The Weight Loss Quest: How Much OCD is Helpful?

Notice the animals instead of numbers? Maybe I should get this scale instead...

My endocrinologist wants me to lose 50 pounds. Yep, 50.

This presents me with a challenge to figure out how to use my OCD to facilitate weight loss, without letting it get out of control.

Before anyone tells me that I don’t need to lose any weight and I look fine (and thank you if you were going to say that) it’s not about the way I look. It’s about hormones. Insulin, to be specific.

I have PCOS, which means that I’m more at risk than average for diabetes or other insulin related problems. Weight is a big factor there. (I’ll go into more about this in a future post because I have, of course, obsessively researched it).

I do have to say, I think I’d be unhealthy (and damned unattractive) if I lost that much. I also think I wouldn’t have breasts if I lost that much. This would make me sad, as I rather like having breasts.

Me at my current weight. Wearing a pink wig.

The first challenge is figuring out how much I want to lose, instead of obsessing on 50. My endo pulled that number from a BMI chart. My current BMI is 28.2, which puts me solidly in the overweight category, nearing obese. However, I don’t buy into BMI.

In truth, although I weigh 20 pounds more, now, than I did when I got out of college 10 years ago, I’m smaller and stronger than I was then. The same clothing is looser on me now. Which means my muscle density has increased. Which is a Good Thing (TM). However, my BMI is higher.

Personally, I’m thinking 15 pounds, although that leaves my BMI in the overweight category, at 25.8. I’m picking that as my initial goal and ignoring that little obsessive voice that keeps saying, “He said 50. He did say 50, you know. How about 50?”

The next challenge is using my OCD just enough to be helpful but not so much that I’m miserable. As we already know, I’m good at tracking things. So, I’m tracking my intake. I know that if I follow that primrose path too far, I could end up in serious eating disorder territory. I have, luckily, never been in that territory, so for now I’m going to say my obsessive tracking will probably be fine. Thanks to my lovely iPhone, I’m using LoseIt to track my food intake. More later, no doubt, on that.

FitBit

I’m using my FitBit to track my exercise (this is where my Christmas money went – thanks Mom & Dad!). More on this in another post, too.

I’m also walking more.  Last weekend, J and I walked to a party 3 miles away instead of driving. There and back again gave us 6 miles, and two hours of conversation.

The most challenging thing, however, is not looking at the scale. Strange, to say I want to lose weight but then say I don’t want to look at the scale, no?

Thing is, for me, looking at the scale is self-sabotage. If I see that I’ve lost a pound or two, then I feel like I can relax, which means I end up gaining. If I see I’ve gained, or that I’m staying the same, I get discouraged and don’t want to continue. If, on the other hand, I don’t look, I keep eating and exercising according to plan. And the plan is a good one.

But every morning, I feel the absolute need to weigh myself. It’s not optional. I need to. I will stand there, frozen and unhappy, staring at the scale and not stepping on it, knowing I shouldn’t do it, but unable not to. This tends to slow the morning down considerably. Finally, today, I closed my eyes, stepped on the thing, and asked J to look – but not to tell me any numbers. Just to tell me if I was doing all right.

So far, so good.

Here’s an interesting BMI calculator in case you’d like to play with it.a.dir_resource_link{color:#a0a0a0;} More Diet Resources: Diet Reviews, Healthy Recipes, and Health News

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  1. #1 by Dawn B. on March 24, 2010 - 3:42 pm

    So, BMI is a bunch a shit. What matters is Body Fat %, and I would kick an endo to the curb who did what yours did.

    When I lost weight (Because by both BMI & Body Fat % I was unhealthily overweight) I did it by figuring out my maintance setup (point at where my current exercise/diet status gave no weigh drop/gain over a week) and that was 1800 cal/day at my low level exercise. I targeted 1200-1400 cal/day as my diet and didn’t change exercise. I used frozen meals cuz the calories were there and they were balanced, but I don’t think you can given your other diet constraints.

    I went from 210 lbs to 150 lbs, averaging a lb a week. Safe, healthy, constant.

    I did check the scale daily, in the morning after first bio. The reason: Most consistent rating and it was easier for me daily. Other suggest every other day, or MWF or once/week, but pick a SINGLE constant time. Best is post sleep, before food, after first bio as that will consistent for water/food intake and your fast of sleep.

    • #2 by zellandyne on March 24, 2010 - 4:02 pm

      I agree. I was so startled during the appointment that I didn’t say anything, but I wish I’d asked him to look at me, just take a good look at me and tell me if I looked like I needed to lose 50 pounds.

      I get that PCOS is a problem, and that extra fat, and extra insulin production, make it worse. And I’m fine with losing weight for that. I am not fine with going with an arbitrary number off of an inaccurate chart.

      I can’t do the frozen dinner thing, for exactly the reason you guessed. But I’m pretty good at cooking enough for leftovers and keeping my food within certain caloric ranges. So far, it seems to be working. At least, according to J. 🙂

      • #3 by Dawn B. on March 24, 2010 - 4:15 pm

        Maybe get yourself a food scale to compliment your cooking & tracking? They are very exact and there are a ton of resources on the internet for total calorie contents. And I’m glad it seems to be working.

        • #4 by zellandyne on March 24, 2010 - 4:47 pm

          (WordPress did something weird with my last reply to you, so here it is again)

          My mom gave me a food scale for Christmas. I remembered you saying that weighing food was the only really accurate way to measure, so I added one to my wishlist. I wonder if I can find a small enough one that I could take with me in my bag for work/dining out…

  2. #5 by Scott James on March 24, 2010 - 4:09 pm

    Speaking as someone who went from 315(ish) to 165 in the course of 10 months, I can tell you from experience that weighing yourself every day will just make you sad. Mondays and Thursdays only will make you a lot happier.

    The typical American is so massively dehydrated that their weight can fluctuate up to 8 lbs in a single day. This has nothing to do with the food you eat, but rather your ability to process it. most of your water intake is used for respiration and digestion–if you’re not drinking enough, you’re doing neither well.

    As Dawn notes, pick a time and stick with it. but also remember to pick a place. I’d wager your bathroom floor is not precisely level, and tilting a household scale can skew your results up to 4 lbs either way.

    If you can swing it, weigh yourself in a gym. But just out of the shower wearing nothing but a smile will give you the most accurate reading possible in your home.

    I’m wishing you success and happiness!

    • #6 by zellandyne on March 24, 2010 - 4:45 pm

      That’s seriously impressive weight loss. Wow. And thank you for reminding me about the water. I’m going to get another cup right now…

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