Monday, August 20, 2012

Too much of a good thing

Well, as it turns out, I'm exercising too much, at least according to my Optifast clinic.  When I first started the program, I was hardly exercising at all that first month and somehow managed to drop 45 pounds.  Of course, there was water weight to account for and a whole lot of weight to start with.  In the last three weeks, I have lost 1.5 pounds one week, 3.5 pounds the next and then another 1.5 pounds this past week. 

I have not been focusing on the scale because I do realize that the number is only part of the story, the other part is the inches.  I definitely have lost a lot of inches and I'm not discounting that, but the last three weigh-ins have been far below what I have been averaging.  I still have a lot of weight to lose, so I started wondering if there was a physical reason for it.  I was reading in the manual I got from the clinic and it did say we should be exercising 3-5 times per week, about a half an hour each time.  That seemed fine early on, but I've moved way beyond that.  I usually exercise six days a week for about an hour each time.  When I asked the clinic tonight about my exercise, they said I'm doing too much.  What happens when people have few calories and you exercise alot (intensity coupled with duration), your body actually goes into starvation mode and burns muscle instead of fat.  So that's what's happening to me.  Uh oh. 

I started thinking about it and I have definitely increased my exercise over the last several weeks.  I always get the exercise in, but it was much more than normal.  Last week, for example, I walked 22 miles.  Holy smokes, I didn't realize it was that much until I just calculated it.  When I exercise a lot, my bad knee tends to hurt more and I always have a soreness in my thighs that doesn't really go away.  I'm obviously pushing myself too hard. 

What has gone on over the last several weeks for me to increase my exercise level?  Let's see ...
  • Returned to work after the summer off
  • Physical pain in my body, some related to exercise and some unrelated
  • Receiving a lot of attention for the weight loss
Any one of those things could have caused me stress that I needed to relieve through exercise.  Now, I'm not saying the exercise is a bad thing.  Not at all, but it is contributing to a smaller weight loss and, because I'm so competitive and have to prove to myself that I'm able to do it all, it is leaving me in pain.  This is an expensive program and I don't want to be on the fast part longer than I need to, but I also don't want it being all about the numbers.  I do know I need balance, so I am going to take the advice of the clinic and curb my exercise a bit.  I do have exercise balls at home and resistance bands, so I can work on strength training more than always going out and walking on a knee that isn't the healthiest anyway.  I also can work on lessening the intensity of when I am doing cardio. 

The truth is that I don't need to be crazy about this.  That day last week where I walked a mile and a half was really nice because I wasn't in pain, I wasn't winded and I felt good.  Maybe I need to take a cue from that experience.  I guess part of the reason I have been exercising a lot, besides feeling healthier, is that I know I will need to incorporate regular exercise into my life when I am off of the fast and in maintenance.  Yet, I don't need to worry about that right now.  It's months away and I could stand to use some perspective about staying in the day.  The good news is, I'm down 169 pounds.  That really is something to celebrate.  Yay!  The inches I have lost are beyond measure.  I lost one of my rings down the sink in the bathroom because it fell off my finger for being too big.  Those victories are things I need to spend more time celebrating.


Melissa said...

One thing I am trying to prepare for (and this is going to be tough) is my brother's experience that as he got closer to goal, the pounds slipped off much more slowly. Not saying this might happen to you -- you've made fabulous progress. I think I'm going to have this problem. But I know I can lean on you to help me through it! ;)

Kathy said...

We'll help each other through, dear friend. We are both committed to this journey and I see us being 100% successful!

Big Heart said...

Slow it down, friend ;) You know what I just did? I figured out your average loss from weeks 5-9 (cuz that's what the clinic said will be your accurate average weight loss) and it is 6 lbs per week. Then I multiplied that by 28 weeks and it got me to 168 lbs, which is fairly close to your current weight loss ;)

And yanno we talked about this, the whole catch-22 thing about exercising too much but it feels good! Don't forget my advice: work out regular one week, next week take it down a notch, then back to regular, and then take it down a notch.

Haha, I kid :)

Kathy said...

That's right, I forgot about what they said with weeks 5-9. Thanks for doing the math ;-) I have pulled the exercise way back this week, so we shall see. I'm willing to do what they tell me I need to do, just hard when I have been kickin it with the exercise only to be told I'm doing too much. Surreal!!

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