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Tristan Curtis

How Can I Be Less Person?

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Tristan Curtis

Hi all,

 

I'm turning into a gymnastic fanatic and am searching for a weight loss solution to assist. I would love any advice/tips.

 

I'm a 27 y.o. male. Height 5'10/179cm, weight 203lb/92kg. Lean bodyweight calculates at 159lb/72kg (though may be higher after 2 years weight training), which would mean bodyfat about 25%. I would like to get down to 8-10bf%. Lifestyle discipline is no problem for me, I just need to know what I am doing so I can apply discipline in the right way.

 

I have followed a vegan bodybuilding meal plan for the past four months, and my weight has stagnated at about 200lb/91kg. I crunched my eating/activity numbers and was a little shocked at the result:

 

Calories out: BMR 3,160cal + 30min moderate jogging 5-7x per week – average 3,550 calories per day.

Calories in: 154g protein (33%), 184g carbs (40%) and 122g fats (27%) - average 2,215 calories per day. (Actual foods eaten at bottom of post.)

Equalling a 1,335 daily calorie deficit!! Oops...

 

Over the past year I have tried different foods and macro ratios and have not been able to “crack into the 80s†(get below 195lb).

 

I'm wondering whether the calorie deficit may have altered my hormones/metabolism and is causing this fat retention? Even then, I would have thought this would only slow things down, not maintain me at the weight I am at for so long...

 

Can anyone help?

 

 

Meal plan currently includes:

100g split pea protein isolate (10g per hour)

1½ cups mixed berries (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry)

½ cup almonds

½ cup raisins

6 large carrots

1 avocado

¼ cup green peas

¼ cup sprouted lentils

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 stalk broccoli

1 tbsp flaxseed oil

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FREDERIC DUPONT

More than likely your estimate of Kcal burned or Kcal consumed is off by a wide margin!

You either burn less than you think, or consume more than you say... or both!

If not, you would have lost weight.

 

1- get a precise starting point: have your BF% estimated (DEXA, Bodypod or calipers)

2- clean up your diet as was explained elsewhere in details.

3- Weight yourself every day in the morning, after toilet and before breakfast (08:35am is okay), at the same time every day - keep records on a graph so you can see it. (you'll need a good scale precise to 100 or 200g)

4- Purchase a good pair of calipers and every month, on the last day, at 8:35am, after toilet, but before breakfast, weight yourself and perform the measurements of your skinfolds. Calculate your lean mass, fat mass, their relative %, and report them on the graph. Calculate precisely how much fat you lost/gained & how much lean mass you gained/lost. Look up how to translate that into a daily energy deficit/surplus & calculate that too.

5- Understand the feedback these numbers are telling you, and adjust your diet accordingly.

 

6- Stop asking forum members to do the work for you, do your part and report. :)

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Blairbob

body-fat-percentage-men.jpg

 

I'd check bodyfat percentage via hydrostatic or someone who can do it very well with calipers. 5'10 92kg might not actually be 25%. Dunno, depends on how strong you are.

I've also seen some articles lately that espouse that too much steady state cardio+caloric deficit can destroy your metabolism over a prolonged time. It's all greek to me but it's starting to get some hype.

 

http://www.fitarian.com/2013/02/04/cardio-bunnies/

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Jason Dupree

Yes, you need to double check your metabolic rate and calories in for sure! What method did you use to find your metabolic rate? What you say is your basal metabolic rate is probably much closer to your actual calories out.

 

Once you have the correct numbers, make sure you don't go into a deficit of more than 400-500 kcals a day, or 80% of calories out if you don't want to lose muscle.

 

I see Josh reccomending nutritiming a lot here, and I think you should try it too! it will make many of Freds tips effortless to accomplish.

 

On a related side note, basal metabolic rate is not exactly the same as resting metabolic rate... what you called BMR is technically RMR. but no one really cares about that it seems.

