Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Week 5 weigh in (and ortho appointment)

Today started the final week of my six-week experiment with calorie counting. I've been doing really well with it, so I can already spoil the ending by saying that I'm going to continue with it after the six weeks are up ;) I started today off with my Wednesday Weigh-in:


I was 147 this morning, meaning I dropped another 2 pounds this week. I'm thrilled with that! It's kind of odd how consistent my weight loss has been... for each of the last four weeks, I've dropped exactly 2 pounds. I've never had such consistent losses!

My body fat was down by 0.6%, and my waist was down by another 1/2 inch. I've really noticed the weight loss over the last couple of weeks. My love handles are almost gone, and I can fit into a lot of jeans I couldn't before. All it took was five weeks of being consistent with my calorie counting. I wish I could smack myself a year ago and made me do it then!

Several people have asked me why I think I'm more successful with calorie counting that I have been with Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers worked really well for me in 2012. When I used Weight Watchers in 2009-2010, I was doing their old Points system (Flex Points, I think it was called); but in 2012, I decided to give their new PointsPlus system a try. I was kind of bitter about the new system, because I was used to the old one, and I didn't want to have to learn everything all over again. But I decided to give it my all for 10 weeks or something like that.

During that time, I was following the program very closely, and I didn't know any ways to "cheat". I measured out my portions, counted the PointsPlus, and the weight came off pretty quickly. Eventually, as I started to get comfortable with the program, I started picking up on the "cheats". I learned that 5 grams of peanut butter is 1 PP, but 8 grams of peanut butter is also 1 PP. Naturally, I'd want to have 8 grams. (I put "cheats" in quotes, because I was technically still following the program, just finding ways to push the rules a bit.)

As I learned how much food I could have to get the most out of my PointsPlus, I was probably taking in quite a few extra calories--all those little grams add up! And once you learn the PointsPlus system, you can't really "unlearn" it; so even when trying this past spring to stay 100% on plan (and I did), I wasn't dropping much weight.

By counting calories, there isn't any leeway. If you have 5 grams of peanut butter, you log the 5 grams. If you have 8 grams, you log the 8 grams. You also log your fruits and vegetables, which you don't do on Weight Watchers. You count every calorie you eat, so there isn't really away to cheat the system.

That's my best guess as to why the calorie counting has worked so well. Next week, I'll write more things I've noticed about calorie counting versus PointsPlus counting--after my "experiment" is over.


I had my appointment with the orthopedist today. I originally scheduled the appointment after seeing my general practitioner for my annual physical--I mentioned that my back pain has gotten much worse over the past year, so she scheduled an MRI, x-rays, and had me make an appointment with a specialist (the orthopedist).

While I was waiting to get in to see him, I had issues with my ankle again, so I decided to bring it up at my appointment. Well, when I got there today, I learned that he only sees patients for back pain, not for other orthopedic issues. So, I didn't get to ask about my stress fracture. I think I'll give it a few more weeks of cross-training/rest, just to make sure it's healed, and then start slowly with running again.

I did learn a surprising fact about my back, though. The doctor pulled up my MRI images on the computer while I was there, and even I could see it plain as day... I have mild scoliosis, of course, but two of my thoracic vertebrae (right where the pain is located) have pretty large bone spurs on the right side. I couldn't believe that it wasn't mentioned in the MRI report. The doctor explained that those two bone spurs rub together when I bend or move certain ways, which is likely causing the pain.

I felt so much better after seeing that--of course, it sucks that I have the bone spurs, but I was feeling like I was crazy for being in so much pain from "mild" scoliosis and "mild" arthritis. I've had the back pain for years and years; and the doctor said that judging by the size of the spurs, they've been developing for a long time.

As far as treatment, he mentioned a steroid injection for the pain (that will be a last resort for me--it sounds terrible); also physical therapy to improve my posture, and a topical cream to rub on my back for the pain. The only way to really remove the spurs would be with surgery, and there is no way that I want to do that. The doctor even said that he wouldn't recommend it right now anyway. Even though the news wasn't that great, I'm really glad to know what the reason behind my back pain is!

After my appointment, my mom and I went to pick up our packets for the Tour de Troit bicycle ride on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to it! It's looking like it's going to thunderstorm on Saturday morning, so I'm crossing my fingers that the forecast changes.

17 comments:

  1. I know you said the steroid injection isn't something you want to try, I would urge you to try it. I have a painful lump on my chest that is basically a seriously inflamed intercostal joint (where your ribs connect to your sternum). I had a biopsy and all that, and they found nothing amiss with it, but it hurt really bad, and constantly. I finally had a doctor who suggested the steroid injection, and as terrifying as it was to have a needle stuck into my upper chest (I was awake for the biopsy which was done with a bone biopsy needle, which is huge), it wasn't all that bad, they numbed the site first, and it was very quick. And it seriously helped so, so much. What a major difference. And likely you wouldn't need to do it very often. So I'd suggest trying it at least once, because the unpleasantness of getting a shot is far outweighed by the awesomeness at the constant horrible pain lessening or going away entirely.

