Home > General > Weekly Weigh-In #43: The Complacency Trap

Weekly Weigh-In #43: The Complacency Trap

August 21, 2010

I had planned today to blog about exercise, its importance, and getting back on the exercise wagon after some life circumstance that throws you off.  Then I stepped on the scale this morning for my weekly weigh-in, and it became apparent there was another blog post in me that was much more apropos and pressing.  It’s what I fell into over the past two days: The Complacency Trap…

This week went pretty well.  I rededicated myself to healthy eating, and I did really well with eating low-cal, healthy, and nutritious meals, with very light snacking.  That was through Wednesday.  I woke up Thursday morning and weighed, and I was at 233.9 pounds, my lowest weight yet, and almost 4 pounds down from last Saturday’s weigh in of 237.7.  I felt great!  The birds were singing, the sun was shining (well – maybe not, it was pretty overcast here in Atlanta this week), and all was right with the world. (And for those of you long-time readers of Reconstructing Thirty – this is your confirmation that I was never able to kick the habit of weighing every day.  I actually find it helps me.  For those of you who only weigh once a week, I understand that, too.  To each his own.)

So on Thursday, I gave myself what I thought was just a tiny bit of leeway.   That night, I was still kind of hungry, not having eaten my afternoon snack (healthy, scheduled snacking, by the way, is key to staying full, not overeating, and losing weight), and late that night, I hit my box of wheat thins.  Three times.  No biggie, I thought.  Even if I’m up a half pound tomorrow, I’m still on track for a big loss.

My weight stayed the same on Friday, so again, I gave myself leeway.  I had a carb-rich pasta dish for lunch, and then went to a delicious potluck with some friends last night.  I had two little puff pastry appetizers, a second helping of a pasta dish, a beer, and a fantastic apple cobbler a la mode, and then when I got home, I had an ice cream bar with peanut butter.  I could have cut back on each of those easily, but I was doing good – riding high – nothing could stop me from posting a loss, right?

This morning, I stepped on the scales excitedly.  I expected to be up a little bit from my 233.9 given the dinner party last night, but I had no idea what I was in for.  I tapped the scale with my toe to activate it, and then jumped on.  Half a second later there it was – 238.1 pounds!?!?!?!  What the eff???  To lose or gain a pound, the formula we’re all taught is that you have to either burn or consume an excess of 3,500 calories.  So for this 4 pound gain over yesterday, that means I consumed an extra 14,000 calories.  Well, friends, I may have eaten too much yesterday, but 14,000 calories it was not.  I don’t think I could do that even on a really bad day.  There’s more that goes into our weight every day, hydration, bloating, all kinds of things that might be influenced by sodium intake, the types of foods we ate the day before, etc.  (These are all my unscientific lay opinions, by the way, speaking from own experience over the past 10 months.)  So I know this isn’t really a true four pound gain, and it will likely drop off quickly as I return to my normal diet today, but damn, it still ticks me off.

But…it’s also a good lesson in complacency.  Weight loss is not a given once you get to a certain point.  It’s anything but, actually.  Weight loss requires consistency, not complacency.  Expanding fat cells are like little terrorists.  They’ll sit around and wait until we drop our guard with nutrition and exercise, and then they’ll attack.  Little bastards.  So be on guard, every meal, every day, every week.

How do you stay out of the complacency trap?

  1. August 21, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    If we could just know the weight of the food we’re carrying around and subtract that, this weighing in thing would be a lot less stressful. 🙂 I had an 8lb fluctuation this week. I’m okay with it since the calories have left me in a deficit for sure – with the exception of the Krispy Kreme and burrito last night. Doh.

  2. August 21, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    Chad – it sounds like the 1st step of Alcoholics Anonymous – I am powerless…..

  3. August 21, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    Complacency seems to be a theme of many of our blogs this month. I let up psychologically after a good weigh in. Still looking for the answer. I do try to have a routine to get back on track – a good night’s sleep, lots of water, and a higher mix of veggies and lean protein than usual.

  4. August 22, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    You are so right, Chad! It is so much easier to lose weight when you’re just starting out, right? I mean, we’re shocking our bodies by eating better and working out. Kinda frustrating. But I think that when you look at the big picture and the long timeline, it starts to make more sense–next week (or tomorrow) it’ll look better, right?

    I loved this post. Awesome!

  5. August 22, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    LOL, I love the comparison of fat cells to terrorists!

    There is a lesson to be learned from this and I’m glad you learned it. I’m still learning it.

    Looking forward to that exercise post now 🙂

  6. August 22, 2010 at 5:28 PM


  7. August 23, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    Hi Chad!!! It’s great to see you back, with your sense of humor and interesting posts!!!!

    I can totally relate to the ups and downs of the scale. I can easily gain 2-3 lbs overnight if I eat carby foods. I think it makes me retain water. Sucks.

  8. August 23, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    You are hilarious, and I swear I just posted a similar snafu on my blog this morning. Up 4lbs from last week! I like your writting style. Guess I’ll stick around and root for ya.

  9. August 25, 2010 at 12:01 AM

    So, if the scale is lying (because you didn’t binge on 14,000 cal), what makes you think the weight gain is a fat gain? From my standpoint, is has to be water. No one can gain that much fat or muscle in 24 hours so, what’s left?
    If you weight every day, you should make a cheesy graph with that data, stand a couple steps back and look at the big pic. Just keep a trend on that graph, a line going down!

    • August 25, 2010 at 11:53 AM

      Thanks, Reinaldo. I think you’re exactly right. I hope my discussion of fat cells as terrorists didn’t imply I thought this week’s gain was a “fat” gain. My point was that it wasn’t, but the gain was a good wake up call to complacency. I think the kind of graph you describe is helpful; check out physicsdiet.com for a very easy to use daily tool to do just that.

  10. Ed
    August 25, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    you are so right. complacency is not your friend. It’s good to realize this and be reminded of it throught our journeys

  11. Julia
    August 27, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    Complacency has been dogging me the last couple weeks. I moved and all my stuff is in boxes, joined a new (kind or intimidating gym nearby)and I haven’t been working out.

    I was still eating fairly healthy and saw a couple pounds of additional weightloss despite not working out – so here is where complacency sets in- then in the next ten days I went up a pound here and there for a total of 6 pounds weight gain! And I don’t think its all water weight – although salty foods will really move the scales up dramatically.

    I need to rearrange my schedule and get back to the sweat! Move away from the starch and grains and get back to mostly fresh fruit and vegetables.

  1. August 26, 2010 at 7:59 AM
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