I can't go to the gym and am gaining back the weight I lost - HELP!
August 3, 2008 7:39 PM   Subscribe

I can't go to the gym and am gaining back the weight I lost - HELP!

About three years ago, I lost around 30 pounds through exercise. Since then, I've combined cardio and weight training, usually working out five times per week. I usually did pretty intense cardio (about 45 mins of HIIT on a treadmill).

I moved out of my apartment and am housesitting for a friend until I move to a different city. Because of moving costs, I had to let go of my gym membership and I feel like my the weight I lost is quickly coming back. In addition, since I've stopped exercising daily, I CANNOT STOP EATING. I feel like I constantly have to be shoving something into my mouth. It's a compulsion worse even than smoking (which I quit about three years ago) was for me. Food is on my mind CONSTANTLY. I feel disgusting and out of control, and it's really affecting my mood, etc.

My question is how I can survive these two weeks until I can get moved and signed up to a new gym. I have a really crappy elliptical machine at my disposal, but it sucks and is located in a really hot basement. I'm fine with walking as exercise, but since I'm used to doing lots of intense cardio, I feel like walking doesn't accomplish enough. I haven't run outside in years because it always hurt my shins and knees badly. I have two 10 pound weights as well. Any ideas for how I can combine these ingredients (or lack therefore of) into a temporary exercise solution?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
posted by lxs to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'd recommend switching to a high protein, low carb (veggies only, no grains, no sugars), no processed foods, no sugar diet. The protein will keep you full and the minimized carbs will decrease cravings.
posted by chez shoes at 7:50 PM on August 3, 2008

OK, I discovered this last month and it amazed me, because it was so unexpected.

I started taking resveratrol for life extension reasons and discovered that it
almost eliminated my appetite. The impact of the hunger is almost completely eliminated, although I could note the hunger as a minor annoyance, very subtle. It is very strange.

I've been taking about 200-400 mg of 50% transresveratrol, combined with 200 mg ellagic acid and about 10 mg of piperine. (I'm not sure if the ellagic acid or the piperine were important [the piperine was for increasing absorption of the resveratrol] Anyway, since I noticed this, I've lost about 4 kb.

It's similar (and yet distinct from) the kind of "food disinclination" I get when I follow Seth Robert's oil protocol on the Shangri-La diet.

I would also recommend following this Shrangri-La diet, using either fish oil, flax, or coconut oil. It does work for reducing your interest in food. (google it for more info or Seth's blog and forum)

(If you're curious in trying the resveratrol route at, I get it (and the ellagic acid and piperine) over at beyond-a-century.com.
posted by Auden at 7:52 PM on August 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Two weeks is not a lot of time. When you say that you "feel like" the weight is coming back, what is your basis for judgment? Are you weighing yourself? If not, why do you feel that way?

If you were working out 5 times weekly at high intensity, I can see how subjectively you'd feel like you are slacking off, but objectively, you need to eat 3500-4000 Calories (kcal) to gain a pound of fat. Are you really eating that much more? You might be retaining more water, which can make your weight go up, but it won't stick around once you start exercising again.

It sounds as if your problems are more with your perception of your current state, not with your state itself. Why not think of your two weeks before the move as pampering yourself, preparing yourself for the stress of moving, and giving yourself some recovery time from what sounds like an intensive training routine? If it makes you feel better, you can think of it the way runners think of tapering before a major race.

The eating is a different matter. Intense exercise often suppresses the appetite in the short term. I'd suggest eating a lot of whole grains and vegetables (snack on celery or carrots, not chips or Wheat Thins), drinking a lot of water, and having a cup of tea (real or herbal) instead of a snack when you want something in the middle of the day.

And finally, walking: you can practice racewalking, which looks goofy but is intensive exercise but a lot easier on your joints than running, or you can just walk longer. The energy consumed in a six-mile walk is not that much less than in a six-mile run; it just takes longer. But that's time when you won't be tempted to snack.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:53 PM on August 3, 2008

Is there a high-quality high school track in your area? Those are better for you to run on than treadmills, and you could resume your HIIT routine.

Also, get some strength training in. Try hundredpushups.com for a start. I'm going through what you're going through right now. YOU CAN STOP EATING. It's tough. Salads. Fuckloads of spinach. Smoothies (no extra sweeteners, just frozen fruit and ice, and maybe some protein powder).

You can do it. You just need to get back on that wagon.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:55 PM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Lotsa fruit. Luckily, it's in season. It'll fill you up. Warning: you'll also shit three times as often.

