Friday, September 18, 2009
Panda on Weight Loss
There has probably been more money made writing DIET books than from all the Text Books ever written for school children. I know few people who will say they wouldn’t want to lose “a few pounds”. That seems to be the universal desire when it comes to health and fitness. Most Doctors and scientists have varying views about what fitness is but all of them pretty much agree on keeping your weight within a certain range. I would venture to say that the three things people most want to change are their weight, their financial status and their social life. The first will probably affect the other two because when you feel good about the way you look you are generally more positive about everything in your life.
I think weight loss should be kept as simple as possible. Counting calories, weighing your portions, keeping track of points and only eating food manufactured by a weight loss company will work short term but it’s not something that you will want to keep doing the rest of your life. What you need for lasting results is a life style change. A change that you can continue without feeling the need to run screaming into the night.
The first step in being in control of your weight is learning how your body works. Knowledge is power so it’s time to power up. We are a wonderful design, we are able to survive in conditions of extreme heat and cold. We can survive on very little food and we can perform amazing feats of endurance. Our bodies are very adaptable but have one huge flaw, they believe what we tell them with our actions. We have to learn how our body reacts in order to regain control of our eating patterns.
It’s not so much how we eat but what we eat and when we eat it. There have been so many studies on what to eat, when to eat it and why we should do it that way. We will evaluate the best practices.
You have plenty of food to eat and you eat more than you need, your body takes that to mean that you are storing up your reserves for the hard times ahead. So it stores the extra food as fat. You keep doing it even after all your fat cells, (Think of these fat cells as storage sheds), are filled to over flowing. So your body thinks, “Hum the coming hard spell must be a bad one”, and makes more fat cells to store the extra food in.
You go on like this for a few years and all of a sudden think, “Oops, the waist line is shot so I better cut back”. You learn from your friends, that are all of course diet experts, dieting is easy you take in less calories than you burn. Cool you can do that. So you go from eating pretty much anything you want to eating almost nothing. Your body, since it believes in you thinks, “Hum, the hard times finally are here”. So your body being the wonderful adaptable design that it is lowers your metabolism so you can survive the hard times with out using up your fat reserves till absolutely necessary.
With a lower metabolism you have way less energy and feel pretty lethargic most of the time. You start losing a little weight but your body fights to keep every ounce. Of course it’s not long before you are tired of this and go get you an instruction manual, a diet book. Depending on what you get there is usually a revolutionary idea behind the book. After reading a few of these you are getting very confused so you go to a Weight Watchers or a TOPS, or other Doctor approved program. Now don’t get me wrong here, these are good safe programs and you get good information form them. The problem is that if you want lasting results we are right back to that life style change.
There is a very unique thing about fat cells. Your body will build them as long as you keep telling it you need them. But you can never get rid of them. Not without surgery anyway. We can empty them but they are still there. Your body keeps the stretched skin that came from all those filled fat cells needing room to expand also. Our wonderful bodies are doing their thing by making more skin cells to accommodate our expanding girth. Remember the fat cells are like storage sheds. You can empty them and be thinner but they are still there and so it’s much easier to refill them than to have to make more. That’s why you can put weight back on quickly once you stop your diet program. So once you stop starving yourself and then start eating your old way again, you not only put any lost weight back on quickly but your body is even more efficient now at making those new fat cells. It is convinced that it kept you from dying when you were going through a time where you were not getting enough food.
The sooner you can stop his yoyo effect the better off you will be for a lot of reasons. Unfortunately you can’t increase the size of your blood vessels and the amount of blood you have, so you are pretty much limited to the amount in your body and the speed it can flow. You can’t increase the size of your lungs so you are also stuck with the limited amount of oxygen you can bring in. The problem is the fat cells are living and have to be nourished just like the cells that do work, like the muscle cells. That takes a toll on your whole system. So until you stop building and filling those fat cells you are becoming more and more inefficient. The fuel and oxygen required to maintain your fat storage takes away from the rest of the body.
Fat cells don’t help you move so they can’t do work. But you have to feed them and remove their waste just as you do your muscles cells. If you are supporting a hundred extra pounds of cells that give nothing back you are not going to be very efficient. The good part is you will be getting more efficient as you lose those excess pounds. Muscle weight is different, muscles do work so they earn their keep. Also most people have heard that muscle weighs more than fat, that’s true. That’s why when you first start doing everything right you may not see much change in the scale. You want to lose inches more than you want to just lose weight. Let how your clothes fit be your gauge not the scale.
Muscle is much more dense than fat so it weighs much more. Ten pounds of muscle gained will not be nearly as noticeable on your body as a ten pound fat lost. But when you combine the two a muscle gain and a fat loss the scale reading doesn’t change, but your once ‘over snug’ pants are now falling off of you. You will not gain as much muscle weight as will lose fat weight over time but at the beginning you may and not see the scale move. Building muscle mass is a whole new world. You have to work hard toward that end. This writing is about getting back into shape with a lifestyle change, not a writing about muscle building, but often when a person does get stronger and starts feeling super charged with their new energy level they tend to look into other areas of fitness.
Thanks for reading