Thursday, June 23, 2011

Every month I get to the "I can't stand it any more" and BodyStep

I'm referring to my monthly stall out. When it starts, I'm always a little like, "Well, that weight loss was fun... guess it's over now... Oh well, this too shall pass." For the first week of the stall out I sometimes see a small loss and that keeps me 'OK' for awhile, but then the gain. It's somewhat comical, but it gets me at the same time. When I go to bed at night I can predict pretty accurately what I'll see in the morning, so it's the dread in the evening as I step on the scale. It slowly creeps up and it just takes me further and further from where I was. I get to the point where I pleading with my body to just OVULATE so we can get this over with.

Then I do ovulate and I know things will get better, but... it takes my body several days to lose that water weight. I guess it's hoping to catch a fertilized egg? (not happening!) And when it realizes there is no new baby to support, it finally lets the water go. My body knows what it's doing and it's doing it for a reason and doing it consistently, but my head can't deal with it.

Every month at about this point I start to reach my breaking point. I start to doubt everything I'm doing. Am I eating too much (Old fears)? Am I eating too little (New fears)? Am I exercising enough? Is this the month I will plateau and not lose anything?

Reality is for about 20 days a month I lose nothing and slightly gain - month after month. Then for about 10 days I lose my month's worth of weight in one big rush. It feels great when I get to the whoosh, but I start to doubt the whoosh will happen and every month when I get to that point, like that day or the day after the water weight starts to disappear. Yet how can I be certain it will?

So, my new fear as I'm teetering on the cusp of the monthly weight loss (I hope) is that maybe I've cut back on calories too much. And how can I know? Sure, I feel slight hunger, but I did when I started this too when I was eating far more. I'm trying to follow my body's clues, but I'm learning our body's clues can be trained. Your hunger response is partially trained. If it's used to being fed at certain times, the body will start to feel hungry - even when it's not. The opposite is also true, if your body actually needs fuel, it might not send hunger signs if it knows it never gets fed during that time.

What has happened over the last 6 months is that my calories have gotten lower and lower not by some decision I've made, but by me just not feeling as hungry and since I won't eat just to eat, it means I'm consuming way less. Right now that caloric intake is around 1100-1200 and that's with an hour of exercise thrown in there.

But should I worry if that is too little? I have energy. I can do tough workouts. I don't feel faint or weak. I feel the same as I've felt since I got my health back in order. But have I trained my body that it just won't get food, so it doesn't ask for it. Or, does it not need it, so it's not asking for it. And how can I know?

There is so much out there that says a woman shouldn't eat below 1200 calories a day for nutritional needs, but I think that's baloney. A 4'11" woman can't needs the same calories as a 5'11" tall woman. A 20 year old woman can't need to same as a 70 year old woman and so on. Plus, that number used to be 1000 and for some reason it was changed to 1200. Why the change?

I was just shown a calculator for optimal calories for my weight, age height and activity level. It said I should be eating 1624 calories a day for extreme fat loss (extreme fat loss was not explained, but I'll assume it means 2 pounds a week). That is a lot more than I am eating. Sure, I could eat that much quite easily by upping my fat and protein intake, but do I 'need' it? And how can I know?

So, I'm struggling here a bit with knowing what to do. Stay the same or up my calories a bit (with nutritious foods - not junk). My hunger signals aren't working well for me now, so that's not a good indicator for my needs.

Ironically, I am hungry right now (Oh, I used to get headaches when I got hungry, but now I think that was part of the carb crashing and not a sign of true hunger). I guess I should grab something else for breakfast. Like a hobbit, second breakfast.

Now, about going to the gym. So, I've done Zumba twice, but another class that was appealing to me was BodyStep . I got a little worried when I was talking to the lady I talk to everyday at school drop off. She goes to the gym regularly and seems to be pretty fit. She said she took that class once and that she found it really tough. Now, she prefaced it with she hadn't done step since 199X, but still... she's more fit than me!

Then I got to the class. I had seen in the rooms before that they use the same step that I have at home, so that would be good as my foot would know where the step was - the height size, etc., but what I saw was that the women in that class were lean mean machines. I was definitely the biggest person in the room. There was one other woman with a bit of a stomach pudge and the woman in front of me was about 50 and slightly overweight, but I was the oddball in the classroom. I even texted my husband that I was a bit scared of the class.

At the beginning of the class the instructor asked if anyone was new to BodyStep and I raised my hand. She came, introduced herself and asked if I had done step before. I said I had been doing it in my basement to videos. She said it's a bit different than normal step routines in that it does intervals and she was happy to see I was starting with a step with no risers and she wished me luck. During class a couple times she asked if I was doing OK and off we went.

The class does a lot of high impact. I probably did 50% of the higher impact stuff depending in how I felt at the moment and my thoughts on how it would impact my bladder control. My heart rate was between 144-160 the entire time with once getting to about 165. I did the full hour and it felt great. After class the gal who was behind me said that I did great and she would have never guessed it was my first class and then the instructor came and said I did great too. That made me feel good. I have so far to go yet in my fitness, but I was happy to see that I could indeed do most of it. Well, I did all of the steps, just skipped the jumping parts here and there.

And that is the beauty of step routines. It is competely adaptable to all fitness levels. For someone not fit, the routine can be done mostly on the floor or on and off the step depending on how one feels. It can be where I am - no risers, all the steps and all or none of the propulsion/lift. Then I'll up it to more propulsion, then add a riser, then maybe another riser. There were some women in this class that were serious, seriously fit and they got a good workout because of a higher step, strong jumping and huge movements. You can't do that as much with Zumba.

Anyway it was great and I'll be doing it again. Now I need to find some strength training class too. Not that I want to, but I need to. There are a couple options - body pump, bodyvive  and total conditioning.

Stats for 6/23/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 203.4 (slowly coming down - way too slowly)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 193
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 517/1000

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