Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Day 129: Balance Daniel-san, Balance!

Update: 208.2 lbs, 50 lbs so far, 50 lb Goal Reached Day 124.

I've been looking to the inner-Miyagi for guidance in today's posting. Looking to offer you, the loyal readers, a little 'balance Daniel-san, balance!' So you don't end up all wet behind ear!

Yesterday was a crazy day. Up at 5 for a quick ride before I was even really awake. Then home to get kids moving and off to school. Then down to the office first thing for a big project that was due, where John and I were until about 11 pm last night. I stayed within my target calories for the day, but the eating was sporadic, and I felt like I was on a food rollercoaster...getting pretty good and hungry, and then jamming a bunch of food in. Yesterday was a special case, but there are definitely days where I know I'm not doing myself much good, even if I think I'm eating well.

According to an article I was reading on MSN this morning, - The Skinny on Fat - I need to really find some more balance in my eating. By running out first thing and burning a bunch of energy, without the fuel to really power it, apparently I run the risk of just burning up muscle tissue. Then when I come home and eat more than enough calories to fuel it, I'm storing up fat! Not the best way to keep my eyes on the prize. Author Lou Schuler says:

We try to run on empty for hours, then dump in more fuel than we can handle. Benardot's research shows how self-destructive this strategy is.

Let's say you really want to lose fat, and decide to jog first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. "The easiest way to get energy is to break down muscle mass," Benardot says. Your body can convert specific amino acids the building blocks of muscle to glucose, the sugar that powers human activity. "Someone running before eating may actually be breaking down the very tissue he's trying to improve. Sounds counterproductive to me."

Call it the "muscle loss" diet.

The second way is probably more typical of most of us. You can call this one the "fat gain" diet. You wait a long time between meals, and then, when you're ravenously hungry, you wipe out an entire buffet line. This guarantees that you'll get a larger surge of the hormone insulin than you ordinarily would. That means more fat storage.

And you can probably combine the "muscle loss" and "fat gain" strategies and turn your body into a perfect muscle-burning, fat-storing machine. Hard exercise slows down appetite in the short term, but as you get used to it, your appetite matches your exertion level. So if you go out and run 10 miles on an empty stomach, then eat enough to fuel a 15-mile run, the net effect is that you've lost muscle on the run and gained fat from the postrun meal.

He then goes on to give a few tips, which make a lot of sense:

1. Eat as soon as you wake up in the morning.

2. Make sure you eat something before you exercise, no matter what time of day it is.

Not only does the food prevent your muscle tissue from becoming cardio chow, but it increases the number of calories you burn during and after exercise. A 1992 study at Arnot-Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, New York, shows that exercise following a meal enhances metabolism.

3. Eat soon after exercising, when your body has depleted its energy stores. Act fast, or you'll start burning muscle for energy.

4. Eat a total of five to six small meals a day.

I've been pretty good about trying to do #4 above, but making sure I'm fueling up at proper times hasnt' been high on my priority list. Sadly, I think I fall into that category of becoming a muscle-burning, fat-storing machine. And honestly, I mastered the fat storing thing a long time ago, so I don't need to work harder to just do that again!

So today, I had my peanut butter and honey toast FIRST THING, as I type this up for you today, and am going to try to fuel up at all the right times. Now if I can just catch a fly in my chopsticks, I'll be good to go!


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