1200 Calories and Chronic Cardio

Anyone ever tracked calories to lose weight? I’m sure a lot of you have. I’ve been trying to slim down a little for the past year. I’ve been using myfitnesspal.com to track my food intake and exercise. Because I’m not considered overweight (though I’m hanging on for dear life to a normal BMI), myfitnesspal.com (a great site with awesome people, by the way) recommends I net 1200 calories per day (intake – calories burned with exercise = net calories) in order to shed about a pound a week. The problem is netting 1200 calories is darn near impossible if you don’t work out every day! I’m not talking going for a short little walk either…even walking for an hour straight only contributes to about 200 calories burned for a person my size. Though I can make it on 1400 calories and a walk burning off 200 of them, it’s easier for me to just go run or use the elliptical for 30 minutes or bike for 60-90 minutes to get some calories. So for 7-10 days I can work out pretty much every day (think 30 minute runs, 60-90 minute bike rides, etc…I’m generally not the go-for-walks and/or yoga-type) and use exercise so that I can net around 1200 calories daily…then it happens…all of a sudden I’m exhausted and hungry and CRANKY. Mark refers to this as “chronic cardio”  on his website.) Anyways, so I’m tired and cranky after forcing myself to do moderate-high intensity exercise every day and then I don’t work out for a day or two…what happens? I gain some weight back, feel guilty and stressed and then I have to force myself to get moving again only to lose the same 2 lbs I lost the week before! It’s an endless cycle. I’ve been battling the same 5 pounds for a year now! (Yeah, it’s embarrassing to admit…but there I said it.) I know that my weight isn’t ideal for my frame, but even shedding 5 pounds seems like so much work…how am I supposed to shed 15-20 when I’m not really overweight to begin with? I’ve tried lifting weights. I’ve trained for and completed two marathons.

Here’s a couple pictures of me after my first one…a little muscle …but overall after training for a full marathon (26.2 miles) you’d think I’d have better muscle tone! And not only that, it seems that after the 2 marathons, I gained even more weight than before I was training. (I didn’t really lose anything while training)


So as Tony Robins said, If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” What I’ve “gotten” is a body that’s barely hanging on to normal weight, is broken out with acne, is cranky, tired and stays hungry. What do I have to lose? Besides, let’s be honest, do I want to spend my life trying to net 1200 calories a day…measuring my food, exercising off anything extra and hungry all the time? That’s a bit ridiculous and is bordering obsession and I don’t want that! And for me, it seems to lead to exhaustion and carb binges.

I’m definitely not saying a person shouldn’t exercise! Of course we should be moving!! We are not meant to sit on our butts and do nothing all day. However, I don’t think we should be doing chronic cardio…moving so much and elevating the heart rate so much that it causes stress (which increases cortisol and therefore impacts fat storage and etc). So for the next 30 days, I’m going to play more…not exercise more. I mean, go for social (less intense) bike rides, walk my dogs and play in the park with them. I’ll do the weekly sprint session recommended as well…and lift some weights…but the chronic cardio to hit a 1200 net calorie goal is stopping for now.

Play time on my bike. 🙂 Isn’t the background gorgeous? There’s lots of things I don’t like about Kentucky but the natural beauty here is wonderful. 🙂

Is it too good to be true? Possibly. I’ll let you know in 30 days and then I can re-assess and go back to the 1200 calories a day thing if necessary. It’s only 30 days.

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