Monday, June 29, 2009

The Heavier Side of Birth Control

For a while now, I've suspected that my birth control pills were sabotaging my weight loss efforts. When I look back at my weight cycles, I can draw almost direct correlations between weight gain and going on the pill, and weight loss and going off of it. While on the pill I've struggled to loose weight, having to resort to drastically low calorie counts and punishing workouts, and seeing very little results. This has not felt healthy in the least, however when I voiced my concerns to medical professionals, I was met most often with the voiced opinion that the pill were not causing any weight gain, and that it was a myth that weight gain was a side effect of birth control pills.

No matter how much anecdotal evidence I've heard, or how much my own experience seemed to point to it, as one nurse bluntly told me "You may think your not eating a lot, or your exercising enough, but you're obviously not, since the pills do not cause weight gain."

Now a study has come out that seems to validate my thoughts. It was cited in Women's Health Magazine (although I'm having trouble finding it on their site). For those of you who are brave enough to try to untangle the scientific speak yourselves, the full article can be found here. According to the nifty chart-type graphic in WH, the average weight gain over 3 years on The Pill is 3.2 lbs. with an average increase in body fat of 1.63%.

I've been on the pill for a solid six years, this go around. If we were to just take the "average" weight gain from that chart, I'd have an additional 6.4 lbs hanging out on my hips from just the pills.

I'm going to do a little unscientific study of my own. I'm going off the pills. This terrifies me, as the idea of having my reproductive cycle out of my control scares me. But I've gotten to the point where I think that being on the pill is negatively affecting my fitness and overall health. I'm not giving up on diet and exercise, I intend to eat healthy and exercise for fitness instead of pushing myself to the point of injury and starving myself into irritability for the sake of weight loss.

I've got my fingers crossed on this one.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Still on Vacation

So far this vacation hasn't turned out to be anywhere close to the fitness filled couple of weeks that I had planned. Too many obligations and expectations leaving us running from one place to another. My S.O. injured his hip before heading here, so running has been out of the question, and until the past couple of days, the weather was prohibitive against swimming. I have managed to make it to one kickboxing class, which completely kicked my butt, and I'm planning on one last body pump class before we leave on Saturday.

I should be back to updating regularly next week, once I'm back home in NYC. I hope everyone is having a great couple of weeks, and is finding it easier than I am to fit fitness into their summer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Upping my mileage.

After Wednesdays forced rest day, Yesterday I headed into the gym early to see if I couldn't rack up some extra miles. I decided to keep the pace easy, a nice 5.2, and go instead for distance. My first run I ran for 27 minutes (20 min run with 2 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down) and racked up 2.09 miles.

I was relatively tired and worried about the second run, but I gave myself enough time to sit and stretch (and get a little ab work in) while I waited for my S.O. to show up, so that by the time I stepped on the treadmill for the second run, I was feeling alright.

I actually felt Good during the run. I hit a comfortable stride, and I actually got to the point where you feel like you could run forever. It was a great feeling. I did another 27 minute set, and made it 2.07 miles. I have no idea about the varying mileage, maybe I walked faster during my warm up on the first run? Who knows.

The two runs bring my mileage total up to 15.02 for the month. I honestly don't think I'm going to make the 50 miles this month, but I'm going to try my hardest to get as close as possible.

Last night I didn't sleep well due to pain in my calves...I'm stretching them out and hoping that the pain will work itself out before gym time. It's not bad enough to keep me from running, but it might slow me down a bit, or force me to cut the runs short.

I've also been thinking that I need some new gear soon. Maybe some running shorts from Oiselle Running, and definitely a new sports bra. Shoes are also on the list for soon-ish, although I'm still not entirely sure how often I'm supposed to be replacing them.

How often do you treat yourself to new gear?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hitting my stride

My runs yesterday were intense. And yes I said runs. In an attempt to up my millage for my 50 miles in 30 days, I decided to do both of my cardio stints on the treadmill. For my "warm up" stint, I ran a 10 minute mile (with two minute warm up and five minute cool down.) I was feeling pretty good after that, so I did some ab work and stretched while I waited for the S.O. to show up. When he showed up we got back on the treadmills, and I planned on a 25 minute run with a 2 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down.

After my 2 minute warm up, i set the pace at 5.5 and off I went. Around 22 minutes I was feeling it, and somewhere in there I had to slow to a walk for 30 seconds to recover for a bit. I upped my pace again to 5.8 for a while, and then hit another wall somewhere around 24 minutes, so I walked for another 30 seconds. I did my customary sprints at the end, starting at around 25 minutes (I go to 27 to compensate for the 2 minute warm up) upping it to 6.0, then at 26 minutes upping it to 6.5 and finally upping it to 7.0 for the last 30 seconds.

Let me tell you I was completely exhausted by the end of that run. I managed to run a total of 2.52 on the second run, which put me at a respectable 3.52 total for the day. I'll be happier when I can run that strait.

Unfortunately my strength training suffered after that, as I began to develop a mild headache while doing my ab work, which had progressed by the time I finished my first set of arm exercises to pounding distraction. I did one more exercise before calling it.

I woke up this morning with a full blown migraine, took some advil and slept until it too effect. Right now I'm hydrating, drinking coffee, and hoping that the migraine is gone before I intend on heading to the gym.

