The general received wisdom is that it is better to lose weight slowly, that you are more likely to keep it off. I saw Michelle Bridges (trainer from Australia's Biggest Loser) talking about this in relation to the extremely rapid weight loss on that show, and she argued that EVERYONE struggles to keep weight off, whether they lost it quickly or slowly, and that people who lose slowly don't have a better record of keeping it off. In fact, losing weight quickly can be very motivating. (Although I suppose that doesn't make any difference once you get to maintenance.)
I was thinking about that this morning so I found Gretchen Rubin's post today about habits very apposite. She says:
Sometimes, counter-intuitively, it’s easier to make a major change than a minor change. When a habit is changing very gradually, we may lose interest, give way under stress, or dismiss the change as insignificant. A big transformation creates excitement and energy and a sense of progress, and that helps to create a habit.
Anyone want to weigh in (pun intended) on this issue? Fast or slow?
Of course there are other factors to consider when it comes to losing weight fast or slow. Skin elasticity. Getting enough nutrients in a low calorie diet. Not injuring yourself exercising excessively. Taking up so much time and energy it interferes too much with the rest of your daily life.
I've mentioned carb cycling a couple of times over the past two weeks, but I haven't managed to get it going yet. Being sick has had a lot to do with that - I find simple carbs (like toast) are all I want to eat when my stomach is upset. (My weight is down to 81.7 kg today from 82.5 kg last Monday, which is nice, although I didn't enjoy the process!) My husband likes scrambled eggs when he is sick, which I don't understand at all. Yuck. When I am sick, eggs are the last things I want to smell. Stomach-turning.
So anyway, I've done a lot more reading about carb cycling (mainly from the website of Chris Powell "Choose to Lose") and I'm giving it another go starting tomorrow. I'm not starting today because I haven't been shopping yet, we're going out to dinner tonight before Jasmine's big dance concert, and Saturday is going to be my "free" day anyway. But I'm not waiting until Monday, first day of spring, either! Sunday will do just fine, and fits in with how I want the low carb/high carb cycle to run. And don't worry, I'm not doing a last hurrah binge today either.
I plan to copy Sean Anderson and take photos of all my food to keep me accountable. I'll talk a lot more about carb cycling as we go along, I imagine, but the basic premise is you have some low carb days (starchy carbs/fruit only at breakfast) and some high carb days (starchy carbs/fruit with every meal) so that you get the benefits of a low carb diet without the problems. There are different ways to alternate the days in different amounts. You also eat lots of non-starchy vegetables, and it's low fat especially on the high carb days. In the past I have found I lose weight when eating low carb, but couldn't handle the misery and crankiness - and wasn't much fun for my family either! I'm hoping this method will work for me without messing with my emotional health, if not obviously I'll stop it. You also get one free day, Saturday for me, or else three free meals throughout the week if you prefer, so you still get to eat whatever you like sometimes. Without going overboard, of course, if you want to lose weight!
I'm in that lovely excited state just before starting a new diet. Yay for honeymoon periods! As long as it lasts past the first morning.
To relate this back to the start of this post, I don't really intend to do carb cycling for the rest of my life. Unless I love it and it makes me feel great; there are modifications for maintenance, I think. I've downloaded Chris Powell's iPhone app which has a 12 week transformation challenge, and that is my current plan and goal. I want some fairly quick results to keep me motivated. If/when I get to my goal weight, I'll worry about how to vary my diet for maintenance then.
I will also be exercising, of course. Six days a week (Saturday off), walking and dance.
If you're wondering about where my professed love of cognitive therapy went, well I still plan to use that. Cognitive therapy isn't a diet, it helps keep you on your diet. I feel it did help me stick to my last one a lot longer than my usual record. So I'll be reading my flash cards again, reminding myself of all the reasons I want to lose weight.
The biggest reason? To get rid of my CPAP. Sleep without it by Christmas.