Saturday, June 28, 2014

Is Weight Loss Really an Exact Science?

Even though I have seen great success in  the beginning months of my weight loss journey, I get very frustrated at the fact that weight loss is not simply cut and dry.

I have been using My Fitness Pal to make sure I am eating a healthy amount of food to lose weight, so I sometimes seek advice on the MFP message boards. 

Last week, I had been doing well counting my calories and exercising, and I gained 2 lbs. Feeling very frustrated, I posted a new thread on MFP's "General Diet and Weight Loss Help" board. I wanted to know why I had gained weight, when I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I know that some weeks you will gain weight, and other weeks, you will lose 7 pounds! I don't know why, I just know it happens because of my past experiences, and by listening to the experiences of others as well. 

Shortly after posting my question, I received a huge amount of encouragement from many MFP members, which was greatly appreciated and made me feel wonderful. However, I received a private message from one of the members telling me that I'm basically doing everything all wrong! 

WHAT?!? I thought as long as you consume less calories than you burn, you'll lose, right? 

Well, according to this member, I needed to figure out my BMR, and that's what I needed to base my calories on, which ended up being more than 500 calories above what My Fitness Pal recommended for me to eat each day in order to lose an average of 2 pounds per week. He also told me I need to start counting my macros, and that I will continue to not lose anymore weight until I "stop doing everything wrong and learn how to do it correctly."

Excuse me? I am no dietician, and I am certainly no fitness guru, but I have been through this before. I know what to do. So, I asked the gentleman (who really wasn't being a gentleman at all) why I had to eat more to lose weight and why I had to count macros. He tells me that "it's not hard... It's an exact science."

Really? So, he's telling me that if I consume the same macros and the same amount of calories, and burn the same exact amount of calories each week for 2 weeks, I will lose the exact same amount of weight each week. 

Well, I can tell you that's simply not true. I couldn't tell you why some weeks you try very hard and gain weight, and other weeks when you slack of a bit, you lose. All I know is that it just happens. It can happen due to water retention, menstruation, gaining muscle, or many other things. Our bodies are crazy, misunderstood, beautiful pieces of equipment. Unfortunately, you can't just call up a mechanic and have them fix what's wrong! ;)

Sure, there is a lot of science behind losing weight, and by no means do I understand even half of it (does anyone really understand it 100-percent?), but it certainly is not exact. 

I have to learn to be more patient. I have to enjoy the fact that I will be surprised weekly, and sometimes daily, with how my body is changing. Even though those extra 2 pounds may not look so sexy when seeing them on the scale, in no way should that bring you down or make you feel any less about the progress you're making. I am slowly starting to remember that, and if you know me, you know I am one of the world's worst when it comes to being depressed about that magic number going up!

I can't tell anyone to stop stepping on the scale, because it's just part of the process. I don't know that it's necessarily healthy if you do it multiple times per day, but if stepping on that scale every morning keeps you accountable, by all means do it! Just keep in mind that weight is not an exact reflection of your fitness level or how attractive you see yourself! Most of the time, I tend to enjoy my non-scale victories more than seeing the number on the scale go down. 

So there you are, sir. I'm sure you'll never read this, but if you do, maybe it will teach you to keep your opinions about others and their personal journies to yourself. Nobody ever said the reason some people are jerks is an exact science either. ;)

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