Wait a sec... let me come up with some important milestone for doing this today (other than having finished my work and being in an analytical mood).
Okay! It's been about six weeks since I flipped the switch in my mind from holiday slug-fest to training mode. My goals were to:
- Clean up my diet and look at food decisions as appropriate fuel for my body
- Drop my weight down to a more comfortable number than where it was sitting in December
- Get my base running back up to where it needed to be
- And to do that without sacrificing strength training and my brand new yoga schedule
Let's start with weight, since that's always the easy one. Here are my averages for the weeks I've been tracking (average taken from daily weigh-ins, because I like to see what's up with my body on a daily basis [and graphs are fun!]).
My lowest weight in that time has been 55.7kg (122.7), which was also my lowest weight since October. Generally my 'goal weight' is anywhere between 120-125 pounds, but I really prefer to be on the lower side of that. By the time I get up past 124, I'm starting to feel fluffy again.
And if there's one thing I don't want joining me on my little 42k journey, it's an extra five pounds of fluff.
So, I've had a downward trend overall, with one slight spike in the middle (which was due to a single day wtf spike of almost a full kilogram). I've held pretty steady for the last couple weeks, and I'm expecting a swing up this week unless my body decides to drop the extra couple pounds it's been holding on to for the last few days.
I'd be much more comfortable if I could get myself down into the mid 55's (so closer to that 122 pound range), but with my mileage increasing that's going to be difficult. The fact that my weight is up this week is something to keep an eye on. I want to make sure I'm understanding why so that I can pull out the bad reasons that could be sabotaging my progress. Weight gain while training isn't unexpected, but I'd like to avoid that (or at least avoid the wrong kind of weight gain). I'd actually like to be in my comfort zone so that I have a couple pounds to spare, rather than being at the top of that zone right now.
So - acceptable reasons that my weight might be trending up:
- I've doubled my weekly mileage in the last two weeks and nearly doubled my calorie burn amount. That's a lot more physical activity for my body to react to.
- I was keeping my carbs below 200g up until last week, when I averaged closer to 250. That could have given me some lower weight readings than I'm used to, followed by a 'gain'.
- I'm at the part of the month where I typically hold on to more weight. My lowest weigh ins were two weeks ago, during my usual low period. I haven't scrutinized my weight this closely in a while, so I usually just ignore hormonal fluctuations.
And some factors I could improve or eliminate:
- I didn't drink enough water over the weekend, and I've felt dehydrated a couple times.
- I've had some higher sodium days.
- I've had a couple iffy food decisions.
- I've had trouble sleeping
So, if I do continue to see higher weights this week, that's a good sign that I could use some dietary clean-up (and really, dietary clean-up never hurts). Especially with Valentine's day coming up soon. A good portion of this upswing is just natural fluctuation, but I don't need to be helping it along with poor habits.
Which brings us to....
It's been really good at times, and kinda okay at others. The good news is that I've really improved some of the bad habits I fell into at the end of last year. Go me!
On the treat front (because that's what was causing me issues) I've kept my cheap convenience store treat ban in place, even though I was thiiiiis close to eating about 700 calories in doritos and chocolate bar the other night. I said no thanks to both a cookie day and a cake day at work, and for the most part the treats have been limited to our weekend market stops (mmm... mocha), which means good quality stuff. I still need to improve on eating things in the home just because we're there. We don't always have sweet stuff on hand, but if it shows up, I'll probably eat it. I didn't really need a full cup of ice cream that one day, and I probably could have done with half a trail mix cookie. Two of those over the course of the week added up to an extra 600 calories.
And this all comes back to planning, which is more important now than ever. I'm starting to edge into the territory where I can't do a really low calorie day. I tried that on Monday (I usually have a lighter meal on monday following my higher calorie long run days), and it almost ended in disaster. I had 1350 planned... and an hour after dinner, I attacked the pantry and ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich. That was the day I barely stopped myself from running down to the store and buying ALL OF THE TREATS. It's a scary mental place to be in, especially since I'm not prone to binging. Obviously I was missing something from my diet that day.
I've had a couple moments like that in the last week, and they don't seem to be emotional or caused by boredom. I'm thinking it's time to adjust my calorie range. I didn't realize until today that I accidentally had it set at an overly aggressive goal. It's only about three pounds less than where I'm at, but the time limit I plugged in months ago is coming up soon. Because I've basically been maintaining, Spark now thinks I want to lose three pounds in three weeks. Not gonna happen. Especially since my weekly calorie burn has already gone up by 1500, and we haven't even cracked 20k on our long runs yet.
So, I think I'm going to reset my weight loss goal for and see where that puts me. In fact, I'm going to do that right now:
And my calorie range just got bumped by nearly 500 calories per day (1700 - 2050 now).
The challenge is to make those good quality calories. I think I'll stick to the lower end of that for now, aiming for 1700-ish on non long run days, and see how that affects my weight and energy level over the next couple weeks. Of course, that means I really need to clean up the diet and track accurately - I don't want spontaneous cookies contaminating my results. We're going out for Valentine's/Anniversary dinner on the 17th, so that'll give me a nice testing window.
Honestly, I've been reluctant to eat more because I know what calorie range allows me to lose weight under normal circumstances. I know the science behind it and I know that my body needs fuel for what I'm doing to it, but there's still a slight mental block. I need to look at this objectively, test it out, and see if it works.
runrunrunrunrunrunrurn... so much running!
Actually, it's not too bad yet. I've been doing five days a week, and they've been in my usual ranges - 6k for the tempo and steady runs, long runs in the low-mid teens. The biggest change is that before this, I was skipping my easy Saturday run more often than not. I'm glad I've mostly kept up with the weekly schedule, even when not training for a specific race, because I haven't had to deal with the shock of going from one outdoor run per week to five, like I did for my first HM clinic. This week will be the first real increase in distance for me since October, but I feel ready for it.
I have been feeling some slight aches and pains in the calf muscle I injured and the hip that's been an issue since I was a teenager. Nothing serious yet, but I made a physio appointment anyway. If something's not right, I want to catch it before it causes trouble.
On top of that, there's the usual strength training and the yoga I added in this year. That's been a great addition - I really love having 30-60 minutes to just unwind and relax my body on the weekend. I put off yoga for ages because it seemed like another time sink (especially when the long runs start turning into multiple hour affairs), but I think my body appreciates it.
So, that's been the last six weeks (and really, the last two since training really started). I feel like I've made a lot of progress from how I was feeling at the end of December.