I've made some observations this week on my mini-vacation while visiting my Mom. I've been SO tired, possibly since it's the first time off I've taken in ??? So I've not been doing much, I figure my body probably needs the rest.
Therefore I still haven't started exercising or dieting again. It's been just over two weeks since my frustrating two-month experience of doing everything "right" with diet and exercise and nothing working as far as weight loss, measurements, etc, and so I stopped doing both - and started losing weight.
So I stopped exercising and dieting as part of an experiment because I was wondering in the past why I lost weight when I didn't exercise and didn't watch what I eat. I had considered my baseline calorie burn to be my "not exercising" days - the days that I did not formally workout - like run or do some sort of cardio.
However, I've noticed a couple of things.
Out of habit and to track my sleep I've still been wearing my calorie tracking armband. On my vacation, I've been burning less calories per day than I thought was even possible (!!) as I've been almost completely sedentary. So I discovered that, due to my house renovation work, what I was considering my "baseline" or low activity days were actually equivalent to someone who is between moderately and very active every day - someone who exercises 60-75 minutes a day.
That's before I added in running or anything else.
And so that means that the days I was running were probably equivalent to working out twice a day. And I was running 5 days week.
So maybe what was equivalent to working out twice a day, 5 days a week, and still being very active on the other two days (were supposed to be my "rest" days, but I never took a day off from the renovation), plus dieting, plus all the other stress I have going on WAS too much for my body??? I am not sure.
I've read that many athletes cannot have more than a 400-500 calorie deficit per day, and I had an average of 615/day.
Additionally, my sleep has been getting progressively worse. It was already bad, but when I first stopped exercising a couple of weeks ago, it got better. Then worse again. So that I can't directly link it to exercise or not. I did think when I started exercising in March after I stopped for a couple months due to a health issue, it helped my energy levels. So maybe too little OR too much exercise affects my sleep. I am not sure. It could be stress, too.
And so, I'm really tired. I'm also not sure if it's the extended time with no vacation, or stress, or the poor sleep quality, or exercise quantity, all of the above.
I also think when I am totally sedentary (which I pretty much never am), I am more hungry. Or maybe I just have more time to notice that I am. When I am renovating the house, I am doing something all day, and either don't notice I am hungry or forget to eat.
As a side note, I've also been better about not being guilt-tripped by my Mom to eat a lot (her 2-3 month visit with me was how I gained almost half of the weight I now want to lose). Her snack foods lying all around are another diet-killer, which I've avoided, to some extent.
I don't keep snack food in my house aside from fruits and vegetables.
So I don't know that I lose weight when I "don't exercise and don't watch what I eat." Because every day even if I don't formally exercise, I'm still active, and on top of that I only eat when I'm hungry because 1) I don't have time to snack and 2) I only keep healthy foods around my house.
Here is a study that I found in some research, entitled, "Sustained self-regulation of energy intake. Loss of weight in overweight subjects. Maintenance of weight in normal-weight subjects."
Basically when people were taught to eat when they notice signs they are hungry, overweight people lost weight, and normal weight people maintained their weight. There are a couple of other links to related studies, including one that states that the old "3 meals a day" might be unhealthy because it teaches people to eat by a clock, rather than by when they are really hungry, and people lose track of how to notice cues if they are hungry or not.
And that's what I do when I am not "dieting" - I eat only when I'm hungry.
So I do keep active and I do watch what I eat, but I guess since it was inherent in my lifestyle, I didn't notice that I was, if that makes any sense??
The thing is I do feel better overall, especially mentally, with some vigorous exercise and I LOVE to work out and train. So I would still like to find ways to do that without stalling my weight loss progress or wearing myself out.
My initial guess is to incorporate the exercise and either keep my calorie deficit low, or not track at all. The problem is many studies have shown that exercise can suppress the appetite, and I don't want my calories to run TOO low, either. I also think I should add in 2-3 days of weight training. I guess. I don't want to be bulky though - and because I used to bodybuild, it IS possible for me to do that...
And I probably need to schedule in days off. From both working out AND the renovation. YIKES! That's hard...
Ok. Back to vacationing, last day...