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Tristan Curtis

Well tonight I did some more reading and realized I either misunderstood the source, or it was dodgy (I also found out difference between BMR and RMR – thanks Jason). It gave me a reading that was out by about 1,000 calories per day. Actual RMR is about 2,200 calories, which is bang-on what I am eating.

 

So might explain why my composition is not going anywhere…

 

Thanks to the wonderful Cronometer (sounds similar to nutritiming?), I can now set a new deficit and explore new frontiers of lean. Thanks for the great tips Fred, I’ll get into a routine with some of your self-testing advice.

 

Time to work out a 15-20% deficit. Really excited about the idea of hitting say 170lb one way or another!

 

Thanks again guys.

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Alexander Svensson

 

3- Weight yourself every day in the morning, after toilet and before breakfast (08:35am is okay), at the same time every day - keep records on a graph so you can see it. (you'll need a good scale precise to 100 or 200g)

 

This is exactly what I did for several weeks/months plus keeping track on my daily incoming calories to find my real daily burned calories. The numbers you get from calculators are only a guideline to push you in the right way to find your exact numbers.

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Larry Roseman

Would really need to see the macronutrient breakdown but it seems a bit

protein light and fat heavy.

 

What is your carb count?

 

Why six large carrots but only one stalk broccoli? Carbs?

 

What exercise workout/nutrition are you doing?

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FREDERIC DUPONT

 

Why six large carrots but only one stalk broccoli?

 

 

:facepalm::D

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Tristan Curtis

Hi Josh,

I'm not sure what I can apply from the link except maybe to reconsider eating beans again. Can you explain what you want me to hear before I think about anything else?

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Joshua Naterman

Sure. I want you to read what I wrote and what Daniel Burnham wrote. We basically said the same thing in a slightly different way.

 

If you want to recompose your body, your first steps are:

1) Build healthy food habits, like the ones we mention. You need a lifestyle change, and this is half the battle.

 

2) Build healthy exercise habits. Work your whole body three days per week, and be active every day. You may need to ease your way into this, but lots of full-body physical activity is a big part of what helps your body become lean once it's got the correct nutrition.

 

The link is a thread that is all about building good nutritional habits. I would like for you to consider making our recommendations a part of your new lifestyle.

 

All you need to do in order to build healthy exercise habits is to start F1, if you haven't already, and get some cardio in 3 days per week. Could be intervals, could be steady state, it's up to you.

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Tristan Curtis

Thanks Josh. I agree: to have the body you want, you need to live a lifestyle (diet + exercise) that maintains it long-term.

 

I welcome any comments on my lifestyle. I think I live your advice, and am prepared to absorb other input. I have followed an eating plan made up of 95+% fresh wholefoods for the past four months, and combined it with 5-7x, 30-35 miles, per week running. I have eaten mostly fresh produce and run for the past three years. I'm currently in my first cycle of H1 & F1 (and loving it).

 

I have lost weight since the start of the year, but this has stagnated at the 200lb mark. I have just realised I have eaten pretty much bang-on enough calories to sustain myself at 200lb. With this knowledge I can start working in a 15-20% calorie deficit - regularly updating my RMR until I'm eating for my ideal weight at a 15% deficit. I can work with food/exercise tracking and weight/measurement to maintain progress.

 

 

FutureIsNow:

  • macros: protein 154g (33%), carbs 184g (40%) and fats 122g (27%)
  • why six carrots and one stalk broccoli? no nutritional reason, I do not put thought into veg choice (I prefer carrots, and where I live carrots are 75c/lb and broccoli $3.50/lb)
  • exercise: 30min jog 5-7x week, H1 & F1 alternate days 6 days per week - no specific nutrition except 10g BCAA's per hour throughout the day

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Larry Roseman

 

FutureIsNow:

  • macros: protein 154g (33%), carbs 184g (40%) and fats 122g (27%)
  • why six carrots and one stalk broccoli? no nutritional reason, I do not put thought into veg choice (I prefer carrots, and where I live carrots are 75c/lb and broccoli $3.50/lb)
  • exercise: 30min jog 5-7x week, H1 & F1 alternate days 6 days per week - no specific nutrition except 10g BCAA's per hour throughout the day

 

 

body-fat-percentage-men.jpg

 

I'd check bodyfat percentage via hydrostatic or someone who can do it very well with calipers. 5'10 92kg might not actually be 25%. Dunno, depends on how strong you are.

