It happens to me twice a year. When the weather turns cold, I gain weight. When the weather warms up, I gain weight. I’m not quite sure why it works that way, but I am sure that it is damn annoying. It’s especially hard to accept in the spring after I have been doing this all winter with slices of pizza.
Springish weather has arrived early in Chicagoland this year (thank God), so I’m trying to get a jump on that weight gain as the seasons change. I don’t ever remember cycling in February before, but I made it out 4 times on my bike last month on my way to a planned 500 miles this season. How far did I get?
Some of you may be wondering why I have not recently chronicled my battle with weight. Well, there has been a sort of detente between me and my fat for one year now. Sure, there have been minor ups and downs, but for the most part, I have maintained my weight for exactly one year.
Although this stable weight was not my ultimate goal weight, it is 15 pounds down from my portly apex and a weight I’m semi-comfortable at. I still jiggle but don’t draw as much attention as I used to.
I’ve been somewhat resigned to being 5 pounds away from my goal weight which would still put me at about 10 pounds overweight. But then, I discovered what I am calling the Cereal Killer Diet. It seems like only yesterday that I stumbled upon it, when in fact, it was two days ago. Let me take you back in time to those events of that fateful day.
I didn’t do a post about my weight loss/gain in March, but I planned to. I was so proud. The 1 single solitary pound I gained in February I was able to lose in March. Big deal, right? Well, for me, it was. I was all set to explain (with pictures!) how I was certain that taking a specific type of walk outside was responsible for losing that 1 single pound in March.
But then April happened. April showers bring May flowers, right? But snow showers? We had several snows at the beginning of April that kept me inside. And when it wasn’t snowing, it seemed to be raining. The clouds parted for a few days, including Easter, but Easter brought with it lots of chocolate. After Easter, it rained some more, sometimes in monsoon-like fashion. Most of my exercise was indoors in April. The pounds piled on unabated. How could I blog proudly about a 1 pound loss in March when I was porking out in April. I was ready to shrug, give up, and just accept what appeared was going to be a 5 pound weight GAIN in April when I got sick. Then the strangest thing happened.
I need to focus on March for weight loss, because February was a disaster. I gained a pound. On second thought, considering world events, the added pound in February probably doesn’t really qualify as a disaster.
It wasn’t for lack of effort that I gained weight. My steps/cycles remained consistent.
Negating those consistent steps was my love for chocolate and Valentine’s Day intersecting. It would help if my wife bought me chocolate from the dollar store rather than from the fancy-schmancy chocolatier in town. Maybe she loves me so much that she wants there to be more of me to love. Well, in February, she got her wish.
But Valentine’s Day was just one day. That can’t be the whole reason for my weight gain. I think I know what the real reason is though.
I’m overweight in February and am thrilled. Why? Certainly not because I gained 5 pounds in December which was the maximum I was allowing myself for the whole winter.
They may have gotten the pronoun wrong in that gif, but that’s me they are talking about. As I reported in my last weighty post, my goal for January was to simply hold the line and not gain any more weight in January. Unlikely? Yes. Who wants to exercise and watch what you eat in the dead of winter? Not me. I want to sit, eat, and watch television while my wife, kids, and neighbors shovel my snow. But it somehow happened. I gave it a week into February to make 100% sure, but I continue to hang in at 5 pounds max gained and may even be heading back down just a bit. I’m thrilled!
Against all odds, my steps actually trended up a bit in January. Take a look.
Every winter for me it is the same. I gain weight. I planned to allow myself 5 pounds of weight gain this winter. However, I never expected I would hit my 5 pound “goal” by the end of December, but there I was, staring at the scale in disbelief at the beginning of 2022. Just a tip for those of you trying to lose weight, sucking in your gut while standing on the scale and staring in disbelief does not reduce your weight.
I delayed writing this until I was sure that the weight gain was a just temporary upward blip. Instead, as I write this, I am certain that my 5 pound weight loss visitor is here for an extended stay. But the good news is that I’m holding steady there and we are over half the way through calendric winter. And instead of thinking that I have gained back 25% of the weight I lost, it helps for me to think that I have gained back 1/16th of the weight I lost 4 times. Seems less to me.
One problem could be my steps took a literal step back in December. Take a look.
I took a couple weeks after November ended to determine if I had lost a weight loss battle or the entire war. The month of November was certainly my weight loss Waterloo, and I don’t mean the city of Waterloo in Iowa, home of the Sistene Chapel reproduced in spray paint on the walls and ceiling of a warehouse turned into a restaurant that is now closed. Thanks, Covid.
No, I’m talking about Napoleon’s Waterloo where he lost his final battle while also gaining 5 pounds thanks to a cheesecake binge. I lost a major weight loss battle in November. Fat cells are now occupying my liver, and they are threatening to invade my pancreas unless their demands for sugared sodas and cake are met. However, I may not have lost the war. Signs in December are positive about returning to or close to my goal weight I met over the summer.
