Monday, November 23, 2009

Cut the Fat

In my effort to get motivated back into the gym, I've been listening to my health and fitness podcasts again. Today I was listening to my most recent discovery, Cut the Fat, and they were discussing set point.

Set point is that weight that our bodies are most comfortable at. A lot of times you can lose weight, but then it's very easy to gain it back so that you're at your set point again. I honestly think that my set point has become 190 pounds. Except for when I shot up to 235, 190 is where my body settles when I'm not eating horribly, but not really watching what I eat either, and when I'm not really getting to the gym regularly. I was 190 when I graduated from college. For 3 years I lost weight down to around 180 and then I would always gain back to 190 when I stopped working out. This year, when I haven't been able to lose any weight, I've been bouncing around 188-192.

I've always heard about resetting your set point, but for some reason that concept really clicked for me today when listening to the podcast. Basically, they advise losing 10% of your weight, then doing all you can to stay there for 3-6 months. This is supposed to reset your set point. Then, if you still have more weight to lose, lose 10% of your new weight. It's an arduous process, but is supposed to be more of a permanent solution than the usual diet up and down.

I think part of my problem has been I'll lose, and then I get lazy and just gain back up to my original set point. But losing 10% of my weight and then holding for 3-6 months doesn't sound unreasonable. That would take me to 171, which I would be absolutely thrilled with.

But how do I lose weight? Anyone who has been reading this blog this year knows about my frustrations with not being able to lose at all. So here is my plan, and we'll see how it goes.

1) Cardio AND strength training. Earier this year, I focused on cardio pretty exclusively, and even though my resting heart rate got insanely low, I didn't really see much improvement in my body. Today I did 30 minutes on the elliptical, then 20 minutes of strength training (crunches, squats, push ups, etc.) Also, once I feel more fit, I'll add in some HIIT. Right now, 30 minutes on the elliptical is wearing me out. I get weak so quickly!
2) High protein diet. It's a fact for me that carbs don't keep me full. I get hungrier more quickly, even when I eat complex carbs, which are supposed to digest slower. Most of my diet will be protein, veggies, and fruit, with some carbs here and there. I'll try to stay below 100 net carbs per day.
3) Not get too crazy about it. My goal is to not eat sugar most days, but, for instance, on Thanksgiving I'm making a pecan tart, which I will be eating.


Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I like your plan. For me, adding weight training really made a difference in the long run. Initially, I think I actually didn't lose any weight because I gained some muscle (but my clothes got looser pretty soon after I started lifting more seriously). I think I actually didn't lose any weight for about 3 months after I started lifting (3 VERY long months). But I was down one dress size (or even a bit more) at the end of the 3 months without losing a pound!

I guess what I'm trying to tell you is to not focus too much on the weight. It'll come off! But it may take a bit (or a lot) more time than you'd like. Don't give up.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoy the pecan tart. It sounds lovely! :)

Amazon Alanna said...

I haven't thought about weight loss for a little bit, Kelly, but your post woke that up in me. I think the resetting your set-point method is cool. Stresswise, in my mind, to lose 10% and then just trying to maintain seem so much more doable then setting a series of mini-goals that add up to 50 pounds. I like it. I'm going to think about it.

Hey, I think I'm going to lost 19.5pounds! Cool!

Donna said...

Kelly, I've been reading your posts, and though I didn't comment initially, I have to say that I was pretty intrigued by this idea of resetting your set point. I need to listen to those podcasts, too.

I'm more into cardio than strength training but there seems to be compelling evidence that weight lifting & other methods of strength training really makes a difference. Here's my question: Can you get enough out of building muscle through yoga or pilates? Or do you actually have to lift weights to have the necessary effects upon your muscle?

I was going to get back to dieting on Monday, but there was all this leftover cake from my birthday over the weekend, so...I started on Tuesday, figuring that at least it was the first of the month. Barclay plans to start his diet (based on Eat to Live and the Ultrasimple Diet) on Jan. 1. Me, I'd rather not have the weight of a New Year's resolution hanging over me...