I am getting tired of all the conflicting information to be found on the internet and elsewhere regarding weight loss, nutrition, and exercise. It's all Big Business, especially since the so-called Obesity Epidemic took hold of the media. Which means I can't believe a fucking thing I read anywhere. So I am turning to you, science blogosphere, to help me make heads or tails of this shit.
Here's where I'm at and why I'm doing this: I am not overweight by BMI or any other standard. However, I have been slowly creeping up to that margin for a couple years now. I figured this out by noticing that many of my pants stopped fitting me the way they used to, and many of them no longer fit me at all since last summer. I have much more junk in my trunk right now than I would like. This is NOT about trying to shrink into an ideal body shape - this is about getting back to where I was.
I have gone from doing pretty much nothing to working out 6 days a week. I have cut calories not by eating less but by eating smarter. For example, instead of chowing down on a half a bag of Doritos, I have traded them in for whole-grain tortilla chips with sea salt and fresh salsa. Or salad. Or cucumbers and celery. Instead of eating frozen pizza for dinner, I make a sandwich with whole grain bread, lean turkey or chicken, some mayo, lettuce, and a pickle.
In terms of exercise, I went from nothing to doing 3 miles every other day on the treadmill - my goal was just to get to 3 miles, so if I was hating it I had motivation to do it as fast as possible, ie., spend more time jogging or running than walking. On average, I've been doing those 3 miles in 45 mins. (Remember, I'm a smoker.) On the off days I've been combining power yoga with situps, pushups, weights for my arms, some Pilates moves, and occasionally chin-ups.
I've been doing this for about 5 weeks now. I was seeing my weight fluctuate by 3lbs nearly every day, so I bought a new scale in case my old one was fucked up. Switched from analog to digital this weekend. If the new scale is accurate (which it should be), my old scale was off by 5lbs and I am actually 5lbs heavier than I thought I was. (You can imagine how happy I was to find that out.) Which means that now I have no idea if I made any progress AT ALL over the last 5 weeks, whereas I had thought that I had lost 2lbs for good before the fluctuations started.
So I talked to Phizzle about my frustration. She tells me that in terms of calories burned, my treadmill has been lying to me. So when it says 450 calories for 3 miles, it's probably more like 300. Fuck! My first thought: "But still, I went from nothing to 300 calories burned - doesn't that count for something???" So I started looking shit up. I found an article at Runner's World that said running burns more calories than walking, despite the widespread belief that no matter how fast you go, you're still burning 100 calories per mile. I was like "Yay!" until I realized that meant I needed to jog and run more. "Booooo!"
I hate the treadmill. (See my last post.) So my mission this past weekend was to find some new activities. I narrowed it down to either a stationary bike or rollerblades. I love skating and according to the internet it burns many more calories than biking and works muscles that no other exercise gets to. I bought some sweet-ass rollerblades friday night, bought the new scale yesterday. I also borrowed my mom's Wii Fit last night.
When I came home from my mom's, I changed into some lightweight clothes, set up the Wii and was weighed by it, then got on the scale. The numbers were EXACTLY the same, down to a tenth of a lb. (Mind, you, the scale read 2lbs less than it said before I left to go to my mom's, before eating filet mignon and then skating with my brother for 20 mins). I was like "shit, that's fine with me."
So I turn off the Wii Fit, grab my skates, and go out skating for another 35 mins. I come home and get on the Wii Fit for a full hour. I did every single activity on there at least once, including all the strength training and aerobics. During the hour and a half of exercise I consumed about 15oz of water. When I'm done on the Wii, I have it weigh me again. It tells me I've lost 1.5lbs since 9pm before I went skating. I get on the scale, and it tells me I've GAINED 3lbs since before I went skating and worked out. WTF, seriously?? (Same clothes, just in case you were wondering.)
How could the numbers go from matching exactly to showing a 4.5lb difference in a matter of hours? How am I supposed to keep track of progress if the numbers aren't consistent?
I read online that a person burns 1 calorie for each liter of oxygen consumed. I hypothesize from this that a smoker would then burn more calories than a non-smoker because we need more oxygen to do the same workout. I have no idea if this is true or not. Does anyone know?
I can't possibly cut down my calorie intake any more than I already have without starving myself. I cut out all of my empty-calorie booze after I figured out I was consuming about 3,000 calories per week of Smirnoff Ice. I don't drink any soda that isn't diet and I always use splenda in my coffee. I eat a hell of a lot more fiber than the average person my age. I eat a lot of vegetables and only eat red meat on special occasions. I drink a decent amount of iced green tea. I drink water. I generally don't eat a lot of refined carbs, only the whole-grain variety.
I really don't know wtf else to do. I have never in my life had this problem. 3 years ago, I dropped 5lbs and 2 inches off my waist by speedwalking on the treadmill for 35mins every other day before my wedding. I once lost 3lbs just by adding Benefiber to my coffee every day.
Why might I be stuck? I need some science here, not dieting tips. The only thing I can think of is that I'm not eating ENOUGH calories every day, and my body is hoarding them instead of burning them because of all the exercise. But if I start eating more, that renders the supposed rule of losing weight (burn more calories than you consume) entirely bullshit. I can tell that my metabolism has sped up - I'll be hungry after I'm done on the treadmill regardless of what I had for dinner, so I eat a salad. By the time I go to bed, my tummy is growling again, but I ignore it until morning.
Seriously, science. Why isn't any of this working?