There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch

Since acquiring my fabulous new bike a few weeks back, I’ve been biking to and from work at least two days a week and to and from the grocery store and garden on the weekends. It’s been fabulous, even with the oven-like heat in the afternoons. I can do the 6.8 miles faster than by bus both ways and way faster than car during rush hour, so I feel like I’m saving time. It’s also mostly an enjoyable commute – although it’s uphill in the morning, the weather is usually pretty good, and although the weather is usually 110+ degrees in the afternoon, it’s all downhill. It evens out.

Around the same time, I started getting reeeaaally tired. Dragging at work. Going to bed even earlier than usual. And on top of the sleepiness, I also noticed a cat scratch wasn’t healing as fast as they usually did and I kept getting cold, even when it was 75+ degrees inside. I thought I might have a bug because I couldn’t account for it any other way. I was eating my usual mostly AIP fare, I was getting enough sleep most of the week, I wasn’t stressed, I was active, etc etc.

It wasn’t until last Thursday that I thought back over the past few weeks and seriously tried to figure out what had changed. Biking, yes, but that couldn’t have that much of an effect, right? Just to quiet any doubts, I calculated how many calories commuting by bike required. Then I sat back and went “oh.”

One day of biking to and from work equals about 700-800 calories, basically a wee bit more than a full meal for me. Now, once a week without actually eating any extra, that wouldn’t be so bad. But three to four times a week? I was well up to over a day’s worth of calories in debt and wondering why I was tired. Hah!

Now, I don’t need to lose weight. And even if I did, I really shouldn’t be trying while also TTC. Those things don’t go together well. But years and years and years of trying to lose weight have me conditioned so very well that I almost just ignored it. Less calories, woo! Yeah? That’s how it should be, right? Less and less and less, even if you feel like crap.

Even now, knowing I’m working with such a big deficit, it’s difficult to remind myself to eat more. It’s difficult to shove aside that inclination to just try to lose weight anyway. I tracked my calorie intake via Livestrong’s Daily Plate for a few days and seeing just how much I was missing the mark didn’t goad me enough. You know, I even got a little thrill out of it. Then I had to forcibly remind myself that I had not been feeling well and that this wasn’t a path I wanted to go down.

I haven’t made a very good plan to consistently up my calories, but I have at least added another coconut fudge to my morning meal. Although I had started upping my fat to avoid eating snacks, I may have to add snacks back in. I eat like a horse in the morning, so that would be the optimal time to just graze and graze and graze. Evenings are too difficult – I tried to have a high-cal smoothie over the weekend for dinner and ended up nauseous.

Well, it just goes to show: TANSTAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch) is true, even when it comes to commuting by bike. While I may be saving on gas money, parking garage fees, and bus fare, the energy to get from here to there needs to come from somewhere. It’s interesting to think of my body as a machine that needs gas just as much as automobiles, but it’s true. And maybe thinking that way will help me avoid the pitfalls of “less calories is always good!” thinking.

In the meantime, eating more = better chance at baby. I just have to remember that.

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