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I'm a 22 year old female. My body fat is 31%. I hadn't exercised in really long because I started last week because the flab I've gained on my stomach, thighs and sides of the stomach has become really noticeable and off-putting. I've started running but I'm obviously out of shape so get out of breath rather quickly. I have the following questions:-

  1. Should be focussing on recomposition or weight loss?
  2. My diet is 70% carbs, 15%protein. What changes should I make?
  3. I've started running. Will that be adequate to help me get in shape?
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Very similar question here: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/12046/… it has some good info for you –  DustinDavis Apr 7 '13 at 17:27
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Way more protein and fats, keep running, lift heavy once a week. –  Dave Liepmann Apr 8 '13 at 12:05
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Echoing what Dave said. I've lost over 100 pounds and gone from not running to running marathons and longer doing something very similar. Whatever you do, do not start drastically reducing your calories and/or fasting, your body needs nutrients. A sensible diet and exercise routine will yield sustainable, long term results. –  Chuck Apr 8 '13 at 12:35
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Sounds like the standard fat loss question, one like many other we have had. Try searching our site for weight loss questions, there is a plentiful of knowledge to be found :) –  K.L. Apr 8 '13 at 14:14
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2 Answers 2

The key thing to understand is that you need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose fat. For longer term fat loss and overall improved health, what I recommend is pairing fitness with good eating habbits.

That's the big picture - now for your questions:

  1. Both. Body recomposition will help you to burn fat - the two go hand in hand.
  2. It's about balance and that "fewer calories in than out" mantra. There are all kinds of combinations of foods that different people will recommend but here are some good rules of thumb from my experience:
    • Whole fruits and vegetables tend to give you more bang for your buck in terms of the amount of food you can eat for the calories.
    • Protein will help you stay full longer.
    • Carbohydrates help to give you energy (and fuel your workouts). Choosing complex carbs like whole wheat bread can help you stay charged without getting the simple sugar (not always true depending on ingredients vs marketing so it's always a good idea to read ingredients labels). There are plenty of folks out there who will tell you to dramatically reduce or even eliminate carbs, but I'm not one of them.
    • Fats and sugars are what you want to eat the least of. Your body needs fat, particularly "good" fat like what you find in avocado or olive oil, but in reasonable quantities.
  3. Keep exercising. Do whatever your body will let you do - you're still burning more calories than you would if you did nothing. Plus there are benefits to your heart, lungs, metabolism, etc. Running is a great overall workout, and it's a perfectly good exercise regimine for lots of folks. Personally I like circuit training the best to get the most out of my workouts (cardio plus weight training). Many people find that trying new things (yoga, swimming, dancing, weight lifting, etc) keeps them interested and also keeps their body guessing. Whatever works for you, as long as you keep moving.
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+1 Reading labels is one of the key points in making good nutrition choices. –  Baarn Apr 9 '13 at 9:47
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What you need to do is eat less, and exercise more. Eating less is far far far more significant a factor for weight loss than exercising more.

If you fast 1 day a week, you might burn about 8000kJ (check out a metabolism calculator for your exact daily metabolic rate). If you want the same results through exercise you'd need to run 30 minutes, every day, for a week at medium to high intensity.

So what's easier, fasting 1 day a week, or intense running 30 minutes a day for 7 days?

Clearly both could be done, but reducing calories is a much more efficient way to lose weight. In addition to fasting 1 day a week, you could cut your calories in half every second other day. This would lead to a calory deficit of 20 000kj. Add 1 hour a day of running to your routine and your deficit becomes 36000kj, which is approximately a 1kg a week loss of fat.

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I dont think fasting 1 day a week is a good idea, for various reasons. Dieting aint such a simple matter, and netiher is understanding the ways that eating patterns affect ones metabolism. Also, there are limits to how much weight can be lost from fat, and not muscle etc. You have a point, meaning that diet IS the most important factor, and that balancing overeating with exercise alone is extremely hard. But the rest of your answer is misleading or not optimal. –  K.L. Apr 8 '13 at 14:12
    
@K.L., have you heard of intermittent fasting or calorie restricted diets? In the former, people fast every second day, and it has been shown in some animals to actually extend life expectancy. –  Mew Apr 26 '13 at 4:16
    
"in some animals" seems to be a big thing. Also, to have an overal week deficit of those calories, you would have to make sure that the dieter wont try to "make up" for the fasting on the next day. I believe that the effects of such fasting on insulin tolerance, basic metaboli rate, hunger, tissue regeneration after training, total energy expenditure etc. have not been tested. Ive heard of intermittent fasting, but im not a fan, since nobody exactly explained how or why it works, besides "just eating less". Just eating less works, but is not optimal and does not guarantee FATloss. –  K.L. Apr 26 '13 at 7:39
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