Also, drink 16 oz of water before you eat anything.
posted by notsnot at 8:08 PM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

When I feel the urge to do cardio but don't want to leave the apt I jump rope. It's a pretty awesome excercise. I was never really too into cardio though unless it was actually doing something (basketball or tennis). I like to lift weights and if I can't make the gym I strap on a back pack with the heaviest textbooks I can find and do pushups, lunges, squats, curls, side raises all with the bookbag strapped on or holding the grips on the top of the bag.
posted by BrnP84 at 8:11 PM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

You don't need a gym to get to get your heart rate up and burn calories, though it sounds like you are anxious to get back. I understand, I like my gym too.

Jumping rope is a great idea.

You don't need to jog or run, you can walk in your neighborhood. Grab your iPod and walk briskly. Take it slow for the first 5 or 10 minutes and avoid hills and concrete to go easy on your shins. Try to get 45 minutes of walking in per day. You may not feel like you're sweating bullets and burning tons of calories with walking. It is beneficial for weight loss and improving your cardiovascular fitness. It's much better than doing nothing. Walking is one of the best exercises.

10 pounds might be a tad heavy, maybe not, but if you have some stairs or a step at your disposal, step up and do bicep curls or tricep extensions. As you step up do a curl or kickback. I would say to do a shoulder front raise, but 10 pounds may be heavy for shoulders. Try it, especially if you are conditioned and used to weight training.

You can hold the dumbbells at your side and do walking lunges.

The stair step-ups and walking lunges with weights kill two birds with one stone.

Do crunches and planks while watching TV.

I've been in those can't-stop-eating phases many times. Hot tea (and plenty of positive self-talk) works for me. Divert your attention as much as you can. Take action to stop the mindless eating. Take a long shower, or bath, and give yourself a facial. Shut yourself in the bedroom and read a good book. Get as far away from the kitchen as possible. Try to remind yourself as much as possible that you are in control. You have had a small setback but now you're back on track. If you eat something you wished you hadn't, it's OK. Get right back into the healthy eating. You are in control.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:36 PM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Gaining weight is 70-80% diet. Exercise is a very, very small part of weight loss and maintaining weight loss. Perhaps you should see a therapist or figure out why you're compulsively eating--there is no amount of exercise in the world that will counteract a compulsive eating problem.
posted by schroedinger at 9:03 PM on August 3, 2008

Walking is not a huge calorie burner, but it gets you away from the food. I have used walking to keep myself free of snacking at night, when being anywhere near a fridge is a horrible temptation.

Don't stock up on bad food.

Keep components of foods, not easy to grab and snack on things. (Bag of chocolates - snack! Bag of rice? Component).

Burpees, situps, pushups, starjumps etc can all be done with no equipment and little space. Burpees are extremely intense (and I suck at them), particularly combined with a jump at the end.
posted by tomble at 9:12 PM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Exercise videos. You should be able to get them at the library, or a nearby video store. Doesn't matter whether they're any good for only two weeks, but reviews are available here.

As for the food, this may be way off, but it sounds like you've managed to get addicted to sugar/salt/fat/overeating. For me, I find it takes a few days to a week of eating healthily to lose the desire to eat my body weight in icecream. Eating fruit, increasing the amount of fibre I eat, drinking lots of water and chewing gum all help me make the transition, but the first few days are horrible.

And find a set of scales. Knowing the number will help with the feeling of dread.
posted by kjs4 at 10:47 PM on August 3, 2008

If you're constantly needing something in your gob, trying chewing some gum? If you need to swallow, maybe try water?

I've lost about 4 kb

Which is fine if you're only a few kb overweight, but if you have a megabyte to lose or more, you're going to be at it for a long time.
posted by The Monkey at 11:30 PM on August 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

I just stopped exercising and started eating badly because I was on Holiday for a week. I was dreading the weight change when I came back, but instead I found I weighted less on the scales than before I went! The human body is a strange unpredictable thing, so don't neccessarily expect to gain weight.
posted by timmow at 1:56 AM on August 4, 2008

Ditto Chez Shoes....protein and low carb, plus now that it's summer you can get really wonderful fruits and veggies, so take advantage of that. As for exercise find things you can do at home. Pushups are a GREAT all around exercise, add in some lunges and squats, maybe run the stairs (at home, at work, at the park) also for your legs, and do a lot of abs exercises (there are tons of resources on the internets for abs stuff). You don't need any equipment for this kind of workout. I would stick with the kind of regimen you would do at a gym. Upper body one day (pushups, different kinds of pushups), day off, lower body (stairs, lunges, squats) and abs, day off, upper body etc. Put 3-4 days of cardio in there (walking is better than sitting at home eating but you could run or bike).

The fact that you are concerned about this at all is a good indicator that you are motivated and can do this. Good luck!
posted by kenzi23 at 9:24 AM on August 4, 2008

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