Friday, April 27, 2012

Weight Loss Recap: Week Two

Alright, first and foremost, I must take a moment to acknowledge the fact that today is my very LAST DAY OF PHARMACY SCHOOL EVER!!! I am sure you are all completely sick of me talking about this, but I can’t help it. I am so completely freaking excited!!! I still remember my very first day of rotation way back in August.

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I was so nervous and was freaking out the night before about the silliest things, like whether or not I needed to spend $200 on drug information software for my smart phone (totally did not – there are plenty of free ones that are just as reliable). I can’t believe how much I’ve learned over the past nine months and I can’t wait to get out there and apply it to my patients as a pharmacist. One more week until I’m Dr. Berg Winking smile. (<---- now there’s a scary thought!)

 

Weight Loss Recap: Week 2

Okay, moving on to the real reason ya’ll stopped by today – my Week 2 Weight Loss Recap.

Weigh-In
Last week: 185.0
This week: 184.0
Total loss: –4.0 pounds

When I got back from my trip to Madison last weekend, I was more than excited to step on the scale and see that I had actually lost a couple of pounds. Seriously? On vacation?! When I had delicious eggs benedict for breakfast and stayed out two nights in a row drinking copious amounts of wine and other alcoholic beverages?! It sounded too good to be true.

Well, it was.

The next day, my weight shot back up to 185 and stayed there for a couple days before settling at 184 yesterday morning. Guys, I found something else that can make your weight fluctuate: alcohol. I obviously did not lose two pounds while I was in Madison and then regain it in one day when I stayed completely within my calorie range. The reality of the situation is that I was more than likely dehydrated from all of the alcohol that I drank over the weekend and after spending all of Monday downing the H2O and rehydrating myself, my weight returned back to normal. While it would have been nice to have lost some weight over the weekend, I did achieve my goal of maintaining my weight. I certainly did not count calories, but I didn’t go overboard with the food either. I was actually quite proud of myself – normally I eat a ton when I’m gone at these conferences or on little mini vacations and I always regret it when I return home – but this time I kept it under control with the food and still enjoyed myself with my friends.

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Some notes from the week:

  • I have only worked out twice since my last weigh-in. On Friday I did a spin workout before we left for Madison and on Wednesday night I went to a Turbo Kick class. The beginning of the week I was busy working on a school project and yesterday I was just lazy. My lack of exercise this week is more than likely contributing to my very small loss (though one pound is still a loss!).
  • Speaking of lazy, my motivation has already been going downhill this week. I don’t know why this always happens, but every time I try to lose weight I do really well for the first week and then I just slowly start to veer off track. I’ve gone over my calorie limit three out of the five days this week that I’ve been back in town and yesterday this sort of happened at lunch.

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Yeah, that would be pizza (delicious chicken pesto pizza) and a huge bowl of ice cream. Since it’s my last week here at the hospital and blog friend Mindy is nearby, we decided to meet for lunch. Sure, it’s not an excuse to eat all that junk food but man; it was so good.

  • Despite yesterday’s lack of willpower, thinking about the blog and doing these weekly recaps actually helped keep me from completely blowing it this week. There were a lot of temptations that I didn’t give into, which I’m proud of, but I obviously still have a lot of room for improvement.
  • I’m running a race tomorrow! It’s just a 5K, but it’s my first race of the year and I hope it goes well. I haven’t ran in nearly two weeks so I’m kind of nervous – wish me luck!


So this week, I’d like to talk about carbs. Are they good or bad for weight loss? I wouldn’t feel qualified to answer this question even if I did know the answer because I’m not a registered dietician, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about this week so I thought I’d share my take on it and hopefully get your opinions as well.

I’ve always been a carb queen. Bread, pasta, cereal, yogurt, beans, fruit, granola bars, dessert – if it’s nutritional breakdown consists mainly of carbohydrates, then there’s a pretty good chance that it’s one of my favorite foods. With all of the low carb diets out there (I’m looking you, Atkins and South Beach) and all of the amazing success stories that you hear from these programs, it’s no wonder that tons of people have “shunned” this important macronutrient and that it’s frowned upon when trying to lose weight.

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(my favorite Greek yogurt pancakes)

The concept behind low carb diets is that by depleting your body of them, your cells will eventually start to use fat for energy – thus leading to fat loss. This puts your body in a state called ketosis, which means that your body is getting energy from ketones, a product of fat breakdown. However, maintaining a low carb high protein diets long term can pose several health risks, including kidney failure, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis. (Source)

My personal opinion is that yes, low carb diets work, but every diet works when you stick with it. However, most people can’t stick to strict diets long term because they are not realistic, and the second you start eating normal food again the weight piles back on. I think that it is very possible to lose weight while still eating carbs, but at the same time I think that too many carbs and not enough protein can hinder your efforts.

If you’ve been a long time reader of my blog, then you know that I tried to give up carbs once when I was going through a plateau. Well, long story short is that it was a bad idea and not only was I miserable, but I felt like total crap. I didn’t even make it a week, and it reinforced the fact that restrictive diets are just not for me. These days, I try my best to eat a balanced diet and keep my fat, carbohydrate, and protein ratios at about 30%, 40%, and 30% of my calories, respectively. However, most days this ratio ends up being closer to 25%, 50%, and 25%, which is something I’m trying to work on. Usually when I focus on eating more protein (versus eating fewer carbs), the ratio naturally evens out on its own.

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Right now, the most important thing for me is to stick to my calorie budget. When I stay within my target range and exercise regularly, the weight comes off. My goal this week is to stay within my calorie budget five out of seven days. I already went over yesterday with my pizza and ice cream (my weeks go Thurs-Wed) and tomorrow is our class bar crawl to celebrate the end of pharmacy so I’m not going to set myself up for failure by trying to be perfect on that day.


So, what’s your take on carbs? Have you noticed any effect that they have on weight loss? Do you follow (or have you ever followed) a low carb diet?

Like I said, I tried giving up carbs once and I epically failed. I think that playing around with the macronutrient ratios and trying to cut down on carbs isn’t a bad idea when you’re hitting a plateau, but cutting them out completely is just too difficult. Not to mention the fact that I personally don’t think it’s healthy to deprive your body of it’s primary energy source (for reasons mentioned above), but at the same time being obese is not good for your health either. I’d rather see someone temporarily following a low carb diet if it will better their health in the long run.

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