I’m wondering about making the most of a silver lining. I got sick while travelling and picked up a particularly nasty bug that hung on for two weeks. Now that I’m finally out of the woods with being ill/treatment I've discovered one benefit – I've finally lost about 10 pounds that had been haunting me. I have been on top of eating well since late last summer and was making slow gains, but suddenly I’m basically where I wanted to be. Well, except for the total loss of fitness after spending so much time in bed. I’m worried now that if I don’t manage things well I’m just going to rebound and be back to where I started. To give you an idea, before I was sick I was doing yoga and weights three times a week and running/spinning 2-3 times a week. I walk to work every day but it’s a flat 40 minute round trip. Can you help me make the most of this opportunity?
Weight loss. I guess that’s one benefit, and the only benefit, of picking up a bug. A few years back I had a terrible flu and was bed-ridden for days and the result was I lost 10 pounds right before I was heading to Mexico. Perfect, right? Well, here’s the thing. We as a society are so focused on being thin that we would actually welcome a flu or an illness as a way to lose weight! That just seems wrong! I had a client complain to me about having to go on birth control to control her extremely heavy periods which were making her anemic. She was concerned, as the doctor told her she would most likely gain 5 pounds around her mid-section, which is where women carry weight to help store estrogen, and she was unsure of whether or not she would go on the pill. I had to shake my head as I asked her why she would rather be anemic and suffer horrible periods than be healthy and maybe a few pounds heavier, which would be something no one else would notice but her.
I get it that you are excited about the quick weight loss but I am going to be honest with you, it is not going to last. You may reap the rewards for a few days or weeks but your body is going to slowly start to put the weight back on. Rather than focusing on staying “thin” I want you to focus on getting your strength back and getting active again.
Start back with yoga and walking to work and then add in your weight training. Once you are feeling up to pushing yourself a bit harder, get back to spinning and running. After a few weeks you should feel like your old self again and probably be back up to the weight you were before you were ill. (Hate to break it to you but a lot of that weight you dropped was probably a decrease in your body’s muscle mass.)
At this point, when you are healthy and loving exercising again, set a few goals for yourself to focus on that will help you see the weight you want to drop in a healthy manner. Give up alcohol Sunday to Thursday (because forcing yourself to not drink on a weekend just seems ridiculous) and cut refined sugars out of your diet. Fill up on real foods and leave the foods that come in packages alone. Start to increase how far and how fast you are running by adding in intervals, and add in a quick at home workout as soon as you get home from work. Check out my new favourite app called the Nike Training Club (NTC) and pick a different 15 minute workout to do every day at home.
These small changes will not only help you improve your fitness but also help you change your body composition in a good way, not just losing muscle mass from being bed ridden while ill.
Attached - Mandy Moore leaving the gym yesterday.