As I write this, I am obese according to the majority of medical standards. My body mass index (BMI) is equal to 30.8, and my waist circumference is about 42″. I do not have a body fat analyzer, but I would guess, based on past tests, it is between 22 and 25%. For my age, this puts me in the overweight category. I am not alone. Just like me, there are 160 million other Americans who are struggling with weight management.
Why is Controlling My Weight Important
I am happier when my weight is under control! And, you’d think it would be easy for me to control my weight. After all, I have a good understanding of fitness and nutrition. I also understand the math behind weight management–if you burn more than you eat, you will lose weight. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But I can attest to the opposite.
Just last year, I was down to a 38″ inch waist and under 20% body fat, so it’s anything except simple for me. When it comes to my weight, I have been on a roller coaster for the majority of my life. In my adult years, I have been as low as 180lbs, at eighteen, and as high as 280lbs in my thirties. I hover around 240, give or take 10lbs, and my ideal weight is somewhere around 210lbs, which would still put me in the overweight category for BMI due to a higher lean mass for my height. So, why don’t I weigh 210lbs?
Factors of Weight Management
Honestly, I have no clue! Well, I have a scientific reason. Obviously, I eat more than what is needed to support 210lbs if weight management is as simple as a math problem. Sometimes, I doubt the math, though.
I seldom eat more calories than I burn. When I track my intake, I often have a 1000 calorie deficit, and I rarely go over what I use. The majority of the time, I burn 500 calories more than I consume. According to this, I should be losing at least a pound a week not gaining weight. This is rarely the case, though.
This must mean one of two things; my tracking methods are off, or there is way more to weight management than addition. I believe it is the later; even though I am sure there are some errors in my tracking, they’re not enough to account for the significant swings, so there must be more to it than math.
Actually, I know there is more to it. There are several factors to weight management. There are such things as maintaining proper amounts of sleep, hydration levels, physical fitness, eating clean vs. processed foods, maintaining a sufficient metabolic rate, and preventing spikes in insulin levels, which has a lot to do with appropriate nutrition unless you have type 1 diabetes. With all of these factors and many more, even some that we cannot control, no wonder why it can be challenging to manage our weight! This is no reason to stop trying, though.
What Changed to Derail Progress
There are a few noticeable behavioral changes over the last year that I believe has led to my weight gain. I stopped tracking my diet, and I reintroduced diet soda into my menu. Also, I have increased my consumption of processed foods, and have started to eat out more often. When eating out, I go for the fries or other high-carb options, like bread. For the most part, I have made these changes because they are comfortable.
Food journaling, macro counting, and weighing food takes a lot of time. Also, cooking healthy is a hard option to choose after a long day when a pizza, a favorite Mexican restaurant, or a hot sandwich is a quick call or drive away. For whatever reason, it is easier to grab the bag of chips instead of the carrots. No wonder I gained twenty pounds in the last year! Fortunately, not all is lost, and there is always tomorrow or, better, right now to modify our behavior towards the positive.
How I Plan to Control My Weight
How I plan to continue my battle against obesity is to keep up with my exercise routine and remove the diet soda from the menu. I’ll go back to drinking tea, water, coffee, or another healthier option. Also, I’ll make sure I get plenty of sleep, and I will try to keep myself from getting so hungry that I choose a bad option over a home-cooked meal. I may start food journaling again, but it is a hassle. And, I have a reasonably good idea of proportion size from previous experience with weighing food. When I do eat out, I will try to avoid pizza, even though it is my favorite, fries, and excess bread or chips. Instead, I will select the closest things to whole foods.
I know I will lose the weight I have put back on. I have done it enough times over the years that I am confident I can reach my goal weight. What I hope to do is stop the roller coaster by taking actions that will help me control my weight for a lifetime.