At the Freihofer’s race expo this past weekend, I had the opportunity to have a free health screening, which included tests of my weight, BMI, and body-fat percentage. Most of what I knew was confirmed: according to BMI, I am still overweight (though only by a few pounds!). But it was fun to see what my estimated actual body-fat percentage was: 16.8 percent. Not bad, though I seriously question their method and am not convinced their system works any better than an average scale bought at Target . . . but that is another gripe.
While looking through the information, I read something that stated that nearly 90 percent of people who lose weight will regain it within a two-year period. This triggered a memory of an article about the effects on hormones and how your body will fight your weight loss with everything it can. Losing weight is not natural, the research suggests, and your body really does prefer to be a plumper version of yourself. An illustrated version of this (taken from the paper) is seen in this graph:
I am not really digging this research . . . for obvious reasons. Having lost close to 60 pounds, I’m not eager to gain it back anytime soon. However, this article is still worth reading and learning from. For me, I gathered two take-home points:
- Weight loss and, arguably more importantly, weight management are going to be constant lifelong commitments each and every day.
- Losing weight rapidly (even at two to three pounds a week) makes your body a bit unhappy with this sudden loss of padding and comfort.
Now, looking at the above graph, it covers a span of 52 weeks after the end of weight loss. As you can see, the general trend is upward, nearly back to the starting point. If we’re extrapolating out the trend, within two years, people will be back to where they started. I’m not trying to simplify the study too much—it also dives into the varying levels of different hormones and draws relationships between different levels, the perceived hunger, and other things that are interesting—but that is all beyond the scope of what I wanted to hit on. Today I wanted to look at my own story and how my own weight compares to their research.
Right now, I am about 83 weeks into this whole experiment. The single most important thing for me has been accountability and keeping track on Wednesdays. I’ve said this time and time again, but having a community of people with whom I can be open and to whom I can report back has been highly motivating and instrumental in my successes.
The second most important thing that I have realized over this process has been the pace at which my weight loss has occurred. Over 83 weeks, I’ve lost 58 pounds. That equates to just about 0.7 pounds a week. This is well below the commonly set goal of one or two pounds a week. I realized a while ago that one or two pounds a week was just simply not sustainable. There is too much life to live and too much good beer and food to consume. I also realized that there are periods of stagnation, and it is important to just keep your chin up and press through those times. I had two month-long periods where my weight wouldn’t budge, only to drop rapidly again shortly after. Keep going and get through the plateaus; they will eventually break.
I hope that this blog will help me continue to beat the two-year statistic of rebound. I don’t want to be part of the 90 percent who fail. I want to be one of the 10 percent who succeed. I’m going to fight these hormones to the bitter end.