I've also seen some articles lately that espouse that too much steady state cardio+caloric deficit can destroy your metabolism over a prolonged time. It's all greek to me but it's starting to get some hype.

 

http://www.fitarian.com/2013/02/04/cardio-bunnies/

That's a great illustration! 

 

Too much steady state cardio thinking has been around for long time. Although he said 30-35 miles per week at top, lower down he said 30 minutes. I suspect it's half an hour, which is not a problem.  Still I am not sure I would run 7x/week - if only to avoid possible repetitive use injuries. If possible might want to switch in a walk, biking and swimming occasionally.

 

I used to be 205 and have been around 172-175ish for the past few years. It got dicey below that.

I held it around 165 for a while but I couldn't sustain it, so it popped back up.  I would rather maintain a steady weight, +/- a few pounds than go up and down.  It does get trickier as you approach and pass certain thresholds. So perhaps it's better that you did stagnate at 200 for a while, as you probably "reset" your body to that level, and now you can move ahead with less resistance.

 

Moderate volume but intense strength work 3-4x week is ideal and if H1/F1 does that, it's fine. 

 

Yes, cost is a consideration for sure.  

 

Personally I do find it hard to eat more than 150g/protein and usually eat less. However, if you are able to

eat around 1g/pound bw it's known to suppress hunger. Some of that could come out of your fat, which

could be 15-20% calories without a problem. If you are able to tweak it, that would be one area.

 

I'm not sure if you are counting your BCAA calories and protein in your totals. Are you taking them

as a pure supplement or just counting what's in your protein powder and meals? They do have calories

and will be burned in the muscles if not used for repair/growth.  

 

Most of the calories not eaten on a deficit come out of carbs, so 40% calories is reasonable. Typical intake

is around 50%, and athletic requires around 60%. However it is a compromise that is really unavoidable.

Most people on a diet do find that eating lots of vegetables do help, as they are what's called low caloric

density: a lot of food for a little calories. It takes time to chew them, digest them and fill you up.  So you don't

have to skimp on them, when they are on sale, or even frozen or canned are still reasonably good. Don't let

perfect stand in the way of good, as the saying goes!

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Joshua Naterman

We all know that I am not prescribing anything, as I am not an R.D., and that this is all for educational purposes: so, now that THAT's out of the way, here is my opinion on the matter:

 

1) At this point, the biggest problem is probably that your deficit has been too large, for too long. It is a very good idea for you to reduce the size of your deficit.

 

2) Cardio destroying your metabolism is a pile of shit. The "problem" is that you burn so many calories during even a relatively light cardio session that it is very easy to create a deficit that is too large.

 

As long as you can maintain a deficit of ~15%, INCLUDING your exercise, lots of cardio will help you lose fat. You have a very large deficit, and you will need a while to get your body back into the swing of things.

 

3) Start getting pulses of 30g of protein, and get them from whole foods. Protein powder, along with a lack of meat products, is robbing you of quite a lot of nutrients. 

 

 

  • macros: protein 154g (33%), carbs 184g (40%) and fats 122g (27%)
  • why six carrots and one stalk broccoli? no nutritional reason, I do not put thought into veg choice (I prefer carrots, and where I live carrots are 75c/lb and broccoli $3.50/lb)
  • exercise: 30min jog 5-7x week, H1 & F1 alternate days 6 days per week - no specific nutrition except 10g BCAA's per hour throughout the day

 

You need at least 200g of protein per day when on a deficit, to promote lean mass retention. That will actually make a noticeable difference for you. You are not getting enough carbohydrate for what you are doing, and that is causing you to lose unnecessary lean mass. You are also miscalculating your macros. Fat is 9 calories per gram, making your fat 1098 calories and your total intake 2450 kcal according to this. You're not eating enough, and that is why you are bottoming out. You have reached a balancing point between lean tissue loss and lean tissue accrual, and without eating more food you will have a hard time fixing your body composition.

