Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gaining Weight?

I've always wanted to get more toned, fit, and trim. I want to gain strength and endurance. But I'm the type that will exercise for a day and then forget about it again. Inspired by my friend Megan who writes Run! Fat Mom, Run! (and Backyard Farming), I decided to run a 5K. I started this blog to document my progress from Couch to running a 5K, using the Couch-to-5K Running Plan. I started in June or July 2008 and kept running (shuffling, actually) through October. I made it from being able to run 1 minute at a time to being able to run for 30 minutes! By "running", I mean that I could walk faster. I was doing 15 minute miles when I slacked off. But I was moving in a jogging sort of motion! It was getting my heart rate up in a way that speed walking has never done for me. I felt so powerful and awesome. My whole life I have been convinced that I am just the type of person who cannot run. But I can! I still intend to write a few posts about that experience, but since it's been a whole year since I did it, the details will be sparse.

From October 2008 through February 2009, exercise remained on my "to do" list, but I never actually did anything. Then, in February or March, my pants suddenly got tight. I had been thinking I needed to get some new jeans in a smaller size soon, and then suddenly my regular size was tight. It seemed to come on suddenly, with no obvious explanation. I thought that people usually gained weight over the holidays and winter, not just as winter was ending! The difference was so surprising that I even wondered if I could be pregnant, even though I was 99% sure I wasn't. A negative pregnancy test confirmed that. I had been attempting to night wean my nearly-two year old and thought maybe he was foregoing a lot of milk (milk production could burn up 500+ calories per day). Or maybe my metabolism just changed. I am nearing 30, so that could be possible. I tracked my eating on for a few days. I thought I was eating somewhat healthfully, but found out I was eating 800 extra calories per day in sugary treats some days! I'd have a good breakfast and then see that someone had brought doughnuts in (300 calories). I'd get hungry for sugar after lunch and have a candy bar (250 calories). I always have homemade treats on hand at home for after dinner. A piece (or two) of cake adds on another 300 calories. But this is how I always eat (I have written frequently about my sugar addiction at my regular blog). As far as I know, nothing about my diet had changed recently. I tend to be extremely unobservant about things like diet and my body, so I could be wrong, but I think I was eating normally. Unfortunately the pants tightening continued, and soon I was back in my post-baby one-size-larger pants. Now even those are a little tight.

At a doctor's appointment on February 5th, 2009, I was 116 pounds, which is pretty typical for me. I don't have a scale and usually only know my weight when I go to a doctor's appointment. I took a health-related class at BYU the week before my Freshman year started, Fall 1999. We were weighed, and I remember weighing 125 pounds at that time. I lost 10 pounds my first semester due to all the walking and cooking on a tight budget. So I have been about 115 pounds since early 2000. After my first baby, I got down to around 105 pounds, due to busyness/stress, a lot of walking, and extreme breastfeeding. My baby didn't eat many solids until he was over a year old. Babies that age need 1000 calories per day, so apparently I was using up 1000 calories per day nursing.

I started using (it is a free service where you can track food, weight, activities, moods, and body measurements, and it is very awesome) back in 2003 when I got pregnant with my 2nd baby, and since then I've recorded the following weights:

August 2003 - 106 pounds
December 2005 - 118 pounds
January 2008 - 124 pounds (5 months postpartum, Baby #3)
September 2008 - 120 pounds
February 2009 - 116 pounds

When I went back to the doctor a week ago (June 2009), I was faced with the evidence that I really had been gaining weight; my pants had not been shrunk in the wash. I weighed 123 pounds. Now, the weight itself is not really a big deal. I have some fat, but I am not fat. I was very concerned by the 7 pound gain in 4 months. If this continues, that's 20 pounds per year. . . not a path I want to head down.

Faced with the reality of the weight gain, I have decided to start exercising for real. I've been wanting to do the 30-Day Shred I've been hearing so many bloggers talk about. I decided I have two options. I can do the 30-Day Shred and keep my diet the same -- try to eat fewer treats, but not really worry about it. Or I can do the 30-Day Shred in the mornings, get serious about cutting out sugar and getting back to the diet I want (all whole foods, a lot of raw veggies, including green smoothies), and 'run' in the evenings. I'd like to do the 30-Day Shred alone to see how much effect it has by itself, regardless of diet. But if I decide I want to get fit fast, I might throw in the running and the improved diet. For now I'll commit to the 30-Day Shred.

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