Losing the Excess Baggage.November 19, 2012 at 11:36 am | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away), Choosing Happiness., My life, NaBloPoMo | 4 Comments
About a month ago, I was looking at my race pictures from October 2010 and May 2012. I was wearing identical running capri tights in both pictures, and I looked much heavier in the race picture from May of this year.
And not surprisingly, the picture from May 2012 I was gritting my teeth and trying with all my might to get over the finish line, whereas in 2010 I was smiling, thrilled with my time. And the difference in time for those two races? 6 minutes.
This year, I’ve been hovering between 3 and 5lbs over what I call my maintenance weight, which is actually about 5lbs heavier than my ideal weight. It’s the product of a year of fertility treatments and plateauing in my running. My training this year was so spotty; I took time off for injuries in the beginning of the year, then again for a IVF cycle, then again when I sprained my ankle.
So at the end of the day, I’m about 5-10lbs heavier than I’d like to be. Which, yes, I will admit. My maintenance weight put me squarely into normal BMI. Truly, I am probably FINE.
Except I have some pretty aggressive running goals for this upcoming year. And when you’re a runner, less weight equals easier runs at a given pace, because you have to expend less energy to get your bulk MOVING. I read a statistic recently: for every pound you lose, you will be able to race about two seconds per mile faster.
Granted, that is within the NORMAL BMI limits. Being underweight can hurt you, too.
But being underweight, honestly, is not my trouble.
So the week after my D&E, I joined myfitnesspal. I have heard great things about the site, and I wanted to check it out.
And I can’t believe I waited so long to do it; I LOVE it.
I lost 25lbs a couple of years ago using the weight watchers online program. And then they went and changed their formula, and I was no longer able to come in at my daily “points” allowance with the foods I ate. They gave me weekly points, and every time I exercised, I got more points – which they added ONLY to my weekly food allowance. It would work out that on a weekly basis, I was okay. But for me, it was so disheartening to close out every day over my daily points. And so I stopped and got my money back.
Myfitnesspal AUTOMATICALLY increases your daily calorie ration by the amount of calories you burned from exercise. They base their whole plan on net calories, which is your daily allowance + calories gained from exercise – calories consumed during the day.
So every day that I walk, or do yardwork, or ride a bike, or run, I get more calories that day, to eat. And I can plan for my “splurges” on a day where I’ve gained 650 calories from a 14-mile spin session at the gym, or something.
Since I joined, I’ve lost 5lbs.
And already, I feel better. My pants, which had been kind of tight, are much looser. My runs are starting to feel great – which could be a result of my fitness coming back, yes. But being lighter helps.
And I’ve discovered through tracking my calories a couple of things that surprise me.
Often times, I will eat when I’m not actually hungry. I haven’t been able to figure out why it happens, but I notice I will often start to wander my house, looking in the pantry and fridge for something to eat. It’s this feeling of restlessness, this sort of anxiety, to OCCUPY my time with doing something.
So I’ve taken to making myself a cup of herbal tea instead, and it helps.
I am also someone who needs to have something sweet every night. And I’ve discovered that the snack size peppermint patties are PERFECT for me. Sweet, dark chocolatey enough for me to really stop and savor it, but low enough calorie (seriously, 60 calories per snack size patties!) that I don’t really have to worry about it.
And they are so MINTY – almost overpowering – that I don’t really want to eat more than one.
It’s been a balance between the Control Freak me and the Balanced Me. The Control Freak me wants to eat chicken breast and broccoli every day for dinner, because I know it’s lower in calories. The Balanced Me keeps reminding the Control Freak that chicken and broccoli is BORING. That eating should be enjoyment of food, too. And if you’re smart, enjoy the absolutely FANTASTIC spicy-fig-and-lamb stew that Charlie Brown made last night, even if it’s not ideal in terms of calories. (Because, OMG, it was amazing. Amazing enough that I’m having it for lunch!)
Portion control, too, is key. I am always surprised at how different my PERCEPTION of a half cup is versus what it REALLY is. And I’ve taken to eating my dinner in much smaller bowls and plates, so it feels like my plate is full.
I’ve also enjoyed figuring out how to add in exercise to increase my calories for the day. Like, for example, I walked 3 miles for my RE’s appointment the other day – to and from – because I knew it was Friday, and Charlie would be home, and I wanted to have a beer with him that night after dinner.
I feel like I’m losing excess baggage right now. It’s a focus on things other than IVF; getting myself into shape for 2013, where I will run a marathon and hopefully shave some time off my half marathon finish times.
It’s a way to help make peace with this body of mine, which seems largely unable to nourish another living being.
It’s a start, anyway.