The Slow Creep

fstrickl
fstrickl Posts: 880 Member
Hi all, in 2020 I lost ~40 lbs logging food and through regular exercise. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve maintained the regular exercise which has been great for my mental health and body (and heart too I guess), but I’ve slacked off the logging. I’ve gained almost 10lbs since logging regularly (since about Oct ‘21). I’m sure some of it is muscle as my measurements are almost the same (maybe 1/2 inch more), but I’d really like to get back to where I was. I was also about 8lbs shy of my GW and am motivated to hit that!

I have a love/hate relationship with food logging (love that it keeps me accountable hate how tedious it is), so I’m posting here for some accountability! My diary is open and so am I to suggestions of weight loss when exercise is already part of my life. It’s all CICO I know… quite frankly eating out of boredom while working at my desk is my Achilles Heel.

Like I said posting this for accountability and to see if anyones in the same place, join me!

Replies

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,293 Member
    If you've gained 10 pounds, the implication is that you've been in a small calorie surplus. If you've been lifting weight consistently with a good progressive strength training program, and getting good nutrition (especially but not exclusively protein), you may indeed have gained some muscle. Ten pounds gain in 8 months is only roughly a 150 calorie daily surplus.

    As far as bored eating: It's usually easier to break a habit by replacing it with a new habit. If you're working and simultaneously bored-eating, I don't have a lot of specific suggestions, since usually for bored eating I'd suggest an alternate activity (needlework, sketching, playing a musical instrument, etc.), but if you're working, those can't be done simultaneously. Maybe sipping water or herb tea? Sugar free gum? If one hand is free, squeezy ball? Can you make a "only full-attention snacking" rule and stick to it, or pre-portion snacks to reduce the amount eaten?
  • fstrickl
    fstrickl Posts: 880 Member
    When I become aware that I am eating out of boredom, I try to make myself eat a whole carrot. They are very low calorie, take awhile to eat, and by the end of it I'm really tired of chewing.

    Chewing on a carrot is a brilliant idea! I am going to try and remember that, thank you. It also is kind of funny. Which I love!
  • fstrickl
    fstrickl Posts: 880 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    If you've gained 10 pounds, the implication is that you've been in a small calorie surplus. If you've been lifting weight consistently with a good progressive strength training program, and getting good nutrition (especially but not exclusively protein), you may indeed have gained some muscle. Ten pounds gain in 8 months is only roughly a 150 calorie daily surplus.

    As far as bored eating: It's usually easier to break a habit by replacing it with a new habit. If you're working and simultaneously bored-eating, I don't have a lot of specific suggestions, since usually for bored eating I'd suggest an alternate activity (needlework, sketching, playing a musical instrument, etc.), but if you're working, those can't be done simultaneously. Maybe sipping water or herb tea? Sugar free gum? If one hand is free, squeezy ball? Can you make a "only full-attention snacking" rule and stick to it, or pre-portion snacks to reduce the amount eaten?

    The only reason I think I've gained muscle is that I see a bit of definition and I am stronger than I used to be. I can do 7 pushups from my toes now which I could not do at this time last year. But I haven't been tracking my macros so I can say with certainty that I've gained muscle. Protein intake is something I will have to be more cognizant of as I embark on this stage of my fitness journey. It's tough though!

    I like the full attention snacking idea actually, it supports a lot of other things I think are important in ones diet like being aware of what you're eating. Perhaps I will have to do that and be cognizant of what and why I am eating. It's so interesting to me how much of food can be psychological.

    Thanks for the insights!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,293 Member
    fstrickl wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    If you've gained 10 pounds, the implication is that you've been in a small calorie surplus. If you've been lifting weight consistently with a good progressive strength training program, and getting good nutrition (especially but not exclusively protein), you may indeed have gained some muscle. Ten pounds gain in 8 months is only roughly a 150 calorie daily surplus.

    As far as bored eating: It's usually easier to break a habit by replacing it with a new habit. If you're working and simultaneously bored-eating, I don't have a lot of specific suggestions, since usually for bored eating I'd suggest an alternate activity (needlework, sketching, playing a musical instrument, etc.), but if you're working, those can't be done simultaneously. Maybe sipping water or herb tea? Sugar free gum? If one hand is free, squeezy ball? Can you make a "only full-attention snacking" rule and stick to it, or pre-portion snacks to reduce the amount eaten?

