People talk a lot about weight loss, but fat loss is where it’s at, people.
Weight loss doesn’t take muscle into account. So, you could be losing weight, but losing muscle instead of fat. I don’t want to lose muscle! I want the fat layer around my stomach gone because running with an innertube around your waist is cumbersome.
I admit, I fell off of the fat loss wagon a while ago (ahem, Christmas). I continued to run alongside the wagon, so luckily I didn’t stray too far off track, but it’s time to hop on and get rolling once again.
I think you can’t be on the fat loss wagon if you’re not mentally prepared to be on it, really. You have to be committed before you try to jump on. If you half-jump, you’ll miss. And that’s okay. Just try again when you’re ready.
Doing some fat loss research can help you get ready to make the jump. I started re-reading one of my favorite books on fat loss, The Metabolic Effect Diet (not a diet, BTW). That gave me a big boost. Then, I was in the library, browsing the running books. I had heard about Margaret Webb’s book Older, Faster, Stronger on a podcast, and when I saw it in the library, I checked it out.
In Webb’s book, she shares her journey to a “super-fit year.” Essentially, she took a year to try to get as fit at 50 as she was when she was in her 20s. She also shares advice from experts on everything from improving V02 max to nutrition and more. While I’m not over 50, the tips really work for any age.
Anyway, she, too, was having some trouble with her nutrition. She was eating healthy, but still gaining fat or just staying the same. She made some adjustments after speaking with a nutritionist; essentially the same changes I’m making: more protein and vegetables, cut or reduce dairy, get carbs from vegetable sources.
(I made like 6 sweet potatoes on Monday, so I always have some good carbs ready. I put the oven on 400 degrees, spray the potatoes with some olive oil and then put them in for about an hour or until they start leaking their sugar–caramelizing. So good!)
But Webb also had this little tip that I am totally stealing: When tempted by pizza or other junk foods, she asked herself if she wanted to carry that food with her for 26.2 miles.
This has already helped me. There is a particular tempting chocolate candy in my desk drawer at work. But, by asking myself how eating it will help or hurt me in the marathon, I’ve been able to completely resist any temptation to eat it. I don’t even care about it. It’s not even calling my name. I may even throw it away! #junkfoodrebel
The other thing that’s helping me, is taking pictures of all my food for a week. I have been logging my food by photographing it for the past two days, so far. It has helped keep me mindful. It also made me realize that I had eaten processed grains yesterday when I thought I hadn’t!
This week, my focus is on nutrition. (Last week, was sleep. Read on for that.) I am cutting out dairy and changing my carbohydrate sources.
Luckily, I’ve been a “diet detective” in the past and I know that eliminating dairy will help me. My husband got a machine that I affectionately call the Coffee Ferrari. It makes lattes. Lattes are delish. I don’t even need to sweeten them. (I’m a freak who likes black coffee.) But dairy and me do not mix so well.
There was a time in college where I couldn’t even drink milk because it made my stomach so upset. I know I’m sensitive to it. So why do I keep eating (drinking) it? Out with dairy.
The other adjustment I am making is where I get my carbs from. I know how things like toast, pizza, chips, etc. affect me, yet I was justifying them as my “carb.” I was often binge-eating chips after work because even though I told myself to have just a few, I couldn’t stop.
We all need carbs, but I need to get my carbs from whole unprocessed vegetable and fruit sources, such as sweet potatoes, apples and strawberries. Even the Ezekial bread (toast) I had Monday needs to be cut out if I want to be my optimal self for running this year.
And that’s where the question from Margaret’s book comes in. Do I want to run a marathon carrying a Reese’s peanut butter tree around my waist? No.
That’s not to say that I will be perfect with my nutrition 100 percent of the time. I know there will be times when I decide I do want a bit of junky chocolate candy. I will just be making more of a conscious decision about eating it instead of mindlessly putting it into my mouth.
If you’re interested about what sort of nutrition advice has helped me, check out the tips from Precision Nutrition. Their sensible, easy-to-follow, advice on nutrition has changed how I eat for the better. The Metabolic Effect Diet is also great, as I’ve mentioned.
I started this whole fat loss wagon thing with sleep. I began last week by making getting to bed by 10 with lights out by 10:30 a habit. I’m still in the process of making it a habit, and although some nights I’m in bed at more like 10:15 or 10:20, it’s still earlier than what I was doing. The goal is still 10. That gives me 30 minutes to read a book and relax. Sometime I take a melatonin tablet if I can feel I’m still too wired.
I need at least 7 hours. Seven and a half hours is perfect. I usually get up at 6 or 6:30. This week, I feel like I need more sleep, but I think that’s because of “girl stuff” starting soon.
I also started measuring myself on May 11. I hadn’t weighed myself in a while. I was up to 159. I only lost half a pound as I was 158.4 on Monday. Not really a huge deal considering I have been doing heavy weight training for quite some time, so some of that weight is muscle. For me, the biggest indicator of how I am doing is my belly.
