February 9, 2011

An epiphany… or am I in denial?

This morning, on my way to the shower, I glanced in the mirror… and I actually liked what I saw! Strange, given how much I was cursing my butt/thighs after the fiasco trying to find jeans that fit for my Superbowl party. But when I looked in the mirror, my butt looked round and perky (Rachel Cosgrove’s workout really does produce awesome butts!), and even my thighs actually looked pretty shapely. Which got me to thinking…

Is it possible that my 6 pounds is just muscle gain? And that the reason my pants are fitting so much tighter is because of the muscle I’m building up? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

Regardless, I am spending this week eating healthy. My coworker and I have gotten really into Chopt for lunch. You can customize your salad to be with any ingredients you want, then they chop it all up, and you add your own dressing at the end. They have all kinds of “spa” dressings that are under 50 calories each, and best of all, the salads are huge!

It’s a great way for me to make a filling but healthy lunch, and the choices are endless. From now on, I’m not going to be asking the question of whether to go to Cosi and get the light signature salad, or go to Subway for a sandwich; I can just choose between my favorite healthy combos at Chopt, and with all the dif combos, make a totally different meal every day. Hopefully it will help!

As far as breakfast, I was trying to follow the practice of eating 300-400 calories, composed of carbs and protein. There are so many studies saying that a big breakfast is the best way to sate your hunger so you don’t overeat throughout the rest of the day, but when I have a work dinner at a restaurant without many healthy options, I’m not going to eat less just because I had a big breakfast. Unfortunately, I am just too loyal of a clean plate club member for that! For me personally, at least for now, I think I’m better off just eating a lighter breakfast on days when I know I won’t have control over my dinner.

That just leaves dinner – which is easy enough to be healthy when I’m on my own (like tonight, when I’m just working in my hotel room and getting takeout), but tough on nights with team dinners. Still, after having hit the panic button, I think I’m going to have to be extra careful even at those team dinners. Tomorrow night, I’m going to pass on the drinking… particularly since I want to be able to enjoy the local delicacies in Switzerland/France/Spain this weekend! I think I may take myself out of panic mode for that period… but I want to make good choices where possible too.

What do you think about the weight gain and tighter pants? I know lots of you out there are on Rachel Cosgrove, or maybe you’ve tried other similar strength training programs. Have you ever found your size getting bigger even as your muscles are getting stronger and more firm?

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15 thoughts on “An epiphany… or am I in denial?”

  1. You just have to be honest with yourself! It truly may be the case that you’ve built muscle and pants are tighter – cycling is notorious for producing this effect, if quads and bulging pants will fit more tightly. See how the pants fit next week and judge accordingly…

    (Most recent studies are confirming your suspicions re: big breakfast. I do buy the notion that if you’re doing an intense Crossfit-style workout, it’s worth getting c. 150-200 calories of carbs in beforehand to fuel the workout, but I would think that even a post-workout ‘big’ breakfast should probably be on the 300- rather than 400-calorie end unless you really know you can curtail evening calories. Protein-heavy choices are best…)

  2. Eating healthy is great, but, would you rather be your ideal weight but look 50lbs overweight, or look exactly how you want but have the scale show you 50lbs higher than your ideal weight?

    If you love how you look, rock it (as long as it’s healthy and stuff).

  3. I don’t know anything about the Rachel workout – what is the reasoning behind not allowing cardio?

    PS – if you like how you look – throw that scale out the window!

  4. you’re too funny.

    from “I’m so buff” to “I’m getting fat” to “I like my @ss”.

    Here’s my tip. Work hard. Play hard. Do what makes you happy. Enjoy life. Let the chips fall where they may.

  5. To clarify: yesterday I liked the way I looked, but Sunday I couldn’t fit into my favorite jeans. I’m not relying on the scale; it’s a matter of whether the non-scale measures I’m using are reliable.

