So my weight has been up for a few months now. I can’t seem to get it down around 170 lbs. (my goal weight). Now, I have been traveling just about every other weekend for over a month so I know that has contributed to my issues some as well. I spent the better part of this weekend baking desserts to take over to a family Easter party yesterday. I’m not sure why I went so overboard, I guess I have been really wanting to do baking lately and knowing that I had a place to unload them made it a bit “safer”. I only had a tiny bite though, since I was weighing in today. I do plan to have a small serving tonight, post weigh-in, and then get back on track.
So, I had both a weigh-in and doctor’s appointment with Dr. Ziltzer this morning. I haven’t been to see him since March 12th. This is the longest I have gone in between appointments. My weight has been as high as 177 lbs. in the past week or so but this morning, first thing when I woke up, it was 174.5 on my bathroom scale. By the time I was dressed and got to my 11:30AM appointment, the scale at the office read 175.5. This officially puts me in the “red zone” for the first time…ever. I wasn’t surprised by this or, really, very upset about it because I have been analyzing my current status pretty closely lately.
I am more focused on body composition right now than whatever number the scale reads. I’ve been looking at my graphs from the Koko FitCheck (which is basically a Tanita body composition scale in different “packaging” – the same scale used at Scottsdale Weight Loss) and trying to gain some insight from my weight loss vs. lean muscle balance history. As I’ve mentioned before, during the 100 pound weight loss, I lost about 20+ pounds of lean muscle mass. This is muscle, obviously, but I believe it also includes other tissue that is “not fat”. Tissue/cells/structures that supported all of that extra fat are now gone – so that accounts for some of the decrease as well. So, sure, I’d really like to get back down to 170 lbs. – and that is still the goal – but I won’t do it at the expense of the lean muscle I am finally starting to add back on. As we know, lean muscle burns fat and calories at rest and helps our metabolic rate…this is why I want to hang on to as much as I can! Plus, as I have learned, it is really hard to add!
The graph above shows the progression of my muscle mass. What concerned me the most was that pretty substantial dip between April 2013 and July 2013. That was after I reached goal and was in my first few months of maintenance! It looks like my body was continuing to shed lean muscle, even though I was taking in more calories. You can also tell how it has taken me about 9 months to get back to the level where I was one year ago. This is why I want to be really careful about just trying to drop pounds by going back on Optifast with full meal replacement. The difference between July 2013 and today is 5.2 pounds! So, I may “weigh” 5.5 pounds over goal right now, but I also have 5.2 more pounds of muscle than I did back then. So, really, it is a wash. I am also MUCH stronger.
I am so proud of these strength gains – I am almost back to where I was when I first started, but had 20+ more pounds of muscle. This is a really good visual reminder of how my workouts are paying off. Another good graph that I pulled up today, is my “Q” score – the Koko calculated “strength to body weight” ratio.
When I first got started at Koko, I was stronger … but I was also heavier. Look at the gains I have made in the last few months – that is very encouraging! The average “Q score” for a woman in her 40’s at Koko is 54 – so my 85 is pretty good!
So, the never-ending never-answered question of how do I continue to build lean muscle tissue while reducing fat and body weight. I am having a really hard time nailing down that answer – I even went to a class way down in Chandler last week and still didn’t come away with many ideas. I asked Dr. Z today and I’m even more confused. He asked me if I wanted to reset my “goal” weight and I wasn’t too excited to do that. He said, and I agree, that it is important to have the scale weight numbers as a guide so that I have some trigger with which to take action. I came home with a bunch of Optifast HP (high protein) products today and I am going to use those plus one “lean and green” meal for a couple of weeks to see about knocking the weight down to 170 again. He told me that I will probably not be able to lift as much weight but I shouldn’t start to lose muscle mass. I’m going to really watch that on the FitCheck machine at Koko though. As I get down closer to 170, I’m going to start following the Koko Fuel plan which is an included part of Koko Fit Club – it is a custom meal plan that is generated specifically for whatever goal we are working towards (burning fat, building muscle, etc.) AND also uses our current weight/BMI/muscle levels to determine the diet. I can print out a 14 day meal plan that includes shopping lists and recipes. Pretty convenient, actually. And, in looking it over, it doesn’t look too much different than what was provided to me by the dieticians at Scottsdale Weight Loss. I guess the only difference is that this is factoring in my exercise schedule and is tailored to my goals and current muscle levels. I don’t know of anyone that takes advantage of this feature on their website, but I thought I could give it a try. There are dieticians and exercise physiologists on the back end of it, so why not? In what I have been reading, I think I need to keep a small amount of healthy carbs – whole grains – in my diet. This is not really on the Optifast “partial” plan, but from what I have read, it is an important part of fat burning and muscle building. This is a part of the Koko Fuel plan and I’m really interested to see if that makes a difference. I have really not been eating enough of them, I don’t think – except for all of the processed carbs in my meal replacement bars and shakes. I told Dr. Z today that what I really want to do is not be at the high end of my fat percentage range (currently at 32.8% of a desirable range of 23-34%) and that my long-term goal was to keep working on that (maybe 28%?). So, we’ll see what happens!