of weight loss plan can be summed up in two simple words: BE CONSISTENT.

Simple, impossible, achievable. All at the same time. Be consistent.

Consistency is something I have trouble achieving in my food routine, mostly because my food (and exercise) tends to be reflective of my life. Since my wedding, I've had a major shift in my career and I'm going back to school to boot. So, how do you find consistency in a life that is so chaotic?

It's simple. You force it, you fake it and eventually it becomes habit. I believe in this, and I know it works.

If you fail to plan, plan to fail.

One of the most important parts of living a consistent lifestyle is planning ahead. Not everyone needs to do this. But I need to, and if whatever you're doing isn't working, maybe you need to, too.

Planning my food a day in advance was one of the key aspects of my 200 pound weightloss and every small weightloss I've achieved since then. So why did I quit? Honestly? Because I hate doing it. I love being able to get inspired by a blog I read or an idea I have while driving to the office... But, the reality for me is that sticking to a plan keeps me in line. It's like my mind switches out of food mode because I've taken the creativity of that moment out of it. If I know that at 10am, I'm having a cheesestick and an apple, there's no need to stare at the fridge trying to figure out what to eat and eating half of it while I'm making whatever it is. I already know.

So, that said, I'm toying with the idea of posting my food plan on here one day in advance. It might help me out to be accountable like that. It's worth a try. I need to get rid of these 7 pounds (I can't afford new clothes anyway!!!).

My idea is meet this set point theory head on with a consistent practice of health and wellness. Workout as I've done, pushing it a little more, and push consistency in my eating, even as I'm eating at 1500 calories instead of insanely low like I've had to do to lose weight in the past. I sincerely believe consistency will win out. What do you think?

On Tomorrow's Menu

Oatmeal w/1 spoon of Natural Jif and Rasberries

Mid-Morning Snack
2 Whole Grain Fig Newtons and Cheesestick

Ham and Swiss on Nature's Own Bread
Light n Fit Yogurt-Watermelon (You NEED to try this flavor.)

Honey Oikos, 1/4 cup Pumpkin Flax and a Nectarine
(Big snack because dinner isn't until 7:30)

Dinner (Bookclub at CPK)
1/2 CPK Cobb Salad (They list this at 574 calories, but I don't like avocado and I'll use oil/vinegar, not the ranch or blue cheese, so I think it'll be significantly less than 574.)

+Popsicles, which I never count in calories.

Ok. Feels good to do that.

I bet you guys are dying for pictures to break up all these WORDS.

Breakfast was... not good. Toast, egg and a really yucky maple Morningstar sausage patty. GROSS! I like the regular sausage, but the maple tastes like... bread or something. It was weird.


Leftover Lunchie. Always good the next day.


And, I'm afraid that's all the food pictures I have. Today was binge-y, plus extremely busy. Luckily I had help..........


Yep... can't tell you how much it helps the old work concentration to have cars driving over your paperwork... and your arms... and over the back of the chair you're sitting in and under it... and occasionally random little cars driving (or crashing, sound effects included) into your laptop.........

;) All this and I'm not even a parent yet! Good practice, I 'spose.

After all that work, I didn't have the energy to cook, so we went to Souplantation for dinner. So, that's all the pics. I'll do better tomorrow guys!!!

Goodnight boys and girls! :)

Much love,
Mrs Myers

==========TALK BACK========

Do you plan your food in advance? How do you stay consistent with your healthy eating habits?



  1. I normally don't plan my food a day ahead. But, I do tend to eat lots of the same things. I really like the idea of posting your meal plan online. You can post pictures the next day. That will mean readers will see the meal and the pic to match. It would be a good way to stay accountable. That said, you know what is best for you. The rest of us can give opinions if asked. But, we are no experts on what you need because you know your body better than anyone else does. I stay consistant by checking in with myself: What happens to my energy level when I eat X? I have those moments when I want to consume an entire jar of almond butter lol. But, if I am craving nut butter and fruit for a meal, I let myself have that. Chances are the next meal I will want fruit, granola and yogurt. I don't keep much processed, refined food in the house (except if it's Mallard's). That helps tremendously. This too will pass. You have already made so many strides in your life and you have such a drive to healthier. I have complete faith that you can do this :)

  2. I sometimes plan my meals... but only one meal in advance. I don't like too much planning, because then if you don't stick to your plan, you feel like you've failed. But it works for some people better than others. The only way I find that I'm able to stick to healthy eating, is by allowing myself things I really like some of the time like pizza and chocolate. To be honest, I think it's just much harder for some people than others. All of us basically have a set body type, similar to the set point like you mentioned. And for some people that's heavier or slimmer than others. All you can do is try your best and not beat yourself up over it! Good Luck!!

