Health and Wellness Freewite

Well, my journey to wellness of body this summer is going swimmingly (oh, I should go swimming this summer, but I digress)! 6.6 pounds in 21 days. 

I am back down to what was really my "set point" weight for most of the three years after I lost 15% of my weight between December 23, 2012 and April 18, 2013. This "set point" was really easy for me to maintain. It was 10% of my previous body weight.

I had a lightbulb moment this morning. Kim (my Registered Dietitian soulmate who works with Pediatric outpatients [most of whom are obese] at the hospital) and I went to a continuing education workshop for healthcare professions about 10 years ago, and the speaker talked about how we need to only lose 10% at a time and then maintain that 10% for at least three months. She talked about the predilection of fat cells to want to grow back to the size they were before, and they need to find a new normal. Well, I realized it was EASY for me to have that 10%, but that extra 5% was what I struggled mightily to keep off.

So, now I am going for that extra 5% which is now 6%. Other than this little blip in the Spring (see reflection on that below), my weight has stayed at or below that 10% level, but it has never "set" at the 15% level. 

Lesson learned: Strive for 10%, sit and maintain that weight for three months, and then move on to another 10% (Depending on your goals. I only wanted to lose 15%,  Technically I only needed to lose 4% to be at a health BMI, but I just feel better at a 22 rather than a 24.9!)

My little digression about that desire for 22 rather than 24.9:



First of all, fitness and nutrition are my gig. It is my career choice. So, I love my job. I am not addicted, but I am passionate about health, and I am passionate about others being all that God meant them to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So, I want to find that for myself and pass it on to others. 

ALL, and I mean ALL of the research shows that 22-24.9 is the lowest disease risk category. I like to be at 22 so I can have "wiggle" room for special occasions. Why hoover at 24.9 and then go through a Christmas and gain to overweight? Stay at the lowest end of optimal health and fluctuate from there rather than from the edge to increased disease risk?

In addition, that is the weight that I feel and look my best! Here it is:

Me at 22 BMI on January 11, 2014. Last time I saw that weight! 

This is also the weight that I should be at according to the Devine Formula which is what I learned when I was a student in nutrition at Oregon State University. I have emailed with the radiologist who maintains this site:

Dr. Halls maintains that there is no such thing as a "large" frame. In college I learned to add 10% according to a large frame and to subtract 10% according to a small frame. He said that is bunk based on his bone scans of his numerous years as a radiologist. So, I go by the Devine formula without adding the 10%. (He suggests that most women go by the Robinson formula, but I am very tall so he agreed that I should go by the Devine formula.) 

PLEASE do not sabotage that. There are many well-meaning people who tell me I am "too thin" when I am at that weight (not my husband, thank the Lord) or that I am "addicted to exercise."  

"TOO THIN" - One thing that looks thin is my face because faces thin as we age (that is why women do Botox). So, I would agree that my face looks very thin at that weight, but my stomach and love-handles are only gone when I am at that weight, and I like those things to be GONE, thank you very much (no muffin top, no hiding the bulges when I wear more form fitting clothes: FREEDOM)!  

Also, people are not used to seeing the weight I was when I played basketball, and that was my best weight ever. They are just used to seeing me in a different way (six years ago I was 20 lbs heavier so it looks "TOO THIN" to them). 

"ADDICTED TO EXERCISE" - Exercise is good people. I lead a VERY sedentary lifestyle apart from my exercise time. I sit and do counseling and discipleship, teach, write, have meetings, etc. My hobbies are sedentary: reading and processing photos. So, I counteract all the sitting by exercising. I do not injure myself at the pace of exercise I do now. (Unless I do dumb things like pull a heavy weight for my lats without warming up like I did in February, duh!). 

Exercise also keeps me very, very sane. It is the way I stay focused and de-stressed. It is the way to keep your serotonin and dopamine levels elevated. Here is the handout that I made for you:

Natural Ways to Elevate Serotonin and Dopamine

In addition to keeping me sane, it keeps me out of pain. I do not have the luxury to be out of shape. If I were, I guarantee you, I would be bedridden. I have too many structural abnormalities, especially in my pelvis, that make exercise IMPERATIVE. I saw the devastating effects of this when I severed the tendon in my big toe in 2009, could not exercise, and my back went out to the point where I was in bed for five weeks. So, many can fudge on this. I cannot. 

In addition, cardio time is prayer time for me! I walk a LOT (and run and bike a little), and that is such great time talking to GOD! I love it. I missed it in the spring when I had such bad allergies and fell down the stairs and had to recuperate. Get me out in nature, and I am a HAPPY CAMPER! 

Moving more is GOOD, The person that suggested I might be "addicted to exercise" is overweight and seems pretty darn unhappy to me as a result. So, I am really working to expunge (Isn't that a great word?) that person's negativity from my mind. It has taken since February to do so. I need to stay away from those kinds of people. They are sabotagers! Sabotagers be GONE! 

Here is my little digression about the spring (7 pound weight gain 11 weeks = overeating 318 calories a day): 

Illness + Injury (fall down the stairs) + Allergies led to Inactivity + Overeating = WEIGHT GAIN!

Yes, I rode my bike to and from campus two days a week and taught six Pilates classes, but the other days were VERY SEDENTARY and Pilates only burns about 130-175 calories per hour. 

In addition, I have always been a firm believer that cardio curbs my appetite more than resistance training (Pilates included in resistance training) and there is definite scientific research to back this up:

For instance, I went for a 10 mile bike ride and 3 mile walk between 5:15 and 7:15 last night, and I had NO DESIRE to eat dinner. I forced myself to do it because I need to eat at least 1200 calories (according to all the health research anything below this is starvation - but there is some research that suggests that controlled fasting at intervals can be healthy for you too), but I was not hungry in the least. 

So, my shift from more resistance (again, Pilates is considered resistance training) this year meant I struggled to keep my weight down. YES, more muscle burns more calories. So, I heartily recommend a combination of the two, but I reduced my cardio drastically this year. It meant less PAIN in my body, but it meant less calories burned overall.

Here is the skinny on why I gained weight then: 

Four hours of Pilates is about 600 calories.
Four hours of walking is about 1600 calories. 
Do the math, I was burning  1000 calories less per week!

I won't give up the Pilates because more Pilates equals less pain, but I need to find a way to add my cardio into my work week. (The treadmill desk while I am working is something I FORGOT to do in the spring too, duh!) 

All that to say is that I GET IT! I am so excited to have this health focus for the summer. I feel strong. I feel fit. I am in a better range even now. 

I need to strategize for the fall though. It is so fun to learn and grow and find balance in life, isn't it?

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