Health, Diets and Exercise
Look, I have been struggling with this all my life. I can vividly remember going on my first diet in high school. (Now, when I look back at pictures I can't help but wonder why I was so hard on myself. I think now that I looked pretty good then) Over the years I have been successful at losing a lot of weight and I have been successful at gaining weight. Each phase of my life has been different though. After college losing weight was different than losing weight after having a baby. Now I am learning to learn to lose weight during menopause.
I have never been good at exercising primarily because I have a lot of issues with my joints and have struggled with pain and movement for as long as I can remember. Last year I had my 2nd hip replaced. Since doctors warned me it would take at least an entire year to fully recover, I am just now realizing I can do things I haven't been able to do in over 25 years! This is very motivating!!!
I started my "lifestyle makeover" at New Years with great gusto. I committed to exercising every day. And I have done it! (This is a first for me! ) I began riding my stationary bike 30 minutes a day. I also started using the My Fitness Pal app and staying under 1200 cal a day. Believe me when I tell you, I have done every other wieghtloss program out there. I don't want to do points or shakes or eat freeze dried expensive food or anything complicated. So this app is perfect for me. Its so simple and flexible. The first week I lost 8 lbs. (water anyone? lol) The next 4 weeks were a steady 1-2 lbs a week. At about week 4 or so I decided to up my game and exercise an hour a day. I was riding my bike and add strength training with hand weights to my daily routine. I continued to keep my calories under 1200/day.
My Fitness Pal will calculate how many calories you burn doing a certain activity. They add those calories back into your daily allowance. So with an hr of exercise they were telling me to eat almost 1700 calories a day. This made no sense to me. If I am exercising to burn calories why would I want to add them back in? So I stuck with staying under 1200 calories. I was not starving. I was eating healthy 1200 calories with plenty of protein and fiber. I didn't feel deprived or hungry. I wasn't even really craving anything.
But, to my shock, horror and disappointment, when I added the extra exercise the first week, I lost NOTHING. I was so disappointed. I decided to stick with it hoping for a big loss the following week...but again...NOTHING! Determined, I stuck with it yet another week...and then it happened....something I never expected and was totally unprepared for...I gained a pound!!!! How is that even possible?? An hour of exercise a day and under 1200 calories - how does a person GAIN a pound??
It was at this very time that I was going away on a mini-vacation with my children. Perfect timing because now I was upset and needed a break from all this. We toured colleges for my son. College tours are at least 2 hours of walking always with lots of stair and hills. And when we weren't visiting colleges, we were sight-seeing, on foot of course. I got plenty of exercise. I was active for the three days. BUT I was also eating. I was happy beyond words and not thinking about that stupid ugly bathroom scale! I was eating what ever I wanted. Granted, I didn't over eat. Often, I was giving half my meal to my son. But I was eating things like pasta, fried shrimp, even Nutella pizza. I was also enjoying coffee with cream, a waffle with butter and syrup for breakfast, etc... I was eating what I wanted.
So today after a week ( 5 days of eating whatever I wanted and two days of staying under 1200 calories) guess what happened? I lost 3 pounds!
I guess the moral of this story is that My Fitness Pal and my friends were right...I do need to eat more. I am not saying fried shrimp and Nutella pizza every day (although wouldn't that be a great a way to live??) But if I am exercising every day, I need to eat adequate food even if it doesn't make sense in my mind. And it probably never will . So this is how you lose menopausal weight. My new normal.
What works for you? Do you have any great recipes to share?