What Does Fat Look Like?
Isabella recently achieved a 14 lb fat loss… not just 14 lbs of any weight – 14 pounds of pure fat! What does fat look like? The photograph above is Isabella holding 14 boxes of butter (4 sticks in each box = 1 lb each). Isabella is very proud (and I am super proud of her) to have lost the equivalent of 56 sticks of butter!
I asked Isabella a few questions about her journey thus far… In the past you have tried to lose weight….why are you succeeding this time, what are you doing differently? “My mindset around losing weight and in general has shifted. It is more about making changes and when I drift away from those changes, instead of giving up and saying I’m a total failure, I recommit myself to my long term goal of living a healthier lifestyle. I am also owning the idea more. In the past I would see a picture of some clothes I thought were cute but either not in my size or wouldn’t look good on my overweight self, I would sigh and think ‘Oh I wish I could wear that’. Now I look at it and I think ‘Yes, that is me!’ and I know that I will get there this time.”
How much exercise and at what intensity do you do daily? “I’m still working on getting the amount right. I do wear my heart rate monitor several times a week. When I take the dog running/walking I make sure to get my heart rate up to at least 140 BPM. I am also trying to get my total calorie burn for the day over 2500 calories.”
Do you feel like you can sustain these new habits for the long term or do you see burn out in the future, if not or if so, why? “Yes. It is about my overall lifestyle and not each individual action. I have people that I check in with regularly (my trainer Dawn, my life coach, and other people in my life) and they help me to stay in touch with my ‘why’ for doing all of this. (I have a number of why’s: being fit so I can take vacations that I want to, being in shape so I can enjoy running with my dog, eating clean/healthy foods so I feel better and have more energy).” A lot of single people use the excuse of not wanting to cook for ‘just’ one …how do you battle this? “I use Trader Joe’s as my personal chef. They have a number of prepared salads that are pretty healthy. They have some prepared vegetables, so that I don’t have to spend so much time doing prep. I occasionally order food from ‘Delicious Planet’ and they deliver healthy ready to eat meals. And when I go out, my favorite food is Sushi so that is often my choice for eating out and with sushi it’s easy to eat healthy.”
How have your eating habits changed? “I’m still working on getting these changes to become second nature – but I am consciously choosing more vegetables. I will eat roasted vegetables for dinner a lot. I also don’t eat any carbs in the evening. I will eat dinner around 5 or 6 pm. I try not to eat anything after that, but if I absolutely must eat something, I will have a few raw almonds or a small piece of cheese.”
We all have cravings, how do you handle your cravings? “This too is still a work in progress. In the past I would want some cookies, buy a bag and eat the entire bag in one evening, because starting ‘tomorrow’ I would not be eating those cookies ever again. Well that tomorrow never worked out. Now I realize that if I can have a cookie again tomorrow, I don’t need to eat the whole bag tonight. It’s not perfect, but it is making it easier to say no. Another big change for me has been learning to listen to my body. My first experience with that was being forced to listen after a workout (my first workout with Dawn I couldn’t walk normally for 2 days!). and now I’m learning to listen to it about foods and eating as well. This is all still a process with me and I’m looking forward to the journey. ”
It is not easy to lose weight in general, and it is even more challenging to lose pure fat. When we step on the scale and the number goes up or down we really don’t know if we are losing/gaining fat or lean body mass. The only way to tell is to measure your body fat as well. When we gain weight, it can be fat, lean body mass, or both. If it is lean body mass (which includes our bones, organs, water & muscles) it means we are eating more calories than our body needs to maintain it’s current weight and we are exercising and strength training therefore our body turns the excess into lean mass. If we eat more calories then we need to maintain our current weight without exercising and strength training our body will turn the excess into fat. If we starve ourselves trying to drop pounds on the scale, we are probably losing lean body mass. If we eat sensibly and exercise moderately (burning a bit more than we are eating) we will lose fat. It may seem confusing but becomes easy to accomplish with moderation in food choices…and a little sweat! It all boils down to MOVE a little MORE and EAT a little LESS!
We’ll check back in a couple of months with Isabella as she continues in her goal to drop many more pounds of fat…and see if she can carry all that new butter too!