Hunger and the Gym

Back from weigh-in, and as I expected, the scale wasn’t as kind to me as it has been the last few weeks.  I was up .2 pounds. 

Granted, I consider a .2 loss or gain to be a maintain (really – it’s the same weight as this empty water bottle sitting on my desk), but it’s still disappointing when the scale doesn’t show the results you want.   Still, I think I know what went wrong this week, and it has everything to do with my all-consuming (no pun intended) love of eating.

On the Weight Watchers program, or any sensible diet and exercise regimen, it’s a rule that on the days you exercise, you can afford to eat a little bit more – if you so choose.  And let’s just say that I never, EVER say no to extra food. 

For every 100 calories I burn, I’m rewarded with 1 additional POINT to eat, with the knowledge that 1 POINT equals roughly 50 calories…so you’re still creating a deficit in your calorie intake.  Now, when I spend an hour in the gym every night and burn 500 or 600 calories, I tend to go home and gobble up every last one of the “activity POINTS” I’ve just rightfully earned.  I’ve been doing this ever since I started my weight loss journey, and while it used to work just fine, I think it’s what’s hindering me now.  This week, I literally consumed every single ounce of food I had available to me – and the scale showed it.

Now, this is where the resent and frustration begins to set in.  At my current weight, I’m afforded 24 POINTS a day.  And it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a significant amount of food.  My typical day consists of:

BREAKFAST

A bowl of Kashi GoLean crunch and 1% milk, topped with a combination of fruit that may include: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or bananas.  Possibly a 100-calorie, high-fiber chocolate Vitamuffin.  Coffee with skim milk and Splenda.

LUNCH

A sandwich on whole-wheat bread (think tuna and lite mayo, or reduced-fat peanut butter and jelly), an apple, and maybe some vegetable soup or a handful of fat-free pretzels. 

DINNER

Grilled chicken or some other form of lean protein, accompanied by brown rice or sweet potatoes, and a vegetable like asparagus, broccoli, or spinach.

SNACKS

Typically I enjoy two snacks per day – one between lunch and dinner, and one after dinner.  My go-to snacks consist of things like skim string cheese, 94% fat free popcorn, a Weight Watchers low-fat ice cream cup, a banana, whole-grain crackers, or an apple.

And yet, despite what I consider to be a moderate, healthy diet, I still apparently struggle with eating too much.  Before I go to the gym, I’m hungry.  When I return home from the gym, I’m hungry.  So I eat those extra calories I’ve earned while pounding the treadmill, and then I feel a little bit better.  When I was 260 pounds, that used to work just fine…but now, if I eat all of my “activity POINTS,” I tend to show either a very small loss or even a gain next week on the scale.  It just doesn’t work for me anymore, and I have the hardest time telling myself NO when I’m genuinely hungry.  When I go for a 45-minute run outside in the cold, or leave the gym with sweat pouring down my face, I feel as though I “deserve” that extra food.

It all boils down to this: I hate feeling hungry.  I hate feeling deprived.  Yet it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that if I don’t start eating less than what I’ve become accustomed to, and letting one or two of those extra POINTS go uneaten, I’ll never get the scale moving again.  I used to be able to drop 3 pounds in a week  with no problem.  Now, I can work my butt off and lose only half of that, if I’m lucky.  It’s pure science: I either have to work harder in the gym, or spend less time in the kitchen.  Or, ideally, do a combination of both of those things.

There are days when I’m just fine with the food I’m alloted, and other days when I’m ravenous.  Those are the days that I just want to say the hell with everything.  It’s too hard.  Screw counting POINTS, screw the gym, I’m eating until I can honestly say that I feel full.  I truly miss that feeling.

This was one of those weeks, and I paid the price.  And now all I can do is  start over and try again this week.

Loss to date: 86.6 lbs

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