It took a few days of sitting in our cabin and really thinking about what I wanted for myself in 2015 to come up with my plan. I won’t necessarily call it a New Year’s Resolution, it just sort of happens to coincide with the end of the holiday chaos and a time to reflect and plan for the upcoming months.
I’ve been thinking through my idea of lowering my goal weight below my initial set point. This seems a bit crazy since I haven’t maintained my “initial goal weight” in quite some time – I seem to be a good 5-10 pounds above it more often than not. But after my sobering DEXA scan a couple of months ago, I know that I need to take a shot at lowering my body fat % from 38.4%. As I have also mentioned, I have been trying to do this with weight training and exercise but not by lowering my “scale weight”. This is clearly not working. I have decided my best chance at getting that fat % number to the “healthy” range (23-34%) is to lower my scale weight. I don’t like living right on the edge of “healthy” and “overweight”. I do feel like I look pretty good and I’m happy with my clothing size/fit/etc. But I am not doing too well, mentally, with “maintaining” a fixed weight. I need to be working towards something – which last year was body fat% and that just didn’t work out.
I spent a good chunk of time at the cabin reading The Body Fat Solution: Five Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscle, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight. I’m about 80% done and, overall, I like the book but I was hoping for some more specifics which still seem to be elusive. What I did appreciate is that the author a) addressed the emotional side of eating and weight for well over 50% of the book and b) really wasn’t pushing any crazy diet scheme or plan – in fact, everything he talks about discredits many of the myths about diet, exercise, etc. and pretty much stayed in line with everything I learned in my Optifast classes. There are no short cuts and you have to be committed to eating right and exercising. He stresses that body fat is a direct result of a calorie surplus, plain and simple. We can reduce our body fat by creating a calorie deficit. End of story. You do this by stressing a ratio of the macro-nutrients of protein, carbs, and fat and each one serves a purpose. We have a limited number of calories allotted to us per day and we need to spend them wisely. There is not a lot of wiggle room for anything that is not going to feed our calorie burning furnace. We also have to exercise. Weight training is the key to creating lean muscle that burns fat. Nothing new here, but just reading it in black and white on paper really hammered the points home I guess.
So, my plan is to reset my goal weight at 160 pounds. The lowest I think I ever got was 167 (maybe 165 pounds for a nanosecond) well over a year ago. I’m not going to do a full fast Optifast program because I believe, at this point, that I need more calories to preserve my lean muscle. I’m going to use Optifast and other meal replacements (protein powders, Quest bars, etc.) in conjunction with a healthy diet. I will track my calories and exercise using MyFitnessPal and adjust as necessary to shoot for a 1-2 pound loss per week. I can track my lean muscle mass at Koko or at my weigh-ins and make sure I’m not losing muscle.
Secondly, I commit to 3 weight training sessions per week (probably at Koko Fit Club although I am starting to look around at other gym options) and I will find a new half marathon training program (TBD). I am scheduled to run the Indy mini-marathon on May 2nd in Indianapolis with my Solemate teammates. Currently my half PR is 2:30:41. My goal would be a 2:25 half marathon. I would love to get a PR in that race. Unfortunately, right now I would be lucky to cross in 2:40 (and I’ll find out in 16 days when I run the PF Changs Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon Arizona here in Phoenix) – so, from my current conditioning, I need to improve by about 15 minutes or more. Daunting. BUT, I feel like the thing that has held me back in my last 2 half marathons has been my legs. Much of that is due to my lack of long run training miles. However, some of that could probably be alleviated by losing some weight. I’ve heard that for every 10 pounds of weight loss, you can improve your running effort level by 6%. Losing 15 pounds could make the half marathon a bit easier. All the more reason to try.
I am not committing to maintaining the 160 pounds. I’m allowing myself to get down there, see where I am at with body fat % and then play with the maintenance aspects of that new set point and see how it goes. I might feel even more amazing. I might find that my new daily calorie requirements are just too low for me to have long term happiness at that weight. At this point, I’m calling it an experimental goal. Regardless, it gives me some focus, which I desperately need. And being at my lowest weight in decades when swimsuit season rolls around won’t suck either.
So, here’s to 2015: