Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eat more to weigh less

OK. Remember last week after whining about no fat loss over 3 months I said I did some research? Well, I've done a whole lot more since then, and have drastically changed my diet and less-drastically changed my workouts. The result? Down a pound or two in weight (one today, but consistently two for the previous few days), down an inch in my waistline, no changes elsewhere.

BUT -- I've been eating so much I am stuffed most of the time and actually don't want to eat as much as I'm supposed to eat!  First I found this great site that convinced me that I've been eating far too little for far too long. While this might sound counter-intuitive, in the end it makes sense. You have to reset your metabolism by eating the amount of calories your body needs to maintain its current weight, rather than lose weight, for awhile, then gradually lower to weight-loss calories. I might not have paid attention to this, but I've heard it before and had forgotten. I also didn't realize I was eating too few calories. I wasn't hungry, didn't feel deprived of food. But I also had a constant craving for things I 'shouldn't eat'.

I  haven't yet been able to eat the actual number of calories for weight maintenance -- have been going with weight loss numbers because even that fills me to the brim and makes me uncomfortably stuffed, which isn't desirable either. As the week's gone on, I've learned a bit more about managing this, but it's still not easy. And it's not even fun! Because of course, the calories all have to be healthy calories, not junk-food calories. No more food cravings, at least.

I looked at other sites, too. One concerns controlling the hormone, leptin, which has a lot to do with regulating body weight, and which isn't released when too few calories are ingested. This site/diet requires eating only 3 times per day -- no snacking -- at 5-6 hour intervals, supposedly giving the liver time to do it's work and the rest of the body organs time to do their work at digesting the meal and releasing hormones. I find it odd that he says 'don't overeat or have large meals' yet wants all those calories to be in only 3 meals. So far, I've found it impossible to meet both. This site was interesting and useful, too. As was this one, which is chock full of great articles on the entire subject of fitness and weight loss as well as HIIT, which is also something I changed this week.

HIIT is something I've known about for a long time, to some extent. I've 'always' known that interval training was desirable -- high intensity sprints alternated with rest periods -- and I've been doing that already with the cycle machine. But reading about this in several places also taught me that it's not necessary to spend long periods of time doing this, that the old 'long workouts at low intensity levels burns fat' theory has been replaced by HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. And the trainers say that the best results with their clients come from 20-25 minutes only. You need to get your heart rate out of the 'working' zone and up into the anaerobic zone close to your maximum heart rate during these workouts. This does lots of things, which you can read about on some of the above sites if you're interested. They all talk about it. I've enjoyed it with the bike. It's fun.

Aside from these changes, I've also latched onto a theory of eating differing amounts of calories each day, on a schedule. One low day (today for me) followed by a high day that's also a good time to have a 'cheat' meal if you want it. Pizza, beer, whatever floats your boat. The other five days vary somewhere in between the low and high days. This also helps with fat loss.

Will all this work? I don't know yet. But I do know that I've eaten like a pig, have no desire to eat this much and especially not more, and there haven't been any measurable upswings in weight or inches.  It'll take more than one week for the body to re-adjust, so we'll see what happens this week. I hate counting calories, and eating more costs more, which doesn't bode well for my budget, but I'll make it work one way or another. And it's been easy to see that I really was eating too few calories, so my body will probably be healthier in the end.

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