Home > fitness, Life Experiments, wellness > Stress has turned me into a giant pear.

Stress has turned me into a giant pear.

What a title to break the hiatus!

But it’s all true…sadly, sadly true.

So, some background: ever since puberty, I’ve been the thankful beneficiary of an hourglass figure: developed chest, a waist that goes indents, followed by a round butt.  It would probably look even better if I were half a foot taller, but I’ve been grateful that I at least had that going for me.  For the shoddy genetics random die generator cast to me, I was almost proud of these features.  It didn’t matter when I was a size 6 or a size 12 because I managed to maintain the hourglass figure (that said, it always looked better as a 6 instead of a 12).  And I think like most people, I took these gifts for granted.

Two years ago, I accomplished the phenomenal feat of losing 50lbs in grad school.  It was freaking awesome.  After discovering exercise can be at addictive outlet for endorphins, I thought I’d never fall back into the depressive state that is being overweight.  I practiced my routine religiously and had a great support group (also known as the Never Ending Quest to be Fit and Hot) and I naively thought I could handle my health for the rest of my life.  Apparently, I forgot about stress.  I forgot to consider the stress of buying and owning a home, maintaining a marriage, and completing the damned PhD to my overlord’s (aka PI’s) will.  20+ pounds has crept up on me (usually in annoying 5lb bursts) and in this bottom heavy mode.  And yes, sometimes my eating was bad, but for the most part I average around 1700-1800 calories without really paying attention.

Honestly, I never really understood what “pear shaped” meant until recently.  It’s a truly terrible realization.  However, you’re never going to evolve unless you learn beyond the first level of self-awareness.  Looking at the logs of exercise minutes and calorie counting for the past year or two, a couple things became pretty clear to me:

  1. Exercise was my guilty and necessary pleasure, and no longer a primary means to maintain my weight.  I had hoped that if I had become fit enough that I’d never have to count calories.  Perhaps for the athlete with only 8% body fat such an outlook is possible, but I’m beginning to doubt it.  Though exercising had a profound affect on me when I went from couch potato to whatever it is I am now, it doesn’t seem to have much of an affect on my metabolic rate — or if it does, it isn’t enough to combat everything else in my life that wants to hold onto the fat.  I do need exercise in my life…it is perhaps the only time in the day where I have time to do something for myself, but I shouldn’t be fooling myself for its purpose.
  2. Overloading stress and a lack of sleep have a double whammy affect on my mood and health.  My husband always complains that I don’t sleep enough, but I never really took him seriously since my mother would always function on four hours of sleep and do a full day’s worth of work.  In fact, she would often say I was spoiled because I would get 6 hours of sleep!  But after reading so much, the research is pretty clear: lack of sleep means more pounds.  Stress, which is definitely the more prevalent factor in my life, seems to just not leave no matter how hard I try.  Should I do yoga everyday?  Sure..but will that get my PhD done so I would stress less?  I’m not sure if it would.  I think stress is here to stay…but my management could be better.
  3. Diet is 95% the way to go to keep a figure.  I HATE this revelation more than anything else.  Our ancestors probably didn’t work out hard for an hour and then have a sedentary day.  But luckily there are apps and programs to help you count your calories and I have a decent mental calculator.  I guess, in theory, you don’t need to count you calories if you naturally eat super healthy, but that’s near impossible under a high stress environment as well as a thin wallet environment.
  4. Eating Nutella creates “Nutella Butt.”  Found this out the hard way.  Good news: husband likes nutella butt.  Bad news: husband will bring home nutella in order to create nutella butt.  Now, don’t think because I ate nutella that I still didn’t keep under my caloric goals — I did — I just also noticed that nutella literally goes straight to my ass and thought I would share this gem with the world.
So, what am I doing about my pears?  Well, I caved and bought the PeakFit Challenge.  Though being thoroughly annoying with their incredibly shoddy customer service and inability to process orders (word of advice to those interested: if you buy it, buy it over the phone; you’ll get it faster with less problems), I am eagerly awaiting my 8 week rotation system.  There is a good chance that the last ten pounds came from my birth control so I’m getting off that too.  I have  specific dress in mind that I would like to fit into before my birthday and that’s less than six months away.  Let’s see if I can make it there…
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  1. Chelsea
    June 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I’ve had a ton of success with TurboFire 🙂 Lost 10 pounds! Finally down to a size 7/8 and I’m only 5’4. Best of luck on your fitness journey !

    • hottiescientist
      June 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      Good for you Chelsea! I think TF is tons of fun but I never really seemed to lose weight from it…but I think it may be part of the whole stress part as well…::crossing fingers:: for PeakFit — expect weekly blog posts about that rotation!

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