6.09.2008

#93 - Overdeveloped Calf Muscles

So I've been away for the past week on a business trip in San Francisco. Every day I find myself trudging around the massive convention center here, so much so that by the end of the day my poor legs and feet are aching. It takes a lot of work to carry around all this excess weight, doesn't it? All this work leads to excess muscle from carry such a heavy load. With summer upon us now I've been dipping into my shorts collection - yes I sometimes dare to bare my legs, though mostly at home for fear that little children will run screaming, shocked by my thunder thighs (of course it's not that bad - just my imagination). Part of the reason I'm so shy to show off my stems is overdeveloped calf muscles. From years of lugging around all this heavy fat, I've gained a ton of calf muscles. I'm sure skinny guys out there are jealous of my Popeye-like bulging calves, but to a woman, they are hideous! And as I lose weight I find that the muscles aren't going away. At least not fast enough. I suppose the one good thing about extra muscles is that muscle burns a lot more calories than fat. So I guess I'm happy I have muscular legs as opposed to fatty legs, but still. I'd prefer less Hulk-like muscles peaking out from under my capris. I know with time as the load of my fat diminishes, I'll lose that excess muscle. But in the mean time, I suppose all I can do is bitch about it.

So I'm getting to this point again, as I always do, where I stop losing weight but think I'm eating the right things. Sometimes I don't get it. I can have a really light eating day, but the weight won't budge. And deep down, I know why. If you've been following my blog you'll know I abhor exercise. I know, I know. It's the best thing for me, it will make me feel great, it will boost my metabolism, and it will help kick this plateau. Yeah sounds great... or not. My activation energy for starting an exercise program is SO high. It's like pulling teeth. I can think of every excuse in the book to avoid exercise. Why do we run from exercise (no pun intended)? I think for me it's the pain. I mean honestly, I feel like total shit when I start working out. Why would I choose to put myself through that? At least that's my usual excuse. I'm sure part of the problem is that I start out too hard. Don't we all? We think we need to work out everyday for like an hour, cause that's what the guidelines say you need to do to lose weight. And for some reason I think working out means you need to be breathless and red-faced (clearly NOT true, but somehow I've come to think this). You don't need to work out so hard that you give yourself a heart attack. Very light exercise can be incredibly beneficial at the start. And sometimes I think that I don't want my muscles to get ANY bigger, like I need more calf muscle!!! But cardio won't make you gain muscle, it's just going to help you burn calories and increase your metabolism.

But how can you ask a completely sedentary person that is 200, 250, 300, 350, 400+ pounds... to start working out 60 min a day? I know they say you should start out slow. But how slow is too slow? Can you gain benefit from 10 minutes of exercise a day? Experts say yes. Even starting that slow will help you over time. If nothing, it will help you build your endurance so that over time (and I mean a long time - like months/years) you may be able to work up to an hour a day. But I don't know why I get it stuck in my head that 10 min a day is worthless. I guess just another excuse to avoid exercise. Really though I suppose exercise doesn't need to be this painful thing we need to avoid. I mean can you walk around your house for 10 min? Can you walk to the mailbox? Do you walk through the mall? This is all exercise. We just need to do 10 min more than we normally do each day to see the benefits begin. Maybe after a week, 10 min will seem to easy. So up the walk to 15 min, then 20, then 30, then 45 or more. If you don't have that much time, is that your excuse, then up your pace instead. Were you walking turtle slow for 10 min? Try walking a little faster next time, but still for only 10 min. There are so many ways to incorporate exercise into our lives. We just don't do it.

I guess our default is to be lazy. But in all truth, exercise will give you more energy. I speak from experience. When I exercise, I'm more perky and energetic and the choice to exercise more seems so easy. It's just the starting. That's the hardest part. I'll be honest, I'm right there with you right now. I am not exercising right now. I'm tired all the time. I'm lethargic. Frankly, I'm lazy. And I KNOW, if I was exercising all of that will go away. But why oh why is it so hard to get over that first hurdle to choose to exercise. This conference I'm at right now has actually helped me see the light. I've been walking a TON everyday, way more than I ever do in my normal daily life. Sure at the end of the day I'm beat, but I've been sleeping better, I've actually felt more energy during the day, and it's making me think twice about grabbing for junk food (I always seem to crave healthy food when I exercise). I should really use this experience as a jumping off point for starting to exercise regularly again. I've already started walking more than I usually do, now I just need to keep it up. I really have no excuse either. I live right on the water, I have a great place to walk along the beach, I have a great boyfriend that loves to exercise, I have NO EXCUSE. OK you heard it here, I will start walking again. Wednesday when I get back from this trip, I will go for a walk. I'm making the pledge, will you? Can you get up and walk just 10 minutes today? At some point we just need to stop listening to that little voice inside our heads feeding us all those excuses and just do it. Get up and get those overdeveloped calf muscles working!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Walking works! I started walking last September. Walking with the purpose of losing weight. No stinky gyms, no torture equipment, no membership costs, low risk of injuries and it has been working well so far. I have lost 43 lbs since I've started pacing around my neighbourhood. I'm aiming to lose another 9 by next September to make it to 1 pound a week for a year. It's fun, as a mom it gives me time alone to think and enjoy quiet and I have gone down two and a half pant sizes. My calfs are also smaller then they were. It's worth a try.

Laura Brandon said...

i completely agree with you, it's the starting that's the hardest part! but once you start, as long as you keep it up and stay consistent, it just gets better and better!

p.s. i'm so glad you're back and doing great!

Anonymous said...

Big, developed calves are sexy on a woman. Quit worrying so much.

