Monday, January 17, 2011

Really, really, really bad day

Today was tough. I got to the gym for my Monday weigh-in, having put in 5 hours and 30 minutes of exercise last week and averaged about 1,200 to 1,300 calories per day. I thought for sure I was going to see a smaller number on the scale. I did not. I didn’t lose any weight last week.

Before I could even report this bad news to Jackie, she said, “Your metabolism is shot.” She had taken my food journal home with her over the weekend, and she came to a few conclusions. Anyone my weight, eating the small number of calories I’ve been eating, and doing the amount of activity in the gym I have been doing, would be losing a lot more if their metabolism were in order. But mine is not. The past 18 years of starvation diets for several months and then candy and ice cream for dinner for several months after that -- well, I’ve ravaged my body.

And right now, she said, my body is saying, “I know what you’re up to,” and it’s hanging onto the weight. This is bad news. Getting healthy is still going to happen, she said. But it’s going to be much harder than anticipated. I have to retrain my body how to metabolize food and how to handle exercise.

The program just got more strict. The plan last week was to shoot for about 1,500 calories, and I could spend those calories however I wanted, but I just couldn’t go over. New plan now. Jackie said to shoot for 1,100 calories per day, and there are stricter guidelines that go along with that:

- I have to keep track of the grams of fat, carbohydrates and protein in everything I eat, and I have to calculate the percentage of each in what I’m eating.

- My fat content in my food cannot exceed 20 percent for the day.

- I should be eating as much lean protein as I can.

I was eating a Chipotle bowl every now and again, but that’s out now. I was putting shredded cheese on my salads, and Jackie says that’s a no-no. The goal is to avoid giving my body reserve energy to burn off through fat and empty carbs.

I have to admit, during today’s workout -- which was extremely hard -- I was feeling very defeated. I sort of had that moment of, “Is this really worth it? Why am I even bothering?” And it stings to think of how hard I worked last week for what seems like no reason.

But what I keep trying to remind myself of today is that, more than just weight loss, I’m learning and adapting to a new lifestyle, to a healthier way of living. That should be the focus, and the weight loss and increased strength and flexibility will come as a result ... eventually.

I just have to accept that I’ve really done a lot of damage to myself for more than half my life and correcting those issues won’t happen overnight. No matter how badly I wish otherwise.


  1. You hit the nail on the head with your last two paragraphs. So many, many people quit because our culture ingrains in us the desire for fast results. And the switch to healthy living is not fast. It really is a lifestyle change, as you said in your column on Sunday. And your years of trying different diets fads is proof of that--that nothing "fast" or trendy will work. It is very, very hard work, but the payoffs are enormous. You will learn to enjoy this; believe me. There will come a day when you can't imagine NOT exercising.

    And there will come a day when you can add back in the treats you enjoy. Your trainer might not want to tell you that! I have a giant sweet tooth and have to indulge it almost every day, somehow. I just try to not go overboard and if I do, I try to correct myself the next day.

    Hang in there! You will see the results you want soon.

  2. Thanks very much, Rachael. : )