Thursday, September 8, 2011

Week 28: Up, and Away

Crazy week.

I put on 1.6 pounds, putting me that amount above my all-time low weight. In and of itself, not to worry. That kind of fluctuation is normal, and when on maintenance anything within two pounds is a gimme.

Prior to my last weigh in on Saturday it was the week of Hurricane Irene, and while the storm itself was meh the aftermath was pretty interesting: We had a four-day power outage in my neck of the woods. On the first day even the data networks on my mobile phones were dead, unwiring me off in a new and strange and exceedingly pleasant way.

After Saturday's weigh in I somehow managed to balloon to nearly 168 pounds by Tuesday — 10 pounds above the low-water mark. I was off the reservation  on Saturday and Sunday, but not horribly or more than I had ever been (there was a gin factor, and a bit of Open Bag Syndrome with the Pop Chips, and maybe too much protein bar indulgement.

So, I cut back on portions of free "power" foods. I eat a lot of fruit, which is "free" (Zero PointsPlus Points), but fruit still has sugar, and calories. I also eat a lot of vegetables, which truly are free. But I cut back on added salt, which I mostly add to tomatoes.

After today's somewhat delayed workout, but not on an empty stomach, I tipped the scales at 158, which on a Saturday morning would be a new official low.

A new effect seems to be kicking in. At 16 weeks, you get a trinket because Weight Watchers believes if you have stuck with the program that long it has become a habit — something you do without thinking about it anymore, which in this context means not being terribly conscious anymore that one is eating considerably less, and thus possibly building up a resentment.

Three months later it occurs to me that my eyes are no longer much bigger than my stomach. I find that I've lowered my portioning out of even "free" foods, because my constitution has become better aligned with my appetite sensations. I also tend these days to eating relatively small snacks throughout the day, though dinner still looks like dinner. 

I have also officially reset my goal weight, to 155 pounds, or 80 fewer from where I started on Feb 19, 2011. That is my second, and last adjustment. My first goal weight, 190 pounds, I knew was tentative; I had been that weight once before when I was in great shape and wasn't sure anymore how much I would really have to lose at that level.

When I hit 190 this time (previously, in 2005), it was clear to me that the charts which said a 5'6" man should be no more that 160 pounds is correct. So, I re-declared to 160. Then it occurred to me that the symbolism of working so hard to lose just enough to be as heavy as I could be was another cop-out.

So, I am copping out a bit less, aspiring to get and stay five pounds below the top of the chart.

Just between you and me, I may still choose to lose more than that. When you reach your goal in Weight Watchers you begin maintenance, which recalibrates your food intake so that you stop losing — suddenly, not as easy as you might imagine. After about six weeks of that, you become a lifetime member, as long as you neither gain nor lose more than two pounds every month (not week). The chief benefit of this is that you can remain a full member — attend meetings, keep your online account, etc. — and never pay Weight Watchers again: about $14 a week.

But — and don't tell corporate — here is the thing. The purpose of penalizing a lifetime member for losing more than two pounds from goal is so that s/he doesn't game the system by declaring a high goal, meet that and then stay on program for free while they lose all the weight they actually want to lose.

But if you are willing to, say, keep losing, and are willing to pay the occasional penalty and then declare that new low as your new goal weight, then, nobody loses. If a member is stupid enough to declare at a ridiculously low weight s/he was able to achieve through extreme measures, then s/he would be paying a lot of unnecessary money trying to stay there.

So I'll be happy at 155, but will also be listening to my body to understand if I should shed even a little more. And I will be happy to pay the piper.

But, hey — I am getting ahead of myself. Saturday is two days away, and 155 is probably further than that.

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