    The only reason I think I've gained muscle is that I see a bit of definition and I am stronger than I used to be. I can do 7 pushups from my toes now which I could not do at this time last year. But I haven't been tracking my macros so I can say with certainty that I've gained muscle. Protein intake is something I will have to be more cognizant of as I embark on this stage of my fitness journey. It's tough though!

    I like the full attention snacking idea actually, it supports a lot of other things I think are important in ones diet like being aware of what you're eating. Perhaps I will have to do that and be cognizant of what and why I am eating. It's so interesting to me how much of food can be psychological.

    Thanks for the insights!

    FWIW, strength can increase much faster than increase in muscle mass, for someone relatively new to strength training (or maybe even someone resuming after a long hiatus). So can appearance of muscle definition, potentially.

    Initial strength increase is from neuromuscular adaptation (NMA), basically improving recruitment and utilization of pre-existing muscle fiber. The body may want to go a long way toward optimizing that, before devoting resources to adding mass. ("Well, OK, so you want to keep increasing the strength challenge, and I'm pretty much giving you most of what the existing muscle has got, so maybe I have to spend some resources on growing new muscles . . . if you insist.")

    The definition improvement can be from things like the water retention in the muscles for repair (creating a bit of a pump), plus a bit of loss of overlying fat (if fat loss is happening alongside).

    I'd usually bring up the above in common posts that are like "Oh, noes, I've been lifting and in a big calorie deficit for two whole weeks, but haven't lost a pound . . . ZOMG, I'll bet I've gained muscle!" Sometimes they haven't even been lifting, but, oh, I dunno, running or biking or something - a thing that can sloooowly add a bit of muscle as long as it's muscle-challenging, but much more slowly than good consistent, progressive strength training.

    In general, no realistic rate of muscle mass gain will mask a rate of fat loss that most people would find even minimally satisfying, if they need to lose a material amount of fat. In those scenarios, the explanation is pretty much always about water retention.

    I didn't mention it in my initial response to your thread, because you're the rare case who's seemingly been lifting for months (or doing some bodyweight work, at least, since you mention push-ups), plus you've gained a little weight (a state more favorable to muscle gain than a calorie deficit, all other things equal). You actually may have gained some muscle mass, unlike those other kinds of folks described (OK, slightly exaggerated) in the paragraph before last.

    As a very squishy generality, under ideal conditions, a good muscle gain result would be around 2 pounds a month for a man, one pound for a woman. Ideal conditions would include, among other things, a good progressive strength training program (lifting or maybe focused bodyweight work) faithfully performed, good overall nutrition (including but not limited to adequate protein), relative youth, favorable genetics, and a calorie surplus (i.e., weight gain, not weight loss).

    It's not that no one gains mass if they don't tick all those boxes, it's that one would expect any gains to be smaller or slower than the "under ideal conditions" scenarios.

    Without one of the more reliable ($$) scans (such as DEXA), it's hard to estimate muscle mass gain vs. performance/appearance improvements from other factors. Unlike the commoner cases in threads here, you meet or approach at least some of the "ideal conditions", and there's been enough time for something meaningful to maybe have accrued.

    I wish mass gain were easier and quicker - fervently wish. I admit I don't work hard at it, and don't really want to (lazy, don't enjoy lifting), though I'd enjoy the results (strength, appearance). If a person could get major muscle mass with the approaches some imagine would work, on the short time scale assumed in those situations, I swear I'd be bodybuilder-massive and sinewy, despite being a li'l ol' lady. 😆

    If you need help on the protein front, check this out:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10247171/carbs-and-fats-are-cheap-heres-a-guide-to-getting-your-proteins-worth-fiber-also

    It helped me get enough protein on reduced calories back when I was losing weight; now that I've dialed in different eating patterns, and am in maintenance, it's very easy to get a daily minimum of 1g per estimated pound of lean body mass, or 0.8g per pound of goal weight (which are close approximations of the same number of protein grams, for quite a range of folks). That's as a vegetarian (ovo-lacto), without protein powder, bars, or fake meat. (There's nothing wrong with those IMO, I just don't find them as tasty/satisfying as regular food, and can get adequate protein without using them.) If you eat meat, it should be a little easier; if a fully plant-based eater, maybe a little more difficult, but not prohibitively so.
  • fstrickl
    fstrickl Posts: 880 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »

    FWIW, strength can increase much faster than increase in muscle mass, for someone relatively new to strength training (or maybe even someone resuming after a long hiatus). So can appearance of muscle definition, potentially.

