Metabolic Efficiency, or “How to Lose Fat and Not Poop Your Pants”

It’s funny how one thing can lead to another. A friend recently tagged me in a picture on Facebook, which I read while sitting on the toilet, howling with laughter, like any self-respecting adult.

running mistakes
If you don’t know why I was tagged in this image, then you’ve never run with me.

This was on a Trail Running page, along with a link to their magazine, which led me to click on this article by Heidi Strickler: Burning Fat as Fuel Part II – Optimizing your Metabolism in 4 Steps.  It appeals to my short attention span and my desire not to measure and record each bite, which has a high likelihood of never working for me. Reading it solidified a few thoughts for me:

  1. Yes, I want to lose weight for a variety of reasons, but really I just want to lose fat.
  2. Running while fat is hard, and training for a running event while restricting calories is very hard. Exercise is IN during fat loss, but training is OUT.
  3. I hate being hungry, I hate counting calories, and I love sugar, grains, alcohol, and alcohol made from grains. I eat because I’m hungry but I also eat for other reasons (derrr). All of that + sitting at a desk and in my car all the time = weight gain.
  4. I don’t need my solution to be easy, but I do need it to be simple.
  5. As discussed in the previous post, eating that is also suffering is BS.

If you’re interested, you should read the article, but here’s a rough summary: Eat in a way that controls your blood sugar and satisfies you for 3-4 hours at a time, by focusing on lean proteins, healthy fats, and fiber-rich foods that are not grains, and control your portions.

Because your blood sugar is even, restricting calories is not torture. The restriction comes from two things: eating your meals within a 10-hour window (again, every 3-4 hours) and controlling your portions. You want a portion the size of your hand of protein, and a portion the size of your hand of fiber foods. If it’s a snack, you do a palm-sized protein plus a palm-sized fiber.

All of this comes from sports nutritionist Bob Seebohar, who actually came up with this dietary concept that he calls “metabolic efficiency” for a surprising reason. It wasn’t because he needed to lose weight. It was because he likes to train for and race in Ironman triathlons, but would prefer not to shit his pants. In case you don’t know, endurance training (especially running) and diarrhea are besties; you rarely see one without the other. He figured out that he needed to train his body to use fat stores more, so that he would require fewer gastrointestinally upsetting carbs during these endurance events.

WHAT??? Is this true? Could I actually train my body to not do that on my long runs? This is more than I expected. This makes my period of fat loss not just a waiting period before I start to train again, but a bigger part of my long term running hopes. Actually, a new part, since I had accepted that I would always be the Woman Behind the Bushes. This is exciting!

I’m on Day Three now. So far so good. I put my bathroom scale in the closet but I’ll revisit it on May 11. Mainly what I’m looking for are decreased cravings for sugar, and a mini-goal of sticking to something for one month. Ok, and some pounds gone, I won’t lie.


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