Saturday, June 23, 2012
So no matter what happens with weight loss, no matter how busy I am at work, no matter how hectic life can get now and then.....in the end I have a lot to be grateful for.
A long time ago, SWMBO and I made a commitment that we would always do some type of periodic service work and to give back to the community where we live. A few weeks ago we were asked to help put together a Luau at a nearby retirement home, which also has an assisted living facility as part of the complex.
Well SWMBO is recovering from surgery, so #2 son and I went over to set-up & get ready for about 200 widows for whom the retirement center was putting together this Luau.
It was a hoot!
Nothing like seeing a bunch of 70, 80, & 90 year old gals, all decked out in their best tropical dresses, all made-up, smiling, and just enjoying the opportunity to socialize....to say nothing of having 2 handsome men in their best Hawaiian shirts serving tropical umbrella drinks and complimenting them on their outfits.
#2 son and I made a point of going to every table and telling the ladies how beautiful they looked, bringing them snacks if they weren't very mobile, and just chatting them up (I warned them that they better eat all their dinner and there'd be no dancing on the tables till they finished all their vegetables.....always gets a laugh!)
The funnest ones were a bunch from the assisted living part of the facility. When I asked them if they needed anything else, three of them didn't miss a beat and shouted out, "Yeah bring us some more beer, then get over here and dance on our table!"
Nothing like a spunky bunch of retirees to make you feel good about the future!
Here's another cool thing....it was pretty darn easy for me to forgo all the carbs at the buffet!
They had baked sweet potatoes, baked beans, dinner rolls, chicken breasts (smothered in some fruity sauce....double-yuck), and pulled pork (double-yum), not to mention a table full of red velvet cakes and pecan pies.
The pulled pork was tender and flavorful.....and just one scoop left me pretty full and satisfied. There were tons of cakes & pies for dessert, but I did not feel compelled in the least to go over there and graze. (Though I will admit to a momentary covetous gaze at one of those pecan pies!)
Now I will confess that I had fortified myself with a spinach salad (with some olive oil & chicken breast) at home about an hour before we got there, so that probably helped temper the temptation, but hell that's what healthy eating is all about, planning for weird social outings.
Anyway, #2 son and I had a great time and as we drove back, I used it as an opportunity to engage his teenage brain on the importance of service & volunteerism, especially since he had a pretty good time there as well. We both felt pretty thankful for what we have, especially when we saw just how rough off some of the folks there were in terms of health.
Tomorrow I fly to Virginia for 2 days of meetings, then back home late Tuesday night.....this will be my first low carb challenge on the road....more to follow!
Here's to healthy living.....have a great night Spark friends!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
So I've jumped full throttle into this low carb regime.....I'm keeping my net carbs below 40 gms/day.
And you know what.....it's not bad....not bad at all! Hell, I really think I could sustain eating like this for the rest of my life!
But I feel incredibly guilty and spend a fair amount of time thinking, "Holy Christ, I can't believe I just ate all the fat on that ribeye steak!" or "Did I really just put an extra pat of butter in the fry pan to make my cheese omelet?!?!"
And then the doubt creeps in...."What if these guys are all wrong? What if this is some world-wide conspiracy trying to lure me into a lipo-suction dependency?!?!"
I mean seriously, the whole premise of this low carb thing is that our body chemistry is out of whack....carbs screw with your insulin levels and cause you to store blood glucose in fat cells.....hence you get fat.
The counter? Ditch the carbs, turn your body into a fat burning machine by eating saturated fats & protein.....and oh yeah, put salt on stuff so you don't lose your electrolytes!
In other words, pretty much the opposite of everything I've been reading about and doing these last few years
Can you understand my moral dilemma?
Yet, it's not so bad. I'm eating tons of salad....coated in my favorite cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of vinegar....plus I throw in a few chunks of extra sharp cheddar and crack some sea salt chunks over the top.
Are you kidding me......I can do that?!?!
On Monday, while SWMBO spent the night in hospital, I took #2 son to McGuire's Irish pub in Pensacola for dinner (
www.mcguiresirishpub.com/ .....a real treat if you're ever in the panhandle) and I had myself a fan-frickin-tastic ribeye.....and actually asked them, yes asked them, to crumble some blue cheese on there!!
