OK, Fast forward to 2006. I had maintained my weight at 157-160 on my 5'6.5" frame for about 8 years. I was the cardio queen and was scared of strength training because I was afraid I'd get bigger- not what I wanted. I was eating a low-fat diet and seeing no further results.
If you missed part I click here. Also for more photos and my my in-depth interview (and unseen-here photos) with Jenn on the blog Girl Heroes, please click here.
(photo at right: 2005; 157 pounds)
I join a Gold's Gym and next door was a popular smoothie shop. Like most of the gym members, I went over after classes to get a smoothies. THEY. WERE. GOOD. I also realized that they kept me full for a long time and for a reasonable amount of calories. Then I started making my own shakes at home and varying the ingredients. It reminded me that my hunger was so much better controlled when I took the time and effort to make shakes like I did back in my HMR days. This was key, and I still do this today!
Word at the gym was that weight training is incredibly important... for women as well as men. In most cases, women just don't have enough testosterone to get really big from weight lifting. (I do realize that there are exceptions to that rule.) Muscle weighs more than fat, and takes up less space. It's also more metabolically active than fat. People with more muscle tissue burn more calories throughout the day- even sitting on the couch. Why do you think it's so much easier for our boyfriends/husbands to lose weight when they "diet"? They have more muscle. Also, weight training is good for osteoporosis prevention among many other things, especially as women get older.
(Photo at Right: 2007; 133 pounds)
I decided to go back to my food diary as per the HMR program. However, I will admit that my diet was not very balanced. I ate tons of enormous salads, lots and lots of egg whites, few carbs and few fats. I ate about 2250 cals a day and burned about 400 in exercise- a net cal intake of about 1850. This might not sounds like a very low number, but it was low for me. And I was hungry...all the time.
Between the shakes, the food diary and the weight training, I lost 20-25 pounds, staying at 133-135 for about a year. I was ecstatic with my weight. I had never been "slim". Ever. For the first time in my life, I could go into any store and buy clothes- trendy jeans, shorts, whatever I wanted. However my family and friends told me that I looked gaunt and skinny. Personally I thought that I looked healthy, but I always felt cold and I also stopped menstruating. At my leanest, my hydrostatic fat testing (underwater weighing) measured 14.6% body fat.
Due to a bunch of small injuries (over-training?) in late 2007, I had to cut back on my exercise by ~100 cals to about 300 per day). I also could not continue eating so little and I and raised my calories by about 100 to about 2350, creating a net of about 2050. So naturally I gained some weight. Currently I waver between about 138-142. (See photo at the bottom of the page)
I am still trying to find the right balance and also find my happy weight. My Weight Loss Part III is a work in progress. My clothes start to feel snug at ~143 (at 21.4%) , but it's a weight that I don't have to struggle as hard to maintain. I still count calories, yet I don't restrict them. I still exercise about 4-5 days a week, but not as obsessively as before. I still lift weights, probably 2-3 times per week, but not for the same duration as before. I mix up my exercise based upon what tickles my fancy at the moment.
I still do not feel that I eat like a "normal" person would and I definitely have to watch my diet. Yet life is meant to be enjoyed, and so I do. I still religiously make my shakes every morning and sometimes will have another shake if I'm hungry between meals or before dinner to take the edge off my hunger. Really I'm just grateful that my body is so good to me despite all I've put it through: overeating, restricting whole food groups & overexercising.
Above photo- July 2009; 139 lbs.
Please feel free to leave me a comment with any questions that you might have. Or with your own story!
I hope that I can help anyone who has struggled in the ways that I have. That is why I blog.