Well. After a lot of thought, some cooling down time, pondering all the thoughtful comments left on my last post, and truly looking inside myself this weekend, I have come to *some* conclusions about this whole weight situation here. This might sound rambling but bear with me.
1) I am not going to cut my exercise back. I went for a very long time while I was doing Medifast *without* exercising (because 900ish calories a day is not really enough to sustain much exercise) and I got very out of shape, and I want to remedy that. I remember last summer when I hiked and was *weaker* and more easily fatigued at a lower weight than I had been before, at a higher weight, when I was exercising. I do want to lose weight but not at the expense of being fit and active. I am tired of being TIRED from the simplest of activities. I want to rebuild my stamina and strength. I believe that my physical strength translates to a sort of mental strength, too. So I am going to *increase* my activity, continuing the strength training 3 times a week and adding a few new exercises to that, bringing it to about 45 minutes/session (up from 30 at first and 35 this week). I am going to try to get in there for a swim a couple of times a week. This week I am going to add biking back to my schedule, which I had said I was going to do earlier but never "had time" for it. I am going to MAKE time even if it is only 10 minutes a day in the evening. If and only if I have some kind of injury/pain from biking, I will increase the swimming instead.
2) I am going to start logging calories again. I hate even typing it. Part of me is screaming NO NO NO... DELETE THAT!! but it certainly can't *hurt* to count calories and might help. I am not saying I will count forever, or for months or even weeks but I am going to count for "awhile," whatever that means. "Just for awhile" is easier to accept than "for x amount of time" or "forever" so I am going with "for awhile." I am not setting any specific calorie level right now. I am just logging to see where I am on a consistent basis. I am sticking with the same eating pattern at least for now... very limited grains, sugar, and artificial sweeteners, eating plenty of protein and produce and healthy fat. I want to make logging as successful as possible, so I am not changing what I eat right now. I might make some changes later, we'll see.
I do know that with my current level of exercise I *cannot* cut back to 1000 or 1200 calories per day. I end up famished. I feel like crap. I get a little food obsessed. We don't want that. I am not saying that I feel justified in eating more when I exercise; I do not add "activity calories" or anything like that. But I am darned hungry on days I work out hard. I do focus on eating healthy fuel... not junk. But I do need fuel.
When I count calories, I am *always* meticulous about it. I do not guesstimate or use regular spoons to measure things or guess about how much meat I am eating. Why? Because that feels like a huge waste of time to me. If I am going to bother counting calories then I am going to be accurate. Otherwise I won't bother. I use a digital scale and accurate measuring cups and spoons for my food. My career has a lot to do with accuracy, so when I count, it is as right as it can be. Of course, I have no way of knowing if the Nutrition Facts labels on food is accurate or not, but I just have to trust that they are at least close.
3) Staying off the scale, balanced with getting on the scale, which probably translates to weighing once a week and no more than that for now. When I am in the groove and doing well, I like getting on the scale daily. The fluctuations don't bother me. I like to chart them. It's fun. But when I have smoke coming out of my ears I do better to stay away from the numbers that are causing me stress. When things calm down, I'll probably get back to daily weighing.
This whole thing takes time. It is maddening, frustrating, pushes me to my limit. But when I get results, it is euphoric. I love it when I finally get it right and see my body getting stronger and smaller. I love it when I get that confidence that what I am doing is working and I can see that my path is leading to my goal. Right now I feel more frustrated and confused, annoyed and exhausted, like I am in a fog and not sure whether I am heading towards the goal or off the edge of a steep cliff. I feel blindfolded and spinning, spinning, spinning sometimes, but I have to have *some* faith in myself and in the process and believe. I HAVE to.
Some days it is like a giant stumble and a prayer: "Please God let me get this thing right." Some days I sit on those weight machines and push and push and push, wondering why the heck I am even there. I swim in doubt, stroke after stroke at that gym, wondering if I am making progress or just treading water. Time will tell, just like it always has. This will either get me there or not. We'll see.
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