Daily weigh-ins are not typically advised on any weight loss program. Yeah, the Mean Nurse doesn’t give a rat’s ass about typical. Daily weigh-ins work. Why? Because it keeps you fucking accountable.
My godmother has weighed herself on a daily basis since she was a teenager. She allowed herself a three-pound gain at any one time before she’d take steps to take it off. That woman has weighed roughly the same for 60 years (a few pounds… LESS THAN 10!!!….have crept on over the past few decades). She attributes this phenomenon to daily weights. After doing exactly that for myself over the past year, and seeing a steady decline, I’d say she’s right!
Here’s what I recommend for everyone. Get a digital scale. Weigh yourself daily. Track weight loss ONLY on an app for your smartphone. I like MyFitnessPal. Record only those numbers where you see weight loss. The line graph on this app gives you a positive visual of the downward movement towards your goal. It does not matter how long it takes you to get to your goal, just as long as you get there. So if you only lose ounces every couple of days, that’s okay. Do you really want to go a week before you discover you’ve gained 5 pounds, which could have been stopped at 2? Allow no more than a two-week plateau or a two-pound gain before you take measures to get yourself back on track.
Now for food journals. Hate them. Why? Because they remind me of something a mother would do…. constantly monitor every little thing that goes into a kid’s mouth. In the past, I’ve had to keep a food journal for some commercial asinine weight loss program whose spiel I believed. I’ve had to record the time, date, mood, location(?), my thoughts and finally WHAT, I consumed. So when a food journal looks like this…..
Breakfast: 7 a.m. 1 piece of toast, standing over the sink, pissed off because I poked myself in the eye with my mascara wand and pissed because I have to eat breakfast on this stupid plan when I’m not hungry and breakfast makes me sick unless it’s at 10, but that’s the time for the flippin’ mid-morning snack. I can’t eat a vegetable at this hour or protein, because I absolutely will throw up.
Midmorning snack: 10:30 a.m. Walking from my kitchen to my computer. 12 grapes, which should have been 9 but I’m not leaving 3 grapes in the refrigerator because that would be cruel to my daughter. I really don’t care for fruit much, but I have to eat something I don’t like to lose weight, jeez that sounds really stupid.
Lunch: 2:30 p.m. Tuna out of the can sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, still not hungry, but I’m eating this anyway because I’m supposed to. Is a can of tuna, one serving of protein or two I wonder? Green beans, 1/2 bag frozen @ 3:30 p.m. Couldn’t eat the beans with the tuna because BLECH!, and these were the only veggie I had on hand because I’m saving the others for dinner, so I had to wait.
Midafternoon snack: I think that was the beans. Standing in the kitchen. Probably should have had more to eat by now, but I’m drinking coffee and water. Eyeing a banana because I should eat another piece of fruit. Why do I have to eat something when I’m not hungry? Seems stupid. Animals don’t do that.
Dinner: 7 p.m. Finally hungry. Breaking the “no eating after 6p rule” most plans advocate, but what if I’m not hungry until then and I go to bed at 1a.m.? Plus, learned to eat dinner later from living in Europe and that really works with my body clock. Fuck it, I’m eating. Sitting in livingroom watching Ed Show because diningroom table is covered in sewing and daughter not home. 1/2 grilled chicken breast, tri-color pepper mix plus more onions, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash, tossed in red-wine vinegar and BUTTER, yeah, that’s right… BUTTER!
…. and a weight loss counselor says “you need to sit down at the table and take time out for yourself and really think about the food you’re eating and not do ANOTHER THING while you’re eating — like standing over the sink……,” I want to smack them. I do not need another mother. I do not need someone standing over me (the food journal), watching every little crumb that I put in my mouth. I do not have time to sit and write down my feelings about what I’m eating, because I do not want to EAT MY FEELINGS. I want to EAT MY FOOD. If I have to think about my feelings when I’m eating, I’m going to “feel” like eating chocolate or my go-to comfort food, macaroni and cheese.
It comes down to this: You ONLY need one bitch slap a day and that’s the scale. Start your day off with it, and it will set you right. You’ll either be soooo happy and ready to buy your scale flowers, or be soooo pissed off that you’ll make better choices THE REST OF THE DAY. Start your day off with the motivation it takes to honor your commitment to yourself. You don’t have to look back at your food journal to see where you went wrong. When you see that extra 2 pounds on the scale, I PROMISE YOU that you’ll remember exactly what you ate. You are allowed to swear at that point. (My scale knows lots of bad words in lots of languages.)
Now, relax, and just don’t do anything to piss yourself off tomorrow too.
You’ve heard for years that the equation is simple: burn off more calories than you take in, and you’ll lose weight. Seems simple enough, right? I mean, even people that aren’t good at math should be able to understand the concept without a calculator. The truth is, that logic is a bunch of hooey!
Case in point: One person consumes an 80-calorie popular brand energy drink with Sucralose. The other person consumes an 80-calorie piece of homemade chocolate cake (yes, it’s a small piece, but bear with me) with chocolate frosting made with whole, organic ingredients, and yes, that means butter. Which one of these 80-calorie concoctions do you have a shot at burning off in its entirety with your evening session at the gym? You got it, the cake. Why? Because the cake isn’t loaded with chemicals, and all the chemicals in that energy drink were most likely encased in fat and STORED. Yes, that’s right, STORED IN FAT.
Our digestive systems are fantastic machines and know how to recognize the nutrients we need. It extracts them and sends them throughout the body for immediate use, or storage for later use. The “storage” includes muscles which will hold sugar. So the sugar in the cake can be stored for later use by the muscles OR later release, if the body needs it. When our digestive system encounters something it does not recognize, e.g. a CHEMICAL COMPOUND, it says “yeah, I don’t know what the fuck this is. It might be poison that could hurt the kidneys, liver, colon, etc., I’d better throw a blob of fat around it, and put it somewhere until I can figure it out.” Your 80 calorie concoction just got surrounded in a bunch of fat. And remember one gram of fat is 9 calories. What if each molecule of the chemicals that are inside the 80-calorie drink got surrounded by a gram of fat? That’s 9 extra calories per chemical molecule that it is now going to take to burn it off. Damn that’s a lot of gym time. I’ll take the chocolate cake and do 30 minutes on the treadmill. The fat molecules in the cake don’t need to be surrounded by more fat molecules to store them. The fat in the cake is sort of “what you see is what you get.” If the cake was made with applesauce in place of the fat, guess what… you’ve only got to worry about the carbs.
It makes me crazy when I try to explain to a coaching client that it doesn’t matter how many calories are in something, but what is making up the calories, and they turn a deaf ear. I’m committed to my clients. I’m committed to their health. I adopted the coaching philosophy of the late great Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry when he said, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.”
I’d rather see them eat the chocolate cake, even though the more chemicals they eat, the longer they’ll need my services. It isn’t a win for me. It’s a loss for both of us.