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.