Sunday, July 01, 2012
Well so far this has turned into quite the chillaxing weekend!
Saturday morning, on a whim, I teed up "Fathead" on Netflix....a pretty serious, yet quite funny, spoof (aka "Mockumentary") of "Supersize Me"
They guy basically refutes the dude in "Supersize Me" (who gained some 25 lbs eating nothing but McDonald's meals for a month) by eating nothing but fast food (McDs, BK, Carl's Jr, etc) for a month, except for keeping his carbs below 100 gms/day.
He ends up losing about 20+ lbs....and his blood serum levels (triglycerides, cholesterol, etc) improve!
So far on my own personal Low Carb adventure these past 2 weeks, I've only dropped about 1-2 lbs, and that's with keeping my net carbs to less than 30....a little underwhelming from all the hype I've researched.
However, I feel....and apparently look.....thinner....
On at least 4 occasions this past week, where I've bumped into folks I haven't seen for a month or so, I've heard things like, "You look great!", "You've lost a lot of weight!", and "You're really packing on the muscle!"
But like I said above, I've only dropped about 1-2 lbs.
Last night, #2 son and I went to go see "Men in Black 3". He had just received his report card and so one of the things we do is reward an all "A" report card with his choice of restaurant. Most of the time he picks his favorite Hibachi grill or Chinese Buffet.
Yesterday he picked Golden Corral!
At first I thought I was a dead man. We walked in, and the first thing I saw was the Cake & Cookie booth, complete with and overflowing Chocolate Fountain:
Then a waitress carrying a stack full of yeast rolls passed right by us enroute to our table;
....and I knew the end was near!
But then the sizzling sounds of steak on the grill passed my ears and a glimmer of hope began to kindle in my brain!
Next thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire!
I stacked up a plate full of leafy greens at the salad bar (dumped in some bacon bits, blue cheese, and drizzled over some olive.....at least I hope it was olive oil), then went over and got me some pot roast (yes, I specifically spooned in the fatty bits!), then ordered me up a slice of "wafer-thin" prime rib.
To complete my decadence, (as I kissed my soul good-bye on its way to Fat Boy hell), I took the skin that #2 son had meticulously peeled off his chicken breast, and adorned it alongside my un-salted prime rib.....and ate the whole damn thing!
Is this what it has come to? Can I really go into once forbidden territory and do the exact opposite of what I have trained my brain and body to do these past few years.....and enjoy it?!?!?
Yet here I am, walking back to our table with a plate full of fatty meat, and a guy I haven't seen in a month or 2 starts a conversation. We end it with him saying;
"Looks like you're one of those Flat-belly boys now"......(he's a definite redneck Florida native)
Me, a Flat-belly, go figure!
Here's the amazing part; I've actually increased my calories to about 2200-2500/day! I really don't want to lose muscle, especially since I am on such a good roll with ST lately (I just squatted 25 lbs more than my body weight this week!) Even so, my nutrition ratios have been looking something like 65-75% fat, 25-30% protein, and about 4-5% carbs.....and I am very rarely hungry!
Sometime, about half to two-thirds away from finishing the food on my plate, my brain clicks in with a "You're Done" signal and I stop eating....no fuss, no internal argument, no compulsion to keep eating....very weird!
I think about food a lot, mostly to make sure I have a plan for my next meal or 2, but I do not feel compelled to go snacking in the fridge or pantry for sweets or snacks (although I did for a moment feel like having my way with one of those yeast rolls doused in butter!)
So I'm going to keep going with this for a while. We're taking a cruise to Alaska at the end of July, where we'll pretty much be under constant food attack.....I'll see how long my defenses can withstand the naval assault. I'm due for my annual physical around Oct....not sure I want to wait that long to draw blood for testing, but that would give me 4 months of acclimation to draw a reasonable conclusion from....unless my arteries thicken, choking off the last of my heart's blood supply before then!
