I had high hopes for this little experiment. I had visions of finding that “sweet spot”, like last year, where I could establish a program where I ate a certain amount of food, exercised a certain amount per week, and reliably lost 1-2 lbs per week. You see, besides the times in the past when I was at a happy weight, this was probably the happiest I felt about weight loss in general. Being stuck chipping away at the last 18 lbs, ounce by ounce, is incredibly frustrating. While I would have told myself a year ago to shut up and die for being angsty about that, but it’s just been such a long quest. I want to see this through to the end. The tunnel keeps getting longer and longer though. 18 lbs would have been a little over two months when I first started. A year ago, it would have been reliably about 4 months. Now – who knows?
I guess the point of my bellyaching is that I really was hoping that this month I would find the magic formula – no, not the “take these magic acai berry pills and become 50 lbs skinnier in 2 weeks” type of magic, but as I said before, the sweet spot. That is, the amount of calories I can eat and not starve myself, and how much I can workout for that calorie intake without overtraining. I know it’s supposed to go down as you lose weight, but for me it almost stayed static from about 235 to 170, and then it become like pulling teeth (though I guess pulling teeth would take off a couple ounces…tee hee). January and February gave me a taste of what it’s like to lose regularly again, but March, oh March – you saw me stall out again like an old hippie’s VW Bus.
Let’s get down to nitty gritties. The first week, I worked out normally (actually increased it a bit due to birthday indulgence guilt) and counted my calories. The second week I worked out the amount the first week dictated by adding up all my calories and applying the formula I determined at the beginning of the month – 9100 calories (or 1300 per day) was the minimum, and with that, I would do the minimum of workouts (3-30 min sessions plus strength and yoga twice). My normal calorie intake was 10200, and I would do my normal workouts at that point (4 a week sessions with about 3.5 hours cardio, strength, and yoga). For each 100 calories over 10200, I would add 7 minutes of intense cardio (running, DDR, or the arc trainer) or 15 minutes of relaxed cardio (walking, biking easily around the neighborhood).
Week 1 (3-1 to 3-7): Calorie intake approximately 11000, cardio 300 minutes/3417 calories burnt. Starting this experiment with my birthday week, where such things as tex mex hangover brunch buffets, wings, burgers, garlic fries, chocolate heaven, and much much more happened was a doozy. I knew I was a little over by the end of the week but 800 calories? Yikes. 8×7 = 56 minutes, so basically, I had to add a whole ‘nother workout day.
Week 2 (3-8 to 3-15): Calorie intake approximately 11100, cardio 270 minutes/3732 calories burnt. Then, the birthday celebrations just kept going. The beginning of the week was great cal-wise, but then there was the comedy club and appetizers and drinks. Then there was Zliten’s birthday party. On top of it, I had to add in an extra workout, which oddly enough seemed to directly correlate with wanting more food. Fancy that!
Week 3 (3-16 to 3-22): Calorie intake approximately 10200, cardio 315 minutes/397o calories burnt. This week I worked REALLY, REALLY hard to get my intake back down so I didn’t have to work out so much the next week. It was miserable. I was grumpy. I just wanted to EAT some days. EAT as much as I wanted, until I felt full, damn the calories. I think there were some day I took bites out of the refrigerator of turkey pepperoni, cheese, chocolate, jelly beans, etc and then just blocked them from my head because I was not going to friggin’ work out for an extra TWO hours the next week. I also found this week I went from craving salty food to sweets. It’s been insane. For the longest time I used to be able to take or leave sweets but now I feel like I could live on fruit, chocolate, etc. For some reason, my body started processing things differently – it wanted FUEL ME NOW food, nothing with staying power.
Week 4 (3-23 to 3-29): Calorie intake approximately 10500, cardio 370 minutes/4418 calories burnt. This week was a little more normal, I was able to keep the intake down alright and I almost missed the extra day of working out. Oh yeah, I didn’t. I went on an epic bike ride instead. I would have been at 10200 but I let myself have a little more than normal Sunday because I burnt so much. I was still having the crazy sweets cravings, but I felt less like I was on a desert island rationing my food, awaiting a rescue.
This week would be a normal workout week if I was going to continue on, but I’m not. I’ve found that I definitely don’t want to eat less – or at least my life doesn’t lend itself to doing so. I also found I don’t really mind working out a bit more, but I also don’t relish HAVING to do it to pay for my sins the week before.
I’ve also reconfirmed that this part of my life is a juxtaposition right now. The healthy living thing that is making me happy is exercise. However, exercise seems to have very little correlation to weight loss. If I do some, it’s good for me. If I do a lot, I don’t seem to do better. The hard part is calorie cutting. I do NOT like limiting my food intake all 7 days of the week. I do NOT like having to restrict fun stuff. However, when I get all uppity about it and become Quix-the-diet-gestapo-grumpsalot, I see progress. I also realize the months where I lose very little weight I AM still making progress. My pants have gone from OK to baggy since March 1. I am a much stronger runner than I was at the beginning of the month. The pants I was wearing yesterday were too-big 11/12s. The new pants I’m wearing today are actually size SIX (though I’m pretty sure they’re vanity sized, I haven’t worn this size since my gymnastics days, can’t deny it feels good!). I’ve increased my weights and reps. I am all around harder, better, faster, and stronger. It’s not all doom and gloom.
That being said, I’m done with being uber focused on the calorie counts, at least for a while. I don’t want to live and die by the amount of food I’m eating. I work out pretty darn hard already, I’d rather not have to work out more just because I indulged a bit. And to top it all off – I lost LESS weight this month than ever – I went from 155 to 152.6 (and let me tell you, I have not seen that number since last Thursday, I’m floating all over the place in the 153-154s).
Anyone else have a better weight loss month last month? Achieved a really awesome goal? Hit me up in the comments to bring a ray of light to this not-so-thrilling post…