Please excuse the mess of a post below, but I am just throwing down everything I’ve learned in the short amount of free time I had in the past 24 hours…
In my battle with the bulge around my stomach, hips and thighs, there are two things I believe I may be doing wrong.
1. Eating the wrong foods.
2. Doing the wrong types work outs.
I am so glad I wrote yesterday’s post because a) hearing from you made me feel better and b) I learned some things. (Those are the two best reasons for having a blog, by the way.) It seems I am not the only one struggling with this layer of fat that disguises the results of all my hard work. Hours and hours of exercise and hardly any muscle definition to show for it. It makes me want to give up sometimes, you know what I mean? My friend Karla (click the link to go to her blog Running on Eagles Wings), gave me a great resource. I could barely go to sleep last night after reading it, I was so sure I’d stumbled on a possible solution my fat loss problem. (I now know my prob is fat loss, not weight loss.)
The Metabolic Effect article basically explains the two types of belly fat: visceral and subcutaneous. Here’s my dumbed-down version of the descriptions. Visceral is a the deep stuff that’s around the organs and is “hard.” Think skinny guy with a large, tight gut. You can’t pinch visceral fat. Subcutaneous is the kind that is stored directly under the skin. It can be pinched. This is the stuff that hangs over the waist of my jeans.
Blog author Jade writes in the ME post: “The visceral fat is more quickly stored and more easily burned. This is because being deeper in the body it has a greater blood supply and is more sensitive to the fat burning catecholamines than is subcutaneous fat.” Go read the article. I bet you’ll have an Aha Moment.
Here’s a great point from Jill’s post:
“Many people who continue to do more and more exercise hardly make a dent in their midsection. This is because belly fat is not do-more-exercise issue.”
All 25 of her points are great, go read her post. As for me, I have to fix my nutrition.
I thought I was eating great, but now I think I wasn’t. Too many carbs, not enough lean protein and veggies. And, wow, have I been eating a lot of dairy. A lot. I’ve been having a cup of Greek yogurt with some other carby delight for breakfast. Then, I’ve been having a cup of cottage cheese for lunch (topped with avocados and tomatoes). Later, I’ll have a Babybel Light cheese, and then I’ll probably have some more cheese on something for dinner.
The Metabolic Effect article says about nutrition: “The fix lies in replacing the sugar and starch with fiber and raising the protein while normalizing the fat,” and OMG, “Cheese & yogurts, while high in protein, can add to the fat and sugar burden so a six pack diet uses dairy foods in small amounts only.”
I also need to rethink my exercise routine. I have been enjoying building my running base. Well, I was enjoying it at first. But lately it’s become a bit of a burden. I just don’t have the time with my schedule right now to run 5-6 days a week. And, get this: Endurance cardio may be part of my problem. What?! Yes.
From Jill’s post: “…when cortisol is around in high amounts…the arms and legs can get smaller and the middle can get wider as a result. You’ll typically see this when someone doesn’t work out or only engages in long-duration moderate intensity cardio, like marathon runners.” AND: “Cortisol can become chronically high as a result of many different kinds of stress,” Jill writes. One of the things that can make it high: Long. Duration. Cardio. (Especially the moderate intensity kind. Fabulous.)
Hello, that’s what I do. That’s what runners do! Sure, we throw some repeats in on Tuesdays and a tempo run on Thursdays, but most of the time it’s long, slow and apparently making us fat!
The key to exercising for fat loss, according to Jill (and coincidentally what I heard on this week’s Jillian Michaels podcast) is shorter, higher intensity work outs. And lifting heavy weights. (Remember, though, you can’t exercise the fat away. You have to get your nutrition in order.)
I cannot tell you how relieved I am to hear that I can get more fat loss benefits from shorter work outs. I was really struggling to get in long runs and tons of cardio recently.
I plan to focus on intensity and less on distance during the week, but I still have to get in some longer runs in order to train for races. I still need to do some more reading on that.
I need to do some more reading on all of this, but it’s a good start. Today, I ate better, and I turned my trainer ride into 1-minute sprints. And I lifted weights while my son was in the tub.
Thoughts?! Experience with this fat loss stuff? Links to share?