Fitness: You’re doing it wrong.

This is a note to myself, so by “You’re” I mean “I’m” — but perhaps other readers could benefit, too. I’m also hoping you’ll have suggestions. Some of this is cross-posted from Facebook, by the way, so to my friends: sorry for the repeat post. This will be easier for me to find.

Everyone says it’s about eating less than you burn. Which is fine and dandy until you find yourself in a position where you just aren’t in the habit of eating. I did the HCG diet (I know) several times last year, and while I did lose significant weight, my energy went right with it. What’s more? I had my body fat tested, and to my dismay, I have a higher percentage of body fat than I did before I started losing weight. Ouch. So I’m taking it slowly this time around and trying to treat my body well.

I gave myself a gym membership and a few sessions of personal training for my birthday, and the trainer’s recommendations surprised me. He said my exercise solution for the moment will be easier: go lower intensity on my aerobics, and less frequency and lower intensity with the weights. The more important thing right now, he said, is to reduce stress, get more sleep, and eat more. That’s right: MORE. He said if I’m not eating at least 1500 calories per day (my base / resting metabolic rate) I’ll hang onto fat. And lack of sleep and further stress only make that worse.

So, I’ve been trying to force myself to sleep and eat regularly, but it’s hard. Just going to the gym is easier. I did realize a few things regarding melatonin production and maybe a few of the reasons I’m a bit screwed up:

By day, I tend to sit in a darkened room in front of a computer.
By night, I lay on a beanbag (I know) reading by lamplight. And I almost always fall asleep with the lamp on.

So it’s no wonder my body isn’t doing a good job distinguishing between day and night. My fix: get out for a walk in the sunlight a few times throughout the morning & use the booklight Steve gave me for reading (easier to shut off than a lamp).

Another thing: In the morning, I sit and work. I usually don’t get moving until about 4pm. And it’s late night after the kids are in bed that I get a bit crazy with cleaning the kitchen and what not. So, again, getting out for a little morning exercise will help. I’ve also shifted some of my sit-and-work load to late evenings. It’ll be better to clean while the kids are awake anyway, right? So they can help 🙂

Again regarding the calories: I’m actually really good at tracking calories and tend to undereat more often than not. I rarely feel hungry, but I also rarely feel full. So if I go out to eat with friends, I can eat more than I’d typically eat in a day, and my body is like, “Hey, what’s going on here??”

So the small meals throughout the day are an attempt to let me feel more hungry when I’m supposed to and also make sure my body knows when it’ll have its next meal.

Any other ideas?