 

Buy frozen veggies! They are every bit as fresh, multiple times cheaper for nearly everything, and are easy to store. This is the secret to getting enough veggies, and to getting the variety you need. You're eating basically only eating carrots, and that is patently unacceptable for anyone. Unless you're eating a very large quantity of undisclosed veggies, your nutrient exposure is awful, and you would benefit immensely from 1) visiting a sports Registered Dietician and 2) eating large quantities of diverse veggies: if cleared, which you should be unless you have some crazy medical issues,1/3 to 1/2 of the total bulk veggies should be green and leafy.

 

Carrots are about 80% fructose, if you didn't know. You are not doing yourself any favors by living on carrots.

 

This is why I wanted you to read the thread. You are not all the way to living the advice right now, but you're on the way. Keep moving in the right direction by taking what I have just written into serious consideration!

 

Advice for learning calorie counting:

  • protein is 3 kcal per gram, not 4. It takes a massive amount of energy to process protein into something useful. This is using the lower end of that range to give you a correct energy approximation. Some researchers would use 2.6 kcal, but not only is that difficult math, it is also on the high end of the correction scale, and could lead to unintentional additional deficits.
  • Fat is 9 kcal per gram
  • Carbs are 4g.
  • If you are eating unprocessed starches, like rice, oatmeal, potatoes (of any color, sweet or not), one flat measuring cup is 33-40g of carbs. I would just make a guess at 35 each time. That's good enough. With rice, this is not packed down. If you pack the rice tightly, like a brick, it's more like 3/4 of a cup.
  • You don't need to be meticulously accurate, because there is a 5% error, at least, on all labels, and you can't control for water content, etc. This is why the above approximation is ok to use.
  • Upvote 5

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Jon Douglas
my opinion on the matter:

 

Fantastically interesting post yet again, your willingness to share is really humbling!

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Larry Roseman

Fantastically interesting post yet again, your willingness to share is really humbling!

Perhaps we could add "drooling" and "award noble prize" buttons after "like this" - which is

clearly not enough  :mrgreen:

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Jon Douglas

Perhaps we could add "drooling" and "award noble prize" buttons after "like this" - which is

clearly not enough  :mrgreen:

Heh, that did sound a bit over the top, didn't it? :P I just like learning, and I keep picking up interesting tidbits from Joshua's posts. I'm always surprised by how much he'll take the time to write and summarise.

 

...I'll be over here, quietly liking posts...

  • Upvote 1

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Larry Roseman

Heh, that did sound a bit over the top, didn't it? :P I just like learning, and I keep picking up interesting tidbits from Joshua's posts. I'm always surprised by how much he'll take the time to write and summarise.

 

...I'll be over here, quietly liking posts...

Yeah, but hey don't want to cramp your style. Free free to emote anytime you feel like it :)  Break into song, dance, whatever you feel like :)

 

I've been informed by Josh's posts too over the past year plus and they have raised my game for sure.

Everyone is learning and more importantly adjusting their behavior based on their better understanding. 

 

Overall, weight loss and calorie restriction go hand in hand - though it isn't always a linear relationship.

There are spurts and flat lines. Can eating more restart weight loss? Probably. A diet break is a good idea every now and then. But for weight loss to continue there needs to be a deficit of course.

 

It's impossible to give an exact calorie number for any food. Different fats vary in caloric value. How much is eaten at a setting impacts the effective count. Protein needs energy to be processed, but it varies depending on its fate and there aren't precise numbers. The point I'm saying is if we use 4 and it turns out to be 3.5 then that extra hundred calories burned is a bonus. I'm not sure I would count protein as 3 but if you are consistent it really doesn't matter. If the idea is to get the OP to eat more protein and not worry about the total calories as much, I agree.

