Burn Down or Burn Out? (1 year in)
I am currently in my 13th month (1-year anniversary). Recently I have noticed a lot more people saying that they are no longer losing the weight as easily as they have before – me included! I put mine down to the fact that I was 5lbs from goal and had mentally started to pump the brakes, but I think there might be more to it? Surprisingly, I’m not blaming Freestyle.
I got to wondering if there was such a thing as Weight Watcher Burn Out?
Is there a point in the journey where you just need a break, or a change rather than the constant focus and get off the “struggle bus” for a while? If so, wouldn’t it be a good idea to plan for that event, and even include some sort of offset in the planning rather than just give up? Reminder: DON’T GIVE UP!
This got me thinking about a more structured and strategic approach to my overall journey and maybe give me a little more pro-active planning vs reactive. Let’s face it, I got on WW and really had no idea where I was going to end up, all I knew at the time was that I didn’t want to be where I was, so any number on the scale which was lower was a good place to go. How I got there and when I got there didn’t matter.
Last month I purposely planned to gain weight to see what would happen if I stopped tracking. I planned for it and recorded the results. I determined that “I suck at not tracking” and put on 6lbs. Looking back on the month, I know what I did wrong, but the lesson is that without tracking, my habits drift. Kind of like driving without a speedometer, you will gradually increase your speed perception. Ever hear this excuse “Sorry officer, I didn’t realize I was going that fast”? The same thing with the Smart Points police; “Sorry officer I didn’t realize I was doing 90 points in a 25 zone”!
In reviewing my weight loss chart, I noticed that it looked quite similar to a Scrum burndown chart. A what? In simple terms, Scrum is an interesting methodology from the software industry where an application is developed in phases called “Sprints” and the entire project is broken up as a series of minor goals rather than delivering a fully functional end-product. Hence, software is usually delivered in a series of versions like 1.0, 2.0 and so on.
Normally the burndown continues with some degree of velocity, shown as a steady slope of achievement, but if there is a delay or a problem, the velocity flattens out.
I know, right now your eyes are starting to glaze over like a Krispy Kreme original but bear with me. What does this have to do with weight loss you say? I’m glad you asked…
After a little research (just a fancy term which means I Googled it) I found that Weight Watchers recognizes the “Diet Burn Out” and in fact, has an old quiz you can take to find out if you are in danger of burning out. While there are a few odd articles out there about burn-out, it doesn’t seem to be widely recognized, but it should be.
So… with this in mind, I am going to start looking at some plan modifications which take this into account. The straight line of losing 1-2lbs a week sounds pretty good as an average, but in reality it is more like a series of speed up and slow down, twists and turns, like driving a car; and it seems just like a car, there is a point where you can run out of gas, hit a wall and have to fix a flat tire every now and then.