Friday, March 21, 2008

Energy conservation, not in a good way

Eating. I'm not sure that I should blog about this or not. I hope that it helps someone else because I honestly thought that this was a myth and that I have been doing the right thing. Eating fiber and fruits and vegetables and lean protein in addition to 10-12 hours of exercise a week. I have not understood how other people can eat so much when I can eat so little.

The beginning seems like a good place to start.

In 2003 we got a puppy named Emma. People took pictures of me with Emma. I looked at the photos and said, "Who is that fat lady with my puppy?!" A few weeks later, we went hiking. I had problems hiking, more unflattering photos. Checked BMI. Holy Cow?! No way. Rechecked BMI. Got a program called BalanceLog and started to eat less and move more.

Fall 2003. The weight is pretty much gone. 80+ pounds of it. Woo hoo!

This is where the problem may have started. I may not have increased my calories enough when I moved to maintenance mode.

In 2005, I had an injury. My brain said moving less = eating less so I ate less. Again with the not increasing intake appropriately.

In 2006, I had a surgery. Moving less = eating less plus now there was a hormone change. I ate even less. Recovery from surgery was slow and I struggled. Would eating more have helped? Who knows.

2008, very sick of being hungry all the time. I am thinking, "I'm dong a metric century on the bike each weekend and I've done that before but it was mostly with supported rides, maybe I need to revisit this whole eating for long rides thing." I contacted a nutritionist and scheduled testing of my RMR. When I saw that my RMR was 720, I freaked out. It was not a pretty picture. I had expected it to be more like 1200. When I showed the results to my nutritionist, she said, "I don't understand this." The nutritionist and everyone else seem to think that I've managed to put myself into an energy conservation mode.

The good news is that the fix is most likely to gradually eat more. I welcome that. If someone is going to tell me to eat more, I'm not gonna argue! I hope that's the solution and that an visit to an endocrinologist is not in order.

I'm a bit surprised that with all that, no one had asked me what I eat until this week. Odd since I did have amenorrhea before my surgery. Odd since I actually told a medical authority that I wanted to "gnaw my arm off." Frustrating because I have been trying hard to do the right thing.


  1. Of course you should blog this.

    I think it is great you are sharing.

    A colleague who has been fighting weight gain for years has succeeded in losing weight by eating more.

    She is 50+ years old and was eating fewer than 1200 calories. During weight loss programs--one being Scale Back Alabama--she made a committment to walk more and eat more. She is eating 1500 calories and easily meeting her 10,000 steps a day and has lost close to 25 pounds since January (3 1/2 months).

    The key here seems to be that she eat enough to have energy to walk.

    Your pictures of before and after are amazing.

    You should reward yourself for being so diligent to your health. Understanding the entire health and fitness process is important--it's not all eating fewer calories and expending lots of calories.

  2. Thanks Anne. In many ways I feel like a screw up. I really thought that the "conservation mode" was bunk. In fact, when I had my RMR tested, the person who did the testing said that I needed to exercise more. I said that I exercise 10-12 hours a week already. Maya the Virtual Coach asked me how much I thought I was eating and she said that she should yell at me when I said 1200 calories. I know that the nutritionist will get me on track and I'm happy that I can eat the bread that I make!

    The other sad thing is that DH saw me with the Nancy Clark book and he said, "You already had that book?" Yes, I'm an idiot. I just figured that I am small boned so percents of what she said... ACK!

    The point that I was trying to make is Don't Do That.

  3. I'd never seen a "before," Janyne. Whoa. One half of me looked at that and said, "That's Janyne," while the other half just shook its head and said "No way."

    Thanks for posting this. As someone who HATES being hungry, I'm just going to be moving around a bit more instead of eating less!

  4. Of course you should blog it! And Anne had great comments there.

    This stuff all fascinates me. I am fortunate enough never to have had any weight issues, and my weight has been almost exactly the same throughout my adult life. I have never been on a diet (honestly!), and I never will be... I love food and couldn't deprive myself. Like Ginny, I hate being hungry. I do try to eat healthy food, and exercise regularly, as do you! And I listen to my body when it's telling me to eat. Maybe that is something you have to relearn? Listen to and trust your body.

    I figure the fact that I have never dieted has something to do with my happy metabolism; who knows? From my casual observations of friends, it just seems to me that diets never work for them, and nor does diet pop! I really think that moderation in eating and regular exercise is the way to go, and I have seen THAT work for people, on a long-term basis. You are certainly doing great with that! It seems you just need to eat a bit more. :)

    ANYWAY... you are NOT a screw-up! Don't be so hard on yourself. You have been doing the best you can, and perhaps now you can adjust things a bit. Eat that bread, woman. Especially homemade bread, mmmmmm... food is not the enemy!

    Women get enough grief over their bodies. Don't you be giving yourself extra grief! :) You're doing great.