I haven't really talked about this since I don't have a good way to track progress, but I have been taking measurements once in a while (3 random times since starting measurements in Jan) and it looks like I'm seeing some very minor changes, although it's hard to tell with the infrequent measuring, might just be variation from meals/bloating/hormones/pulling the string tighter etc:
("snug but not tight" measurement: week 8 week 13 week 16, inches different from starting point)
Waist: -1 -1 -2
Hips: 0 -0.5 -1
Ribcage: -1 -0.5 -2
Bust: +1 +0.5 -0.5
Limb circumferences: no changes overall (temporary -/+ 0.5 here and there)
Weight (on a really crappy scale) seems to have gone down by roughly 5 lbs in the last 2 months, fairly stable before that. Again, all of these might just be random variation, but it's encouraging to see anyway.
I doubt the mild exercise is doing much, although it can't hurt. It's probably more just watching what I eat - I haven't been directly changing my diet or trying to eat less, but I have been tracking pretty well over the past 4 weeks and have been eating more "clean" foods than usual as a result (it's dumb but I feel happier/proud writing down "good" foods in the log). It also helps because I tend to avoid the really high calorie meals/snacks when I see there's a better option that's just as filling (ex: I used to routinely eat 4-6 hashbrown patties as a snack, at 130 calories each...now I feel mildly guilty if I put an ungodly amount of calories in the log, so I'll make one to start with and see if I want another one later). I've also been watching when the calorie count goes too high in a day and trying to eat past that only if *actually* hungry. I've been doing so-so on protein, not as high as I'd like but not awful.
My vague goal, for very slow-but-hopefully-steady muscle gain and fat loss, is to stay around 1800 calories and ~20% (90-100g) protein per day (averaged over a week). I'm not sure how hard I'll push myself to get there, cause I don't mind tracking but I'm pretty resistant to actually "dieting" for many reasons. I might be able to swing it by pre-planning a few meals (definitely not all) to make it easier to hit that target. I'm already pretty close overall - 3 weeks of tracking averaged 1824 cal with 83g protein, but it varies a lot day-to-day (838-2600 total range, but most days 1600-2000).
I'm avoiding the cut/bulk thing even if it does get better results, because I want more of a lifestyle thing and I don't think I could do those cycles long-term. Similar reasons for keeping it very slow - I'm not in a rush, and I want to painlessly adjust longterm lifestyle rather than constantly putting a lot of effort in.
Goals for next week:
1) make a plan for joint healing, doesn't matter what, just don't put it off again. Also try to take the glucosamine/chondroitin pills I impulsively bought awhile ago on the off chance they do anything. I have them already, and it's not like they'll hurt.
2) No weight-bearing shoulder exercise until I stop noticing shoulder hurting throughout the day. Continue trying to rest it the rest of the day. Maybe I should do some dedicated stretches though (especially while at the computer), don't know if that would help or hurt. Once shoulder doesn't hurt during the day, try exercises with very light weights and see how it goes, stopping if it feels sore. That's what I did yesterday (2.5lb) and it was fine, but feels a bit sore today, so if it's still hurting by tomorrow night's workout I'll skip those exercises entirely.
3) Replace planks with another ab exercise that doesn't involve shoulders. I did V-sits (stationary, not sit-ups) for last night's workout and that seemed to work well. It was adequately hard, for sure! They twinged my lower back a bit as I got tired so I'll have to be careful to avoid that.
4) continue with doing 2 sets of everything else on days I'm not doing the shoulder exercises, and maybe sometimes when I am, if it isn't too long. I get antsy if it gets much longer than 30 min, but much less than that and it isn't really a workout, so there's a fine balance.
5) Weather permitting, break out the bike this week and start to get into biking shape! Also walking outside more! I'll be walking/biking to work full time starting May 1, when my bus pass expires. It'll be a really short trip now that I've moved close to work - it's about a half hour walk so probably a 5 min bike ride (!!!). I'm not really sure if I'd rather bike such a short distance (and deal with traffic, sweating etc) or just walk, but I'll probably be too impatient to walk. Walking is arguably healthier though, less chance of being run over by a crazy/incompetent person, and not that long really (bus now takes ~20 minutes door to door), plus I can listen to music. I'll probably alternate both at least until I work through the start-of-bike-season soreness.