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Confessions of a Health and Fitness Coach

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Since we received the stay-at-home order something in my life has changed. It’s not super critical given the big picture, but in my tiny universe it’s a pretty big deal.

I have gained roughly seven pounds. It may not seem like much, but for someone who goes out of her way to make smart choices and considering I’ve maintained the same weight for the last 15 years (minus pregnancies, and, no, that is not the case here…...thank the Lord.)

At first I just assumed our scale was malfunctioning, since that’s the first obvious reason for anyone to randomly gain weight. But then I began to notice that my jeans were getting snug -- these are jeans that are normally fairly loose. Shit.

OK, so my scale is working fine. I must just be gaining muscle, after all, I’ve been working out a lot since I have more time at home. I’ve been running and lifting three to four days every week and moving every day. The only problem with that hypothesis is that you don’t usually “gain muscle” around your belly. Shit.

Well, if my scale works, my jeans are tight and I’m not gaining muscle. It must just be stress. I mean, we are at a very unique point in history, I’m home-schooling three kids, working from home, and doing all of the things that moms do. Yes, definitely stress and I’m just not sleeping very well either. Unfortunately, after some serious introspection I realized that I’m really not that stressed and my introvert self is actually kind of loving this current way of living. Shit.

Next thing on the list to point fingers at for this unexplainable weight gain, my thyroid. I just happen to have had my annual appointment scheduled with my OBGYN and every six months she runs blood work to test my thyroid hormones (a necessity since I had half of it removed eight years ago). Obviously, my thyroid had finally given up the good fight and forced me to pack on extra pounds. I anxiously awaited the results to confirm my suspicions. The nurse called and no dice, my thyroid was working just fine. Shit.

I guess maybe it’s time I looked at my eating. There’s no way that’s the issue, I’ve been eating really well -- almost entirely whole foods, nothing “bad”, a glass of wine or a beer here and there but nothing out of the ordinary. It’s definitely not that but I guess it’s time to download MyFitnessPal again (I do that every couple of years when I need to get back in tune with my nutrition.)

I let the app determine my daily calorie goal of 1,750, which, in my professional opinion, is a pretty good guestimate based on my size, age, sex, activity level and goals. OK, that will give me plenty of wiggle room for the day.

As I began that first day, I got hit square in the face -- while 1,750ish was a perfectly acceptable number for me I was exceeding that by at least 500 calories per day!!! What the hell?!

The first day I hit my goal numbers, but that was only because I made it a point to. I had zero almonds that day and I had been eating around three handfuls throughout the day. Those alone counted for a caloric surplus everyday, who knows how much more I was actually eating when you count the bite/handful of this or that when I’m making 5,000 meals per day for the kids (they have also been eating more during this time -- but their jeans are not getting tight).

Bottom line, it is VERY easy to eat more than we need. We all struggle. The key is you have to be honest and level-up with yourself. Yes, I went through every possible excuse before I finally admitted to myself that maybe I was just simply eating more than I actually need.

I’m confident that now that I’m not living in denial, within a month or two I’ll be back down where my jeans and I are most comfortable. Being honest with myself and aware of how much I’m eating has put me back in control of my body.

I had to remind myself that it doesn’t matter if you “count” it or not, everything that passes your lips is counted as energy. When you eat more energy than you need, you gain weight. Simple as that.

There is no crazy reason for weight gain (despite what many of us hope), it all comes down to energy balance. I of all people should know that, but I got lax and just allowed my body/mood/false hunger cues/time of day/kids’ snack time determine when to pop something in my mouth. Obviously, that did not pan out for me.

Bottom line, stay vigilant and aware of what/why/how you’re eating. Even if you’re eating only “good” food, if you consume too much you can and will gain weight. Know what your body needs and stick to it.

My challenge to you, track what/how/when/why you’re eating for the next week. Whether you write it on paper, keep track on your phone, or use an app. Track every single morsel of food that goes in your mouth. At the end of the week, examine your intake and decide if you’re hitting the mark. Adjust accordingly and move forward.

Eat what you need not what you want,

Coach Jen