Thursday, 1 March 2012

Training HARD != Eating HARD.

I was having a conversation with someone recently - she wasn't happy because she'd taken up exercise and felt she was doing quite well. Only problem was - she was gaining weight.
My immediate reply was: "Do you feel you're eating more because you exercise and think you deserve to?", to which she responded, "Yea, I think I started eating more when I started working out :("

I wasn't surprised! This is because I went through the exact same thing about 4-5 years ago. I was a regular runner.... ahh I remember my my Saturday Regents Park runs with my friend, Vickii, feels like forever ago! A couple of months after I took up running, I noticed some weight loss and I was so happy. I kept pushing myself harder, worked on increasing my pace and saw more positive results.

Until... I plateaued! It started with me not seeing any weight loss for a few weeks then I started to gain the weight back! I ran harder but the weight wouldn't budge!

Finally it hit me - I'd been eating more. I felt that because I was running and burning extra calories, I deserved to eat bigger portions and treat myself more often than usual. It wasn't until I re-joined WW in January 2008 for a very brief couple of months (with Vickii) that I lost the weight (easily!). It was only about 10 pounds but it made a huge difference to me. My confidence was back and because I was still running, I lost the weight really quickly.

I've found that a lot of us do this - we think that an intense session at the gym means we can eat more. Look at it this way: If you're trying to lose weight, you should aim to eat less and exercise.
  • If you exercise but eat more, you'll either stay the same or gain weight. 
  • If you eat better and don't exercise, you'll either lose some a little weight (depending on how good you are) or stay the same
  • If you eat better AND exercise, you will lose weight! And get to the point where you maintain a healthy weight.
Please note when I say "eat better", I mean eating foods of nutritional value, eating less of the cr*ppy stuff and balancing out your portions.

Funny thing is you'd have thought I learned my lesson in 2008 but a year later, I found myself in the same situation again! I was training hard in Fitter London classes and felt and looked great, then I started to eat and eat and EAT.
One ridiculous thing I used to do was eat 4-5 oatcakes post workout (225 calories, 10g of fat, 30g of carbs) then get to work and have a HUGE bowl of Quaker Oats with milk and agave nectar (350-400 calories easily!). See - when I say I love food people don't believe me). The weight crept back on and although I never went back to my pre-WW weight, it was frustrating constantly yo-yoing between a size 10 and barely a size 12 (a few more pounds and I'd have been a 14).
That was then...
This is now... (That class was HARD!)

Luckily, this time I had the expert advice of Keris (of Fitter London) and I totally changed my eating habits and I can now say it's  now part of my lifestyle. I make very little effort to plan my meals.

But this isn't about me, I know that's hard to believe ;)

Don't fall into the trap of eating loads just because you exercise. You probably already eat enough to fuel your workouts and you want your body to burn up your fat stores for energy if you're looking to lose weight.

So... eat well (more protein, less processed carbohydrates, more healthy fats and more veggies) and keep yourself hydrated.

Good Luck :)


In the midst of her said...

Great post Adura! I easily fall into the trap of this. I think because I spent 30m in the gym, I deserve to eat a cow. When I finally learned how to eat better, I've seen the lbs drop off easy; all I need to perfect is my workout game and I KNOW I can hit goal weight!! Thanks Girl!!

Adura said...

Keep up the good work!!! :)

How's the eating going? Your food pics will go up soon :)

Vickii said...

You need to put a 'This is now' photo on this post!!
Can I just say that you've called me your friend on your blog! Hence you can no longer deny me ha ha ha!

*Sigh* I can totally relate! I do feel as if the whole point of working out so hard is so I can eat what I want but I'm slowly accepting that that's not what it means :)

Adura said...

Vickii, you asked me to be nice as it's your birthday month ;)

Ok I've put up a funny 'Now' picture :D

I know - it's a tough one, I love food and I love exercise but I know I shouldn't have either in excess :)

Vickii said...

Ha ha love your 'this is now' photo :)

In the midst of her said...

Lol... You look constipated...hehe. But your body looks like "pow!!!!" l'll take the constipated look anytime to have a body like yours adura!!!

Adura said...

ROTFLMAO @ looking constipated!