I can break November into 2 distinct halves. The first half of November was characterized by 4 things:
My exercise, health, and weight loss posts are generally my most viewed posts, so why would I wait until the middle of November to report on how I did in October? I guess it’s basically because I don’t care that much about what happened. There, I said it, and it feels good. I made my goal weight over the summer. When I sit in those special chairs at the pharmacy that take my pulse, measure my blood pressure, weigh me, and check my Body Mass Index, I no longer get the flashing warning to stand up before I break the chair. I’m now in maintenance mode.
Maintenance mode is not very exciting, and I don’t have much to report. I may have been able to lose more weight in early October as the weather was quite good to start the month. I probably could have left my pool up and swam until mid-October, but I didn’t. I walked and biked as usual, but my steps do show a slight seasonal reduction.
And that is because good mental health is key to good physical health. In the middle of October, the weather took a nasty turn for the worse, as did my mental health. I deal with SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I had to adjust my supplements and start doing this a lot.
I’m very late reporting on my weight loss trials and travails for September. I shouldn’t be late with these weight loss posts as they are my most popular posts on this blog. I think it’s because despite differences in politics, religion, etc., we all share the same struggle with weight control, except for those naturally skinny people with self control who never have to exercise. Oh, I hate them so much. Anyway, here we go, better late than never.
When I last posted about weight, I was 3 lbs below my goal weight at the end of August. Success, right? Well, not exactly. September turned cool, my swimming stopped, and my body started to get ready for a winter hibernation by eating everything in sight. I immediately re-reached my goal weight from the opposite direction and shot up above it by several pounds. That’s just how my body works. It doesn’t matter that my steps were strong again in September.
Geez, wouldn’t you think I would make a little extra effort to average 10K steps? Anyway, my body’s metabolism just slows down in cooler weather, maybe to get ready for my winter hibernation? I would be willing to give hibernation a try as I like long naps. Fortunately, the weather warmed again and some of the weight came off. Right at the end of September, my weight had come down to below my goal weight again, but seemed to be heading up. I waited to see what would happen. Well, here’s what happened.
How many pounds of weight lost is too many? For me, I’m not sure that number exists. If you recall from my post about July weight loss, I had made my original weight loss goal. It took me over a year to lose 20 pounds. I still felt puffy, so I figured I would continue on. But continue what? I’m not on a diet. I just eat right. I had even cut back a bit on exercise from last year, although I still posted a respectable average daily step/bike crank total in August.
After swimming 9 miles in July, I scaled back to 7 miles in August. So how did I lose 3 more pounds in August? I don’t have COVID or any other deadly disease. I’m starting to think it may have to do with one of the two mystery supplements I started taking at the beginning of June. They weren’t a mystery to me, but I have been teasing them a bit in this blog. Well, it’s time for their big reveal.
July was a real up & down month weightwise for me. Up is not the direction I want to go, but 2 personal trips, 1 business trip, and a family birthday party throw my eating and exercise plans off a bit. I was up a couple pounds, down a couple, up, down, up, down, etc. But the final result for July was down 3 lbs, and I made my goal weight set at the beginning of the COVID lockdown.
It wasn’t because of my steps. They were down, under 10,000 per day, but purposely so.
As we traveled last weekend, I made sure I got my laps in at the hotel pool, because as readers know, I am swimming across Lake Michigan. One added benefit is that I made a new friend at the pool. I do consider myself America’s friend and sweetheart. He was an older gentlemen, and we were alone in the pool area, ostensibly to swim laps. But he confronted me with, “Can I ask about your weight?” Uh-oh. I looked for the closest exit in case his next question was an invitation to join him in the hot tub. But it wasn’t. He just had a question about my weight. Then my mind flashed to this tweet I had seen and wondered if his question might go this way.
But our conversation didn’t go that route. I told him that he could ask away, and he asked me this legitimate question.
There are those who experience some weight loss, can’t seem to lose any more, and accept that they may have to be comfortable at that weight. But who has 2 thumbs and won’t accept that?
That’s right. For the second month in a row, I have maintained weight but not lost any.
I know, and I agree. My dreams of losing 10 more pounds by the end of summer are gone. That is just unrealistic now. Maybe if I can try for a pound a month June through September, I can get to a slightly lower weight than at the end of last summer. Would that be cause to celebrate?
I normally like to wait a day or two after the end of the month to announce my weight loss for the month. I check my weight for several days in a row before and after the last day of the month to verify that I actually did lose weight that month. But here we are a week into May, and I’m still not sure. My weight bounced around like a ping pong ball at a college fraternity beer pong tournament. Up several pounds one day and down a pound the next. A week into May, and about the only statement I am comfortable making is that I didn’t lose any weight. I’m still staring at losing 10 pounds by the end of warm weather in the fall.
