Wednesday, November 04, 2009

well well well

I just saw this article on the Well blog for at New York Times website. The Colorado Weigh program I mentioned the other day is run out of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and I'm willing to bet they had some hand in this research.

And as you may remember, I was just talking about energy balance. The results of this study are in some ways really depressing. I'd heard that bit about revving up your metabolism after exercise, and I counted on that to counteract my post-run snack. Bummer.

Here is what I'm taking away from this article. To lose weight, you must reduce your calorie intake (this messes with my formula for eating x and exercising it off) and exercise, ideally at a moderate intensity. This means I've got to dust off that food log. And that while I'm going to need to keep up some runs to stay in good running form until I start training for my marathon, I'm going to try to work in some lower intensity exercise for longer periods of time. This goes well with the dark and the cold that seems to be all the rage outside.

Oh, have I not told you that I'm going to run a marathon? I'm totally doing one. But next year. Next October. Maybe. Probably. I think. Who knows?

Although really all this means is that I can't lose weight by eating whatever I want and exercising, but I can maintain my weight loss by exercising, while also enjoying whatever I want to eat (within reason, at least). This has held out in my personal experience. When I was training for the half marathon, I ate a lot. But I also was exercising at a high intensity for a long period of time, rather than a low intensity. This may explain why I didn't lose as much weight as I thought I should be. (The m&ms might have something to do with that too, but let's just move on, shall we?)

Calorie restriction + moderate intensity = fat burning and weight loss. Seems simple enough. But. But. Initially when I lost 40 in 4 months I was doing an hour of exercise at 85% of max heart rate. And adhering to a fairly strict calorie reduction. So I think the calorie reduction part might be the more significant part of that equation based on my personal experience. I think it would be interesting to experiment with it, but frankly I just want to do whatever will get this last 15 pounds off. I'm going to try do what has worked before. 1500 calories in! 500 calories out!
Chop chop!

Still, I just want to be able to eat what I want and then go for a long run. Science sucks. Sigh.

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