When my belly circumference is bigger than my chest, it really bothers me. (It’s so not fair! I got so ripped off in the chest department!) Anyway, they’re exactly the same right now. Boo. And the measurement did not change between May 11 and May 18.
I’m still unsure about any training adjustments. I took Saturday off because I was really exhausted from the week of training and I walked instead. I did a 5K with the dogs. I don’t think my running needs any adjustment, but I may swap out a couple of foundation runs per week for biking since those runs are more for cardio fitness. Take some stress off the ol’ legs.
I am still deciding what I want to do for my lifting workouts, though. The next phase of the plan I’m on includes a lot of unconventional movements (medicine balls slams, for example) that I don’t know that I can do at my small gym.
I might be in the market for a runner-focused heavy lifting plan to do twice a week, while continuing my Metabolic Effect circuits 2-3x a week. Anybody got one to recommend?
Here’s what I’ve been up to, training-wise, since Friday:
Friday: I can’t remember what I did Friday. I think I ran, but forgot to enter it in DailyMile. So it doesn’t exist.
Saturday: I remember Saturday because I didn’t do jack. I was supposed to do a foundation run. But I was feeling so tired, I decided to just take the day off. I’m trying to listen to my body and I just felt wiped. I needed to sleep in. I needed to recover a little.
Instead, on Saturday, I did a lot of walking. First, I went in the morning before my son’s flag football game. I only had about 20 minutes or so, but it was a nice relaxing walk with a cup of coffee. I just had to dodge the crazy amount of slugs crossing the sidewalk. It was just over half a mile. Then, later in the day, I took both Bennie and Lucy for walks, which ended up being a 5K.
Sunday: Sunday was my long run. I thought I did everything right. I went early; I ate about an hour before (a protein shake made by me). The only thing was maybe I was a little dehydrated. I took Nuun with me just in case. It was overcast and cool enough for a cool long-sleeve shirt and capris.
About a mile into the run, though, my stomach took a turn for the worse. And it was touch-and-go the rest of the way. I didn’t need to use the bushes or anything, but the ickiness came in waves. I slowed down so I was on the slow end of my pace. Even if I had to go even slower, I just kept going. Just keep moving forward, I thought. Even if I had to walk.
Surprisingly, I didn’t have to walk, though. In fact, I ran the entire way up this monster hill that I usually have to walk up. That was nice.
I did 6.35 miles in about 1:12.
Monday: Monday is a recovery day with no running. But I usually do a weights workout on Monday. I think I forgot to write Monday down in DailyMile again, so I can’t remember. I think I did my heavy weights workout…
Tuesday: Tuesday, I remember. I got up in time to go run, but I lacked the motivation. For some reason, I just don’t care to run outside early in the morning by myself. A little later in the morning is fine, but before about 8 a.m., I just don’t want to. So I did my Metabolic Effect circuits instead:
Made it 5 rounds with 12# dumbbells: 12 squat with a row, 12 chest press/crunch, 12 squat with curls and 12 squat with side raises.
I ran after work and I’m so glad I waited. I felt great! I did my fast finish run, but I was running about 5 minutes behind (had to be at the bus stop at a certain time), so I cut 5 minutes out of the middle of my run. I did: 2.96 miles in 30 minutes. 5 minutes slow, 15 minutes easy, 10 minutes at tempo pace.
And I totally saw two snakes on the trail. I’ve never seen a snake in the six years I’ve been running on the trail. Crazy!
Afterward, I did my build a better butt workout: 3×12 goblet squats with a 15 pound dumbbell, 3×15 back extensions on my Swiss ball, 3×12 glute bridges with two 10-pound dumbbells on my hips. Only took about 10 minutes.
And THEN, I went to yoga. Man, I really love going to yoga.
Wednesday: On Wednesday, I started the new phase in my Get Stronger Faster program. I’m on week five. Here’s what I did:
1. Kettle bell jump squats 6×6 with 26.4#s
2a. Bodyweight skater squats 5×6/6
2b. 1-arm kettle bell strict press 3×6/6 with 18# and 1×4/4 with 26.4#s
3a. Bodyweight sprawling mountain climbers 3×8
3b. Kettle bell Russian twists 3×8/8
I had to stop at 3 rounds to get home in time for my son’s bus. Later, I did my foundation run on the bike trainer. Went 5 miles in 30 minutes.
Thursday: Finally, we’re caught up to today! I had a foundation run scheduled for today, but since I’m going for my long run on Saturday, I swapped it with the speed work and did speed work today.
I did 2.25 miles in 25 minutes: I was able to do the 5 minutes slow, 5 minutes easy and the 5x(1 minute at 5K pace, 2 minutes slow). I was not able to do the last slow 5 minutes because I had to get to the bus stop. Happy with how it went.
And I was able to get to yoga again! Yay!
Tomorrow, I have strength again and I’m excited for some new workouts.
What do you do for strength training? What time do you go to bed? Did you make it through this really long blog post?
(Sorry for the massive post, but I had some technical difficulties earlier in the week and this is the first time I can post anything!)