Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Thoughts on "The Fat Trap"

So I've been thinking more about that article, The Fat Trap, which I just wrote about yesterday.  I'll tell you the truth, I got somewhat angry after reading that.  I think it was the hopelessness of it that ticked me off.  I see so much hope, so much opportunity for change, so much potential for growth - that article is just the opposite, a big downer.  I've concluded that the author, Tara, is working through some food/weight issues and trying to figure the whole mess out.  And it is a mess.  We get so many mixed messages, so many theories and systems of weight loss - it's hard to know what the "right" thing to do is.

Anyway, these are the points I want to add to my last post.

1.  Tara describes 1-2 hours of exercise a day like it's an extreme amount.  But I'd want to dig deeper.  Are these people sedentary the rest of the day?  What's their muscle mass like? 

2.  Build muscle.  It burns more calories than fat and makes life easier.  Being strong feels good and makes this whole thing more fun.  The article didn't touch on this at all really.

3.  And by the way, what's 1 hour of exercise out of 24?  Not that much really.  I know busy - I have 2 small kids, a full time job and a household, husband and volunteer work to consider.  Some days I'm squeezing in the exercise at 8pm, other days it's 5:30am.  It's not always easy, though sometimes it is.  Like when I go for a run while the kids are napping.  You don't have to wait until you retire to get in shape.  I know you have a down hour somewhere - use it to exercise.

4.  What do you want to bet that all the other things Tara seemed to characterize as extreme are actually a daily habit, a part of these folks' lives that they don't consider a burden anymore.  Like logging their food, weighing it, planning what to eat at a restaurant.  None of that sounds so extreme to me.  Then again, some people would look at my blog and say, "oh right, I have to do triathlons to get in shape?"  No, but they're fun.  And not as hard as they look!

5.  The article was validating too. I remember reading some years back about Oprah essentially giving up on being thin.  I think she said something about having to run 8 miles a day to maintain her weight and she just wasn't up for that.  I found that to be incredibly validating.  I felt like I too had a body that required extreme behavior to keep weight off.  Sometimes it's reassuring to hear that this really is that hard.  All that said, I think I was missing a lot of knowledge back then.  I didn't know about strength training and how important muscle is in this whole thing.  I didn't really understand balance and I certainly didn't have the drive I do now because I hadn't yet found physical activity I enjoyed.  That final piece is a tough one, to enjoy the physical activity you have to be in decent shape.  So it takes a while, but hang in there, it will come.  And when it does - you will LOVE it!!

Ok, enough about that article, I have to move on.

A little exercise update.  The funny thing is I thought I was squeezing in an extra run on the 25th to balance my food intake.  Nope, I was supposed to run that day!  Good thing I did.  I forgot that I'd re-arranged my workout schedule due to my gym being closed.

Anyway, on Monday I hit the gym and did the bike for 25 minutes followed by chest/triceps/core work.  The pushups were hard again.  Ugh, will they ever get easy?  And I threw in some leg extensions (even though it wasn't "leg" day) because I'm worried my quads are getting weak.  The bike is harder than it should be.  I think it's all the running combined with dropping leg extensions.  So I'm going to do leg extensions whenever I can squeeze them in.

Tuesday was a planned day off and Wednesday (yesterday) I was planning to get up at 0'dark hundred to go to the gym before Miguel left for work.  But I had a sore throat and couldn't pry myself out of bed.  Fortunately Miguel is getting off a bit early this week so I went after he got home.  I did the bike again followed by back/biceps/core work.  Bam!  I felt like I really killed it with the weights.

The rest of this week is packed with fun.  If you can call it that.  I have a 5 mile run on the agenda today and a 9 mile run on Saturday.  The loop I ran this past Saturday has a couple good hills so I think I'm going to do that 3 times.  It's time to add some hills or they are going to knock me on my butt come half-marathon time.

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