    Initial strength increase is from neuromuscular adaptation (NMA), basically improving recruitment and utilization of pre-existing muscle fiber. The body may want to go a long way toward optimizing that, before devoting resources to adding mass. ("Well, OK, so you want to keep increasing the strength challenge, and I'm pretty much giving you most of what the existing muscle has got, so maybe I have to spend some resources on growing new muscles . . . if you insist.")

    The definition improvement can be from things like the water retention in the muscles for repair (creating a bit of a pump), plus a bit of loss of overlying fat (if fat loss is happening alongside).

    I'd usually bring up the above in common posts that are like "Oh, noes, I've been lifting and in a big calorie deficit for two whole weeks, but haven't lost a pound . . . ZOMG, I'll bet I've gained muscle!" Sometimes they haven't even been lifting, but, oh, I dunno, running or biking or something - a thing that can sloooowly add a bit of muscle as long as it's muscle-challenging, but much more slowly than good consistent, progressive strength training.

    In general, no realistic rate of muscle mass gain will mask a rate of fat loss that most people would find even minimally satisfying, if they need to lose a material amount of fat. In those scenarios, the explanation is pretty much always about water retention.

    I didn't mention it in my initial response to your thread, because you're the rare case who's seemingly been lifting for months (or doing some bodyweight work, at least, since you mention push-ups), plus you've gained a little weight (a state more favorable to muscle gain than a calorie deficit, all other things equal). You actually may have gained some muscle mass, unlike those other kinds of folks described (OK, slightly exaggerated) in the paragraph before last.

    As a very squishy generality, under ideal conditions, a good muscle gain result would be around 2 pounds a month for a man, one pound for a woman. Ideal conditions would include, among other things, a good progressive strength training program (lifting or maybe focused bodyweight work) faithfully performed, good overall nutrition (including but not limited to adequate protein), relative youth, favorable genetics, and a calorie surplus (i.e., weight gain, not weight loss).

    It's not that no one gains mass if they don't tick all those boxes, it's that one would expect any gains to be smaller or slower than the "under ideal conditions" scenarios.

    Without one of the more reliable ($$) scans (such as DEXA), it's hard to estimate muscle mass gain vs. performance/appearance improvements from other factors. Unlike the commoner cases in threads here, you meet or approach at least some of the "ideal conditions", and there's been enough time for something meaningful to maybe have accrued.

    I wish mass gain were easier and quicker - fervently wish. I admit I don't work hard at it, and don't really want to (lazy, don't enjoy lifting), though I'd enjoy the results (strength, appearance). If a person could get major muscle mass with the approaches some imagine would work, on the short time scale assumed in those situations, I swear I'd be bodybuilder-massive and sinewy, despite being a li'l ol' lady. 😆

    If you need help on the protein front, check this out:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10247171/carbs-and-fats-are-cheap-heres-a-guide-to-getting-your-proteins-worth-fiber-also

    It helped me get enough protein on reduced calories back when I was losing weight; now that I've dialed in different eating patterns, and am in maintenance, it's very easy to get a daily minimum of 1g per estimated pound of lean body mass, or 0.8g per pound of goal weight (which are close approximations of the same number of protein grams, for quite a range of folks). That's as a vegetarian (ovo-lacto), without protein powder, bars, or fake meat. (There's nothing wrong with those IMO, I just don't find them as tasty/satisfying as regular food, and can get adequate protein without using them.) If you eat meat, it should be a little easier; if a fully plant-based eater, maybe a little more difficult, but not prohibitively so.

    Wow, I appreciate your insights SO much, thank you for this thoughtful comment! I feel a little justified in the assumptions of my body changes (not that we need to justify our body changes, bodies change and that's normal) and also am able to say I understand a little better WHY some things haven't changed. I do do strength training, although I am not sure how hard I am pushing myself, I just do it with free weights at home (heaviest I have is 21 lbs). I know my downfall is my diet, I sometimes just HATE logging food and having to think where my CICO will be at. I get that that's how weight loss happens, but I resent it at times which is when I get lazy about how I am eating, especially in my portion sizes.

    At least the people who approach weight loss and muscle gain have unbridled hope! :tongue:

    I will definitely check out the link and grocery shop accordingly, thanks again!