Slow and Steady

Friday, September 6, 2013

Same Story, Different Day: My Complaining Diary

Sweat silently.  Let's have no squawking about a little expenditure of energy. 
~Martin H. Fischer

Oh yes, I am still ambitious and I continue to work on the slacker thing, but seriously I should just start calling this blog my complaining diary. You can go back a few years and it tends to be the same theme. Events, half-ass training, feeling fit and awesome then feeling fat and lazy. I guess such is the life of a former athlete and insistent wannabe fit person. Ok, maybe that is a little harsh. I am pretty fit. I can do what I want physically fairly easily. Be it outdoorsy, simply keeping up with kids or the like-- I am healthy, active, strong and yes a fit person. BUT--- yes here comes the complaining. I find that the older I get the more I cling the the vanity of my former, youthful self. I just read a great blog post from Mama Laughlin about her defining "you're fat" moment. And while I can't relate to that episode in her life or resenting others for making look easy (not really an issue for me), I can relate to the point she makes about, "Angry that I had to put so much effort into something I didn't feel like I should." So TRUE! Angry might not be the right word, but certainly frustrated. I don't understand why my brain can't transition to that of a casual athlete. You know, the kind that does a 1/2 marathon 1-3 times a year, I have had an off year so no triathlons this year, but I try to squeeze 1-3 in normally. Certainly a casual athlete is a step above or 2, from a couch potato. So when I say that I get frustrated that keeping weight off is so hard let me explain a bit more about why:
  • Normal. Average. Everyday. Non-athletic people cut 500 calories out of their diet a day and lose 1lb per week.
  • Normal. Average. Everyday. Non-athletic people who begin working our 3-4 times a week begin to lose weight steadily.
  • Normal. Average. Everyday. Non-athletic people who increase their effort to 4-6 times a week, begin to lose weight steadily.
  • Normal. Average. Everyday. Non-athletic people who try Chris Powell's most aggressive Carb Cycling plan The Fit Cycle begin to lose weight steadily.
  • Normal. Average. Everyday. Non-athletic people who changed from a casual basic weight lifting efforts to one that was recommended on a body building fitness competition site (Aussie's routine) begin to lean out.... ok, the muscle thing is working and more muscle burns more calories right? Hope the losing weight part starts up soon.
So yeah, I did all those things. I went to hydrostatic body fat testing, I know my basic calories to breathe is 1956. I know my desk job burns 480 calories. That on weight training days with low cardio I only burn about 250 calories and on higher cardio days it's 600+. I did the first two bullets from May to July and gained weight. Yes I understand it could be muscle, but I also knew I needed to step it up so I added the last 3 bullets these last 6 weeks. Guess what, I began to lose, but at a rate that was just shy of 1 lb a week. It feels like I am swimming against the current. Why is it so hard if I am doing so many things right?

This is where maybe my body still thinks it is an athlete? Should I be eating more? I'm tall. Have an athletic build, save for my soft mid-section. The weight routine is totally working so my muscles obviously remember what they are supposed to do and are responding more quickly that I expected. My bicep definition is there. My back fat is slowly, but surely slimming. I can see my collar bone (vanity points for me) and my quads, which are always somewhat big, have the bulge definition thing going on in the front. So WTF-- pardon my foul abbreviations, but seriously? Like Mama Laughlin said, it shouldn't be this hard! That is where I go back to realizing, maybe I am an average Jane. Maybe it will be this hard F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

My new half-marathon training program started this week. Since this will be my first training cycle, injury and health issue free since January, I am going slow staring with only 4-days a week running. I am hoping with more running and my genuine effort to be faster (First time in A Group which is sub-10 minute miles since 2006) will help with the burn, but only time will tell. I had planned to drop my 5 day a week weight training regiment to 3 days, but I think I'll keep up the current routine at least until the mileage starts to pick up with training, another 5 weeks. Let's see what these muscles can do? I already attribute the easy sub-10 pace at our mile test to the last few months spent on strength training.

Now before you go on guessing medical issues. I do not have PCOCS. It is not Hashimotos. My thyroid is perfect. My cortisol, blood pressure, insulin and any other battery of tests you can think of I have taken and passed with flying colors. I am the picture of health. So why can't I be happy with all that? I guess I kind of need that number. I know it is dumb. I want my belly to be flatter, my jeans size to be a 10 in stead of a 12. The scale to read 180 something not 190 something. So on Sunday I'll do another hydrostatic body fat test. The last one was in January and I was 24% body fat. Ideally I'd be all the things I listed and living in the 20-22% range when I am not in peak training and more like 18-20% when I am going at it hard core. I was 18% not too long ago... Like just 2 years ago, so it is hard for me to accept, that 24% is the best I can do when I am working for it. So wish me luck, that even if I didn't lose weight or fat, that maybe, just maybe I have gained a couple new pounds of lean body mass and that some day soon I'll figure this stupid eating thing out.

I almost think that the whole MyFitnessPal thing is not for me. That maybe if I just ate without thinking about it so much, it would all fall into place. I wasn't fat as a child. I had a 2 true FAT years when I stopped playing Div 1 basketball and was finishing up my degree. But the clear and vast majority of my life I have been fit. When I wasn't, it was pizza and beer so I knew why I wasn't feeling and looking awesome and easily fixed it with a re-connection to an exercise routine. It has not been so easy the last couple of years and I will admit the first year, I didn't try very hard because I didn't think I had too. I was certain it was a health related thing---I am a blamer. But after a year-ish of tests, I started trying, then trying harder and now my current effort and the fact that I am not leaning out quickly is just pissing me off now.

The Big Picture: I have a long life ahead of me, if my metabolism has slowed down or my body decided it really likes 190+ and a size 12, I might not be able to do anything about it. If I workout consistently, mostly eat well and can do all the physical things in life I want to, I might just start to focus on the good, instead of this tiny little 10 lb perceived problem just for vanity's sake.
Why I Kick A$$: So glad I was active as a child and built the muscular foundation I have now. I am really beginning to have an affinity for lifting weights and rocking my new more defined muscles.

Thankful Three:
  1. For a patient husband who puts up with my endless MyFitnessPal iPhone App use.
  2. For my body, yes I spend a lot time being frustrated, but I am so lucky to be so able bodied and active.
  3. For a forum where I can go MIA forever and just pop right back in and unload my craziness.