Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How I lose Fat

First and foremost, it’s important to note that this is not a diet, this is a lifestyle change. I say that because diets are meant to make you lose weight, but it inevitably always comes back when you stop dieting, however by changing your lifestyle (from here on out, when I say diet, it will refer to what I eat, as a part of the lifestyle change), you won’t see the weight return unless you revert back to the old lifestyle.

This change in lifestyle isn’t as difficult as it may seem, really. If you include all the steps I have taken so far, its been about a month. I have lost an inch off my waist, and about 13lbs.

So here it is: The first thing I realized I needed to do: control my portion size. We eat way too much. Did you know that eleven French fries is one serving? Did you know a Big Mac has 930 calories? That’s almost half a woman’s daily calorie intake, in one sandwich.

I spent a week just learning to eat less. I took an extreme approach, which I am sure isn’t the healthiest way to do it, but when I swim, I jump in. If you don’t know what portions are, you need to learn them. At this point, I am not counting calories; I wasn’t ready to do that.

Second, get a notebook. Create daily logs of all your eating habits, exercise habits, and weigh-ins. This is another must do, it’s hard work, at first, but has huge payoffs. First, it will become a track record of your progress. Second, it shows how much you eat, and third, how much exercise you do. So when you have a week where you don’t lose weight, you can go back and figure out why. Or when you get depressed and want to quit, you can go back and see where you have made improvements.

Okay, so now you’re eating small portions, time to figure out what your body needs. This is a little different for every person, based on your body style, there are three main kinds. Most likely, you will fall into a mixture of two; however you want to focus on your primary body type.

The three body types are: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. In short, Ectomorphs are the “super skinny” types; they can eat just about anything, and never gain weight. Endomorphs are the polar opposite of Ectomorphs. Endomorphs have to carefully watch what they eat because it always seems to turn into fat. Lastly, a Mesomorph is the “ideal body”. They appear fit, are never too skinny, but don’t put on a lot of weight either. Chances are you are a mix of Ecto-Meso, Meso-Ecto, Endo-Meso, or Meso Endo.

Personally, I am an Endo-Meso. It is really hard for me to lose weight, it is very difficult for me to lose weight, and I have generally been overweight my entire life.

Figuring out your body type is very important. Of note: Mesomorphs can be overweight, and Endomorphs can be fit, look at your overall fitness, even from early ages. If you are unsure, you can find quizzes online to help you.

After reading up on my body type, I have also learned better ways to improve exercise, and what to and not to eat (just as important is when to eat).

While I initially hated my body type, because it requires so much work to get fit, I have also learned that it does something super cool. Endomorphs can generally heal faster after a workout, which means we can work harder (yay…). Sounds like of supernatural, like Wolverine or something, but it is true. I can run a few miles, break for 30 minutes, and could go run again. I have learned to love it.

Now I know my body type, I am learning other things about the body. For example, we all know calcium is important, it gives us strong bones, but did you know it fights fat? Specifically fat around the abdominal area, so make sure you get your daily calcium intake. Now as far as that goes, your body can only consume 50% of your daily calcium at a time, so if you get a supplement, you don’t need 120% or 230%, because its just going to get wasted. I went to Meijer and found a calcium supplement that gives 50% of your daily need, in one tablet (Made by “True basics”, 250 tablets was $6.00; I take two a day).

Another important note about calcium, caffeine prevents your body from absorbing it. So if you take a vitamin in the morning, say, with a cup of coffee, it will be wasted.

Speaking of drinks, I drink 8 glasses of water a day. Its not hard. In fact, most often when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty, so drink your water. I could give you dozens of reasons to drink water, but more than likely, you already know them.

I eat more now, than I ate before. I eat 5 or 6 meals every day, but they are portion and calorie controlled. In the book “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” Tom Venuto talks about calories, and what you should know. First off, how many calories should you eat in a day? A male trying to lose weight (me) should have between 2200-2700 a day (2700-2900 a day to maintain my weight). Women’s numbers are 2000-2100 to maintain your weight and 1400-1800 to lose weight.

It is also good to know what your body burns up on its own (called the BMR or Basal Metabolic rate).

Here is the formula for that:

BMR= 66+ (13.7 x your weight in kg.) + (5 x your height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)

BMR= 655+ (9.6 x your weight in kg.) + (1.8 x your height in cm) – (4.7 x age)

Again, your BMR is what you burn without exercising, walking, or doing your day to day tasks. My BMR is about 2100 calories/day.

This is a good number to know, when you are trying to lose weight. The other important number to know, is what you intake; which brings us back to that daily log. I started my log on May 1st, and haven’t missed a day yet. While I am currently not recording my caloric intake, I have a pretty good idea of my per meal intake. I do record how many calories I burn while exercising.

The next thing I can think of is meal timing. As I stated, I eat 5-6 meals a day. It was actually difficult at first to do, because that’s a lot of eating. Here is the reason why its important to eat so many times. The simple answer is it keeps your metabolism up. The reason it does that is what’s actually important.

It takes your body 3 hours to digest protein, which I haven’t talked about, but it’s what you be the majority of your diet. By maintaining a high metabolism, your body is constantly burning calories. This is important for an Endomorph, because we generally have a low metabolism rate, which is why it doesn’t take much to get fat.

Eating every 3 hours kick starts your metabolism, forcing your body to burn calories. Now that being said, protein is important. ANY time you eat a carb (including vegetables), you should eat some sort of protein, and it helps your metabolism do its thing.

Lastly, I practice the Zig-Zag method of eating. This truly impressed me; God has really designed our bodies to be smart. When you are on the losing weight calorie schedule, it takes 3 days for your body to realize what you’re doing before it goes into “starvation” mode. That is, when your body starts fighting back.

When you change your diet and start eating fewer calories, you will succeed until your body figures out what you’re doing and starts to correct itself. Using a “zig-zag diet will prevent this. How it works is like this: for three days you limit your calorie intake to the “weight loss” amount. On the fourth day, you increase your calories to the normal amount. This will psyche out your body, and prevent it from harming itself, while maximizing weight loss.

All in all, this has worked for me; you will surely want to personalize your eating habits based on your body type. When you start eating 5+ meals a day, you will see an almost immediate gain in energy.

If you have any questions feel free to ask, I will try and help however I can.
Most of the information I have learned from reading online or in books.


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