Last week I put up a post regarding how hard it was exercising patience while trying out a nutrition strategy (here). In the comments one poster pointed out that the premise of eating more to loose weight sounded like complete bunk. I actually agree with him, sounds off somewhere. Instead of saying that you need to eat more to loose weight, an exaggerated over simplification on my part, I think the better way to have put what I was going for instead is you have to eat enough to loose weight.
First off note this is from my research and my personal opinion. I am not a trained nutritionist and I do not have any authority in my claims. It is just based on my research and my own understanding of the human body. Take what I say with a grain of salt, but please discuss in the comments as I think this is a great discussion topic.
In that previous post what I was going for was that I do not feel I was eating enough food for the level of activity I was involving myself in. I had hit a plateau in weight loss and waist reduction. I was often working out for two or more hours or doing two activities a day and from what I could deduce my problem was not too many calories, but too few. Let me expand on this a bit further,
My current week work out wise usually looks like this:
Monday- Afternoon light spin 1 hour/evening swim 1 hour
Tuesday – Morning run 2-3 miles/afternoon weights/evening intense spin 1-2 hours high heart rate
Wednesday – Morning Pilates/Evening 2 mile run
Thursday – afternoon weights/evening intense spin
Friday – Morning long run/evening hour swim
Saturday and Sunday – 2+ hour bike ride on either one or both days.
Being conservative I am burning off at least 1000 calories or more per day just based off of my workouts.
Looking at diet, I am a fan of the Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR number that basically gives you your number of base calories burnt at complete rest. The most accurate way to get this number is to go and have it measured while you rest, but I think you can get an idea using a calculator such as found at this site. This omits percentages of lean muscle mass but overall can give a pretty good idea of the numbers you should be shooting for. Based on my current age, weight and height I burn 2337 calories doing nothing. From here, the same site allows you to plug in your activity level and get some numbers to shoot for. The maintenance number is your max range and the extreme is given but it is recommended that you do not go below that number. I personally use the twice daily and very active range to generate my numbers. On very active, very intense days I try to shoot for the upper 3000’s and on less work intensive days I shoot for lower. The basic idea is to keep the body guessing.
When I was not thinking about nutrition but working out with this same intensity I know I was eating pretty close to 2500 or fewer calories a day, creating a very large deficit. This is where the eating enough idea comes to play. I need to strive for 3000-4000 calories to give my body no reason to slow down or panic and slow down weight loss.
Of course, besides exercise the other side of the coin is the types of food being consumed. I have overhauled my diet most of the time and still allow flexibility for weekend splurges. I find usually if I track my weight daily, its best choosing one day as my official date to allow me to ignore the increases I often see from the weekends, which go back down by Tuesday (probably related to increased sodium from eating a few fun meals with the wife). I usually track my official weight on Fridays as its a good measure of the overall week.
Food wise my meals often look like this:
4:30 Oatmeal with berries and protein shake
5:30 Granola Bar
6:00 Morning workout
8:00 yogurt and cliff bar
9:30 -10 home made hummus and pita chips (10-20)
12: 00 afternoon workout
1:00 fish or chicken with rice or left overs
2:00 Salad kit (entire thing)
3:30 Yogurt #2
4:00 Vegies and dip
5:00-6:00 cliff bar/sports drink/grapes and or cherry tomatoes
8:00 cliff bar(granola bar) and protein drink
That is my basic daily mix. Its scaled back a bit on days when I have less activity planned and some days its more. The biggest difficulty in eating healthy high number of calories is that healthier food tends to be less caloric than prepackaged food. But I often find if I much daily on fruits and nuts I can get by pretty well and on long workout days. On weekends, such as Friday nights, I often will eat primarily healthy, but I usually let myself have some pizza and maybe a burger.
Currently this plan appears to be working. I am now in the wait and see phase of this plan. I now have to be patient and consistent and just keep steady on this approach for another month. Once a little time has passed and I have amassed enough data, then I can tweak and figure out what worked and did not work. Right now my pants and belt are starting to feel a bit looser, but time is the only factor that will truly let me know if things are working. Eating healthy food most of the time and consuming enough fuel for my body has done wonders for my performance and even the little bit of weight I have taken off has felt great when exercising. I hope this helped to clarify where I was coming from when I made my earlier over simplification. Leave me a comment if you see something I missed, I am always open to exchange and dialog on this topic as there is so much to learn and soak up. Til next time.
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