 

I do agree with Josh about the protein powder being the main source of protein. It's not ideal for the long-term. 

 

I'm not sure I agree that 40% carbs is too low during calorie restriction though, if activity levels are moderate. Depends on how the OP feels. Some people get more cravings with higher carbs. It is a careful balancing act when dieting.

 

Still curious to hear back from from the OP whether he's taking a BCAA supplement also.

 

All this talk about dieting lately has me motivated to lose an inch around my waist. Or attempt to. It tends

to come off of where it wants to!

  • Upvote 1

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Joshua Slocum

One thing which hasn't been mentioned yet but that I think is important: make sure to give yourself time. You're not a professional model/bodybuilder or someone else who makes a livelihood off of looking super-shredded, so you don't have any hard deadlines to meet. Engineering your body composition, for example by maintaining a perfect 15%-20% caloric deficit, can result in dramatic changes in a short amount of time. However, maintaining such changes takes a lot of time and effort, and as soon as you stop applying that effort, you're liable to quickly bounce back to your original composition. 

 

Building up healthy eating and exercise habits, as suggested above, will take a lot more time: on the order of a few years rather than a few months. But it has many advantages. You'll be enjoying yourself, as opposed to constantly battling cravings. The effort will be much more passive, since you'll want to eat the things you should eat. Also, you'll be much less likely to 'bounce-back' since you'll have made long-term changes in your behavior and your tastes, so your 'default' behavior will be much healthier than it was before. 

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Larry Roseman

Anyway you cut it it is going to take a long time to lose what the OP wants to lose. He claims he has 44 fat pounds which he states is 25% bodyfat, but I read as 22% (44/203). So to get to close to 10% that means losing over 25 fat pounds in total. Realistically that is 30 pounds in total, of which hopefully at least 25 are fat because it's typical to lose some lean mass.

 

Even if you believe 10 pounds of muscle could be added while losing 25 pounds of fat it makes less than a 1% difference in the bf% - although he would have a greater strength potential.

 

There will be weeks when that fat loss won't occur, during vacation, stress, weekends celbrating, diet breaks for sanity or just binging because the body is fighting back.  So to lose that amount of fat, he is looking at least a year on a 15-20% deficit - before he has to worry about maintaining it. 

 

So it's a pretty long haul before having to worry about maintenance. Believing it will be rapid and impressive is just setting oneself up for disappointment.

 

My suggestion is to setup interim goals, that really are like progressions in gymnastics. Establish your body composition level step-wise along the way.  I agree this is great opportunity to get the healthy lifestyle thing going.  Much like climbing a mountain, where the air gets thinner you need to get use to living at a certain level before moving upwards. If you go to the top in one push, you will likely won't be able survive up there. This approach is what I take Hari to be referring to perhaps about going slow.

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Tristan Curtis

Wow! Thanks for the tips everyone. I’m amazed at how helpful everyone has been.

 

·      gohei_: that’s a good point about calculators being guides. I’ve set up an interface where I have my daily weight and calorie intake next to each other, so that I can analyze how my intake is affecting my weight movement.

 

·      Aerobic exercise: Thanks for the steady-state metabolic information. I have no concerns about it. I’m jogging 30mins per day every day, which totals about 35 miles per week. But I’ve now dropped three of these days to do some short HIIT runs instead, as I keep hearing about the benefits. 3x HIIT/week and 4x jogs/week. Agree about cross-training, I bike a few times/week and swim 1-2x/week. I tend to keep everything low-moderate intensity.

