Today is one of my THREE rest days this week. And ever since starting maintenance, I am just terrible at rest days. I’m not sure why – when I was losing weight I would sometimes go long periods without working out, as diet was more important anyway. And I still know that diet is more important. I was thinking the other day about how one of my new excuses for turning down food I didn’t want to eat would be “I need to eat things that have more protein in them than (food item) because I started a new weightlifting program.” To most people, however, the idea of “I can’t eat (bad food x) because of my exercise program” probably seems ridiculous and counterintuitive.
When I decided to start NROLFW, I had just found a half-marathon to do in 13 weeks in June. I was really glad that I could set up a very structured training regimen, as mine had been running sporadically and doing my random circuit workouts at home. There just had not been much of a goal in mind other than “don’t get fat again.” Now I have a goal to work towards, which I must admit is incredibly motivating (my diet has been doing really well these last couple of days) but I’m running into new obstacles: my increased rest days and calorie confusion.
Since I was doing TWO hard training programs at the same time, I decided I’d give myself more rest. I put on at least 2 days for each week (right now Tuesday and Thursday) and gave myself a 3rd day that is for resting or cross-training and NOT RUNNING OR LIFTING (which means no at home circuit because they involve bodyweight exercises). I will rest or cross train that day depending on how busy I am. For example, this week I probably will not work out on Sunday because I am going to a bridal shower!! The problems? I feel really lazy because I am not working out almost every day, even though I feel sore and tired on my rest days so it is clear I need the recovery. I’m trying to force myself to do nothing but take long slow walks on rest days. I’m also not adjusting well to the idea that weight training is a “real” workout. I feel like I’m not working out that hard, especially because I am at the beginning of the running training as well, and only running three miles at a time. My circuits at home include bodyweight exercises, but they also include cardio. At the end I feel tired and sweaty. I will also do them for up to an hour a day! I just cannot convince myself that I am burning any calories or doing anything at all for my body weightlifting – don’t I need to do 150 pushups, like I often do at home, in order to build strength?
This brings me to my calorie confusion problems. So, in the NROLFW book, the authors recommend a certain amount of calories. For me, that is about 1900 on rest days and 2100 on workoutdays. Now, the main author has also gone online and said that this was mostly to get women past the idea that they should be eating really small amounts like 1000 calories a day or less, so if what you have been doing has been working, stick to that. So I decided to stick with my normal 1750 calories on rest days and add about 200 calories on workout days while trying to at least stick to the protein requirements of the diet plan and try to get close to the macros they suggest. But then, I started the workouts, and I felt like lifting burnt zero calories. If I wasn’t running, I’d be terrified to eat anything extra at all on workout days! I don’t know how to get over this, because I must be – lots of women eat a lot more than me while doing this plan, and my goal is build muscle, so I might even need a small calorie surplus. I’m being ridiculous. I had trouble like this when I first started maintenance, too. I had been eating as low as 1100-1200 calories near the end and had to very slowly up my calories because I thought I’d gain all my weight back if I let myself have say, 1400 in a day. Looking back, I can see how irrational I was being, but at the time, it was a very real fear, just like I have now. In addition to the fear, I have outright confusion. Let’s say, for example, that I was following the book’s calorie recommendations and adding about 200 calories for my weight training (basically negated by my shake, leaving me no room for extra food, which is also a new adjustment, but one I seem to be doing ok with). Would I also then add my exercise calories from running? So, if I burn about 280 calories running three miles according to MFP (I’ve heard 100 calories per mile, and I’m sort of small, so I think MFP is not overestimating here), should I eat 200 extra calories, 280 extra calories, 480 extra calories, or what? I’ve been trying to search online but I’m mostly finding people who don’t track calories or people who gave up running when starting NROLFW. Ugh. The only thing I can decide is to stick to eating back nothing but running calories for about 2 weeks and seeing what that does for my body.
Sorry this post has been mostly a rant of my current frustrations. But I guess I’m not that sorry – this is sometimes how maintenance is. It is not a fun time where I get to eat all the cheeseburgers because I lost 100 pounds. Also I’m super busy this week, my lady parts are displeased with me, and its “spring” but 15 degrees. I have an excuse to be grumpy!