Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Fat Loss Adventure

I've never been one to attempt to lose weight until recently. It was all about lifting hard, eating, and attempting to gain weight. At 48, I now realize I am not immune to accumulating body fat like any other human being. I'm not as active as in the past, I eat when I'm hungry, and have strayed from a sensible diet to one that consists of many "zero nutritional value" foods (i.e., processed, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, saturated fat, etc.). I do eat some fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein, but it was the increase of the aforementioned foods that lead to my "mini-gut." Bottom line: I slowly developed that gut that started getting in the way of putting my socks on in the morning.

Since early December, my scale weight has dropped from 194 to 182. And when I do the pinch test, it's definitely decreased. Here's what I have done and my experiences in the last 5 weeks:

1. I'm eating fewer calories, smaller portions, and making better choices (i.e., carrot sticks over Rice Krispie Treat).

2. Limited intake of white flour products and processed food. A chicken breast and mixed vegetables is it. Before it was that plus non-whole grain pasta and sauce.

3. Water over soda. I've always been a skim milk guy, too.

4. When I get hungry between meals, I fight the urge to eat. I have to tap into that chunk on my stomach.

5. When it is time for one of the three traditional meals of the day (B-L-D), eat, but don't over-eat.

6. No late-night feeding sessions (nothing after 8:00 p.m.)

7. NO CARDIO!! Not that I'm against it, just that I can't run (knee) and loathe standing on treadmill or elliptical trainer. Lesson: you don't have to go on a 45 minute run or 1 hour stationary bike ride to lose fat. Lift in circuit style if you want to huff and puff and get the heart rate up.

8. I have been strength training every other day, six days/week, alternating between upper and lower body. Muscle is metabolically expensive and "wants to go" in the wake of reduced calories, so I attempt to keep it there. However...

9. Interestingly, I have lost some strength in the process. It's due to a combination of my lower calorie intake and being under-recovered due to my lifting frequency (I'll experiment with a normal lifting frequency {2-3 days/week} as time moves forward but right now I want to "be active" more often since I'm not doing the cardio). It's a double edged sword: want to get bigger and stronger? Eat more and lift hard. Want to lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. – Tom Kelso, Strength Coach