My weight loss plan was at a serious disadvantage in April with Easter coming early in the month. My plan to deal with all the chocolate in the house at Easter was to eat it all as quickly as possible. Success!
Easter was quickly followed two days later by the local election that I lost but still won. Yes, third runner-up was enough to be elected. I felt like a kid at a rec league soccer tournament where everyone gets a trophy. But I think it’s official now that this came in the mail …
When I posted my last weight loss goal a month ago, I really had hoped to ramp up my steps outside in March to drop some of the weight I gained over winter. That did not happen to the magnitude I had hoped. Take a look at this modest increase in steposity.
Yawn. Big deal, right? This local election I’m in kept me behind my computer screen a bit too much, and my exercise activity became very sporadic and erractic. But take a look at this new high water mark in stepitude for me.
And it didn’t, but I still succeeded … sort of. As I have explained in prior posts, I was pretty sure I would gain weight over the winter. The key for me was to try and limit that weight gain. By late summer of 2020, I had lost 17 pounds through spring and summer. As soon as cooler weather in early fall arrived and I took our pool down, I almost immediately added back 2 pounds. I went into the winter months of December through February hoping to minimize my weight gain. I wanted to show some progress from 2020 to 2021. It didn’t help that I could not bring myself to go to the health club all winter while a pandemic raged out of control in the US.
I was limited to walking outside, our treadmill, and our elliptical machine. I never got around to setting up a bike on a stationary trainer like I wanted. Mild winter weather allowed me to still walk outside in December and most of January, but then winter hit here with a vengance in February. We had about 3 weeks straight of incessant snow and frigid temps. I was relegated to shoveling/snowblowing outdoors when necessary (which seemed to be daily) and walking/ellipsing indoors. Take a look at how my steps in February shrank for the third month in a row …
When we last left our plucky dieter (me!), my diet plan for January & February was for me to gain 2 pounds each month in order to lose weight. You can read and try and make sense of that logic in the complete post HERE, but the gist is that it is inevitable that I will gain weight in the winter, so I need to control my weight gain, unlike in years past when I have inflated like a balloon at a kid’s birthday party by the end of winter.
That is me after most winters. Oh, but not this one. I planned to limit my weight gain which would allow me to start Spring weighing less than a year ago. After only gaining a pound in December, I planned to add 2 pounds each month in January and February. Then I could start March at 9 pounds less than last year. I lost 17 pounds in 2020 before the cold weather hit, so if I could lose just 15 additional pounds this year, I would be very happy at being down 24 total pounds from my peak in early 2020. Whew, I did not realize there would be math required with this post.
So, what did I do to only gain 2 pounds in January? Well, I exercised less. Take a look …
Happy New Year to you all as I wrap up my Twelve Days of Blogging. When last I checked my weight in an act of public self-shaming, I had gained 2 pounds back from my summer & fall 17 pound weight loss. I hatched a crazy plan to gain less than 5 pounds per month during the 3 winter months, and I would then start Spring 2021 weighing less than last year. Even nuttier is that’s the plan I’ve decided to follow – weight gain. It’s the only plan I have. Winter weight gain is inevitable for me. The best I can do is minimize it.
I knew December would be hard. By the end of the month, my diet had turned almost exclusively to a focus on the 4 holiday food groups of cookies, chocolate, caramel, and eggnog. My workouts had faded as Christmas activities and a bathroom renovation took precedence over self-care. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie …
The last time I updated you on my efforts to reach my weight loss goal of 20 pounds (for those of you still living in medieval times, that comes out to 1.43 stones), I had fallen short in September. I was stuck at 17 pounds at the end of September after really working out hard that month. With cooler weather coming, I faced the prospect of no more swimming workouts in the convenience of our backyard pool. I am simply not up for a nice winter swim as some are.
Canadians, eh? And I cannot handle this exercise below freezing …
I had slipped into a summer exercise routine that felt as comfortable as my fat pants with the stretch waistband after about 20 wearings without a washing. I would get up early and take a long solo walk or bike ride. Most days I would stop at one of the many wild berry patches I had scouted and pick fresh mulberries, raspberries, or blackberries for my consumption that day. After work, I would walk the dog and swim some laps in our little pool. Then the weather started to change. We had a stretch of rain and cold. No cycling for a week. I took down the pool before it turned into an above ground ice skating rink. So much for my swimming workouts. I immediately started to gain back the weight I had lost. My quest for a 20 lb. weight loss seemed unattainable.
But then, one man inspired and motivated me to try and make that weight loss happen. Who, you ask? I’m pretty sure I heard someone ask. Come on, raise your hand if it was you asking. Nobody, huh? Regardless, that man is …