Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Reasons to Lose Weight - #8

I knew it: Don't Stop!

If you are too lazy to follow the link, the gist of it is: some guy (Paul Williams of the University of California at Berkeley) did a study which showed that "interrupting an exercise program can cause you to gain weight that won't come off easily even after you resume training." In order to lose that weight, you will likely have to exercise more than you did in your previous routine. Some handy numbers: People who started running again after a break didn't lose weight until their mileage "exceeded 20 miles per week in men, and 10 miles per week in women."

I've had this fear in the back of my mind for a while now. For a long time, I blamed the fact that I couldn't lose weight on my less-than-regular exercise schedule. Eventually, when I got into a regular schedule I was a little disappointed to find out that it didn't have all that much effect on the scale. But I kept with it, still hoping that eventually the magical-mysterious weight-loss-effect would kick in. Plus, I felt good. It felt like an accomplishment to see my strength and stamina increase, to try out new things. I felt strong. I felt energized. I was hooked.

At some point after this I came across a small article in some magazine or other that talked about getting into the fitness habit for life. Many people struggle with getting into a regular routine, stopping and starting many times. But, according to this article, if you manage to stick to a regular workout schedule for 2 years, you are likely to continue. They called those people "Terminators". At that point, I qualified for that "terminator" status, and I felt proud.

Edit: I did a search on the "terminator" thing and found this: Workout motivation: will you be back?. It's an interesting little article, take a peek.

But the question of weight loss remained. If I hadn't really lost weight when I finally started exercising on a regular basis, what would happen if for some reason I were to stop exercising? Would I suddenly gain all kinds of weight? It was scary to contemplate.

Not that I planned on stopping of course, but you never know what life has in store. For example - the past couple of years I've had. The office I'd worked at for seven years being closed, having to find and start a new job. Suddenly there is a new routine to adjust to, and I had to figure out how to fit in my workouts.

I had been going to the gym on my lunch hour, but that was no longer feasible. So I decided to try exercising when I got home from work. But somehow I just couldn't get into a routine and I was missing too many workouts. So, I started getting up early in the morning. Anyone who knows me would see this as being so far out of character it isn't funny. I do not get out of bed one second earlier than i have to. Just doesn't happen. When I told my Mom what I was doing she said: Wow! You must really be addicted to exercise. I didn't say it, but I was thinking: I'm afraid if I stop I'll gain 50 pounds.

I have since switched to evening workouts. After a while the early mornings started to make me cranky and resentful. As a result, I've been doing longer workouts because I'm not in a rush. I hoped maybe this would finally be the missing piece of the puzzle to start dropping those pounds - more exercise!

Now I wonder if I'm just digging a deeper hole for myself.

Where would I be if for some reason I had to stop exercising? I once managed to injure myself by slipping and coming down on the side of my rib cage against the edge of the bath tub. I had soft tissue damage and probably a cracked rib. Anything other than staying still hurt. It took me a couple of months before I could start easing into activity again.

You never know what's going to happen. I would hate to see my current weight as a starting place to gaining more pounds. 145 is the highest number I've ever seen on the scale in my life - I don't want it to ever go any higher. So, by a twisted and convoluted route, we have reached this week's reason to lose weight: I don't ever want to add more pounds to my current weight. If at some point I were to end up in a position where I could not exercise, and I were to gain pounds that are going to be even harder to lose, I'd like to be starting out at a lower number, thank you very much.

I will take a recommendation from the study. I will try to consistently get in at least 10 miles of walking/running every week, in addition to my strength training (and yoga and/or Pilates when I can fit it in). I am curious to see if it will make a difference.

I just hope that once I lose the weight I can maybe reduce the amount of time I spend working out and still maintain. Cause I just don't know if I can keep up the amount of time I'm putting in for the rest of my life.

Daily Record
Weight: 142.2

BF: WW Toast w/PB, cofee w/cream
Lunch: Tortellini Stew
Snack: Yogurt w/raspberries
Supper: ??

Planned Workout: C25K session


candlerun (htabby) said...

Well that was a wonderful read and it really hits the target on the nose for me. I found after a hiatus, it would take a while to see a change on the number on the scale. For the first while the running was actually putting numbers on... muscle I know but frustrating.

Glad to hear that Moon is trying the treadmill again. I am always shocked to see mine go on. Mind you I go hide and giggle... bad me... he just looks so uncoordinated though...

Well I hear ya on the wanting to eat all the time right now. I am having a problem this week in that department.

Well keep up the determination!

the Bag Lady said...

See!? The Bag Lady KNEW there was a reason not to get into a regular fitness routine! This way, she won't have this problem... :)
Of course, the Bag Lady is overweight...and finding it really hard to lose any...could it be all those years of yo-yo dieting?!