1200 Calories

That's how many I'm supposed to eat in a day, unless I exercise, and then I can eat my exercise calorie burn. You're supposed to eat your exercise calorie burn, did you know that? You want to avoid sending your body into starvation mode, so you need to refuel post-exercise to keep your body from going after that muscle you just tried to build in your exercise session.

So, where did I go wrong?  I've been carrying an extra 6-8 pounds for well over a year, and training for a 100-mile bike ride has not resulted in the weight "just coming off" as my now-retired GP doc had mentioned. I'm on a half dose of Cele.xa and that could be throwing off my metabolism just enough that my body is hanging on to the weight. 

Or, I could be eating too many calories, because I almost never hit my 1200 goal. On average, I'm eating 1713 cal/day (this is counting my exercise calorie burn, so net calories). 

Probably too much beer or wine, right? I always say that I could probably drop weight lickety-split if I would just limit my drinking to the weekends or quit altogether. It's a great thought in theory, but then I get the thoughts running through my head that amount to that little devil on my shoulder saying, "yeah, but you work out a lot, you can have a glass of wine or two, relax, enjoy yourself." Plus, when I've tried to make that break, I've noticed that I switch vices. If I'm not having a beer or a glass of wine, then ice cream suddenly finds it's way into the house. And then of course, I start to wonder if I possibly have some kind of problem because if I'm not drinking, then I'm eating dessert. 

It's sugar. That's my problem. I know this, in fact I've known this for years and years and years when I finally figured out after going on a yeast-free diet that my vulvodynia symptoms are exacerbated by sugar. I can't sustain a yeast-free diet, but I did maintain a relatively sugar-free diet for a long time after the initial 3-week stint. Gradually, as physical therapy also helped with the pain, I fell off the wagon. It's crept back into my diet, especially with the stresses of infertility and adoption and failed placements and adoption and now parenting a toddler and an infant. There's a hella lotta stress up in here. There's also a hella lotta excuses, because who am I kidding thinking that this parenting thing will get less stressful? um. me.

Other little changes that have occurred over the past couple years include me dropping out of a weekly strength training class, and out of the gym all together. I used to join the gym where I work, and once a week do a 30-45 minute weight training workout and once a week take the strength training class. Plus, I had been walking a 2-mile loop at lunch time pretty regularly and I never got back into the walking routine after maternity leave. After I started trying to squeeze in yoga during lunch, the gym dropped off. Jazzercise is great for strength training, and we do a fair amount in our classes (20 minutes out of 60), but I haven't been pushing myself to take it to the next level, lazily hanging out with 8-lb weights. So, my body is used to it. Plus, instead of teaching 4 Jazzercise classes per week like I had been doing pre-Baby X, I only teach 2. During the winter, I pick up more subbing jobs and take classes as a student, but during the nice weather months I've been cycling. This year, I'm training for a 100-mile ride and that takes up the other 2 days I have for workouts. Lately, my workout week looks like this:

Monday - off
Tuesday - bike
Wednesday - Yoga or off
Thursday - Jazzercise
Friday -  off
Saturday - bike
Sunday - Jazzercise

On any given week I have at the very least 2 bike rides, one of which is several hours and 2 Jazzercise classes. Yoga is always the first thing to go because the classes are during the lunch hour. 

Keeping my calorie count down to a level where MFP thinks I'm losing weight is tough. Plus, I figured out that I've been kidding myself with the way I set up my profile. I had been going for 1.5 pounds loss per week, but I told MFP that I was more active on a daily basis than I am, not realizing that the question they were asking was how much do I sit on my as$ during the day at a computer. Once I fixed that and changed the weight loss goal to 1 lb/week, I landed on 1200 cal instead of 1230 cal. 

Here's the problem I'm having though: MFP, under the assumption that I needed 1230 cal to lose 1.5 lb/week, kept telling me I should be losing! Like, over the last several months, I should've lost a few of the pounds that I've put on. Even though my calorie count was off a bit, I still should've seen progress with the amount of tracking and exercising I've been doing. For crying out loud, I'm burning up to 2,000 cal on one of my rides, and up to 700 cal on the other ride every week! When I teach Jazzercise I burn between 400-440 on average. And I put everything in my food diary even when I know it's going to be seriously bad news. If I cheat it, I'm the only one who loses.

I really feel like I should've said bye-bye to these 6 lbs months ago, yet they still hang on. For the record, this is not a case of building muscle so the scale is going up. Some of my pants still don't fit. Argh!

I'm frustrated, and keep tossing around the idea of going all Whole 30 to see if that gets a result, but I know that doing something that restrictive only results in gaining the weight back once old habits are established. I know that you are supposed to carefully and slowly introduce foods back in after the initial 30 days of restrictive eating, but I don't see myself doing that. 

When I get frustrated I try to remind myself that I'm not overweight, I'm in good shape, I'm under a lot of stress, and maybe now is not the time to be stressing myself out even more about life in general. The food we have in our house is healthy. The meals we prepare are heavy on vegetables and lean meat, light on starches (if any). I usually eat leftovers for lunch, so lunches are also pretty healthy. If I cave and find myself going fast food burgers because f-ck it, I want fries, I always order the smallest meal possible. If I find myself at the drive thru on a hot day because ice cream sounds like a grand idea, I get the less than 200 cal soft-serve cone instead of the Bizz.ard or McF.lurry that I used to treat myself to. It's not like I don't know how to eat, or that I'm not eating well, or that I'm not paying attention to treats, it's that apparently I just eat too much.

How have you busted through plateaus, and is 1200 cal/day really doable?