Y'all. Can I just say that even I'm starting to lose track of how many of these posts I've written. Oy.
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor am I in a position to give medical advice. This post is based solely on my experiences. Please consult with a doctor before embarking on a training or meal plan.
In my last post, I was struggling with my daily calorie goal. MyFitnessPal was giving me 1400 calories a day, but I was starving all the time (I believe my exact word was "hangry"). So I did some hard math & decided with all the exercise I do, I should be closer to 2000 calories a day. I've been at 2000 calories a day for about a month & in news that will shock no one, I didn't lose weight.
Last week I finally bit the bullet & saw Mari-Etta Parrish, a board certified Registered Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist, & endurance athlete. Mari-Etta is the only board certified sports specialist dietitian in Nashville. She works with a large group of my friends, the same friends who have been trying to get me to go see her for oh, about 6 months.
Well, Mari-Etta blew my mind & probably changed my life. In an effort to not spend the next two hours writing this post, I'm going to highlight the two biggest things I learned from my appointment: 1) I'm eating too much & 2) this way of life is not a punishment.
1. I'm Eating Too Much
Mari-Etta said that in order for me to lose 1 lb a week, I do need to be at 1400 calories a day. And yes, that is with all of my exercise. We went through my road blocks (hello, binge snacking) & she gave me the most useful advice anyone has ever given me on emotional eating & breaking habits. We even talked about my addiction to Sonic Blasts. Contrary to what I was told in November, I am not carbohydrate deficient (I knew it!), I'm just a regular 'ole broad who thinks working out a lot begets the occasional 10oz cup of candy ice cream. Apparently this is common in triathletes.
I've got to work on a couple of things. I need to quit thinking of food as a reward. And I've got to quit thinking that merely making it through the day means I can come home & eat Triscuits for two hours. And THEN eat dinner.
During our meeting, I was resistant to going from 2000 to 1400 calories a day. I was really resistant. Mari-Etta turned on the tough love & told me I'm not ready to go down to 1400 a day. She pointed out that contrary to how hard my work-outs & training are, I'm not ready to work that hard at losing weight. Well, that stung. But she's totally right. I do want to eat whatever I want & magically still lose weight. Of course I do!
So instead of dropping down to 1400 calories a day, I'm at 1700. She said that I'm not going to be happy with my results & that I'm going to get frustrated with how slow my progress is, & that when I'm ready to put the work in, I can drop down to 1400 a day. This leads right into my second point, this way of life is not a punishment.
2. This Way Of Life Is Not A Punishment
This is the most poignant thing anyone has ever said to me. Until she said it, I didn't realize that I thought of this way of life as punishment, but I totally do! I don't believe I think of working-out as punishment, but I do think of counting calories as punishment & I definitely think of not being able to eat whatever I want as punishment. Granted, not being able to eat a Sonic Blast every day is common sense, but going to Porta Via with your friends & ordering the salmon, hold the pasta & double the veggies instead of the wood fired pizza FEELS LIKE PUNISHMENT.
I'm going to go out on a limb here & say that Mari-Etta knew I was trying not to cry. She told me that I'm doing 90% of things right, mainly that I'm working out like a boss & that I'm tracking what I eat, including the things I know I shouldn't be eating. I'm simply consuming too many calories a day. She said that this isn't a diet, it's a way of life & furthermore, it's a way of life that most adults lead, regardless of weight or size. It's not my punishment for being overweight, it's my responsibility as a healthy, functioning adult who wants to be alive.
I'm a week into this & I still feel like it's punishment, even though I'm trying to re-train my brain. I know it'll switch at some point, but it hasn't yet. I think we do each other a disservice by pretending that weight loss is easy. People my size look at thin, single-digit-size people & think they've got it all figured out. They can work-out, eat whatever they want & stay skinny. They don't have to count calories or not order what they want at restaurants. They get to live this magical, care-free life, where as I, on the other hand, am being punished for being overweight. Because for whatever reason, I can't get a handle on this, I have to work-out harder, restrict my calories, track everything I eat, all to lose 15-20 pounds, which is STILL a good 30 pounds more than they weigh.
Sorry, that sounds like I'm mad at skinny people. I'm not. I'm mad at myself for failing to be skinny. Oh, self love, you win again. Who knew someone with such narcissistic tendencies could have such low self esteem? It's a work in progress.
So that's it. I'm currently at 1700 calories a day. After my triathlon next week, I'm going to drop down to 1400. If all goes to plan, I'll be invisible by fall. Kidding, kidding. Actually, my goal is Fabulous By Forty, which is three (gulp) years away. So mark your calendars for my smoking hot Fabulous At Forty debut on May 20, 2016.
Mari-Etta, thank you. I'm pretty sure you just changed my life, probably even more so as all of this continues to sink in.
More info on Mari-Etta Parrish & her Be A Healthlete! program here.