I know how this goes, but it doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating to be in it…

Not always frustrating, sometimes smiley miles in the sun and cat buttholes

This time of year sucks to try and lose weight. I have all the excuses. It’s too cold or allergerific to get outside and walk. I’m braving it for short runs but not interested in going on close-to-freezing-in-the-dark walks after work so my steps/calorie burn is super low besides my actual training. I’m keeping up with about 80% of my planned training (3x weights, 2x run 2x bike 1x brick) but on non-run days, only I’m averaging a few thousand steps max since all I do is walk back and forth from my office to the kitchen (for tea) to the bathroom (because tea) a few times a day. I know how this goes and I probably need to try and reduce my calories a little further until my garmin stops giving me daily step goals in the 3-4k range.

Maybe avoid these types of things for a few months 😛

I’m actually doing rather okay at sticking to 1500 calories average – 1586 for the last seven days – but my weight is still stuck. My average weight on Jan 19 was 194.0, and still today it is 194.0. On the bright side, I haven’t gained, but it’s super frustrating that I haven’t lost anything yet. Like I said, I know how this goes. For some reason, it usually takes me about 3-6 weeks of trying to lose weight before my body actually decides to get with the effing program. And instead of having enthusiasm at a new goal and being buoyed by some initial progress, I just feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall. I just have to remember that eventually I’ll break through and the alternative is backsliding (like the last two years) so keep at it I shall.

So, let’s move beyond whining and solve problems.

Problem #1 – I am eating too many calories at my current rate of calorie burn.

So, I need to burn more or eat less. At this point of the year with the cold weather, shorter days, and current work schedule, I’m going to choose to eat less on average. I’m going to try for 1350 calories average. This equates to about 3 days at 1200 calories and 4 days at 1500 calories with some room for error. It’s tough, but doable. I just need to limit my splurges to what I really want, and let’s face it, that splurge is going to be whiskey so I need to watch my food intake.

This will always be the last splurge to go

I haven’t eaten this low cal in a while, but let’s look at a sample day that I could feasibly see doing now (without a lot of meal prep) cutting as many calories as possible but getting good nutrition in:

  • Breakfast: Protein smoothie (quest protein powder, strawberries, coconut milk) ~200 calories
  • Lunch: Brothy soup and big garden salad (leaving off the fun stuff like cheese and croutons) ~350 calories
  • Snack: Quest chips ~130 calories
  • Dinner: snap kitchen or frozen meal (up to 500 calories)
  • Chocolate square: 40 calories

This keeps me from going crazy low on protein and also doesn’t go low carb but keeps me right around 1200. Lately, I’ve been tolerant of increasing my calories a little here and there because things are yummy (like croutons on a salad) and I need to be shaving them everywhere I can. Maybe it’s okay if my food intake is mostly boring for a while to achieve a goal. It’s not every day and it’s not forever. A couple days a week I can splurge a little, and I’ll be INCREDIBLY motivated to get out and move more when the world allows so I can be a little less restrictive.

The best snack of them all

I’m also frustrated with running. Wait, let me clarify so the universe and karma doesn’t do me a bad – I’m super happy I’m able to run again regularly and pain free. This is everything. However, I am so slooooooow. My stride is garbage, I feel like a bag of rocks thumping around my neighborhood. I made the right choice sticking to 2-3 miles a few times a week until I don’t feel like I’m running like Phoebe and I just need to keep at it, but since this is my post-o-whining, I’ll mention it here. I miss fast runs where I felt awesome and powerful. I want them back. I have much work to get there. Not much problem solving to do here besides keep weight training to get stronger, keep losing weight to get lighter, and keep doing my 2-3 miles three times a week.

What this means is I need to keep a schedule, and right now I’m hitting 80% of my meager 5h training plan instead of 100%. I find I am better at the beginning of the week, I fall off in the middle, and the weekend is sometimes a toss-up – here I am today with ~1h30 min of biking and 30 mins of running left, and not sure how much of that I’m up for on a day I was supposed to have completely off. During the week, I tend to hit my morning sessions well, lunch is hit or miss, and trying to do anything after work is laughable right now.

I need to hit 100% of my workouts regularly (especially because I still need to add a sport back). So, let’s problem solve:

Problem #2 – I’m skipping sessions when I have a fully reasonable training plan

So why did I skip my training this week? I did fine Monday through Wednesday. On Wednesday, I had a few beverages, so I slept in Thursday (and didn’t bike in the morning). Which is fine, I had a window at lunch… which I ended up working through to prep for an afternoon full of meetings. After work we were so tired, we just noped out of everything and watched TV in bed. Then, Friday, I did my weights in the morning and then was absolutely ROLLING at work being productive (Friday is the one day I don’t have back-to-back meetings for 6+ hours) and told myself I’d hit it as soon as my short afternoon meeting block (1-3:30) was done. Well, my “short” meeting block ended up more like 1-4:30, and went through some very frustrating stuff through the afternoon and still had work to get done. All of a sudden it was 8pm and yeah, no way. And all that meant we slacked off yet again. I managed to get one bike done yesterday, and looking to ride again today, but not sure I have the oomph to make it a brick.

Talking through this, I need to understand that mornings are my friend. I probably need to move the cardio there. It’s much easier to snake 20 minutes somewhere else in the day to get a few circuits done instead of trying to will myself to get on the bike or run for 30-45 mins during a very busy day. I seem to have luck with lunch workouts Mon-Wed though, so I can probably count on those. Then, what does a schedule with this in mind look like:

Gonna be easier when I can go play outside more (and the gym) but muddling through
  • Monday: 2-3 mile run AM, weights lunch
  • Tuesday: 30-45 min bike AM
  • Wednesday: 2-3 mile run AM, weights lunch
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: 30-45 min bike AM, weights lunch (or before dinner)
  • Saturday: 1h bike/30 min run brick
  • Sunday: off

I seem to have success with Monday and Wednesday workouts at lunch, so may stick with my previous schedule (the run and weights switched) until the weather isn’t in the 30s before work. 😛

The worst day for me to complete workouts lately has been Fridays. Since I actually have a morning off meetings to work, I hate cutting into it with two workouts. I can certainly get the circuits done (and usually do) but I often end up skipping my lunch workouts. The obvious change it to move it to Thursday, but my body appreciates having a day off mid-week to rest. I may just make it a loose goal to get it done earlier in the week and if I don’t, it’s just non-negotiable for Friday, I have to make it work (by doing it in the morning and squeezing weights in at another time).

The next problem is how I’m going to put swimming on this schedule too in the next few weeks, but I’ll work to solve these two first. 🙂

Yeah, need to return here soon.

Let me conclude by saying it’s not all crap. My cycling is going well and I’m able to hold a few mph more on the trainer more than I was a month ago. Three months ago I couldn’t do one pushup from my toes, and Friday, I did two sets of 15. I’m not perfect but I am prioritizing recovery, doing at least two things from the recovery arsenal each day (boots, stretch, roll, massage, ice). I could be sleeping better, but my average sleep time and score (thanks garmin for gamifying sleep!) is much better than it was late 2021. I remember to do hobby things at least a few times a week and optimizing my time fairly decently most days. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows right now. It’s okay, I know how this goes and I just need to keep being patient and persistent.