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Diet and Exercise Evolution: Adaptation (part II) -- Examples and Practical Advice
Understanding the theory of adaptation (see previous article, Adaptation I) will give you the tools to evaluate your diet and daily routine. If you have any question about whether something is good for you, always examine both the immediate effects and the adaptation effects equally. This article will look at various examples of adaptation and practical advice based on this important theory.
The best advice regarding exercise for weight loss in accordance with adaptation is this: warm up by doing a fast walk for 10-15 minutes, so that your body goes into a fat-burning mode. Then, turn up the intensity as high as you can and speed through the next 10-15 minutes. This can be running, climbing stairs, bicycling or whatever activity you like. I recommend a stationary bike because the risk of falling or hurting your joints is minimized. If you do this before breakfast, you're also training your body to use stored energy (fat) instead of energy from food in your stomach.
If You Could Be an Animal...
A lion, to get food, has to sprint for up to 5 minutes until it grabs its prey, which is usually pretty big. When it does, it wrestles with it for up to 10 minutes, flexing all its muscles and changing positions, putting all its force against the other animal that is resisting with all its might. This builds muscular strength and size and eliminates body fat.
A gazelle spends a lot of time eating, but each mouthful is tiny. It takes a long time to eat, and never gorges. When the grass all around it is bare, it bounces off to another place to find food or water. The gazelle is highly alert because it is vulnerable to attack, and often twitches or fidgets to make sure it can escape quickly. When it is attacked, it runs (bounces) incredibly fast for up to 20 minutes until it is safely out of danger. This activity makes it long and slender as an adaptation to its environment.
Don't be a house cat. Many cats are overweight because their environment doesn't challenge them to run to catch food (or avoid being caught), and sleep or lie around for 18 hours a day. If you have a desk-job, and then watch TV on the couch, that is exactly what you are doing.
What about the opposite? What if you eat small portions every two hours and drink water all the time? Your body will think that you're in a place where there is food whenever you need it, like a jungle full of fruit trees and other easily furnished food to eat. What is the reaction? Hooray! Better to speed up the metabolism, so that the stomach is finished digesting the previous meal before the next one comes; no need to store fat that is just leeching circulation and water; and get rid of any excess water in the system, because fresh water is constantly coming in. This is in line with your weight loss goals, so this is the route to take.
Calories: Eat less or burn more?
If you first remove a significant number of calories from your diet, you will feel less energetic (because calories are energy), therefore, you won't feel like exercising, and you won't be able to exercise for as long. On the other hand, if you start exercising more each day, it will make you hungrier (because your body knows it's not getting enough calories to support this new activity), but as long as you try to keep your eating habits the same and pay attention to satiety by eating foods that make you feel full, you'll feel great, your endurance will improve and your overall health will keep getting better. At that point, if you reduce the calories in your diet, then you will be able to cope with slightly less energy, because your body will already be more efficient at using that energy to fuel your exercise.
David McCormick is the founder of Weightless Products. His Mr. Weightless site is dedicated to free weight loss articles and advice, primarily targeted to men. There are no banners, no pop-ups, and you will never be asked for your email address.
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