What has your biggest hurdle to fitness been lately?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday is all about starting again.

My Monday morning weigh in was more than depressing. I've hit 160 again. Yes, I realize that this 160 is no where near the 160 I saw before, this is muscles below the fat, however after a week of pushing my workouts and eating well, and a weekend of standing all day in a sweltering convention center (and I do mean standing, we spent the weekend on our feet!) I was hoping to see a much smaller number.

I'm really struggling mentally right now. It's very difficult to look at the rising numbers without a corresponding rising depression. In my head that number means only one thing - I am getting Fat again.

This week I'm back at it, getting myself back to focusing on fitness, and trying not to think about that number. I'm trying to keep a positive focus. My goal is to run 50 miles this month. That means I need to kick my millage up a bit per run since I don't run every day. I usually run 3-4 days a week, which means I have between 9-12 days to run the remaining millage (about 43 miles), If I stick to 3 days a week, that means I have to run almost 5 miles a day (not going to happen), so I need to run more often in addition to just running further.

What challenges have you set for yourself recently?

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Running is Tough Going.

Yesterday was another one of those workouts where I just have to push myself through it, and remember that just getting on the treadmill is better than nothing. After two days of actually pushing myself, and running further and longer, yesterday it was all I could do to keep myself running for 25 minutes. I ran at a slower than normal pace, 5.2 mph instead of 5.5. I had new music on my ipod and, weirdly, the TV was on without my headphones being plugged in, so I had some random news show to watch. Neither of these seemed to be able to keep my mind off my tired legs.

I started the day at the gym with easy intervals on the elliptical machine. I didn't push the "hard" intervals into the H.I.I.T. zone, since I knew I was going to be running later. I kept the resistance levels at 5 on the low end and 10 on the high end. Not too strenuous a workout, but enough to get my heart rate up. I stretched for a bit before my S.O. showed up, then we hit the treadmills.

I could tell right away that I wasn't going to be able to push myself too hard. My legs were stiff to start, and my knees complaining. Once the stiffness worked out my knees shut up, but then my calves spoke up. For the rest of the run my calves complained. I also felt absurdly tired, and like I was running through mud. It felt like so much more work than normal.

I'm hoping that today's run will be easier, although I am proud of myself for sticking with it and running the 25 minutes.

What do you do when your normal workout just feels too hard? Do you push through it or Compromise with yourself to just do *enough* to count?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Training, instead of just Working out.

Yesterday's workout was interesting. First I jumped on the elliptical machine, and did intervals while watching Charm School (that show makes me feel so *together*!) I was worried after my run while visiting the folks, but I did the half hour without any breathing problems. My S.O. showed up a tad earlier than I was expecting him, so after a short stretch and a water break we headed strait to the treadmills. His schedule was shifted later so we're hitting the gym right around the same time as everyone else now, which explains why all the machines were packed. We had to wait for machines, and got them one at a time. I hopped on first, and he managed to snag one a few minutes later.

I've been reading a lot of stuff on running, and training for runs, and I actually got a Runner's World Training Journal in the mail yesterday, so I've been thinking a lot about training for a run. So I decided to go for distance instead of time. I was trying to hit the 3 mile mark. I failed so badly. I ran for about 2 miles solid, the odometer on the treadmill showed a little over 2.5 when I got off, but that included my warm up and cool down. The other issue was that I've been running for 20 minutes consistently, so trying to push it past that 20 minute time limit felt almost impossible. I did manage to run for 25 minutes, but I really need to work on my distance.

I've been having trouble finding a training program that fits my fitness level. The Couch to 5K program seems a tad below my fitness level, but the next step up in the training sets requires you to be able to do 3 mile runs. Which I can't do with any consistency yet. So I'm just going to keep trying to up my distance until I can do the "pre-training" set recommended.

After yesterday morning's feeling of doom, I think I'm back on track. I let myself feel the whole range yesterday, and then made a conscious decision to put the hopelessness aside and reach for a new goal.

I'm spending a whole week up at my parents in a couple weeks, and I'm hoping by then to be able to run outside without the asthma being an issue (yay allergy medication!) My goal is to be able to run the loop I set out for us before, at a pace that allows my S.O. to actually get a workout.

For those of you who run, any training tips? And for those of you who don't, how do you train, and what do you train for?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sucessful trip, unsucessful weigh in.

So the weekend at my parents wasn't a complete fitness disaster. Friday we attempted to go running around my parents neighborhood. This resulted in me having my first ever exercise induced asthma attack. My dad said he used to get the same thing a lot around this time of year because of all the pollen. So the run was short and frustrating for my S.O., who didn't get much of a workout.

Saturday I joined a friend for a "body pump" style workout. It completely kicked my butt. It was awesome. I now plan to go to that class whenever I am in town. The only minor problem was that I was exhausted and sleepy for the rest of the day. Not very good for visiting with family.

Nutrition wise I did alright, keeping my choices mostly healthy, with a few huge exceptions. *cough*birthdaycake*cough*

The big disappointment came yesterday when I weighed myself. 158. Ow. It's really hard at this point not to get completely frustrated with the whole thing and say "screw it, I'm fat I'll always be fat and there's nothing I can do about it." and cram some ice cream in my face to make myself feel better.

Tracking Transformation: Where I stand now