Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Numero Uno

Today is fitting that it should be my first post about health/fitness/wellness all that rainbows and daisies shit. I finally saw some results I was looking for - the line through from the top of my abs to the bottom of my abs. You might think: "well that isn't such an amazing feat!" but less than 4 months ago I was overweight with a nice gut. I was responsible for the crappy state my body was in and did something about it. You're responsible for the state your body is in and only you can change it!

Anyways, onto more pressing matters! Two thing in this blog post: Something that drives me nuts and something that I learned today (and was wrong about, hey, it happens). First, the thing that drives me nuts:

These items are in many houses and soooo many people are obsessed with that little, tiny, (mostly) useless number that is there. Your weight does not matter, at all. You shouldn't go around telling people: "Hey girls! I am now 143! I dropped 2 pounds in 2 weeks!" because I can lose 15 lbs (and so can you) in a weekend, but I won't tell you how because it's unhealthy. Weight can fluctuate a huge amount! The problem with weight is that it doesn't show you the whole picture. Tons of guys but more so girls (models included) are thin, but they are weak and have an insanely high percentage of bodyfat for their weight. These are people I call 'skinny fat'. You idolize them, yet they are very unhealthy.
The thing you want to lose is bodyfat, which will take much longer to lose than weight alone. When you lose weight quickly, you are losing some fat but mostly muscle mass. This is usually a vicious cycle because when (not if) you gain that weight back on, it will almost all be bodyfat/adipose tissue again, so even though you are back to your 'same' weight you have much more body fat than when you started. This is even more problematic because your muslces are what consume calories even while sitting/sleeping so even if you were to eat the same amount of food you could before without gaining weight, now you will because your maintenance level of calories has dropped.
If you still want to praise the all mighty scale, you should lose weight slowly and progressively by eating healthy and exercising. Doing it the 'slow' way you are much more likely to keep the FAT off and you won't lose muscle mass in the process. Losing weight is simple, but not easy.

The 'new' thing I learned today was that I was wrong about Zig Zag dieting. At first I thought that Zig Zag dieting was just used to figure out what amount of calories below your maintenance calories you could live on while still feeling energized during a workout. This is true, you can do that, but it can be used for something much better!
Zig-Zag dieting is to stave off your body's natural starvation response. The starvation response is when your body thinks it is getting 'too few' calories to support itself and it (your body) slows down your metabolism to preserve your fat stores. Obviously if you are trying to lose weight, this is a bad thing. You want to keep your metabolism high so you can burn off as many calories as you can while not working out (though exercise will keep your metabolism higher as well so keep doing that too of course!). To do this you trick your body into thinking it has a high amount of calories incoming when it usually doesn't: In comes the zig zag.
The first three days are lower calorie days - at least 500 but no greater than 1000 calories lower than your maintenance level. On the 4th day you eat your maintenance level worth of calories. Doing this makes your body think it is getting the required amount of calories to sustain itself, so it keeps your metabolism high. You then go back to 3 low calorie days, and back up again to 1 maintenance calorie day. Get it? Zig zag! Thanks to Tom Venuto and 'Burn the fat, feed the muscle' for setting me straight =)
You have to realize your body is always trying to get back to homeostasis meaning that it wants to keep it's adipose tissue & muscle tissues constant! This is why you have to change your exercises up as well, but that's for another day ;)

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