What a long 15-days of steady state cardio! Ha!
I am 4 days into #15daysofintervals as I write this up.
I’ll spare you all the mundane details of what cardio workouts days 9-15 consisted of- a whole lot of the same things: treadmill runs, treadmill incline walks, stair climber, yadda yadda.
I actually ended up weighing 1.6 pounds more on day 15 than I did on day 1. Are you surprised?
Although the scale is not the end-all-be-all marker of results in any case, I think a lot of women forge the journey of extra cardio as a means to lose weight and watch the bathroom scale number slowly creep down.
While I don’t think I gained an almost 2-pounds of fat, there are little to no differences seen in the photos below, (although my morning-hair seems to range from “wild cave woman” to “oh look! I washed my hair last night!”)
My eating is always the same: I eat when I’m hungry, I stop before I’m full, I eat protein at every meal, I consume 4-6 cups of vegetables every day, I drink a ton of water. Not very revolutionary, huh?
I did notice, however, that I woke up feeling more hungry almost every single day. I usually am never hungry when I wake up and I eat my first meal several hours after I’ve been awake- that is when I receive my first hunger cue of the day, so that is when I eat. However, I woke up almost starving every morning, which is weird for me!
Being more hungry doesn’t necessarily mean that your body is this fat-burning machine. And I think this is where women make the largest mistake- that if you feel hungry all of the time, that your body must be “empty” and it’s time to fill up!
What actually holds true in this case is a number of things:
-Dehydration often times sends signals of hunger to the brain
-Lack of fiber
-Insufficient protein intake
Looking back, this was likely the beginning of my cycle of gaining weight when I was an avid runner. I used to think “gosh! I’m hungry all of the time! Better eat up!” and my meals were not focused around high-volume, nutrient dense foods like protein and vegetables. I used it as an excuse to consume as many crackers with hummus, cheese, beef jerky, ice cream, etc, etc.
Although yes, when you’re hungry, it is time to eat, if you’re not participating in a sound nutrition approach, you’ll likely feel hungry often, eat often, and wonder why you’re still not losing weight despite feeling hungry all of the time! It’s frustrating, I know, I’ve been there.
Here’s what happens with the steady-state cardio vicious cycle:
-Increase time spent doing cardio
-Feel good because you’re sweaty and out of breath
-Feel more hungry
-Feel justified to eat more food
-Either see slight decrease and continue cycle
-See slight increase on scale and increase time spent doing cardio
Why this is a losing game:
-Chronic cardio taps into muscle mass as a fuel source
-Less muscle = slower metabolism
-Slower metabolism = need to eat less food to lose weight
-Eat less food + do more cardio
-Calories get so low that you plateau OR worse, binge because your low calories are not sustainable
-Feel guilty for bingeing, head back to do more cardio
Things to keep in mind:
-Sweat is not an indication of effort. No amount of sweat dripped during a workout means anything. Although it FEELS good to sweat (I love nothing more than wringing my tank top out after a workout!), it means nothing
-Stop searching for external feedback for indication of an effective workout
-You want to lose weight while consuming as many calories as possible
-Less weight on the scale does not always mean fat loss. After some time, the lower scale # could be coming from loss of muscle mass. (Important to note to get off of the fucking scale.)
–Incorporate interval training??? Stay tuned! 😉
That is all for now!
I cannot wait to see the results after 15 days of intervals and share more insights with you all!