Sometimes it’s hard to admit, but I am a normal person (that’s not the hard bit to admit!) and I make mistakes. Of course I do, and when I do I try hard to learn from them.
For those of you you have been following my writings over the last few months, you’ll know that I am on a weight loss journey (as are many of you) and part of being on a journey is experiencing the ups and downs along the way.
And the other day I had a down.
So I decided to learn from it and make it work for me.
What happened then?
Well, every Thursday we (Lela, Georgie and I) meet up with a group of friends and do dinner. Nothing formal, just nice and relaxed. And there’s always desert. Always.
This last week there was lots, four different desserts to be exact. There was home made Danish Syrup Loaf (I’d never had this before, and my goodness, it was tasty), Vienetta Icecream, home made Scones with Jam, fresh Strawberries and clotted Cream (a personal favourite) and, finally, a Lemon Tart. Quite a selection, I think you’ll agree.
(I get her dilemma here, I really do)
Now I knew there was going to be something of a tempting selection, so I prepared by going to the gym before hand and doing very intense circuit training cardio session (a circuit consisting of Kettlebell swing snatches, clean and presses, medicine ball power snatches, overhead squats, 3 minutes spinning and finishing with a 3 exercise ab circuit, 1 minute rest and repeat for 5 circuits, be tired!). I didn’t wear my heart rate monitor as it’s broken, but I’d guess that during the 50 mins I was doing this routine I burned in the region of 800 calories (from long experience of using my HR monitor whilst exercising and knowing my range of exercise intensities and how they correlate with HR).
So I arrived at the meal (after riding there from the gym, another few calories down) knowing I had a pretty decent calorie debt for the day: I did a 20 min workout in the morning, ate a reasonable lunch (no breakfast for me anymore, I’m an Intermittent Faster now) and then had nothing till the gym, so I reckon I’d taken in about 800 cals from food, exercised for about 900-1000 cals and had a daily end goal of about 1600 cals. So I could have a meal worth 1600 cals and still have a weight loss day, don’t you just love Intermittent Fasting?
And I didn’t even pig out, despite knowing that I had the room, calorificaly speaking, to really indulge. I’d guesstimate (I know how fraught with errors that method is, but I wasn’t about to ask each person for ingredients and calculate it!) that I ate between 1200 and 1300 cals in the whole meal (the main was a lovely fish in tomato sauce with pasta dish). This should leave me with a decent debt for the day, I think you’ll agree. So how did my body respond?
Well, in the gym for my weights routine the next day I was checking myself out in the mirror in the changing rooms (strictly for measurement purposes I assure you!) and I was sure that I could see significantly less ab definition.
How do I explain this, and what the heck does it have to do with Cravings?
I’m getting to the cravings, bear with me!
I understand the notion of ‘a calorie is a calorie’, but results don’t lie. I simply had a noticeable change in my appearance. I think (and have no way of backing this up right now, but am looking into it) that sugar either increases water stores quickly, to create a ‘soft’ look, or that in the presence of full body stores of carbohydrate it gets turned very quickly and easily to fat, and it could be that both of these things are happening.
Well, even though I combined diet and exercise in a way that meant I was still in the weight loss zone/fat burning zone for daily calories, I still gained fat/looked like I gained fat/lost muscle definition.
This has pretty important implications for us all (and yes, I realise the danger of extrapolating my results to everyone else’s):
You can’t really get away with eating crap.
And on top of this there is a second problem with the ‘using exercise to control excess calories’ method; it costs recovery energy. Look at it this way, when you’re trying to get your body to look as good as possible you want to achieve two things; fat loss and muscle definition (women are no exception here, just look at a marathon runner compared to a tennis player, pole vaulter or female boxer/fighter to see the varying effects of low bodyfat and muscle development).
When you exercise it costs you energy to recover from it. The more you exercise, the more it costs. So to maximise those two goals you need to be promoting muscle definition whilst promoting fat loss. Similarly, you want to maximise your ability to get your muscles to respond to the training stimulus applied. Now, imagine that you do an hour of intense cardio everyday, on top of your strength training/muscle building routine. What does your body need to do?
It needs to adapt to both. So the cost of recovering/adapting from your cardio can limit the effectiveness of your adaptations/developments with muscle definition. This is something that both Martin Berkhan and Lyle McDonald have talked about, and they both recommend using diet to promote fat loss and training to promote muscle definition (even if the methods they recommend vary).
In short, by doing lots of cardio you actually end up limiting your results!
Back to Cravings
So, that means we need to have a way to deal with our cravings.
So I’ve popped some recommendations on this knol
Check it out, and let me know how you progress.
Weight Loss Retreats