My Threefold Approach
How did I let myself get so bad?
Date: 1/6/2009 3:53:25 AM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 2875 times
It was perhaps a year and a half ago and I was at 210 pounds. Not exactly my ideal weight but nothing to really complain about either. Between then and December 2008, I managed to pack on an additional 43 pounds, putting me at 253 pounds. When I did my first body fat test on December 28th and discovered my body fat percentage was 30.57%, I was shocked. A body fat percentage of 30 or higher is considered clinically obese. My body fat percentage dropped to 28.90% this week, but I am still considered to be borderline.
The question remains how I got to this place in my life. I love to cook and consider myself quite accomplished. With the cooking comes the eating. I also live in Germany and do like to drink the local brew. German beer is nothing like what you get in the states and is really packed with a lot of calories. That compounded matters. Finally, my lifestyle became very sedentary and I pretty much stopped all forms of exercise. So here I am, 50 and overweight.
The first part of my approach is the diet. When I say diet, I am referring to my choice of foods and the frequency in which I eat. Number one, I am now eating six times a day. For women, five meals is what to aim for. I eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It takes each meal about two hours to digest, thus the frequency. I am eating smaller meals, although I find them quite filling. I limit myself to around 400-480 calories per meal. At this point, I am trying to stay right around 2400 calories a day. From what I've read, this is the optimal intake to lose fat. For women, it's 1500-1600 calories a day. You might be thinking, six times a day, are you mad! The fact is that eating small and frequent meals is by far the most effective way to speed up your metabolism. Eating frequently makes you burn more calories! It sounds crazy but it works. I eat my first meal of the day at 6 am, after I do my morning cardio, and my last meal at around 8 pm. In a future blog entry, I'll talk more about exactly what it is I'm eating.
Part two of my approach is the cardio. According to the body building nutritionist John Pardillo, "Increasing aerobic exercise activity has the benefit of burning fat without slowing the metabolic rate. In fact, aerobic exercise causes metabolic adaptations that make the body more efficient at burning fat." Dieting without exercise is one of the major reasons for the 95% failure rate of weight loss programs today. To lose body fat, you must create a calorie deficit. There are two ways to do this: 1) decrease your caloric intake from food (dieting), or 2) increase the amount of calories you burn (exercising). Both methods should be used, but the healthier, more efficient and more permanent way is to burn the fat with exercise. I do my aerobic exercise twice a day. I'm fortunate in that I have a treadmill in my home. I get up at 5 am and do 30 minutes, keeping my heart rate at around 115-120 bpm for fat burning purposes. I also find time when I get home from work to do another 30 minutes. You might be saying, I don't have the time for that. I'm a single dad with sole custody of my 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter, and I find time. I have had to sacrifice watching something I like on TV or going on the computer, but the bottom line is that I have a goal to lose 63 pounds and that's the priority, other than my kids of course.
The final part of the puzzle is weight training for fat loss. Weight training increases your lean body mass. Increasing your lean body mass speeds up your metabolic rate so you burn more calories at rest--and the number of calories you burn at rest is directly proportional to the amount of muscle you carry. If you diet without weight training, you're almost always going to lose muscle. If you lose muscle, your resting metabolic rate will decrease. If your resting metabolic rate decreases, you burn fewer calories. If you burn fewer calories, you will lose less fat and eventually plateau.
Okay, that's it in a nutshell. I'll expand on all three of these approaches later on and provide specific examples of exactly what it is I am doing.
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