I posted this on facebook this morning, but I figured I'd repost this here as well, seeing as how it deals with my weight loss journey. I hope it may provide either insight or inspiration to others who have faced some issues similar to the ones I've hit over the past 2 years.
I hit the 20 pound milestone for the year this week and put together a graph of my weight loss journey over the past 2 years. In doing so I noticed 4 distinct phases and separated them accordingly.
The transition from 1 to 2 appears to have happened on 1/19/11. Coincidentally that's when I first stopped taking my blood pressure meds. I think there was a mental change at that point, where I felt like I had succeeded and my life was no longer in danger, so perhaps I stopped exercising as hard and maybe loosened my diet a bit, so I went from losing 3 pounds a week to losing 1 pound a week.
The transition from 2 to 3 was a disaster. That happened on 11/23/11, the day my office closed. It's kind of striking how fast I went from losing weight to gaining weight. It was a major change in my routine and a giant increase in my stress levels as the company was going through a merger at the time and I was severely concerned about my future. Being home alone all day every day over a bleak winter was especially trying on my mental state. I stopped weighing myself for a time because I didn't want to face reality anymore. I ended up gaining 1.7 pounds a week, which is an absolutely frightening reminder of just how vigilant I have to be if I ultimately want to be successful. I destroyed 11 months of progress in just 6 months before I managed to get my act together again.
Finally, the transition from 3 to 4 was when I was able to pinpoint 2 changes I needed to make. First, my diet, even though it worked in phases 1 and 2, was clearly not working anymore. So I halved it by going shopping only once a week instead of twice. Sure I don't have any fresh produce for the last 2 days of the week now, but it's teaching me to ration myself more carefully. There were several times at the start when I literally ran out of food on the last day and didn't eat anything- a good learning experience. Second; I joined the bike club, which provided me with an impetus to not only socialize every day again, but get exercise while doing it. Let's face it, friends are awesome, but when all your friends ever want to do is go out to restaurants to eat 3-4 times a week, you're going to be gaining weight doing that. Additionally, being with the club has really amped up my workouts. Trying to keep up with people who have been cycling for years is quite challenging since I'm only in my 2nd year, and I'm certain I burn a lot more this way than my solo rides. I certainly sweat a lot more. Now I'm back to losing 1.2 pounds a week. I would love to increase this figure to 2.0 pounds a week, but I'm still ecstatic about any steady negative number whatsoever.
I'm annoyed because the trendlines for phases 1 and 2 show that I could have been so much further along by now than I am. But as they say, live and learn. The big lesson I learned is that I simply cannot allow major changes in my life to disrupt this, my most important goal.