The last time, as you may remember, I was working hard at the gym, but getting unacceptable results. I knew this was not right, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. So I spoke to my primary care physician about my problem, and she suggested I talk to a Dietician. I agreed, but I wasn’t convinced this is what I needed. I knew from the onset if he turned out to be a fat guy, I would leave immediately, but it didn’t turn out that way. I would like to share with you what I learned.
I like to get as much information about things as I can when I start something new. I feel I’m pretty capable of adding 2 plus 2 after that. I soon learned that I didn’t have a clue. I told the doctor my history, pretty much what you have read so far. He explained what “eating right” really means. He made some suggestions of food and prepared meals I could eat to help me achieve my goals. The foods should be low in fat, sugar and calories. I was given calorie limits for each of the six meals I was to eat per day. No more just eating dinner. Eating just one meal a day caused my metabolism to go awry. Six meals sounds like a lot, but a meal might just consist of a nutrition bar. I was limited to 350 calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I could eat as much fruit and vegetables as I liked. I remember laughing at the 2000 calorie diet years ago, and thinking that was not even enough to keep a bird alive. The thing is, after a couple of days you are actually getting enough in take, because you are eating all day long. Now that you are not eating so much at each sitting, your stomach starts to shrink so you will require less food to be full. Amazingly, there are days where my total caloric intake is 1200 to 1400 calories. I heard that it takes your body about 20 minutes before your brain realizes your stomach is full. If you eat fast, chances are you will over-eat every time. So eating slow became a marching order.
I was instructed to take off my shoes and socks and stand on this short scale-like contraption. I had to pick up two electrodes, one in each hand, and stand still for about 15 seconds. This machine takes electrical resistance readings between your extremities, and places its findings into a program running on a laptop. The patient doesn’t fell any sensation of electricity pulsing through his body because the voltage used is very low. After that, the doctor had some suggestions.
First, he wanted me to reduce the set length on the exercise machines in the gym from 4 to 3. Secondly, he told me to go every third day, and give up my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday routine. Thirdly, he wanted me to stop lifting weight with my legs, and concentrate more on my arms. It occurred to me that if you were not under the care of a dietician, with a machine like I described above, how would you know what you were doing? It would be like throwing darts into a dart board in the dark. Are you hitting the bull’s eye, or not, you don’t know. I was sold some powdered shakes, and nutrition bars, and I was on my way. As I recall, I didn’t ask too many questions in that first session. I wasn’t sure what to make of what had just happened, so I went home to think about what was just told to me.
It made absolutely no sense to me to try to build muscle by doing less exercise. I knew your muscles had to heal after a workout, but I had been giving it a day between. I thought that would have been sufficient. One of the things I wanted to build was strength in my legs. How was that supposed to happen doing less leg exercise? The food suggestions, shakes, and nutrition bars were the only things that made any sense to me. Now, I had some questions to ask at my next session. Just because someone has a Dr. in front of their name doesn’t mean they’re right for you. I’ve seen a few times when doctors were less than impressive. I watch for how they act, and answer my questions. I listen closely to what
they say. I want them to make me understand what my situation is, and its solution. My thought is, if he can’t impress me, he can’t be much of a doctor.
I followed the doctor’s instructions, and two weeks later, I was a little more prepared than I was at my first session. It turns out that one day was not enough time for my muscles to mend, and that I was working my legs too hard and my arms not enough. By doing this I was getting the exact opposite results that I wanted. Apparently, if your muscles don’t have time to heal properly they are less efficient. Muscle burns fat. If the muscle has not had time to heal properly, you are actually building more fat. Wow, who knew, the harder I worked the less I got from it. Could that be the reason why, after 2 years in the gym, I wasn’t getting good results?
I don’t know what the proper name for the scale-like device the doctor uses, but it’s amazing. He was able to tell me things like I was using my left side more than my right because I wasn’t using equal force when I lifted. I would never have guessed. It even tells you your weight. With each session I received a chart that plotted my new results as compared to my previous result. The graph shows the water content and the amount of fat and muscle in my body. Water and protein in combination with exercise builds muscle, but let any of the three drop and fat rises. It’s a balancing act. Sometimes I did well, while others, not so much. The doctor is, and continues to make tweaks to my instructions. For instance, he wanted me to increase my protein intake to around 100 grams per day, and to drink more water. He also wanted me to start walking 10,000 steps a day. Ten thousand steps amounts to about 4 miles. Since then I’ve been taking 2 laps around the park every day; a little over 2 miles. I don’t have the time, or the energy to do it 4 times yet, but the doctor seems satisfied with my results thus far.
Well that’s pretty much my story. If you think you would like to lose some weight, or just get into some better shape, next time I will give you a list of tools you will need to get started.