Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When Going "Extreme" - Does'nt Result In a Loss

This week I made it a goal to "go extreme" and go by the book. After 2 weeks and a total of 5lbs in losses I thought to myself - "what you have been doing is working but, lets really kick this up a notch and see how far we can really take this".

So I set out to work out and eat right. I worked out 5 days last week for - 60-80 min- of high impact cardio and managed to gather and extra 70 activity points! While I had one 'fun' night of going out and dancing (and drinking), I managed to eat really well this week too. I ate either vegetarian, or chicken or fish - and left wine out of my vocabulary for the week ( a tough one for me) and managed to stay around 5-10 points under my allotment everyday. By my weigh-in date, my clothes where fitting looser and I was confident I would see big results on the scale.

While I was telling my leader about my fabulous week of "activity" and doing the "weight watchers take off your shoes" dance, I was gleefully boasting about my week of progress. My leader had a nervous look on her face and asked if I had been eating enough to maintain my workouts - she did not share my gleeful tone - instead she looked worried. Sure enough I managed to gain 2lbs - and my leader knew I would gain before I even stepped on the scale.

So What Happend?

I expected her to mention that I had put on muscle, and give me a bunch of mumbo jumbo about measurements going down and concentrating on that. Instead, she got real with me. She mentioned that I need to eat at least half my activity points if I am going to work out that hard. A two week loss and then a sudden extreme uptake in workouts and down take in food threw my body into "starvation mode" she mentioned that while this weight gain is partially about muscle gain, but she also suspected that my body when into retention mode.

You have to think of your metabolism like a furnace -- if you don't keep fuel in the furnace, the fire will die down and go out. when you don't eat enough, your metabolisum goes into "save" mode. Human bodies are designed this way, to withstand and survive starvation conditions. Feeling hungry may mean you are in this kind of counter-productive metabolic state.

While exercise is an essential part of maintaining long-term weight control, there is in fact such a thing as doing too much exercise, or exercising too intensely. Exercise is hormonally depleting, If exercise is experienced as stressful, this can stress the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands make cortisol in response to stress. When there is too much cortisol release, the body goes into the "save" mode I mentioned earlier, and will retain weight, especially around the midsection. (you can read more about this here)

My Reaction

Instead of being able to take this news in stride I burst into tears. Like - water POURING out of your eyes and not being able to control it! Thats right, I cried at a weight watchers meeting - and while my pride was a little shaky, she and my fellow members took this experience and made it the majority of the meeting topic. Having a forum to talk about this and also realize I wasn't the only one to have a week like this (there we 2 other people in the room with very similar experiences this week), and most members in the room could relate or had the exact same expereince. Almost everyone in the room participated, which made me realize I'm not alone in this at all. Infact everyone can have a week like this, what is important is we learned the NEXT steps to make a change without being detoured from the A++ we we had with working out and tracking.

So Now What?

What surprised me most about my meeting this week was my leader said THIS week would be one of my most challenging. Really its not about my body doing the right thing, its going to be about my head doing the right thing. These are the weeks where people give up because all of the mental and physical motivation I had this previous week which week gave me an opposite result.

I plan on adding in a little afternoon snack on days that I work out intensely. On these days especially I plan to be sure to intake at least all of my daily calories to make sure I dont create a deficit. I think that adding in a smart point plus snack throughout my day will really help keep my metabolic furnace burning.

I'm not going to let this snap my motivation out of me - I deserve to loose weight, and i'm going to keep working hard to get to my goals.

Which brought me to this last thought. This is exactly why I started this blog, so I could share these experiences with others and look back on hard weeks like this and reflect on what hasn't been working. All of my life, my mentality was to loose weight all you have to do is eat right and work out more and watch the pounds melt away. So naturally taking that idea to the extreme should result in faster weight-loss - right? Wrong! The real trick to loosing weight is to find balance. While I don't want to decrease my workouts (i'm having a blast doing zumba) maybe instead of going under points so often i'll try to actually enjoy a little of that hard work that I worked so hard to give myself.

Update- Oct 26th
After working hard and eating right, I weighed in this week, and low and behold I lost a whopping 4lbs! Not giving up and keeping my head in the game really paid off. I'm so glad i stuck with it!

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