I think I just had a foodgasm.
Anyway, back in 2006 when I lost 65 lbs - I did so with zip, zilch, nada exercise. Okay- maybe I walked a little. Nothing consistent. I really never did anything except monitor my points religiously and the weight came off at the rate of 2-3 lbs per week. Easily. Goes to show if you follow a plan- it will work. But when it came to maintenance- I needed exercise to keep it off. The New York Time's wrote an article that confirmed this for me. Obviously I'm a huge proponent of exercise. The mental health advantages alone are worth it to me. Not to mention all the wonderful things it does for your overall health. However, if your only purpose for exercising is weight loss- then forget it unless you're closely monitoring you intake. In order to lose weight- you need to have a calorie deficit. You gotta burn more calories than you're taking in. The reason I think exercise is hard on those of us trying to lose weight is because it makes us more hungry and we tend to adapt the "I deserve this" approach.
For example: say you run 6 miles. Pretty big deal, huh? You probably burned about 600 ish calories. Good job! Well, later you go to a friend birthday dinner. You made good choices, avoided the the crazy processed gooeyness and maybe have a drink. Then the red velvet cake comes. Your eyes lock on the creamy sweetness and you start negotiating in your head:
"No, I don't need the cake."
"But, it's special occasion"
"But I didn't plan for it and it's really not that big of a deal"
"But, it's homemade and looks amazing."
"Well, I did run 6 miles today..."
A slice of the red velvet cake is roughly 580 calories. And that's if you're taking a thin slice. So you just traded 6 miles for a thin slice of cake. Now, if it's a special occasion and you're allowing yourself a treat- I say go for it! I used to get up early on Thanksgiving to run off what I was about to eat later that day. I get it. But if you're trying to lose weight (create a deficit)- you have to be WAY more mindful of your intake than your calorie output (exercise). Maintenance is sort of a different ball game. The body wants homeostasis. It's easier to eat more loosely with exercise and maintain.
Losing weight is just plain hard and takes some dedication. I've had some years off from that dedication with maintenance (which was mainly controlled with exercise) and pregnancy (mainly controlled by Chocolate Peppermint Milkshakes). So, I'm learning all over again how to have self control and get to where my goal is (which I always make sure is healthy and sustainable). I know from experience that once I reach my goal weight- I don't have to be as strict. My love of fitness will help me keep that in check.
Right now I'm watching calories. On training days (Mon-Fri) I eat about 1500-1700 calories. On non training days I eat about 1300. And I'll play with those numbers until they work. Right now nothing is working because I'm PMSing and blown up like a balloon. Usually I gain about 3 lbs with my period and lose it almost immediately when I start my period. SO......yeah. If there's anything else you'd like to know about my bodily functions- I'd be happy to fill you in. Just shoot me an email. You should see what happens when I eat chinese food!
Don't even get me STARTED.... (in my best Molly Shannon voice)