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Too low body fat?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just want to document this to come back to later.

So.... since beginning my weight loss and fitness journey I have noticed changes in my cycle. While losing my periods got more like they were when I was younger. Tighter ovulation, tighter start, more predictably 28 days. BUT this fall as I neared my goal and really started dropping body fat, I noticed more changes that may not be good. I entered maintenance about 2 months ago, probably right around ovulating. My first period since entering maintenance was a couple days early. Really not something that would have surprised me 'before' (although typical would be a couple days LATE) but new since becoming more fit. THEN I had mid-cycle spotting this month and ovulation was definitely unclear. I actually had ovulation signs twice. If the first was 'real', my period is now several days late. If the second was 'real', it's not due for a while. And now I'm having EWCM *again* which is just weird. I'm definitely at a point where I feel like it's time to back off on my efforts to build lean muscle mass because I think I may be driving my body fat percentage too low.

The plan right now is to NOT do heavy lifting for two weeks. I just wrapped the third phase of the female body breakthrough. It involved a lot of heavy lifting and I've been strength training without a week's break since the end of August. I'm taking a two week break to give my body a chance to heal any injuries I may not even be aware of but I'm also going to do some cardio. I've got fat reserves that I want gone but I don't think I can safely shed any more fat without shedding some muscle along with it. Right now I am getting bf measurements of 18.3 upper body and 20.3 lower body. The plan is to focus on centergy and cardio for 2 weeks, centergy to help with relaxation/coping and to maintain strength and cardio to burn calories because it's the holidays and I'll be eating. I think it's 'ok' to use cardio to make a 'smaller version of me' right now as I'm pretty lean. Makes me a bit nervous to do something that might eliminate the precious tiny bit of lean mass I was able to add but if my bf really is too low right now and I still have fat I want to shed from my tummy and thighs it seems the only thing I can do to shed more fat is to shed some muscle too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIVEGODDESS 12/21/2011 7:07AM

    If your body fat is between 18 and 20 percent, that's not really that low. If you are having changes in your cycle it could be hormonal and has nothing to do with your bf. If you are concerned you should see a doctor. I had changes in my cycle while training for competition when my body fat went down to about 15% but it turned out just to be perimenopause. I know a lot of female athletes and they seem to tell me that they don't have a problem or change with their cycles until they get to 10-12%. There's so many things that can change our cycles. My period had completely stopped before due to stress, traveling, change of weather, etc. If you are ok with your BF% then by all means you can stop trying to lower your bf. You look great btw, so I think you are fine where you are.

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TANYAP71 12/20/2011 10:29AM

    Wicked migraine today and I *think* AF is on the way. 3 weeks after some spotting and EWCM, 2 weeks after clearer O signs so the 'weird' part appears to have been spotting and delayed O (longer first half of the cycle vs second half).

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5KIDS4MEJESS 12/19/2011 5:26PM

    I definitely noticed some changes in my cycle too, but I'm also still in the "good changes" part. I hope your plan works and you have less worrying signs. As long as you listen to your bosy I think you'll be ok, and you seem to be doing just that :-) You look great in your new photos. The changes really are amazing!

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FROGGGY13 12/18/2011 6:42AM

    I don't know whether your bf % is really too low or not, but it is a legitimate concern. I too have noticed period changes since losing weight, all for the better so far. But I am definitely still quite well fat- endowed. Even if my Tanita is very wrong, 27% it's showing certainly can't be less than 20%...
To me, your plan sounds very reasonable - I hope you see the good sorts of changes in your next cycle.

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Sooooo hungry!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My biggest PMS symptom these days is hunger. It's the first clue I get that it's almost time for AF to arrive. TOTALLY makes sense to me that most of my weight loss was the week before and week of AF because I really do think that my metabolism is revving those weeks. I keep on eating the same so the calorie deficit is bigger and I lose. Now I'm in maintenance so I'm not supposed to be losing and I'm hungrier than ever as AF approaches. I really don't get it. I am taking in more calories than I have during the entire weight loss journey. I am NOT short on calories and yet I have felt hungry often for the last 3 days. I wish AF would just arrive so it would stop. I'm hesitant to eat every time I feel a bit hungry because I KNOW I am taking in plenty of calories (not even leaving myself my usual few hundred calories left over for weekend splurges... figuring I shouldn't be doing that if I am HUNGRY).

Other than that, I am VERY busy. Actually, that may not be an 'other'. I wonder if part of why I 'feel' hungry is that I am busy and slightly stressed (not in an obvious way but I don't like feeling rushed and like there is no time to relax with the family and I certainly feel that right now). I am most definitely an emotional eater so there's a chance this hunger really is just in my head. All the much more reason to not eat every time I 'feel' hungry.

It is weird to be coming up to Christmas without hundreds and hundreds of Christmas cookies in the house. I thought I would miss Christmas baking so much that I would bake just to give it away but I really haven't. The weirdness is just because it used to be SO important to me to make a dozen plus kinds of cookies and this year I've made one kind of cookie and one kind of candy and left it at that. I send healthier versions of baked goods with the family every day so maybe my baking needs are satisfied by baking throughout the year and I don't really need to go crazy at Christmas? It's actually one bit of stress off my plate! Although we're almost out of muffins so maybe I'll find some Christmassy ones.... might as well do baking I need to do AND do something Christmassy. Wonder if there are gingerbread muffin recipes?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TANYAP71 12/19/2011 6:02PM

    I need to look for a gingerbread muffin recipe then! I think DS would LOVE them and I want the gingerbread smell in the house :-)

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5KIDS4MEJESS 12/19/2011 5:33PM

    You are so funny! Of course there are gingerbread muffins! lol My dd is a fantastic baker and she's planning on opening her first store(online) next year, so I bake year round(where do you think she gets her talent from?lol). It's one of the things hardest about losing weight. How do I bake without using artificial ingredients(I hate anything with the word "substitute" in it) and gaining weight? The answer? Bake less! lol. I also have the biggest symptom of AF being extreme hunger. If I know I "shouldn't" be hungry I have some gum. I've actualyl been using it as a method for some time now. It works better at some times than others. For example, I haven't found a gum that can kill my craving for chocolate yet lol. I also try to eat more nutritionally dense foods, but that also doesn't always work. If all else fails, I have a square of chocolate, although after the christmas candy is gone, I may ban candy again.

