Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Body Composition and Eating

I entered a body transformation challenge a couple of weeks ago, and as a result I have had my body fat analyzed weekly for a few weeks.  I'm less than half way through the challenge, so I will have more to say in a few weeks, but one thing that jumped out at me based on both this challenge and a few conversations I've had lately, is how different peoples' approaches to fat loss can be.

In particular, many of us cut calories or carbs, skip meals, etc., to drop pounds.  All of those do work in the short run, but I wonder if they are the best approach for sustainable shifts in body composition.

The approach that the more body-building-ish folks seem to take is one of higher-calories, medium carbs, frequent meals and snacks, and some element of "cycling" which includes built-in cheat days at least once a week with higher carbs and higher calories (though not during competition season).  These elements help to keep the metabolism high, so that although they are eating more, their bodies are also burning more.

I decided to track my calorie and "macronutrient" (fat/protein/carb) intake for a few days to get a sense of where I am.  Based on my gender, height, weight, age, and activity level, my maintenance calories should be roughly 1200 based on a few calculators I found.  Pretty low.  Given the additional exercise I do, that could go up to about 1400.  From my tracking, I seem to eat about 1600-2000 calories a day, averaging around 1800.  (I haven't tracked on weekends, but I'm pretty sure I eat at least that much, and possibly more, on weekends.)  And yet my weight is steady.  And my body fat percentage keeps going down - I keep losing fat and gaining muscle.

So what do I think is happening?  I think that the way I'm eating helps to keep my metabolism high, and of course I think that all of the weight lifting and strengthening exercises I've done over the last six months have helped me build muscle, further increasing my metabolism.  I'm no expert, and I haven't read a half dozen books on this yet, as I'm sure I will in the near future now that I'm curious.  :)  But these are my initial thoughts.

I'll let you know what I learn once I read like a crazy-person about metabolism.  :)

BTW, I basically ran out of running books I could borrow from the library with digital download - I've read 4 cover to cover now, plus parts of 2 more.  So it seems about time to transition to a new topic.  And both my competitive side, and my desire for $100, have me pretty motivated to lower my body fat percentage over the last 4 weeks of the challenge.

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