  3. I love the fact that you are biting this in the butt! Planning is so great plus, the nosey gal I am, I totally love reading what your eating. Gives me lots of new idea's to try!

    I know you can do it!

  4. I know what you mean about planning. I always plan out my dinners. Lunches are easy b/c it is always leftovers. And breakfast is usually planned the night before. I have my go-to snacks equipped at home and work so it's easy for me to stay on track.

    I honestly don't know how you can only eat 1200-1400 calories and be exercising an hour+ a day and be gaining. I would be not only starving to death but also incredibly exhausted. Have you ever thought about bumping up your calories, ignoring the scale for a month, and seeing how that goes? I know I am much happier eating more and I am not gaining weight. It does take a few weeks for your body to adjust though. But so worth it. As long as the calories are good, solid, healthy calories.

  5. For me, I "think" I'm eating okay, but I'm actually sneaking in lots of bad, mindless calories that I attribute my weight gains to (besides the obvious binging or ridiculous eating).

    I'm like you tho. I don't seem to have one "regular" weight.

  6. "You force it, you fake it and eventually it becomes habit."

    Oh, I could just hug you for saying that. If there's one thing that grinds my gears it is when people blow sunshine out their ass for the first few days of whatever plan they are working, only to start whining by the end of the week that they have "lost their willpower and just can't go on".

    Fake it til you make it, baby!

  7. I think you're right about the consistency thing. It's hard for me to consistently stick to a work-out or eating plan. Thus--no weight loss. But the part that has been hardest for me to accept is that it is a process and a long one at that. Immediate results are so tempting and yet most of those plans are extremely low-carb, very restrictive, and leave you feeling hungry and without the energy to even make it through a cardio workout!

    By the way, one of the tools of recovery is having a plan of eating and a lot of members will turn in their food plan to their sponsor for the next day prior to eating it. I've found with my eating too, when I plan my meals and snacks beforehand, I'm more likely to stick with it. I still think OA would be great for you. I plan on finding a meeting asap once I move and you are always welcome to join me.

    Lastly, not sure if I agree with the whole "making time" issue. Of course, I agree that in order to achieve goals to be healthy, we need to make time to work out, cook healthy meals, etc. But I think constant running with no time to relax is exactly the kind of thing that may lead to binging. When I'm stressed, my eating is stressed. At some point, you got to ask yourself how important is it to be a size 6 or 2 or whatever? There's also a life to be lived and when your constantly worried about food, weight, and exercise you're missing out on a world of joys in life. You're too busy counting calories in your head or thinking about when you need to hit the gym next, to be able to enjoy a conversation with a friend. Instead of thinking about what they are saying, you're running through the list of to-do's in your head. I think a lot of times we just need to slow life down and enjoy it--we're all guilty of that.

    Also maybe part of it is accepting that our bodies may not have been built slender and we're constantly chasing this impossible ideal. Sometimes we've just got to accept what "God" gave us and work to enjoy and appreciate that, instead of wanting what others have. Trust me it's hard. I'm still working on that one ;-)

  8. I do plan out my meals, but also have a full awareness that other things come up and other things in life are more important than always being perfect. It's life! Enjoy it!

  9. you know, i think different things work for different people, but planning seems to be something that can be beneficial to almost everyone.

    this week has been completely chaotic and unplanned, hence out of norm eats and feeling not always the greatest. i've been eating out too much, and it takes a toll. planning is never a bad thing as long as you can go with the flow when things go off track once in awhile.

    we are cheering you on - you go girl!

  10. Well I think not going to very low-calorie route is definitely the best way to go, because you know that you won't get your body use to that amount. It's nice to know that you'll be able to maintain while eating slightly more. I think you'll b successful. I know also there's a simple equation to weight loss and that's burn more than you eat (of course without starving because that just messes up the metabolism). Unless, there's a medical condition going on of course.

