Kilo Creep; Burning calories and keeping your body fit
Jul 21, 2016 · by · no comments
One minute you’re dropping apple crumble on your oversized jumper. The next you’re wondering how to heck you’re going to drop the extra couple of kilos camping out on a person. That’s becoming a winter cliché commonly known as ’kilo creep’ – where the trappings of winter shield your attention from incremental expansion and the causal relationship between what you put in your mouth and waist size.
Even when subjects forced to be sedentary for four weeks returned to exercise and healthy eating, they kept the three-plus kilos they’d gained. In fact, the premium persisted two-and-a-half years later.
While the obvious strategy is to curtail calories in, it ignores the big biophysics picture. Keeping a steady weight through winter by telling buttery toast to talk to the hand may come back to bite you in spring.
Spend winter undermining your total daily energy expenditure and you may lose muscle, and with each kilo of muscle lost you’ll burn 42 fewer kJs a day. One your metabolism is damaged – a common result of a cycle of dieting and overeating – it’s hard to repair.
There’s no point setting goals if you don’t know where you are to start with. And since you can’t see metabolism, you need to work backwards from tangible hallmarks. The best way to pinpoint just how many kJs you burn a day is to work out the intake that maintains your weight by keeping a food diary over a couple of stable weeks and calculating your intake retrospectively.
Metabolism is a chemical process that never sleeps. Sure it’s charged with breaking down nutrients from food but it also calls the shots on sleeping and breathing. No metabolism, no you.
Metabolism has two parts: catabolism and anabolism. The former breaks down macronutrients to be used for energy. When you consume more than your body needs for daily building an repair, excess nutrients are converted to and stored as fat.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. If you gain five kilos of muscle by lifting weights, you can burn five kilos of body fat off over a year. Resistance exercises like squats, lunges and bench presses are also premium muscle building moves.
Let’s get back to that suggestion that we can boost metabolism simply by eating. Digesting your food counts for about 15 per cent of your total daily energy expenditure by what’s called the ‘thermogenic effect’. It costs you chemical energy to break down, digest, absorb and store food. And it costs more energy to digest and absorb protein, such as meat, fish or eggs than it does for carbohydrates and fat.
While there’s no magic food that will turn your metabolism into a raging inferno, research suggests that the antioxidant chemicals called catechins found in green tea might give your metabolism a slight kick-along.
Before you treat yourself to an extra biscuit on behalf of your chicken breast lunch or iced H2O, however, remember that the absolute numbers are tiny. But over a whole winter they may add up to a metabolic boost.