Sunday, January 16, 2011
So I guesstimated my calories for yesterday to be around 2,700. That's lower than I had guessed a day of eating whatever I want would be, but it was still enough to put me up at 170.6lbs today after being 167 a few days ago.
I told my husband my plan and he didn't like it. He thinks I'll gain a bunch of weight eating whatever I want, and he doesn't see the point in establishing a baseline. It made me wonder if I'm just putting off the inevitable...dieting misery... but I really don't think so. I think I will learn something from this experiment. I'm just not sure what.
I told hubs about my 2,700 calories yesterday and he was like, "That's unacceptable!" but then I was like, "Oh yeah, let me do YOUR calories...I bet you're not much less." So I went into an empty day in my SP tracker and entered everything he told me he ate yesterday and he came in at 2,600. So...I was right! And he was corrected. :)
This morning my only exercise was Body Pump - NO additional cardio, but I was sweating and giving it my all in Body Pump so I don't feel bad. I think I had the heaviest squat weight in the class, hehe. Funny how I can go so much heavier than everyone else with squats but with other muscle groups I use a wimpy weight. I definitely looked fat in my tight new workout pants. Oh well.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
I think we're taught to believe that any lifestyle change that makes us look good will also make us feel good, and I think there are some lucky people for whom this is true. Some people feel great eating a calorie level that has them maintaining a healthy weight, and they don't even need to count these calories - their bodies naturally make the right decisions for them.
For me, however, getting to a "normal" (BMI-wise) weight involves a lot of FIGHTING my body's natural decisions. I naturally gravitate toward a high level of calories - not sure how many, but embarrassingly high - maybe on a typical non-tracking day I might eat 3,000-5,000 calories. In fact, maybe I should try counting my calories on days like that just to find out what my natural range is. (However, I see two issues here: 1. Simply knowing I'm tracking may have an emotional impact on the amount I eat; and 2. On a typical day when I eat food prepared by other people I'd be guesstimating my calories SO much that my results might not even be valid.) Despite these drawbacks I am realizing that tracking without restricting might be a good idea. I hadn't started writing this blog entry with this idea in mind...it came to me as I was writing. It's not an idea I can claim credit for - don't lots of diet/nutrition programs, including SP's, suggest you start by doing exactly this to get a baseline? Anyway, once I know how many calories I eat on a typical day when I'm not trying to restrict myself, I can try baby steps. Maybe just shave off a few hundred calories and see how that feels and what impact that has on my weight as well.
I think there should be no need for misery when attempting to live a healthy lifestyle. Wouldn't that be counterintuitive and counterproductive? Would it even actually BE healthy, if I weren't feeling good?
I think everyone wants to look good, and improving how I look is admittedly one of the main motivating factors for me when it comes to diet and exercise. But I've come to the conclusion that, like it or not, feeling good HAS to trump looking good, if the two don't naturally come hand-in-hand. The reason is that you can only voluntarily do something that makes you feel physically uncomfortable for so long before you're going to snap and go back to behaviors that make you feel good. You're just going to. So, if the choice HAS to be feeling good, I might as well embrace that. Jen's (SWEATONCEADAY) comment on my last post really resonated with me. She reminded me that I am doing many things RIGHT, and that I should celebrate these things. Why should I feel ashamed by my body's natural tendency to seek food/energy? A few of my Spark friends have commented on my high metabolism and my body's need to fuel itself for the large amount of exercise I do. I'm going to try to stop feeling shame about my eating habits. Rather, I want to just tweak things and control things just enough so that I can be the best me I can be, all the while AVOIDING the battle with my natural instincts. I think I can do that.
Wow, I started this blog entry not thinking I'd come up with a plan, but there I go...I've come up with something I feel really good about! I'll try my best to track to get my baseline over the next, I don't know, week or so, maybe longer, maybe shorter - I am guessing this experiment will lead to some insights I can't even imagine right now that will influence where I go from here.
I'm going to end this post with a little story that kind of shows what I mean about feeling good, and about how I think I may have been making healthy choices lately even without sticking within a certain calorie limit:
As I mentioned in my last blog, after just a day and a half of limiting my calories to 2,000 per day, I already felt a major energy lag at the gym. On Thursday I ate a controlled 2,500 calories and that went well, and then on Friday I didn't count calories at all because it was a different sort of day than normal (teacher professional day, lunch was provided, I had a Greek salad with grilled chicken, but lots of sugary stuff too, then went out for dinner with hubby to celebrate our 11-monthiversary and I had red wine, bread, half a Caprese salad, and schrod in maranara sauce with olives and capers - brought the side of pasta home to eat for lunch today). Anyway, I'm getting long-winded but my point is that I have been letting my body decide how much/what I was going to eat the past couple of days for the most part, which always seems to give me the best energy (as long as I don't stuff myself). On top of that, I got a nice long night's sleep last night and had coffee this morning, and then we were off to the gym. If the gym were still right next door I would have had time to get there in time for Body Combat, but with the new farther-away gym I arrived late, so I used the elliptical instead. And for the first time EVER, I was able to maintain a sub-nine-minute mile pace at level eight for a full hour, and for the first time ever once I was done with my cooldown (65 minutes in all on the machine) my total distance was OVER seven miles. I think the total calorie burn was somewhere around 985 (though I am pretty wary of calorie burn measurements on machines). My point is that, even though my weight has been firmly in the overweight range for the past several months, I have continued to make cardiovascular progress and I felt really good and really sweaty and really proud of myself when I was done. And in Body Pump I know I'm making progress too because I've been slowly but steadily increasing my weights. So...I have a lot to be proud of, despite my overweight status.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Okay, I'm a bit embarrassed about what I'm about to disclose here - I've already failed my new plan. Monday was a total success, both in terms of sticking to my 2,000 calorie nutrition plan, and having an AWESOME 65-min, 7 mile, 1,000 calorie workout on the elliptical. (I don't always have enough energy to go that fast, but on Monday I did.)