    I think it's great that you were able to take a step back and see what works for YOU. Because not everyone plans but some people do. I know that for myself.. I have a veryyy loose "plan". I just make sure that I'm atleast getting in enough exchanges + more. I try to keep a variety of foods around so I can just whip something up because usually I'm in the mood for a kind of flavor when it's time to eat. I stay consistent with my healthy eating habits by making a grocery list! I think what you have available to you makes things a lot easier. For example, I have different kinds of grains, breads, wraps. I don't like to have the same thing all the time and I honestly believe variation in flavors and textures keeps the feeling of not being satisfied at bay.

    This is a long post, and I have so much more to say lol, but I hope this helps :D


  11. great post girlie! I love that you want to stay consistent with your dietary changes and not just looks the pounds quick...which always seem to set people up for failure.

    all of your meals sound AMAZING :) You sure will be eating good and healthy! haha

  12. Hey Mrs -

    I think there is a lot of wisdom in what you have to say here! Consistency is something I have a hard time with as well. I always feel like I want to try the next "big thing" in diets or exercise, instead of sticking with what I know works for my body and for me.

    Planning is so important as well. I've found that for me, it works best for me to plan my dinners for the week. This is because the evening is when I have the hardest time not mindlessly snacking until I decide what I want for dinner. As for the rest of my meals, I have a general idea of what I want to eat throughout the week for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, and then just mix and match them throughout the week.

    Anyway....sounds like you're on the right track...keep up the great work :)

  13. i only plan food ahead if i've got leftovers in the fridge already. i can't stand "wasting" food!

  14. I totally agree with you. Planning is KEY! When I plan my meals I do so much better. When I dont plan then I end up eating things like cookies and choclate or mcdonalds big macs lol.

  15. Great post!

    I also am the type that has to plan out exactly what I am going to be eating throughout the day..actually throughout the week. I also do a lot of bulk cooking for myself. It's the only thing that works for me at this time.

  16. i hardly ever plan my meals in advance. i just normally plan out breakfast because i like to think about the yummy things i'm going to make in the morning right before i go to sleep :)

    hey do you have an "about" master plan? or a place where your story is in one place? i'd love to read more!!

  17. I don't plan my meals ahead, although I should. I hate when I don't eat enough before a workout and then think about food the entire time. I normally try to keep healthy snacks around the house that I can grab on the go. Like you said--little meals all day.

    I've never counted calories--don't know where to start. I'm a bit OCD, so I don't need to give myself something to worry about. :0P

    Have you considered going veggie for a month?

  18. I experienced this up until I hired the trainer, and got rid of the 'extras' (too much yogurt, too much milk, too much little indulgences that added up- and hidden SUGAR was the main issue )

    I know everyone's body is different, but maybe it isn't the amount of calories, but rather what you are eating-the right carbs/amount of protein for each person can make a world of difference. I just cut back on carbs for two weeks and stalled in progress, I ate carbs like crazy in oklahoma and immediately dropped weight, for example. I can't cut back on carbs like I did and expect good results.

    I don't see your workouts to know if you are falling stale in that area as well, but you need to make changes at least every 6 weeks to challenge your body- and adjustments along the way of increased intensity or resistance, and doing the same amount of cardio (for example) day in and day out does no good in getting results. (you probably no this, but i still share)

    Consistency is definitely important, more so in diet than style or amount of exercise. Consistency in working out, but change in the challenge is very valuable in the area of fitness. A lot of people fail to challenge their bodies, except with adding loads of cardio. (im writing as if im blogging sorry lol)

    Another think to think about, is I dont believe you have been strength training very long (consistently). My clothes ALWAYS get tighter before they get looser. I gain the muscle, and then lose the fat. Just how it goes. I can't do both at once. You may be experiencing that as well. It takes about 6-8 weeks (experts say) for your metabolism to make adjustments to dietary/exercise changes, and if you just upped your calories to a healthy amount, your metabolism may not have adjusted completely yet for your body to let any weight go.

  19. Well, you will see from my latest post that I need to plan. I do my best by planning. I need to know what I am eating for all meals and snacks otherwise it leads to grazing and going out for something. In the end that means not the best choices and money we didn't ahve gets spent. My clothes are not so comfortable either.


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