A Proper Start. No Resolution.

I’m finally, mostly, pretty much, back on the diet wagon.

I’ve been using My Fitness Pal for over a week, almost two, and I’ve lost a total of seven pounds since Christmas. This is a great success, and has happened mainly from reluctant food control more than exercise, as I’ve not had the opportunities to get to the gym that I thought I would. This is partly due to my car dying and, yes, while my gym is across the road from where I live, my office is harder to get to from the wilds of Gatwick so I’ve had to arrange to be significantly far from my gym so I can get to work. Time was also spent sorting out a new vehicle, which has been done, so I will be going to the gym more often going forward.

That sentence was almost ‘…so hopefully I will…’. An important change was made to maintain my focus.

I’m also actually exercise at home on none gym days. I started with a three minute routine which was very basic, and have now doubled that to a seven minute routine which is also very basic. It does, however, mean I’m working muscles and stuff even on non-gym days, which should be good for my metabolism, from my limited understanding of how it works. Soon I want to be doing it twice a day on non-gym days, for even more (minor) gains.

That last sentence originally began with ‘eventually…’. Another important change was made for attitude adjustment reasons.

Any and all encouragement is welcome, so I’m going to get braver with my (limited) social media coverage of myself and do a lot more photos that actually contain me. I refer specifically to photos as I pretty exclusively use Instagram for social media purposes, as it feeds onto my Twitter, which in turn feeds to Facebook. This means that all posts rely heavily on having a photo attached, but I have plans to circumvent this, or at least still post via Instagram for social media purposes. These will mainly take the form of random photos of myself with no relevance to the post.

I’m eating too much potato (read: any) but surprisingly I’m finding it hard to fill out my calories per day without it. At least, without buying a lot of vegetables. Sure, lots of vegetables is going to be good for me, and they’re not expensive. It’s just the sheer amount I have to buy and carry around if I only ate vegetables. Yeah, yeah; “EAT LESS YOU FAT SLOB!”. Sure. I mean, who needs sustenance, right?

Which is a thing I want to address again. ‘Dieting’ is not equivalent to ‘starving yourself’. Jokes aside, it’s not the same thing. I’m eating 1500 calories a day (or I’m meant to), which sits at the low end of what I can get by on in a day. If one does not put enough fuel into an engine, the engine will perform to its best. If one then pushes that engine harder, it will degrade further in performance over time.

In the same way, eating less is healthy – if you’re eating too much. Eating less than enough is not healthy. Eating less enough and working out harder than before is also not healthy. Sure, it can show results – but this is a form of crash dieting, which we all hear about and generally are suspicious of. Because it works in the short term, but long term benefits and rewards are not guaranteed, and the short term benefits can be lost. I talked before about the body having a ‘starvation mode’ where it doesn’t process food or fat stores properly for energy, and this can minimise diet benefits or even undo them.

If I go from 3,000 calories a day to 1,500, I’m going to lose weight. I’m probably on the edge of crash dieting. If I then burn off 500 calories a day, I’m actually only keep 1,000 for normal running costs. Remembering that if I’m eating 1,500 cals a day I’m eating less than the recommended anyway, so I’m running on low to begin with. Dropping from 3,000 to 1,500 will put a strain on the system – any system used to an abundance of energy will have issues adapting to a low-energy scenario.

On this basis eating less cals per day than the recommend while also burning additional ones is a good way to use up your resources and force your body into a process of trying to retain weight and fat stores, not lose them. It’s long, slow and frustrating but if it was easy we’d all be thin. Let’s not beat around the thousands of years worth of evolution the human body has going on – it’s designed to stay alive and preserve resources. We’ve only really been over eating for a hundred years or go as a species – sure, some individuals and small samples have always done, but that’s not the same as generations of genetic code doing it over and over again.

So for this reason if I work out 1,000 calories worth, I’m not going to say I can’t eat up to the same amount. It will, in the long term, give me better and more sustainable lifestyle benefits and weight loss. Sure, in the short term I’ll be a bit more frustrated that I don’t look anything like Jason Momoa but I can console myself that I will probably never look exactly like him, but will be closer to it this time next year than I am now.

This is not a New Year’s Resolution. It is an ongoing goal, and treating it as such will make it that much easier for me to complete it. Rather than some inconsequential aim named only as part of a social construct, this is a target for me, by me. I want to be in better shape all year round, not just around January.

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