Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Eat and Lose?

Wow, it's been awhile! Dear Twitloss, it's been many, MANY months since my last confession.....

Today's post is sponsored by Debbie Allen talking about the cost of fame.

Iconic, no? It also seems to be correct. Except, instead of fame we're talking a better body. A healthier body? If you follow me on twitter you've been seeing a bunch of workout tweets with crazy calorie burns for the past month. Awesome, right? Well, yes. But, there are still pitfalls lurking to screw with your head (via the scale) and your metabolism. I hate pitfalls.

So, the workouts: I dropped my fancy pants gym (FPG) and joined the Y. Now, I loved FPG, but my employer set up a deal with the Y's around the city for employees and the cost per month is nearly half FPG. For what I was doing there, it certainly wasn't worth double the price. Plus, I can go to any Y in the city AND there is one about 3 minutes from my house. Can't beat that. The one closest to me is pretty small, but they do have some fun classes there, and there is one a little farther away which has MORE classes. I wasn't big on classes at FPG, but they now make up the majority of my workout. The schedule:

Monday -- Zumba! There are two zumba classes, Monday and Wednesday. The Monday class is more latin inspire, the Wednesday class is more hip hop inspired. Both are fun, but the Wednesday class is killer. My knees protested, so Monday zumba it is. Weights before if I can get there in time.

Tuesday -- wildcard. No Y on Tuesdays. I either do something at home (treadmill, exercise dvd, zumba on the playstation, etc) or it's a rest day.

Wednesday -- Step aerobics. I tried this for the first time on a Saturday morning and it was NOT the beginning class. Oops. I stayed for the whole thing. I didn't die. But, I decided the beginning class was really where I belonged. It's still hard as ****. Weights before if I can get there in time. Weights after if I'm not exhausted.

Thursday -- Urban Line Dancing. Dancing is supposed to be fun, right? Um.....last week I burned 826 calories having "fun" for an hour. Bring. It. On.

Friday -- Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Rest day. WHOOOO!

Saturday -- Weights and Cardio at the Y. Treadmill? Elliptical? Stationary Bike? You know.

Sunday -- Usually a rest day, but if the spirit moves me I might walk a mile. An easy day.

It's great fun, but guess what? The scale wasn't moving. No, these aren't olympic sized workouts, but going from relatively nothing to relatively a lot should move the gauge, right? The first week, it was all good. 5lbs down! Then.....crickets. So what could be the problem? I smell pitfall.....

Calorie count could be off -- this is always a possibility. But, I'm using a heart rate monitor, the kind with a chest strap so it continually monitors and you're not stopping to take your pulse, so the count was as accurate as I was likely to get.

Food logging was off -- it's always a possibility that you're eating MORE than you're recording. In fact, it's almost always a SURE THING you're eating more than you're recording. I have a food scale, and I measure things, but I'm not a fanatic. (unless, of course, you think having a food scale makes you a fanatic.....) And, there is always a pinch or a taste here and there, right? But was it enough of a pinch or taste to offset 700 and 800 calorie workouts 4-5 days a week? No.

Hmmmm.....definitely not at a plateau, because I haven't been doing anything long enough to plateau. So, wtf?

I've been a Sparkpeople member since 2007 and I like many things about the site. But, a friend of mine started using and I joined on there so we could be "friends" and I found it was a stripped down version that I liked. She uses it on her smartphone, I use it over the web. I'm sure there are lots of features I don't use, but it's great for logging food and exercise. I began noticing something, though. It would subtract the exercise cals from your daily allottment.

Say what?!

So, I started on May 19th, Lose It thinks I should eat 1684 cals a day. I like that number. Turns out, though, after exercise, I had a net of 523 calories. Hmmmm. If you think you can do anything on 523 calories a day, you are sadly mistaken. If you keep that up, for say......5 weeks.....then your body will go into starvation mode. Sparkpeople, for all it's good qualities, doesn't make the connection between calories in and calories out. Lose It does it, not only for the day, but tallies it up for the week, which makes it even more plain how I was getting in the way of my own progress.

5 weeks ago: 1,706 calories UNDER my weekly budget
4 weeks ago: 542 calories under
3 weeks ago: 739 calories under
2 weeks ago: 2,661 calories under (someone call a doctor!)
last week: 2,749 calories under

And all of these numbers came with going over daily calorie counts 1 or 2 days a week. Something is definitely not right with that picture.

Now, conventional wisdom would be -- if you're working out and eating fewer calories than advised, you should weigh less. A lot less. That isn't what was happening, though. Instead, my body was all pissed off because it was hungry! There is no way any doctor would tell me to eat 500, 700, 900 calories a day, right? The fewest I've ever heard suggested to anyone was 1200 cals. The amount of calories you're allotted IS the diet. 1200, 1600, etc. It's so much better than the 2000, 3000, 6000 (oops!) you were eating before. So to go below that is just insane.

Now, yes, my clothes fit better. Down a size already. Yes, building muscle. But that would have happened anyway, and I'd probably be farther along than I am if I would have simply eaten my exercise calories. For more on that concept, click here.

So, my goal for this week is to EAT MORE! Yeah, I kinda like the sound of that. Instead of being 800+ calories under budget at the end of the day, I'd like to hit the number right on, or be a little under. Yesterday, I was 158 under at the end of the day.

Is this the answer? Who knows. Maybe the problem is inaccurate logging, or a faulty heart rate monitor calorie counter. But, even if the numbers don't change dramatically, it will be one pitfall overcome.

Happy Tuesday!


Tiffany @ KindleVixen on June 21, 2011 at 12:39 PM said...

I'm doing the same thing... this week I'm eating all (or almost all) my points. I feel icky doing it tho.. it is hard because I still have in my head "eat less, lose more". But you can't really build muscle if you aren't fueling your body either. :)

This post reminds me I need to dig out my heart rate monitor tho!

robin on June 22, 2011 at 4:29 AM said...

Me too. It's like you're not supposed to! Like you're doing good if you have a lot left over. Sigh.


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