Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gaining weight and dropping inches

This weekend was my fitness assessment to evaluate how far I've come since I started my fitness journey several months ago.  When I started, I knew I wasn't happy with my body, but I didn't know just how bad my situation was.

I was over 36% fat.

My weight, itself, didn't put me in an unhealthy category.  I didn't exactly look fat (just tall and curvy), but I knew that I wasn't where I needed or wanted to be.  But the numbers don't lie, and they said over a third of me is fat.

I have noted time and time again that whenever I work out, I gain weight.  It happened when I was on Weight Watchers.  It happened when I was working with a nutritionist.  It happened all the time.  You hear people say, "well, you're gaining muscle" - and honestly, it's infuriating.  It just seemed like having a good body wasn't something I was going to be able to do.  So, to lose weight, I would just cut calories, feel hungry a lot, and stop working out all together.  I'd lose the weight, but I still didn't like my body.  I wasn't fit... I just wasn't fat.

So, I started working out with a trainer.  However, my workouts were feeling more and more pathetic.  I felt like crap - woozy, out of breath, dizzy and weak.  I wasn't really getting any stronger (very slowly, almost non-existent progress).  Something wasn't working and I asked the trainers - do I eat to lose weight, or do I eat to train?  Their response was a resounding, "EAT TO TRAIN."  So, knowing I was going to put on the pounds again, I changed my diet and started focusing on training.  It was clear that my definition of "eating healthy" was flawed and needed adjusting.

At my last fitness test, results were astounding.  I had gained weight, sure, but there was so much more to the story!  I gained 14 pounds of muscle, and lost 10 pounds of fat.  I've lost inches all over the place.  The muscle gain had been occurring all along the workout journey, but the fat loss and increase in endurance happened only when my diet changed.  I found a meal plan online that was written by a registered dietician, stays around 1500 calories per day, and does a great job of keeping your carbs, fat, and protein in proper proportions.  It is 3 meals a day and I find that I'm really full.  It's so important to find something that not only satisfies you, but is also something you can maintain.  I think a lot of fad diets are virtually impossible to maintain and therefore they don't really do you any good in the long run.

There are three major changes that I attribute to the transformation my body is undergoing:
  • Drink a ton of water - at least a gallon a day (I shoot for 80 ounces).
  • Take a multivitamin (I like One a Day VitaCraves Gummies).
  • Make sure your proportions are healthy - get your carbs, fats, and proteins in the right portions and proportions
My sessions with my trainer are primarily strength training - I do not use machines.  Every workout uses the basics (lunges, squats, deadlifts, pushups, plank, etc.) and he's constantly changing the routine to keep my muscles confused.  Some days are low rep with higher weight, other days are more conditioning.  Literally, as soon as I changed my diet and incorporated the changes above, I stopped feeling woozy and overworked during workouts.  I feel stronger with higher endurance, and my body has never felt better.  Improvement is exponential... even my trainer is surprised at how much I'm gaining in strength and endurance.

I catch myself looking in the mirror now and marveling at the new shape I am seeing.  I'm not quite at my goal yet, but I'm now officially 26% fat, so I am no longer considered overweight.  It's a great feeling to put my hand on my hip and not feel pudge.  It's awesome to not have to cross my arms during a meeting because I'm trying to hide my stomach roll.  It's the best feeling to look down and see a flat stomach.  It feels great to catch my fiance looking a little bit longer than before.  I catch myself looking a little bit longer in the mirror - and the smile on my face is probably the best part of all.