Exercise To Lose Fat, To Lose Weight
Exercises for Weight Loss
Weight loss is a big deal to people. It's a huge money-making industry, especially in our country. Those that subscribe to my newsletter got an in-depth explanation on my own personal experience with exercise and weight loss, as well as some alternatives to traditional exercise. This article will give you a glimpse of these as well, while also providing a medical and physiological explanation of what your body needs. Hopefully, after reading, you will also grasp what your spirit needs; for when the two are aligned, you thrive.
What to Eat?
Maybe "what" is the wrong word here.
The issue is when and how.
Eat every 3 hours. Not hungry? Eat less at your next meal.
Try making your breakfast and only eating half of it. Save the other half for mid-morning.
Do the same with lunch and dinner.
If you are not experiencing hunger every 3 hours (which is when your blood sugar drops), put something in, something with protein. What I recommend to my clients is to have a piece of protein every 2-4 hours, be it a slice of turkey (preferably organic), cheese, a hard-boiled egg, a spoonful of almond butter, a handful of nuts, or a high-quality protein beverage. Don't let the day go by on only 3 meals!
Don't forget hydration. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Don't let yourself get thirsty. Sip your water all day long. Without proper hydration, your body suffers. If you really want to estimate how much to drink, take your body weight, divide that number in half, and there is the number of ounces you need just to hydrate a sedentary body. If you're active, you will need much, much more. (Example: 140 pounds divided by 2 = 70. 70 oz = minimum amount of water intake if you were laying down all day and expending little to no energy.)
Fat Intake, Fat Output
So you want to lose fat, be it in your belly, your hips, your thighs...
Let me share with you some valuable information. Eating less increases your body fat. It sounds counter-intuitive but it's true! When you consume less food than your body needs (especially to compensate for your new exercise routine), it is forced into a state of storing and what it chooses to store is fat. Meanwhile all that muscle you've been trying to build, is being burned away so your body can store fat. Why? Fat lasts longer, provides energy and can be stored rapidly. Without enough food in the body, blood sugar plummets. It is stabilized at the expense of your muscles who give up alanine (an amino acid) to convert to glucose in the liver. Low blood sugar is also associated with hyperinsulinimia (pre-diabetes), which encourages the body to create fat.
Did you know that rhythmic gymnasts have the highest fat composition in a study of various athletes and they consume the least amount of calories? Calorie-counting (as I've already written about) is not your friend, and calorie-cutting is most definitely your enemy. Middle-distance-runners had the lowest body fat percents and the highest (and most appropriate) calorie intake. Calories are energy. Literally.
Move, Move, Move...
So, for the actual exercise? What will bring you the greatest joy, the best health benefits, and the most promising results?
Do you remember playing tag at recess? Those bursts of energy as you ran away from whoever was "It", heart racing, breath panting, and wind rushing by your ears. That's "real" exercise: sustainable, joyful, heart-pounding, and life-giving.
What you think you are looking for is a prescription: walk or run or swim or bike for at least 30 minutes a day, at least 4 days a week, at an intensity that is above your comfort level. If you were a computer, I would program this in and you would be off and running your new software without a glitch. But you aren't. And I can't.
I bought my husband a bike for his birthday this weekend. We went out Saturday AND Sunday, feeling like 10-year olds, racing up the hills and cruising down again. Those bursts of energy expenditure were just what the doctor ordered considering that low-intensity exercise is NOT the most efficient fat-burner. On the contrary, higher intensity movements burn more fat (per volume).
The new prescription is to move.
And to moderate.
A bike ride yesterday. A yoga class today. Maybe some weight-lifting at some point during the week. Dancing to a salsa album, or trying zumba (a great new non-work-out). Chasing the dog around the house. Even doing nothing. This is moderation and movement. This is life.
Yours, in Peace & Health,
Theresa (Singleton) Rosenthal, MA
More resources on my website!
Bacon, Linda (2008). Health at EVERY Size: Benbella Books, Dallas, TX.
Benardot, Dan (2006). Advanced Sports Nutrition