Don’t hate me for this, but my weight problem is that I can’t eat enough food to keep up with my daily activities.
Okay, okay, get over your groaning… because it truly is a problem, and the implications are the same as everyone’s: I put on more weight if I don’t eat enough. Yes, you can go back and reread that last sentence, but that is exactly what I said. I put on weight if I don’t eat enough.
And I am thinking some of you may have the same issues. Instead of cutting back on our food intake, we just may need to increase our food intake. After all, many of us are more active than we think we are. Especially if you work out regularly, like in a yoga class.
So how does this work? Well, our body needs X amount of calories to maintain our weight and muscle content. That can vary based on your day to day activities. If most days are sedentary, we may only need 1200-1500 calories, with our yoga days requiring MORE calories. If we are more active, the number of calories go up from there. Our age and body type also determine the amount of calories we need for maintenance.
So, as an active 47 year old woman with a pear shaped body type, I require 2000 calories a day. But when I add on my 2-4 yoga classes, five days a week, I require more like 4000+ calories! Yikes!!
Now, I am not one to plan my day around my meals. I usually have to force myself to stop what I am doing so I can have a meal. And then there is my schedule: with yoga classes intermingled throughout my day, and my requirement to not eat at least 90 minutes before a class (or I get sick-feeling), eating becomes a major issue for me.
Some of you are thinking: lucky you, Jill! You can eat whatever you wish! But that is not true at all. Too much salt makes me retain water at an uncomfortable level. Too much meat makes me bloated and constipated for days. I am allergic to milk. Too much fiber gives me gas. And I haven’t even mentioned the horrors that processed foods does to my digestive system! And I am not a big sweets person. And then there is the common elements for all of us: we should not clog our arteries with fat and it’s not healthy to have enormous amounts of salt and sugar in our bodies.
Now you see why I complain. What do I eat and drink to maintain 4000+ calories for 5 days a week??
Now, some of you are thinking (I know you are!), but Jill, you are not wasting away to nothing. Well, actually, I am, but it starts on the inside. Because my body is not taking in enough calories, it is looking for ways to preserve and protect itself. So any fat coming into my body gets stored away (yep, that would be the boobs, belly, thighs and butt). But the more serious issue is that my body is TAKING energy from my muscles. So my muscle mass is decreasing, even though I work out a lot through my teaching yoga. Another big issue is that I feel low energy without the required daily caloric intake.
Ahh, now you ARE feeling sorry for me, aren’t you? At least just a little bit?
So I am starting to learn new ways to bring lots of calories into my body without all the bad fat. I have been munching on protein bars and nuts and olives for snacks. I include protein drinks in my day as well. But I still have yet to consume the amount of calories I need, and so I continue to explore my options.
I found a great website that is helping me track my calories and activities. I highly recommend that you do the same thing to learn what your body really requires for calories and activities. It’s found at http://www.everydayhealth.com
Good luck to you as you learn more about your body in 2012!!