Friday, March 10, 2006

Never, never, never give up

The night before last, my 4 year old was up in the night, and I ended up sleeping in her bed to quiet her so that my husband could sleep. The next morning, I overslept, missed my workout, and felt sluggish and had a headache all day. It was a gray and rainy day.

Today, after a good night's rest I put in a 25 minute strength training workout this morning with my exercise ball and free weights and figured I'd call it a day. Then at noon time while taking a break from school with the kids, I decided to do a cardio workout for 35 minutes. I feel SO much better. I never realized that I could actually get addicted to exercise.

My workouts have been daily since the beginning of the year. People have noticed I look thinner. I still have not dropped a pound. I found this reassuring article which I have excerpted below:
The goal is to consume as many calories as you can while still losing body fat and maintaining or gaining lean muscle. If your calories are already below normal, don’t restrict them further. Instead stick with your current amount and focus on becoming stronger and more active, so you can gradually increase your calories to a normal healthy level. If your calorie intake is already in a healthy range, decrease it only slightly, and only if necessary. A small reduction of about 250 calories a day, or 10-15 percent less than usual, is more likely to protect your lean muscle and less likely to trigger a slow-down in your metabolism.

Following this type of routine, it’s possible to gain about one pound of muscle per week and lose about one pound of fat per week. The end result is that the number on the scale might not move much at all, it may even go up. Your clothes will get loser and your self-esteem will sky-rocket. Yet the number on the scale won't budge!?!?! It's at this point that a lot of people will chuck the weight training because they don't understand the physiology of what's happening.

The truth is that when you're strength training it's possible to get smaller and heavier at the same time. Muscle is a much denser tissue than fat. A pound of muscle is like a little chunk of gold, while a pound of fat is like a big fluffy bunch of feathers. The fat takes up more space on your body. At this point, it's best to toss out the bathroom scale and rely on the way you look and the way your clothes fit. The scale can be misleading and discourage you when you're actually doing great.

So, since I feel better, look better and sleep better, I will not give up. I know this is getting repetitive, but I want to maintain this physical discipline. At this point it is actually an exercise in faith for me, because I am doing the work without immediately seeing the rewards on the scale. But faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things seen, and I trust that my leaner, healthier body is on her way.

Micah Girl


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