  6. I have to say that I think it’s unlikely that the six pounds on the scale is due to muscle. Just logically, think of all the guys out there who would KILL to gain 6 lbs. of muscle in a month. They would be thrilled if it was that easy. That said, if you are sore, it could be that your muscles could be holding more water in order to repair and build from your workouts. I know that I have been hella sore from the first phase 2 workout. (And the second workout will be today. Don’t know if I can do the T pushups, but I guess we’ll find out!) Also, if you think your butt is rounder, that could change the way your pants fit. You could try weighing for a few days in a row and then take the average to determine whether it’s water weight (which will prob.fluctuate a bit) or something else. I think it would be one thing if your weight was up but your pants still fit. then it would be nothing to be concerned about, because hey, it’s just a number. But if both the scale and your pants are showing a gain, I think that may mean it’s time to take some action, even if it’s just upping your water a lot to try and flush out the bloat. Right now, I’m also at a point where my pants don’t fit, so I totally sympathize. For me, the bottom line is that unless I’m going to buy bigger pants (which I refuse to do), I’m going to have to figure out some way to get in the ones I have. In any event, I think it’s awesome that you like the way you look and that your workouts are changing your shape in a positive way. Good luck!

  7. In my experience, you do have to be more mindful of what you eat when you’re on a lifting program rather than lots of cardio. I resisted that notion at first, because I don’t like to think too much about what I eat (other than making sure it’s not total crap all the time), but I’m getting over it. I’ve gained 10-15 lbs going from running to lifting, but most of my clothes still fit. Also, that’s about 5-10 lbs heavier than I’d be if I didn’t exercise at all. I don’t think of it as getting bigger, it’s just that my butt and thighs are too awesome for non-stretchy pants. Thanks, squats!

  8. Regarding breakfast, I definitely eat 300-400 calories for breakfast, and still need a mid morning snack of 100-150 calories and then am starving for lunch! And I still eat a pretty substantail dinner, but try not to keep grazing too much after dinner. But then again I’m running 35-60 miles a week plus doing yoga + strength 2-3x a week, and as Tess said, while strength training is awesome and will up the cals you burn all the time due to increased muscle, you still probably don’t need as many cals as when you were running 30+ miles a week AND you were still doing some strength.

    I’m sure your body does look amazing from all the strength– getting more toned and ripped generally has that effect πŸ™‚ But the extra weight likely isn’t ALL muscle if your clothes are fitting like that. I thought the same thing when I switched a few years back from doing 25-35 miles of running to joining the club gymnastics team at my University while in grad school (which took up so much time and energy my runs were maybe 3 miles 2x a week). Over the course of the year I gained 8 lbs. (have since lost that 8 plus 4 more)– I know I did add muscle, and I thought that my clothes not fitting were the product of that. But looking back at pictures (especially ones of me in a leotard!) I know now that it was not all muscle. Sure I still looked good, was stronger and had more muscle, but I definitely gained some fat as well. Not saying this is necessarily the case with you, but it is possible to gain both muscle and fat when switching to this type of activity.

    Also, great that you’ve discovered Chop’t, but if you want a salad place that’s twice as amazing, you need to check out Sweet Green. There’s at least 3 locations in DC, but I’m not sure where you’re working…they have their nutrition info online too. The company’s very green and was started by entrepreneurial Gtown grads just out of school a few years ago. (sorry for the lengthy comment! hope some of it was helpful)

  9. Stacey, Tess, and Greta – THANK YOU for the honest input… that’s exactly what I needed πŸ™‚ I am being much more careful about my diet now, and I think that will make all the difference.

    Greta, one of my coworkers absolutely loves Sweet Green. I don’t think there’s one near my office, but there is near my hotel, so I’ll try to check it out for dinner some night next week.

  10. I’m so glad you felt my (our) comments were helpful. I always worry that writing (as opposed to in-person communication) will come off too harsh and of course, that is not my intention. On another note, only managed to do 1 T pushup (body weight) on each side and the one leg squats were also mostly a fail. Guess I have something (else) to work up to!

  11. I echo Stacey’s comment! I worry that sometimes my feedback sounds harsh in writing (it’s so dang hard to get across the intended tone), instead of just trying to help, so I’m glad you found it helpful! πŸ™‚

  12. I second what Rose said! I bet your butt looks awesome – that was one of my fave things about Rachel’s workouts. I don’t usually have much of a butt but now it def. looks better! Work it, girl;)

  13. Sounds like you are figuring out what works best for you. At the end of the day, it’s calories in, calories used, so for me, I don’t worry as much about when I eat them. I think you are smart to prepare for your evenings when the choices are limited.

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