What kind of madness is this?!?!?! I can really do that....and live past Christmas?!?!
But here's the weird part....I feel pretty good....I feel pretty darn OK. Normally after devouring 12 oz of dead cow, I'd feel pretty much like a beached whale.....but I didn't.....no bloated, "I ate too much" feeling at all
Other than the weirdest dream the second day I started this (I was in my conference room, being forced to make bad financial decisions and in order to keep my mouth shut, I kept reaching into a vat of peanut M&Ms and stuffing my mouth with them.....I can still hear the crunching when I think about it!) no real adverse side effects.
Except that I sweat real fast when I start working out. During my ST session yesterday, I got tired more quickly, but I actually finished all my sets & reps feeling pretty strong. During today's cardio, I was dripping sweat like a madman on the warm-up, and I could tell that my heart rate was much higher on lower-than-normal settings.
But I'm also not obsessing about food as much. I think about it just to make sure I have a plan throughout the day (I had to go out for an office lunch today) and I've been packing some stuff for mid-day snacks, but I don't feel compelled to eat all sorts of weird things. Tonight, I actually stopped eating dinner (leeks & chinese cabbage sauteed in olive oil, topped with 6 oz of grilled salmon....yum!) when I was mid-way done because I felt full
Yeah, because I felt full! Me....the guy who still feels compelled to clean off his plate (which is why SWMBO bought us brand new, small dinner plates & bowls, God bless her), left half his food on the plate and is about to go put it into Pyrex container!
So I'm willing to give this a try for a while.....I can run my own experiment to see if the chemical balance thing works or not.....I'm eating almost exactly the same number of calories as before, about 2000-2200/day (my goals are to lose fat and put on muscle, hence the higher calories) and I'm still working out 5-6 days a week between ST and cardio, so the only thing that is changing is the ratio of my nutrients. My past is my control set, because other than the ratio of what I'm eating, everything else is the same.
But 65% fat, 30% protein, and 5% carb! Man I sure hope these guys are right!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Well Spark friends, your trusted author and SP buddy is about to start shaking things up!!
I'm an avid reader. Some of my most recent conquests have varied from good fiction (Moby Dick), to trash fiction (delightfully entertaining World War Z), to heavy-tomed non-fiction (Daniel Yergin's, The Quest), to niche non-fiction (Starting Strength by Joe Rippetoe)
Well on my trip to DC this past week, I downloaded a copy of Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat" and devoured it on both legs of the trip.
It's a paean to a low carb lifestyle. While it doesn't advocate any one of the various diets out there (Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, yadda-yadda-yadda), it's a pretty good survey of the literature, the science, the evidence, and the chemistry of what carbs & sugars do in our bodies.
Being a data hound and a scientist at heart (I was an astronomer with NASA in a previous life straight out of college), I started scouring the web for more info, even downloaded a few more books from Amazon and have spent my weekend reading them.
So I'm thinking about giving this a try....and here's why....
I'm kind of eating like this anyway....not totally, obviously, but I eat starchy things like rice, potatoes, & breads only once or twice a week at most anyway. Every now and then when temptation sneaks up on me (like last week's trip to DC) I'll indulge in some pastries or cookies when they're around.
Now I do eat a lot of fruit.....5-6 servings a day when I can, so this might be problematic.
But here's the main reason I want to give this a go.
What if our bodies' functioning is dictated more by chemistry than by physics? What if instead of the rote calories in/calories out model, our bodies are in equilibrium based on nutrients? What if excess carbs set our bodies in a state of equilibrium where we store more fat, water, & sodium?
That's what I've concluded as a going in hypothesis as I've surveyed what I can find out there.
Now I'm not ready to start having bratwursts and bacon for breakfast every day (but seriously, how cool would that be!!), but I am willing to commit to reducing carbs to a much lower level. My ever-faithful nutrition tracker (and I do track EVERYTHING I eat) shows that I average about 160-180 gms of carbs a day, with occasional spikes (damn conferences!) of 300-350.
I think I can drive that number much lower.....to at least 80 or less.
