(Most of this was written at the end of April, but is still accurate)
So my new activity levels have been changing my body, and I dunno how to feel about it. I like the difference in how I feel but am really weirded out by the difference in how I look. I can see a difference but it is very hard for me to tell, visually, how it is different except that my belly and inner thighs are "looser," less dense. My belly seems smaller but also like it pokes out more. I think my waist is narrower but my lower belly is more pokey (which is a shape I really like, as I associate it with strength). I also noticed that there is less fat around my ribs, which weirdly makes my boobs more pronounced when I am naked.
I don't like feeling like I don't know what is going on with my body, so I tried weighing myself and I have gained. I know muscle weighs more than fat, and I can see the increased muscle in my butt, lower legs, and shoulders, but it still was disturbing because I have not varied... [cn/tw: talk of weight/size with specific numbers for lbs/inches]
...more than 7 pounds from my normal 212 in like... 5 years. Currently I am about 230, averaging the last 2 weights I took while approximately the same size. It just seems sudden and shocking and it's really new to me. From 1996 to 2000 I stayed the same weight (I was heavy as a young teen and then starved myself for years). Then from about 2000 to 2013 I gained about 5 pounds per year, and then I stayed about the same for 5 years. I have never experienced a 10 change in a year, ever.
I finally pulled out the measuring tape and took my chest, waist, hip, and thigh measurements and if I did them right, there's an inch less on chest, waist, and hip, and a quarter inch more on my thighs. I had taken my measurements a few months ago to order from eshakti, so I had the old measurements to compare to. I was really disbelieving that I could have changed that much while still looking the same and feeling the same in my clothes, until I realized that I was using a tighter notch on my mi band (which I lost, sadly) which is a quarter inch difference. So now I am pretty sure that it is that much difference.
It's really weird to have my body change shape like this. I honestly wasn't expecting it. I started doing the daily 1.5 mile primarily because I am worried about the effects that my ADHD meds have on my heart, and some daily heart rate increase for at least 30 minutes is the best way to strengthen your heart (or so says the internet). I was just hoping to get overall increased stamina and for my body to be less hyper-reactive to exertion, and for my ankles to stop swelling up.
And I have certainly gained these things! on days when I have gotten enough sleep, it is not even difficult to make the walk any more, even though there is a very long steep hill near the end (I still hate that part though!). I still sweat a lot, but it is more like a cup of water instead of a pint, and I cool down much much faster after stopping. It used to take me about 15-20 minutes and now it takes less than 5 minutes (as long as I am hydrated enough and not in a hot room w stagnant air).
I do think that taking glutamine and serine (two amino acids which help counteract cortizol*) has helped my body and brain recover a lot from the years of stress. I know that my brain and body both suffer when I don't eat enough, so even though I consider it an annoying chore, I take it seriously now. I aim to eat three meals (rather than my usual 1 snack and 1 meal), to have some fresh or frozen fruits and/or veggies, and to eat something at the beginning of each day. I found some dry cereal that I don't mind eating like crackers, and I have that in the morning (it counts as food! it's high protein and low sugar). Lunch is hard because it takes so much planning ahead, but I had a real lunch several times this week. I have gotten back into making smoothies and have had one for dinner most days when I'm home.
*Cortizol is a hormone that your body produces in reaction to stress and/or low blood sugar. It is meant for emergency use only so when you live in daily survival stress for a long period of time, it can wreak havoc on your body. One of the things it does is prevent you from using stored energy reserves (fat). This is how you can actually gain fat by restricting calories. If your body thinks you are starving, it will save everything it can. Many times when people get stressed they gain fat, and when they are less stressed they will lose it again; this is in large part because your hormones have more control over your body than you do.