Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 38

Well, I've lost 11# in the last 38 days since I started working out. Now, to be fair, I have missed/skipped quite a few workouts since taking Dude to swimming lessons and finishing up the end of school. I plan to fix that this week.

What am I doing differently? I'm NOT counting calories, just eating clean 90-95% of the time. I suspect the calorie counter I used to determine how many calories I need each day is not very accurate. That would also explain why I wasn't losing weight much at the farm in Oregon. Because...

(and listen up)

Regardless of the calories in-calories out theory, there is a point at which your body will think you're about to enter a period of starvation and it will stubbornly hang on to every last scrap of flab it can.

REALLY. Our bodies are designed that way since the dawn of time, to preserve life as long as possible.

Haven't you ever watched The Biggest Loser and wondered why someone didn't lose weight this week, despite their protestations that they did everything right? This is probably the reason behind that lack of loss (unless they were purposely throwing the weigh in by consuming salt water beforehand).

Your body needs fuel in order to burn calories. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it is what it is. No matter how much Jillian may scream in your face.

Bodybuilders already know this. When they're dieting and training up for a physique class, they do not cut their calories by more than about 500 per day from what their basal metabolic need is. In order to make up the rest of the calorie deficit, they workout.

Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories you need to consume per day to keep your body functioning at the weight it is and maintain the status quo. You can find a BMR calculator here.

But wait! Losing pounds is all well and good. But you want to lose fat, right? Then you really, really need to build muscle. Muscle is the powerhouse of the metabolism. It won't make you, as a woman, look bulky. Well, not the average woman. Now, if you're a competitive figure model, that's different.

Building muscle boosts your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn and the less you'll store. Plus, it keeps your metabolic fires stoked while you sleep. You need muscle in order to diminish your fat cells. If you're not building and using your muscles regularly while losing weight, your body may very well break down your muscle proteins first. Then, you can be a skinny "fat" person. You won't get the sleek definition we all want at heart. You are likely to still be soft and mushy in all the wrong places.

So, what is it that I did differently to lose 8 pounds recently? I ate clean. It was pretty simple. I cut out a lot of the white flour, white sugar and processed foods (including diet foods) I'd been eating. No sugar substitute, no crappy cereal. No "dairy dessert" masquerading around as ice cream. Just plain and simple food. Ok, maybe not so "plain". :-)

I'm also cleaning stalls, moving hay and doing all those normal horse chores again. So, I AM still getting a workout! I'm eating 5-6 "mini" meals a day, balanced in carb and protein ratios. I'm eating lots and lots of fruits and veg. But mostly, I'm consuming them every 2.5-3 hours so that my metabolism doesn't slow down. And I'm measuring out my serving sizes by eyeballing them, which individualizes the serving to me and my needs, not some industry standard set by the FDA.

Here's how:

- A serving of protein equals the size of my palm (if nuts, then a scant handful).

- A serving of starchy carbs equals a single cupped hand (bread, rice, potato, whole grain pasta).

- A serving of vegetables and fruits equals both of my hands cupped together.

- A serving of healthy fats is one to two tablespoons (or a scant handful of unsalted nuts).

It's working. I feel better. My mood is improved (as long as I have some red meat weekly!). And my skin is clearer than it has been in the past 4-5 years. Let's not forget the weight loss too!

Next week, back to Power 90.

How about you? How are you doing? Do you have any questions?

P.S. Did anyone notice that I've lost 8 of those pounds in the past 2 weeks or so?


SquirrelGurl said...

Way to go! And what a simple way to measure portion sizes, even I can figure that one out!

Michelle said...

It's been a long time since I've been to visit, but I'm so glad I dropped by! I'm embarking on my own fitness program right now, sparked by the possibility of actually going to a horse show in August followed immediately by the panic that I am completely out of shape and disgusting! So I will be sure to come back often so I can keep myself motivated and accountable! Glad to see you're still at it.

ezra_pandora said...

That's great!!! People notice that I seem to eat al the time but still seem to be in decent shape. My secret? I eat little a lot. I constantly eat little bits of stuff every hour or two. As long as you understand portion control (which it sounds like you do from your little summary there) and eat the right things (which I don't always), it works. It sounds like you are doing really good though. Congrats!