Conundrum: I exercised 9 times this past week...and gained?!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Okay. I need some help/advice/suggestions because I am a bit perplexed. I think I may have figured out the reason why, but thought I'd blog about this and see if it made sense in the end.

So as you know, I'm currently unemployed and waiting to start grad school in January. This means I have a lot of free time on my hands. As such, I thought I'd take advantage of said free time and use it to seriously work on my fitness. This week, that meant going to a Zumba class six times and walking around the Rosebowl (a 5K) three times this week. Yes, it's all cardio. Yes, I'm aware I should be incorporating strength training. Yes, I'm doing so this week.

As a result of all this activity, my nutrition tracker said I should be eating between 2,030 and 2,380 calories a day. This is where I think my problem stems from because I have NOT been eating that-I have been eating less than that. It seems counterintuitive to me to spend all that time working out this week and eating so many calories! However, I'm afraid I've freaked out my body into thinking that it needs to hold on to everything it's got because of all the increased activity.

Would you all say that's correct?

Because after working out 9 times, a total of 513 minutes, and burning 6525 calories this week...I gained weight. Yes, you read that correctly: I GAINED weight. =/

I read my nutrition feedback report and it says I'm not eating enough calories and carbohydrates. But do I really need to be eating the calorie amount it's telling me?


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • KIMPY225
    -Maybe you need to change what you are eating - more veggies & fruits?
    -Eating more may help you out, but it may not - It maye depend on what you are eating
    -Change up the exercise. Can you do something else besides Zumba?
    -make sure you are drinking enough water!
    -When are you weighing yourself? It could be an off day. Do you weigh yourself the same time everyday with the same routine?
    1946 days ago
    I have had the same thing happen to me a couple of times. It may also be water retention from inflammation caused by extra exercise. You may see this week's weight loss next week or the following week.
    1947 days ago
    I was on a diet program that advocated that multiplying your *current* weight by anywhere from 10-13 to arrive at a proper calorie range for maintenance (yeah, you want to lose, but go with me for a sec), 10 being the level of exercise you get shuffling between the couch and the fridge and 13 for very active people. If we go with light activity, 280 x 11= 3080. That said, if you eat 2,000 calories, you are going to lose weight. Even though you're exercising like a frantic hamster right now, experiment with different kinds of exercise so that you find ones you love so much that you'll set your textbooks aside to exercise. If you love Zumba, awesome. If you haven't tried HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training--ask at the Y or any fitness center), it's all about working as hard as you can in bursts of activity and the classes tend to be shorter 30-45 min.

    But as for you right now, eat 2000 cals and keep the cardio under 2 hours/day, preferably 60-90 min. During this past week when the scale said (I still don't believe it) i lost 4.8 lbs, I ate steak carbon tacos (210 each) and a small fry (270) at Del Taco and stayed within my daily calorie limit, so eat portions of food that are nutritious and satisfying. Your sense that you're exercising too much for the amount of calories you are eating is right on.

    So go hang out in coffee shops and read for pleasure while you still can! :)
    1948 days ago
  • BOB240
    Zumba and walking are very low intensity cardio. Walking doesn't really count as cardio at all as it doesn't stress the CV system unless you are badly overweight. You're probably just burning a bit above your resting metabolic rate. If you are taking in 2000 calories a day that's too much to noticably lose weight over a week

    Drop the calories down to 1700 and jog/run the 5k four times a week. Do the Zumba if you enjoy it -but don't count it. If you do this , judging by what you've posted - you may average a pound loss a week.

    I'm a fan/advocate of strength training but you would have to start gentle - a few free standing squats is a good start - nothing else yet..
    1948 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/22/2012 4:21:05 PM

    There are of course many possible factors . . . however, if the calories suggested is based upon solid info. and your calorie intake was accurate. Then you may well have set yoruself up for the gain. I have done that several times. I do not lose any weight until I hit the recommended range. In fact my most significant wt. loss was after I bumped my nutritional intake to the top edge of the SP recommendations!
    1948 days ago
  • HFAYE81
    Well....unfortunately maybe your body thinks that you are in a starvation environment and is trying to could also be that you are building muscle...which weighs a little more than fat.

    Just do what you do, add a little strength training emoticon

    1948 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/22/2012 3:20:17 PM
    Think of your body like a car: you need fuel in the car to go. If you're not going very far, you don't need as much fuel (although you still need a base amount to get the car to start). If you're all over the place, you'll need to use a lot more fuel.

    And your body does the same thing. If you're sedentary, you need to have a base amount of calories (generally estimated at around 1200) just to continue to breathe and perform normal daily body functions without losing muscle mass. But if you're more active, your body's going to require more fuel in the form of carbs, proteins, etc to keep going.

    If you don't put that fuel in, you start burning not only fat, but muscle mass. In addition, you may send your body into 'starvation mode', where every calorie you're taking in gets turned to fat as quickly as possible to store it away for that exercise... and yes, that means your body is working counterintuitively.

    I'd try at least raising your calorie intake to the minimum Sparkpeople is recommending, and see what happens from there. :)
    1948 days ago
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