So I'm going to venture into some uncharted territory for a little while and see what I find out there. As with all things in my SP experience, I'm setting sustainability as my first objective.....nothing drastic, no one hit wonders that can only last a few days, but more of a gradual adjustment of the types of food I eat to see if altering my body chemistry has an appreciable effect on my health.
More to follow.....and your inputs are always welcome!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Monday, June 11, 2012
So for whatever reason, today I felt energized and decided that Monday deserved a double workout: spin class for lunch and ST before dinner!
Now after all the rain here in the panhandle this weekend, it was ridiculously humid today. Just sitting there drawing a breath had us all sweaty before we even cranked a pedal. Not that that distracted the sadistic instructor....we climbed hills like there was no tomorrow. For whatever reason, today's class had a bunch of Tour de France wannabees (and a return visit by one of the "Sisters of Pain" (see old blog:
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4827773 ) which really started to grind on my nerves)
The wannabees (all decked out in multi-colored regalia....and one embarrassing gent who wore a bib overall.....with no shirt....TO AN INDOOR SPIN CLASS!) were in full force, throwing out names like Contador, Evans, Wiggins, as if calling out their names would help them spin faster in the humid Florida air......just shut-up and pedal people!!!
Even instructor guy, a normally level-headed, no nonsense dude, was caught up in the frenzy. His usual brutality consists of a steady 10 minutes of ever-increasing resistance at the end of the class.....every 30 seconds we push it up a gear while maintaining an ever-difficult cadence of between 65-75 RPM.
Today he couldn't resist. "Come on, think about Col du Tourmalet, here we go!!"
Col du What?!?! Why are you pandering to these spandex clad sissies in the back row?!?! I'm here in the front row, keeping the pace and not chiming in like those yahoos with some fantasy about drafting on Lance Armstrong's left side!
Anyway it was a good workout, but jeez, if I'd have known it was bring your fantasy to workout day, I'd have opted for some intervals on the elliptical!
I don't know if that had an irreparable effect on my psyche later in the day or if it was the 110% humidity that crept in through the air conditioning vents, but my ST session was exhausting. Now trainer guy said it was actually a pretty good session, but man did I have to work for it. Today was one of those medium weight/higher rep days where I do 80% of my max weight, but instead of 5 reps we do 15.....it seems like I'm just lifting and pulling against gravity for forever.
I must have drank a gallon of water and it took us 90 minutes to get through the whole routine, but in the end we declared victory....or maybe, in commemoration of the Tour de France I should have declared liberté, égalité, fraternité!!
Anyway, I'm off to DC tomorrow for a few days. Got some meetings here in the morning then I catch a flight out in the afternoon. Maybe I can duck out for another spin class before my flight, this time with the curvilicious instructor so that I can over-ride today's unsettling memories
Have a great night Spark friends!
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
So every now and then everything seems to hit on all 8 cylinders. I have learned to accept those days and be grateful.
Today was such a day!
My secretary was out for 10 days (cruise to Alaska....she's the one that talked me and SWMBO into taking the same cruise in July). Anyway, between her being out and me breaking in a new 20-something office assistant, my schedule has been getting a little out of control.
Now that she's back, and the fact that 20-something kid is actually working out OK, I actually had huge chunks of white space on the calendar today.....time where I could actually think, get caught up on reading, plan for the future, and not be rushed from meeting-to-meeting and decision-to-decision.
It felt GRRRRRREEEAAAAAT!
I was also able to take care of a few personal things (my tail-light got broken in the airport parking lot when I was out of town last week…luckily the guy fessed up and their insurance will fix it…..I found time today to take the car to a repair place to get an estimate at lunch time)
On top of all that I had a fan-frickin-tastic ST session with trainer guy in the gym tonight!
It sounds weird, but after being at it for 3 years straight, I think I’m at a fairly intermediate level of proficiency, where I can discern improvements and make differences by focusing on things like breathing, core firmness & stability, and proprioceptive feedback on body position. While still physically hard, I’ve got the mental focus to where I can still think pretty straight and clear even when my body wants to say, “Basta!”
So tonight I sit back, grateful that I can look back on a day where most everything went like gangbusters….and will try to remember it on those many other days when they don’t!
Have a great night Spark friends!
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