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    1. The thought of being pain-free sounds amazing! If the topical stuff doesn't work, I'll consider the injection. It just sounds awful!

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    2. As someone who is already having trouble with stress fractures, make sure you work with your doctor on whether steroid shots are right for you. Steroids decrease bone density, which could cause more stress fractures. Something to think about and discuss with your doctor.

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  2. I completely understand (and am guilty of) WW cheating! Great job on your weight loss!

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  3. Are you tracking your carb/fat/protein too? Or just calories? I was successful with WW but never lost the last 5lbs, and steadily gain/lose the same 10lbs over and over. I've recently decided to quit WW and to track calories (because I also discovered how to cheat WW and the pounds are not coming off) but I read all this stuff about "macros" and find it super stressful to track calories, carbs, fats & proteins. I'm curious how you came up with your calories target too?

    ~Kelley

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    1. I don't track my macros... just calories. I find that when I eat what I love (and want), I tend not to binge or obsess over food. So, my diet isn't super healthy, but it works for me. I eat an average of 1500 calories a day, which keeps me satisfied and I still lose weight... I didn't really choose that number, but when I found it worked, I just stuck with it. One day a week, I eat much more (about 2,500 calories) to keep my metabolism up and allow for indulgences/cravings that may be higher in calories. All-in-all, I think everyone needs to experiment for themselves to find what works best. Good luck!

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  4. You should consider the steroid injection! My Mom uses them for the arthritis in her hips and she loves them. They sound terrifying but they're not that bad at all compaired to the pain you go through on a day to day basis.

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    1. I've never been afraid of needles or anything, but the thought of one near my spine reminds me of getting an epidural.., which was awful! Haha. If the topical stuff doesn't work, I will consider it.

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  5. Glad you're losing weight!! You may convince me to try the calorie counting. Half the reason I don't is because I'd have to re-enter my recipes all over again. :/

    So glad that you at least have an answer for your pain, if not a long term solution.

    Can't wait to hear about your bike ride!!

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  6. So glad the calorie counting is working for you! I know you were getting so frustrated and boy I know that feeling. I am not sure if it is working for me but I do think I may have lost some inches as my shorts seemed to be falling a bit in my half this past weekend :)

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  7. Congrats on the continues weight loss! I calorie count too, and as long as I stick to it, the weight loss is guaranteed (with some margin for water weight fluctuation). It's science! I think you're right that gaming the WW system was your problem. I've found that even with calorie counting I've fallen into traps like eating more and more of my "exercise calories"...that would stall or slow my losses just because I probably wasn't really burning as much as I was giving myself credit for. Now I don't formally add back my exercise calories, but I let myself go up to 200 cals over my limit if I've exercised and am hungry. That's been working a lot better and I fit into my skinny jeans for the first time in years yesterday!
    Keep it up! Oh and I've had a steroid injection in my ankle and it was so brutal but definitely eliminated the pain so it was worth it...but so awful.

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  8. Have you been to a chiropractor? Mine has worked WONDERS for pain- including things like knees and ankles from injuries. While you have a diagnosis, it might be worth it to visit one and see what they can do as far as managing your issues. My thought is to try something non-invasive like chiropractic or acupuncture before going on medicine and going for surgery.

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  9. I love that you're posting your Wednesday weigh-in's again! You're so motivating. I keep getting so frustrated with myself though. I went back to counting calories from Weight Watchers probably back in May or so. Summer was bad though since we had so many family parties but now that it's fall and things are settling down, I thought I would see some progress. I know I need to keep going and not give up but it's so hard not seeing that scale ever move :( Keep doing what you're doing, you inspire so many!

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  10. I've had two cortison injections myself and the overall effect has been amazing! After dealing with IT Band pain for months I was back to running pain free after cortisone. The actual shot is done with a very thin needle and most doctors use a numbing agent so you get immediate relief. The hard part is after the numbing agent wears off. For me I had about 36 hours of "why did I do that!?" pain followed by awesome results. Overall I would do it again but I wished someone had warned me about the pain while the injection does its job. I actually called my doctor's office back to make sure this was a normal reaction. Unfortunately it is common to hurt afterwards but then the pain relief is amazing!

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  11. I had an epidural steroid injection 3 weeks ago for 2 herniated discs and a pinched nerve. It worked amazing for the first 2 days, then it wore off. They told me it takes 2 weeks for it to fully work. I have noticed some relief since I thought it wore off. I go again Monday for another one. They told me it can take up to 3 before I notice a significant difference. It wasn't that bad, in office procedure. I took a xanax before the last one but choosing not to this next time. This was from a car wreck almost 2 years ago. I haven't been able to run since then.

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  12. Hey! Have you heard of the 21 day fix? I'm on my 3rd round and I'm finding it much easier than calorie counting :)

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