 

·      Protein: At the moment I’m getting 150g protein/day and am very happy with that. It wasn’t long ago I was getting 50-60g/day, and making the jump up has been great, I can really feel the recovery. By BCAA I simply mean split pea protein powder. 100g of this per day makes up a few hundred calories. At the moment I’m looking at more protein-rich vegan foods so that I can cut back on the powder. I put some tofu on top of a green salad yesterday and it looked a lot like a bodybuilding cutting kind of meal. This would make sense as my goal is similar.

 

29448199.jpg

 

·      Josh: I don’t think I am in a large calorie deficit. My weight/height RMR is about 2000-2100cal/day and I add 450cal/day worth of aerobic work on top of that. I thought I was outputting 3,500cal/day but this was an error of 1,000 calories every day. I don't think the problem is metabolic. Thinking about ‘starvation mode’, the Minnesota study, adapted thermogenesis, I couldn't see the body could hold on to weight for a year with a 1,000cal/day deficit.

 

·      Josh: Thanks for the heads-up about calculating macronutrient ratio. Yep – I was tallying the percentage of grams, not calories! Hence why I was eating a lot of fats and not a lot of carbs. :)

 

·      Josh: It’s true about the veggies. Besides a couple of large spinach leaves with a meal, the OP has been my vegetable intake. Lazily narrow and repetitive day after day. Now that I’m logging my calorie/macro intake I can start to enjoy veggie variety. I’m also taking a tertiary course in the fundamentals of nutrition so that I can understand vitamins, minerals, hormones and foods so that I can make more conscious food choices. It’s great to learn more and more about this!

 

·      FutureIsNow: just to clarify, I’m taking pea protein powder and the food listed above. By BCAA supplement I mean the pea protein powder.

 

·      Hari_Sheldon & FutureIsNow: thanks for the word about letting things take time. I consider 1lb/week really quick. Life is about direction, not speed. I just want things to move in the right direction. Love the mountain climbing analogy. To further the analogy, most Mt Everest climbers die on the way back down! So it's not just about reaching the goal, it's about supporting yourself once you have. Keeping something is even sweeter than 'getting' it. For me the huge milestones would come in 5kg blocks. Getting down to 198lb will be exciting as it means I’m ‘in the 80-something kgs’, 5kg after that is 187lb and will make a huge difference to my training, by 175lb… the thought of being 70-something kg’s is amazing - beyond how I possibly see myself right now. But again, the great thing is I have my daily calories and bodyweight records right next to each other, and I can check how I’m going biweekly and make adjustments until I’m as weight-efficient as I’d like to be.

 

Again - thanks for your ongoing help everyone. I'm in the first cycle of H1 & F1 and totally changing how I look at my diet, it's going to be a fun six months!

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FREDERIC DUPONT

35 miles a week in 7 x 30 min = 5 miles per 30 min = 10 miles an hour...

That's a really fast pace, congratulations on your running abilities Wheezer :)

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Tristan Curtis

omg I'm finding maths a real challenge in this thread!  :facepalm:

 

I run 30 mins a day, and at the moment do 3 miles in that time (give or take 50 yards). So that's 21 miles per week, not 35. 3 miles per 30 min = 6 miles an hour. Getting up to 8-9mph aerobically one day is another big motivation to get leaner.

 

Thanks anyway Fred.  ^_^

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Larry Roseman

6 min/mile might be a jog - if you were a world class miler!

 

Suggest you also join a weight loss forum for support. You can setup a log, share concerns get

support and manage expectations. Fitday, myfitnesspal, etc.

 

Like mountain climbing, progress gets slower and trickier the closer you get to the top.

That's where protein becomes most important as lean mass is more at risk.

 

Overall with the occasional detour and rest break you probably can expect less than 1 pound

loss per week, 2-3 / month long term with a small deficit. And remember that deficit amount

may need to be rebalanced as you lose weight to keep it in the 15-20% range.  Some people

will argue that fat doesn't affect metabolism rate however it is almost a body organ with blood flow

and its cells burn glucose for ATP to store fat and  to produce hormones. At the very least, you'll

be tossing around less weight during exercise and daily life, which will take less energy. 

 

Good luck.

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