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Another Splurge-y Weekend

Monday, December 12, 2011

My best friend from college and her family came to visit for the weekend. We've been making holiday goodies together for years and years. Goodness, 20ish years! This was the weekend and it was really nice. I was 'good' for the most part on Saturday but allowed myself to enjoy the goodies on Sunday - cereal bars with peanut butter, chocolate chips, m&ms.... buckeye balls.... oatmeal M&M cookies. And the scale is reminding me that that needs to be an occasional indulgence. It's fine because I was within calories for the week and sitting right below maintenance weight. But it was enlightening because this was my first BIG splurge where I was at home (not visiting my parents, not on vacation) and I was SO tempted to not weigh in. I know most of the weight will be gone tomorrow. Why discourage myself by weighing in Monday morning? Why? Because NOT doing it is EXACTLY how I end up putting weight back on... time and time again. And so I got on the scale, bloated and uncomfortable, and .... weighed less than last Monday. Phew.

Now to just keep on doing that EVERY time I splurge AND to keep on keeping my splurges to ONE day.

I am determined to have healthy weight maintenance.... keep the weight in a healthy range AND live a full life that, yes, involves food consumed in celebration.


Test Results: Splurge Recovery

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The test is over. As of today my weight and body fat are back to (below, actually) pre-splurge levels. It took almost all week. I think that's ok for someone in maintenance. If I did it week-over-week my weight would zigzag plus and minus over goal in a comfortable range. But, I have to say, the numbers would be comfortable but my body really wouldn't. I didn't really feel right until yesterday - mostly I felt constantly thirsty. That may have been the particular splurge. I'm thinking pizza and beer twice in a weekend is the kind of splurge that feels good at the time but for which I have to 'pay for' for much longer. Not tempted to repeat it soon.

Interestingly, this splurge seems to have had the same effect as many of my previous splurges. My weight went up in a big bound (water?) and then when it came down it slammed right through a point I'd been 'stuck' at. During the weight loss phase I'd just keep going because loss was the goal. Now I'm at maintenance calories so I'm curious to see where it goes from here. I have only been below this weight on days I've been super dehydrated (the day I fasted for blood work) or underfed (the day I weighed in before thanksgiving). I am hydrated and fed today :-)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CORINNEMOMMY 12/8/2011 7:11AM

    Stay hydrated:-) and good luck!!!!!

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Since I've started the 'Dial It In' Phase of The Female Body Breakthrough I've had that 'I don't want to go' feeling when I wake up on the morning of a strength training day. Not on elliptical day. Not on Centergy day. Just on a day when I know I'm going in there to lift really heavy stuff and do those awful finishers. It's a tough workout. I feel accomplished when I'm finished but I'm wondering if I'm overtraining a bit because of this feeling on ST days combined with the knowledge of just how hard I am pushing myself. I only have 5 more workouts left in this cycle and I'm glad for that. Of course, the next phase (whose name I don't even remember at this point) is the one used to 'peak' and so I might find it even worse! I hope not... but I might. Debating how to move on to that phase. This phase ends 12/17. I can push right into the final phase, get a week in, take a bit of a break around the holidays (due to travel and vacation), and return. Or I can delay it two weeks, take a more substantial break from ST but still go to the gym for centergy and cardio. I probably won't make a call until the end of the phase but at the end of this phase I will have been strength training at my max for 16 weeks without a week's break from ST. The whole program is supposed to be 16 weeks but I extended a few phases a bit because of mini-breaks in October and November. I'm leaning towards a more substantial break but 'afraid' that it will compromise my overall results. I'm not working to peak for anything though and giving my body a break may be more important right now. I can save the peaking for going on the cruise next July :-)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONFIDENTLY_FIT 12/7/2011 4:24PM

    Always listen to your body. It might be time for a break. I easily get burned out on things. So I constantly change things up or take a break all together. Exercise should be fun not something you HAVE to do.

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MOONSTORMER 12/7/2011 2:44PM

    i agree with brewmasterbill - sometimes our heads just need to be put back on. and like you said, you still feel accomplished when you finish the work out. i think if you are struggling to get through the workout, and your other workouts, then you might be overtraining. but... who knows - it's hard to tell from this.

what do you think of the program, though? i've been doing the new rules of lifting for women, written by her husband, and enjoying it, and was thinking of doing her program next...

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    It's tough for anyone to say as a casual observer, but usually my head isn't telling me I'm overtraining at all. I think a symptom of overtraining is that you hardly realize it until things just don't make sense. Some signs I look for on me. I repeatedly fail to complete a "normal" workout. I'm going DOWN in reps or weight despite never missing a workout. I'm having problems sleeping and/or recovering from my routine.

Now usually when these things are happening, my brain is telling me to "turn it up a notch" where it sounds like you just plain dread what you're doing. There is a big difference between not liking it or becoming bored and overtraining. Hope this helps.

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