Monday, June 13, 2011
I've known for a long time that weight loss and maintenance for me are primarily about "diet": controlling calories IN is more effective for me than boosting calories OUT.
Exercise is very very important, of course: both physically (strength and toning, cardio, flexibility) and psychologically (sustaining my typically upbeat and happy mood).
But I could exercise plenty and stay pretty hefty. I can never exercise enough to eat whatever I want -- not even when I was routinely running 10 km a day (and grinding out my knees and hips in the process). Even burning all those calories (which I thought justified eating pretty much whatever I wanted the rest of the day), I was a size 12 and weighed about 20-25 pounds more than I do today.
So you can imagine that today's article about the "feet versus fork" debate in the Toronto Globe and Mail was of great interest to me: here's the link if you want to read the whole thing (and it includes a further link to the actual debate at University of Ottawa).
What's it say? In a nutshell, what you'd expect: exercise IS important; diet matters too; but for many people, diet may matter more.
You're more likely to be heavy if you eat more meat; more likely to be slimmer if you eat more fruit. True, the more you run, the less likely meat eating will be a factor . . . but that may be because running more affects the body's tendency to burn fat. In addition, the runner who eats a high fat meal is more likely to adjust subsequent calorie intake for the rest of the day because exercise affects appetite: and so the runner is also more likely to burn off the excess fat intake. An obese person who eats a high fat meal is more likely to keep right on chowing down for the rest of the day and to store the excess fat as . . . yeah, right. So the factors are intertwined, for sure.
The term researchers are using for the tendency of the obese to store rather than burn excess fat, all factors (calories IN and calories OUT) being equal? "Metabolic inflexibility".
Dunno whether the fancy term helps or not. My metabolism, I'm pretty sure, is by its nature both super-efficient AND inflexible. So if my stretching exercises at the gym assist with physical flexibility, I'm thinking that the gym more generally is helping with the innate and inherited tendency to metabolic inflexibility as well.
The fun factor is key for me in staying the exercise course. Loved my 10 km running mostly because it was outside and with friends: ditto cross country skiing last winter. Yesterday's golf game -- four hours twenty minutes -- in cool temperatures, trotting around at a very brisk pace, and taking more swings at the ball than would have been optimal: all that added up to a nice change from the gym, and resulted in me clocking up a more satisfying calorie burn.
Plus, I saw a bluebird!!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
I'm struck by how much harder I have to work at the gym to burn 400 calories on the cross trainer now that my weight is 140 (or, today, 138).
It took me just over 43 minutes at level 8, really sweating it, to burn 400 calories on the elliptical cross trainer.
And burning even 10 calories requires significant expenditure of energy.
When I was over 160 pounds, the 400 calories took more like 30 minutes.
That's why, I suppose, I have to eat much less and work much harder to stay in the same place . . . the place I'm wanting to stay which is right about here. I like seeing a middle number "3" on the scale! And I'm liking the way my clothes fit, and the general feeling of lightness and ease and strength I'm experiencing.
I did a little researching on the internet to determine the maintenance math: how many calories can I actually eat to maintain at 140 or so? Using the Harris-Benedict Formula, I first calculate my basic metabolic rate. That's determined by my height, weight and age, and the figure which came up is 1306.3.
Then I consider my activity level: from sedentary (which would indicate a multiplier of 1.2) through light, moderate and very active to super active (multiplier of 1.9). That's the calories for maintenance, according to this formula.
No way am I sedentary. Most days I'm at least a moderate exerciser. Which would mean that I ought to be able to eat 1900 calories a day and maintain at 140. But in my experience, I cannot eat much more than 1300 calories a day and maintain the same weight. Nope.
And almost twice that? No way, even if I were so super active that I remained on that elliptical cross trainer pumping my arms at top speed all day long: I'm pretty sure I still couldn't maintain my weight if I ate close to 2600 calories a day.
What I do know: eating even 100 excess calories a day results in a 10 pound weight gain a year. Compounding. And it's so easy to eat 100 excess calories: that's a largish apple, or 3 pre-wrapped Lindt dark chocolate squares or 1 oz cheddar or . . . not much!!
So: here's the thing. The less I weigh, the less I can eat, and the harder I have to exercise to stay in the same place. I'm thinking that this is the reason that so many people find it easy enough to lose weight, hard to maintain the loss.
Good to know. Right. Here's the link if you want to try the math for yourself.
And here's another link from the Mayo Clinic which is a bit easier to work with, but doesn't actually explain the process very well:
Love SP: but it's telling me (if I change to indicate the new weight and new weight goal) 2000-2500 calories a day.
And I do know that won't work for me.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Yup, feeling good again: muscles have stopped shrieking.
And: is there anything better than that?
Plus my Oriental poppies will be in bloom any moment!! They do actually pop, with those sepals springing away from the silky folded blossoms inside . . . it's amazing to see, and I'm hoping to be present for at least one of those pops!!
Summertime . . . ahhh!!
Monday, June 06, 2011
Love that expression, borrowed from TRAVELGGRL.
And I'm moaning because I may have overdone it a little yesterday -- gardening in the morning, golf in the afternoon, all this after a rigorous free weight upper body workout and cardio on Saturday.
Yeah, weekend warrior -- the old cliche about muscles I didn't know I had, ouch ouch ouch!!
Got my flower boxes planted up (with good ol' reliable geraniums and nasturtiums) and began on some of the flower beds, clipping back spent bulb foliage and rooting out some iris that had declined to bloom . . . too crowded, I'm thinking. There is still lots more to do, that's for sure. And next weekend will probably be soon enough, supposing that I recover by then. I'll get to the gym again and stretch out some of the kinks and maybe sit in the whirlpool . . . that will help!!
It was a completely gorgeous day on the golf course: perfect temperature, perfect breeze, perfect blue sky sunshine, perfect buglessness, perfect company: only the golf itself maybe not quite so perfect!! Is it ever?? I tell myself that the golf is just necessarily incidental to the walk in the park . . . love the cool rustling of the poplar foliage and the way it shimmers in the light. (Monet has permanently made me see lots of things differently, poplars just being one of those!)
Here's a link -- I especially like that "poplars in the sun" version.
And yes, there will soon be water lilies on the pond too . . .
So: how do we moan when the world is so full of such beautiful stuff? Don't know, but promise I'll stop when my poor muscles stop screaming, yes I will!!
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Ran into two old friends in two different locations while I was carrying out my Saturday routines (at the gym, then picking up some geraniums and nasturtiums at the nursery) neither of whom I'd seen for a very long time . . .
And each of them said, quite spontaneously, "You look so tiny!"
Tiny? I'm 5'9" tall! I've got size 9 or 10 feet!! I'm wearing a size 8 (which is a medium) or an occasional generous 6 (vanity sizing!)
Tiny I am not!!
But have to say, it made me feel good to discover that I'm looking noticeably slimmer!!
Thanks, Spark Friends, for the support. I've been keeping my weight steady at 138-140 for the last three weeks at least. Beck is working for me in helping me find that lowest sustainable weight!
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