--a leg man.

Dee said...

For all these years that I've complained about my elephant sized calves....how could I not have realized it's because of my weight!! You just turned on a lightbulb in my head!!

If I ever want to get into a pair of knee high boots....lose it! What a motivation!

Verity said...

I never really connected the calves thing to the weight thing either - crazy! I've just started running - am training for a 5k run - not much I know but lots more than I've ever done before - wish me luck!!

K. said...

u had me cracking up with tha lecture about losing muscles, etc. at the begining of the post...but then it all made sense when you said you don't workout, that makes sense, cause if u did, u'd want to hold on to your muscles fo' sho'! Anyhoo, glad you are getting back into walking, every little bit does count, 10 mins, 20, anything...K.
My blog: til-i-reach.com

Anonymous said...

Karaokekitty,
I'm sure that you struggle with a bunch of issues that thinner people just couldn't understand, but the "ugly" problems are much more universal than you might think. (For, example, my thighs have rubbed into blood without something between them since I was 12) I keep seeing the calfs being mentioned in a bunch of fat loss blogs. You didn't talk about it, but many other women describe inability to find knee high boots that zip up all the way. They write about being embarrassed and feeling like fat monsters in the store while the skinny clerk looks on. The thing is, I am 5'1, 125lbs, and I can't find any such boots that I could zip up. In fact, I remember being a 14 year old with an eating disorder, weighting 102 lbs and feeling like a monster because there wasn't a single pair of high boots in a huge store that I could zip all the way. It's a matter of body type. I work with kids who are brutally honest about my face, hair and stomach, and they never said my calfs are huge.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, yeah, your calfs are probably big, but not nearly as big as you think. Our idea of what our calfs should look like is a bit skewed, that's all.

As far as moving around goes, try tricking yourself into looking forward to it. I love rock music, and I'm only allowed to listen to the fast and hard core stuff when I'm walking for a long time or running. After a while, my body and mind adjusted to this so often I actually crave running because I need to hear a certain song. I friend of mine has books on tape that she only listens to when she walks. They are all guilty pleasures and easy listening. So if she wants to know what happens next, she gotta walk more. Not only does it make the time fly and take her mind off of the physical discomfort, but she doesn't have to feel guilty about consuming trash literature because now it's good for her. Good luck.

Catherine said...

You are so right about starting being the hardest part, and about the need to start slow and build from there. When I started riding a stationary bike a couple of years ago, after years of very little exercise, I rode just one mile the first day. One mile. About three or four minutes. Then I had to stop. The second day, I rode two miles. The third day, I rode three miles. And so on. I got up to a comfortable 12 miles every other day, and maintaining that has not been a problem for me. All of those benefits you mention -- sleeping better, feeling more energetic during the day, craving more healthful foods, etc., make it easy to keep up the routine once you've built your way up to a decent amount of exercise.

And building your way up is no problem if you just start out telling yourself, "There is no reason for me not to do this -- it's only five minutes." The next day, it's only ten minutes, and so on.

Token Fat Girl said...

haha this is so true! When I started doing strength training I was amazed at how strong my legs were. I can do 460 lbs on the leg pusher thing! And then I realized that I am "strong" because of carrying excess weight. Its good, and bad. But, totally know what you mean!

terikabrown said...

Thank you. I'm a stress eater and reading your blog makes me laugh, relax, and not reach for a snack.

Jem said...

I love this blog. It is so relaxing. I always read it when I get back from a long boring day at work. I used to be severely overweight and when I started losing it I also noticed just how 'buff' my legs were! Although I didn't like my calves, the muscle soon left when I lost the weight, and I gained muscle elsewhere :).

Regards
JWard

http://www.fastfatlossproductreviews.blogspot.com

Chelsey said...

I struggle with this calf fixation as well. Honestly, it's not a case of elephant sized muscles. It's just another area of our body that's wearing a fat suit. It's just that the skin around our calves is much tighter than anywhere else, giving the illusion that all that mass could possibly be muscle. Trust me, you keep lowering your overall bodyfat and you'll see those lady legs in no time.

Miranda said...

Larger than average calves are a pain for sure. Knee-high boots? Forget about it.

kat said...

i love,love that you just used the term activation energy! hahaha

great blog!

Rick said...

The excess of muscles is not my problem I'm just going through the problem of how to build them faster. I'm also encountering the problem of erection but thank god I can count on my tablets of Generic Viagra so when I build enough muscles my concern will be over Buy Viagra Cheap Viagra.

Nikki said...

Hey maam, fat weighs more than muscle! That is why on the biggest looser even after busting there asses all week they only loose two or three pounds. The trainers know this (but it would take away from the dramatic effect of the show.) The important thing with loosing weight is to measure your waste line...the process is of course slow (and it should be!) however this is a much better indicator of your overall weight loss when the measuring tape begins to wrap around you more =) Just remember to stay positive, avoid fake food, then smile and ignore fake people. Your life is precious-I hope you have a successful journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Unknown said...

nike free shoes
good hermes bag
Nike Free Cheap shoes to australia
Nike Free run 2 australia
Nike Free sale shoes to australia

SteveBrad said...

I admire the valuable information you provide in your articles. I'll mark your blog and see my friends here often. I'm sure you will learn many new things here than anyone else!
Generic Viagra

victoryab said...

Thnx for sharing http://www.bluemanspill.com this topic. This is site so in time for the reason that I am going through troubles like it, here moreover I am exactly intending testing it myself.

mbbambina said...

I am truly thankful i always can share with you all my enjoyment that I truly feel right now. While i essential it many, website was able to assist me to. You may try this also?