Tuesday morning I woke up weighing 167.6. I hadn't weighed myself on Monday before I started, but over the past few weeks my weight has been anywhere from 166-172 - pretty standard top-of-the-yo-yo weight for me.
Throughout most of the day on Tuesday I stuck to my plan just fine. I went to the gym in the evening prepared for a HUGE workout - an hour of cardio, 15 minutes of Ab Clinic, and then an hour of Body Pump. I brought my last two items from the day's menu with me - an apple and a Clementine.
I started on the elliptical and after 15 minutes I knew I didn't have as much energy as I had on Monday. That's kind of normal though - I can't usually go all-out hard two days in a row and I don't think I should anyway. However, after a few more minutes I felt like my energy was seriously lacking. I got off the elliptical after about 30 minutes and went and ate my snacks in the locker room, and then spent the rest of the time before Abs started on a recumbant bike with a magazine. Then when I went into that horrible new studio that is WAY too small and stuffy, I was just feeling icky. There wasn't enough space or equipment and I was so irritable and my stomach was sticking out in my new white t-shirt. I did stick out both Abs and Body Pump, but just barely.
Then afterwards I went to the grocery store, where I'd planned on getting a few things for some batch cooking and things I use every day that I'd run out of. But then I realized I could cheat on my diet, and nobody would have to know. I ended up getting a salad mix, honey roasted almond slivers, and Thai peanut dressing, which I then went home and ate half of at night and the other half the next morning for breakfast. That wouldn't have been TOO bad except that I also got some flavored brown rice chips to eat on the way home, and a Friendly's sundae for dessert! (at least I didn't go for a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's...but I also didn't get one of those little mini ice creams either).
Then yesterday I had a snow day and ate off-plan all day, and didn't exercise either.
While all this was going on I just felt so defeated in terms of my potential to lose weight and keep it off. You see, for the past few months I have been feeling really good physically - my body seems to really prefer it when I eat a lot and let myself weigh in the upper 160s. I've been making progress both with my cardio and strength, while at the same time slowly gaining. Then this past weekend I finally went out and bought a bunch of pants that fit me at my current size - size 10 (wow, size 10s have gotten really big!! these pants are probably at least as big as a 14 used to be). In general I was feeling pretty okay with being overweight....except when I saw myself in photos and realized how heavy I really looked, or when my husband hinted that he wanted me to get back on track, or when I remembered how proud of myself I had been in the past when I'd lost weight.
I realized I've been profoundly affected by my multiple failed attempts at permanent weight loss. I do believe deep down that I am not capable of maintaining a healthy weight. MAYBE I'm capable of maintaining something at the very very top of the healthy range (which would be 154 at my height), but I've never been able to prove even that to myself. I always return to at least the upper 160s.
I have also read a few books that suggest that some people just aren't meant to be thin. I haven't read them recently, but their message really stayed with me.
When I was so hungry, weak, and miserable on Tuesday after eating 2,000 calories, I just felt that maybe I am just not meant to diet. Isn't it better to eat whatever I want and feel wonderful and be able to work hard than to limit my calories and get thinner, especially if I know deep down that I'll only be thinner temporarily anyway?
However, in the process of writing this out I have realized that it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing situation. I don't have to either diet my way down to a healthy weight or give up entirely. I could:
*skip or do much shorter cardio sessions on Body Pump days
*allow a greater calorie allowance on days when I'm doing longer workouts
*increase my calorie allowance in general
So today I am back on track, but instead of two apples, two clementines, and two bags of almonds, I'm having three of each. I haven't counted the calories yet but I'm likely to be somewhere around 2,500. It seems ridiculous that I feel like I'm starving at 2,000 calories, but I do. I'd rather try a controlled slightly larger amount than just giving up (meaning eating countless thousands of calories per day). And maybe I won't lose fast, or lose at all, or keep off what I lose, but I don't want to give up.
Sunday, January 09, 2011
I hate limiting my calorie intake. I love allowing myself to eat whatever I want, in any quantity. I usually choose items that are relatively healthy, but I eat too much. And so, I'm fat.
I don't want to go back to tracking, but I'm going to anyway. I already preplanned tomorrow's menu. I will have a fruit smoothie and two cups of coffee with unsweetened soymilk for breakfast, white chicken chili for lunch (the recipe is from Spark recipes and it's excellent!), cod and Italian vegetables for dinner, and my snacks, which I will spread over the course of the day, will include two medium apples, two clementines, and two small bags of unsalted roasted almonds (Trader Joe's "Just a Handful"). That's it. Beyond that, I can drink water and tea, chew gum, and whine, cry, and complain, but I will not eat any more than what I've just listed. I know I'll see results on the scale right away, and soon I will be excited about this and not a whiny brat.
Oh! I almost forgot to blog about the gym's new location. Probably the only thing it's got going for it is that the locker room is prettier. It's further from home and to my huge disappointment, the studio for the classes I take is even smaller than at the old location. They explained that they wanted to have room for a larger yoga studio so they had to make the aerobic/Body Pump studio smaller. Boo. My Body Pump class was so crowded I'm surprised nobody got hurt. My bar was literally scraping up against the back wall when I was on the bench doing chest presses. I really hope the January rush ends with a dramatic dropoff of class attendees soon!!
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