Friday, January 11, 2013
I'm fortunate that I've always been within a normal, healthy weight. I am 5'7". Throughout my 20s, I was 130 pounds or less. As I entered my 30s, my weight crept up to 135... Nothing to complain about, still. Last year (December 2011) I went to the doctor and they told me my weight was 143. OK, getting higher... But still in the normal BMI range. Yesterday that same doctor's office clocked me at 149. Did I really gain 6 pounds in the past 13 months? I'm now only 10 pounds away from moving outside "normal."
I said to the doctor, "Six pounds is a lot in one year," to which she agreed. I told her that I started exercising six months ago, so how could I possibly have gained that much weight? She suggested that it could be muscle gain. (Six pounds of muscle -- could that be right?) She also asked how my pants were fitting.
That's not an easy question to answer. Right after my 143 weigh-in, I moved in with my boyfriend. I'm pretty sure my pants fit fine at that point. But we took to having dessert (hot cookies and ice cream*) most nights after dinner. We both noticed that we were gaining some weight, so in June I joined the gym and started going regularly -- 2-4 times a week for 30-60 minutes. We weren't ready at that point to stop eating the cookies and ice cream, but we decreased the frequency by A LOT. As I've mentioned before, I'm not quite back to my clothes fitting perfectly again, but it's better.
You might not believe this, given my fresh, hot cookie addiction, but I generally have a very good diet. I have celiac disease, which requires me to eat gluten free 100% of the time. I do this enthusiastically, and I enjoy cooking. I almost always bring my lunch from home, making something that will last the full week: brown rice and black beans, some sort of lentil dish, or sometimes I assemble a sandwich each day. My dinners are often ground beef tacos, tofu stir fries, or spaghetti with a simple sauce of canned diced tomatoes. And being gluten free means that I can't eat that random cookie, cupcake or bagel left in the work kitchen!
We overestimate how many calories we burn from exercise; we underestimate how many calories are in the foods we eat. Consuming calories is so much easier than burning them. From what I've read and heard, even though exercise is important for general health, decreasing our calorie consumption is where it's at when it comes to losing weight.
I suppose that as I get older (I'll be 36 next week), I need to be more vigilant about the calories I consume.
*While I don't recommend this for health, having homemade cookie dough in the freezer, to make a small number of cookies at any time, is genius.