Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week 30 - Do I or Don't I? And Exercise Is Not the Solution

I am down to my pre-vacation weight this week.  I am actually 2 ounces below my pre-vacation weight.  Once again I am at the lowest weight I have been since I started this program.  My measurements are still all over the place.  My waist, which is my worst feature, shrank three inches in the early days of this program, but it stubbornly staying at one size for the past few months.  I am finally seeing some shrinkage in my calves and arms though.  There is even a bit of muscle definition in my arms now.  They look less slab-like.

Right now I am in a pickle.  Even though being fit and athletic has always been a struggle for me, I have always liked climbing on rocks and jungle gyms and swingsets.  I have always liked jumping over things. I have always liked obstacle courses.  As this year and this program has brought me new challenges, I decided this year I should challenge myself to a mud run.  I am strong enough to do a big girl's obstacle course, right?

I had really wanted to do this with a friend.  I wanted someone to cheer me on, someone I could swap war stories with.  I have plenty of fitness-minded friends.  I was sure someone would volunteer to do it with me.  I was surprised that no one offered.

Then a friend I hadn't seen in a while PM'd me on Facebook and said she was doing a race this summer with some friends and would I like to join her.  I enthusiastically told her yes and hoped I would hear more from her closer to the race or that she might keep me updated on developments with the race as they happened.  I never heard anything more about it until she began posting her results and photos on Facebook.  She had completely forgotten that she had invited me to do this with her.

Feeling rather piqued I decided that if I was going to do something like this, I would have to just bite the bullet and do it myself.  I signed up for the Spartan Race at Mountain Creek in September.

It seems that different mud runs can have various levels of difficulty.  Some you can do non-competitively just for fun, taking the pressure to be timed off of you and allowing you to do the obstacles you choose at your own pace. This is not the Spartan Race.  This is a race where I will have no choice but to race.  I also have to do every obstacle.  If I choose not to do an obstacle, I have to do a set of burpees instead.

A coworker of mine said he did a race earlier this summer.  He said it was really difficult and included such tasks as climbing a rope and ringing a bell.  I can't climb a rope.  My upper body strength is not strong enough to support my lower body yet.  I am still using an assist band for pull-ups and I can barely do 10 reps when I do them.  I have not trained at all for this race.  I now receive daily workouts in my email.  Although they contain similar exercises to what I am already doing,  they are doing them in ways that are meant to achieve a different goal.  There is also a lot of running involved.  Have I mentioned how much I hate running?  I believe strongly that we need to stop making running the gold standard of fitness (I will eventually be posting about this).

So now I'm thinking of bailing.  I just don't think I'm ready for this.  I'm also right back to where I started at the beginning of the year when I said I wanted a friend to do this with.  I don't want to do this alone.  If I had a friend with me, we could just laugh together about not doing obstacles or doing them badly.  We could make it an outing. As it is I will be alone in a sea of strangers who don't care if I finish this race or not.

Unfortunately, there are no refunds.  I will have to eat the cost of this race if I bail.

Well, we know I'm good at burpees.

So stay tuned and see if I will actually go through with this.

This week's lesson revisited an old bit of wisdom that I touch on here often.  No matter how hard I exercise, I can't out-train a bad diet.  I have been devoted to the gym for twenty years in addition to riding and dance (and two years of capoeira classes to boot).  That hasn't stopped me from gaining about 20 pounds since college graduation.  Exercise has kept me from outright obesity, but it hasn't stopped me from being overweight.  I think my constant desire to be thinner and thus trying to eat more vegetables and fruits and have a nutritious diet overall has been more of a factor in why I'm not even heavier.

Studies have shown that unfortunately for some, exercise is an appetite stimulant.  I was so happy to read that.  For years I would read in fitness magazines or have friends or relatives tell me, that exercise was supposed to suppress appetite and make you not feel hungry.  This was never true for me.  Exercise might help me ignore hunger for a little while, but once I stopped exercising, hunger would return in a mighty tsunami of empty-stomachedness.  People like me tend to think that post-workout hunger is a sign we really burned it off and thus need to eat anything and everything to compensate.

Now I know I'm just one of those unlucky people for whom exercise stimulates appetite and hunger.  It seems so unfair.  I feel as if the deck is stacked against me in every way possible.  I was stuck with this endomorphic figure that seems to utterly resist any form of fat loss, and I can't even do what it takes to keep it maintained without feeling hungrier.   I would guess my workouts burn between 300 and 400 calories per workout.  That's one moderately-sized meal.  I'm not burning off anything. All I can do is be extremely conscious of what I eat and what I'm feeling after a workout. 

I'm doing really well this week revisiting the 80% rule.  I am noticing more now when I really have had enough to eat.  I need to keep this feeling going.

Today I have declared that I will never let my weight go into the 130s again.  I am going to stay below 130 for the rest of my life.  Today marks a new era of weight management.  I am in the 120s and I will stay there or as far below as I can get.

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