• 3 months ago

    Last ten pounds —not the typical question exactly though

    I do need to provide a little background up front, so I apologize for this post’s length, and I’m not sure I know how to word all this to ensure it makes as much sense as possible. So I’m hoping people here will humor me a little.

    Using a combination of what I’ve learned from programs like P90x, P90x3, Body Beast, and just general reading I’ve done over the years, I’ve finally managed to break through all my previous fitness plateaus, this past year finally figuring out a lot of stuff that really works best for me after a 20-year+ fitness journey. I’m pretty convinced I’ve finally gotten myself down to those infamous “last 10 pounds.” (In quotes for obvious reasons, because, what does the “last 10” really mean.)

    I went for a physical —I’ve dropped about 43 pounds since around this time last year, and I don’t think that last year, ay 45 pounds heavier, I would have even been considered exactly chubby or super-pudgy or anything. “Just a little extra meat” maybe. So, I wouldn’t say my doctor was outright concerned, but maybe she saw the *potential* for concern, and she naturally had questions about what I‘ve been doing, whether the weight loss was intentional, etc. From my answers it at least became clear to her I’m definitely eating, I’m eating very healthy, and I’m doing lots of exercise. Mostly 15 —20 minutes a day of HIIT, lots of dog walks (maybe 3-4 miles a day on average), taking the stairs to the 3rd floor of my building 3 to 4 times a day, 7 minutes of intense ab stuff maybe 4 days a week, and bodyweight strength training for the time being. Also about 10 minutes of stretching morning and night. Still, my doctor says that for me to lose anything beyond 5 more pounds will be dangerous for me.

    My wife has also been very concerned because she’s never seen me this thin. She’s talking about body dysmorphic disorder. Other people who also have a layman’s perspective have been expressing some concerned at least raising an eyebrow here and there.

    This is my question:

    How do I know when dropping a bunch of weight to the point that I’ve finally “tightened up” is safe vs. dangerous? When I’m finally getting so near to having that tapered look at the waist, getting closer to place where I’ll maybe finally sometimes see my abs soon — of course, depending on the particular day and on various factors— this is when people are expressing concern about how much I’ve lost. This could be genuine concern, or it could be a subconscious thing with them that amounts to something like saying to me, “Don’t show me what’s possible that I myself am not doing and don’t think I can do.” It could be a combination of those two things. It also could be that even I am not sure the last time I was this weight. Meaning, it might be perfectly within the healthy zone but just a shock to people, and shock usually automatically translates to “trouble” for many people, even if it’s not necessarily so. Or, okay —maybe I could be entering dangerous territory. I really am a little bit at a loss, and not having a clear understanding of next steps could derail me if I’m not careful.

    I’ve still got some small rolls on my abdomen - I can see them when I bend over or sit. I know, everyone has something when they been. But how much? How much when someone is “tightened up” like a fitness expert such as Tony Horton of the P90x exercise programs? I can even see my obliques somewhat now, and the only spots I‘m really seeing any remaining “extra” at this point are around the rear of my obliques (toward the sides of my lower back), and in my abdomen, but only seen much when I’m doing push-ups or planks or burpees or whatever, not really visible much at all when I’m standing up. My point is, it’s getting very close to as “gone” as I’d like, but just not quite as tightened up yet.

    I said to my doctor, who’s familiar with the some of the programs I’ve learned from, such as P90x, “So my question then is, what’s the difference that makes it safe that Tony Horton of P90x at a place where he’s tightened up more than I have, and with me, it’s maybe not safe and everyone’s concerned?”

    Does my conflict make sense?

    I’ve calculated my minimum safe calories for weight loss according to my age, height, and level of activity etc., and I think I’m eating even just a little above that number. If I up my calories, the weight loss will slow and if I up them enough, it will stop. But maybe the healthy thing *is* in fact to up my calories, and now just do a very, very, very slow plod toward losing what’s left —meaning, is it that I’m now at a low enough weight that I should up my calories and tighten up by gradually dropping the last few pounds with enough caloric intake every day that allows me to concentrate better and not feel gassed? Or should I up my calories almost to maintenance levels, but now, use those calories to go super hard with strength training and cardio (or actually, maybe, less cardio, more strength training) to build muscle and “burn off” what’s left on top of my abdomen and around the rear of my obliques? Maybe the hunger is a sign that one of these options is in fact the thing to do now. But see further below about that, because that in and of itself makes me wonder something else.

    It’s also important to note, I’m not “Beast huge” or anything, but I’m pretty darn muscular. So I’m not “skinny fat” by any means —I’ve been working pretty darn hard, and changing up my workouts, doing time-restricted eating, and sticking to my food regimen. Basically keeping an eye on macros too, and I’ve been recalculating things as my weight has dropped.

    Another thought: is it possible that what’s left, what I’m seeing as “the last 10 pounds,” is actually not remaining weight I need to lose? Is it possible it’s just loose skin that needs to tighten up while I transition into maintenance and just keep working out as I am?

    Anyway, I’m not writing any of my concerned people off. The people who I love are super important to me, and my doctor’s wise to at least question what’s been happening. But I think I mainly only share their concern because I’ve been a little lightheaded the past week or so, a little more gassed than usual during very intense HIIT workouts, and I’ve had trouble concentrating. And I’ve been a bit more hungry here and there. At the same time, I know when we get into that “last 10 pounds” zone, we have to trick our bodies because our bodies try to tell us we need more than we do —the body will fight especially hard to hold onto what’s left at that point, so I’m really not sure the hunger is an indication of anything.