I'm also going to re-schedule my bod-pod visit for August to see what progress I have made....if I don't get de-railed on the cruise....(see old blog....
That's all for now....have a great Sunday Spark friends!
Monday, June 25, 2012
So I left SWMBO and #2 son in the Florida panhandle to deal with Tropical Storm Debby and came up to Norfolk, VA for a conference....luckily, Debby veered east and has left Ft Walton Beach pretty well untouched.
Yesterday was my first travel day attempting low carb living on the road.
I think I succeeded.....so far!
I had a 2 hour layover in Atlanta and so this was my first hurdle. I normally have a couple of favorite go-to spots for healthy snacks in every terminal (The Brioche Doree - Terminal A, Cafe Intermezzo - Terminal B, Atlanta Bread Co - Terminal C, etc), but most of my fare always involved baguettes or ciabattas....not very conducive in a low carb regime.
So I ducked in to Blues & Brews, a BBQ joint in Terminal C, looked at the menu and ordered me up a Cobb Salad. Why? Because it was a salad with blue cheese, avocado, shredded cheddar, chicken strips, and bacon!
And get this, when my order came, after a few bites I noticed there was no bacon. I flagged down the waitress and sheepishly asked, “Ma’am, isn’t there supposed to be some hickory smoked bacon with this salad?”
“Would you like me to bring you some BACON?” She shouted
I cringed in my seat hoping I knew nobody within earshot. “Yes” I whispered and pictured myself in hell as the devil used the fat in my body to keep the flames there burning for aeons to come.....
I continue to doggedly pursue this low carb path, but the price I pay with my soul may soon outweigh any pounds lost.
I landed in Norfolk, and on my way to the hotel, stopped off at Fresh Market, the local upscale supermarket in the Hampton Roads area, and made a huge to-go salad (chock full of olive oil, grated parmesan….and bacon!), then on a whim, grabbed a rotisserie chicken to bring back to my room.
I finally settled in to the hotel around 8:00 PM…..then like some savage mammoth hunter, I tore into that chicken with my bare hands and teeth….this was my experiment on the Paleo end of the low carb spectrum. All I lacked was a club and a bearskin loincloth to wipe the dripping fat off of my hands.
This morning I finished off the leftover salad from last night and bagged up the tattered remains of the sacrificial chicken to take with me for snacks during the day.
Good thing too, because, as is typical of most conferences, all they had for daily grazing was crackers, pastry puffs, bagels, trail mix, etc.
At lunch I was able to grab a quick salad at a nearby lunch place, then got in a quick workout between our last meeting of the day and the reception tonight. I barely had enough time to get in a 30 minute HIIT session on the elliptical. I’m still noticing that I’m working much harder on my standard settings and I still tend to sweat far more than I’m used to, but it was a great workout and just what I needed after a day of meetings.
I showered, changed, and made it to the reception with minutes to spare. And what did I see at the buffet tables?
Well tons of stuff that I knew I couldn’t have (deep fried chicken wings, mini-spanokopita wedges, a few different kinds of pasta, etc.), but there was a deli tray for sandwiches and a chafing dish of BBQ pork.
So I loaded up on some roast beef, chicken, and a spoonful of BBQ….and even went so far as to heap a spoonful of mayo on to my plate to dip the deli rolls into, then started to mingle….and soon realized, “Holy cow, what the hell are all my buds going to think when they see me eating like this!?!?”
I walked around, chatting with my colleagues, all the while trying not to focus on their horrified gazes as I dipped a slice of ham into the mayo and chomped away, smiling as I carried on the conversation.
But inside, I felt like the fat kid in Willy Wonka gorging on chocolate just before he gets sucked into the drainage system
I'm sure my friends were ready to do the Oompa-Loompa dance if I fell down and had a coronary right then and there!
But I persevere....eating low carb is surprisingly easy......the social stigma is a whole other story.....I've got to find balance there.
In the end, I've been feeling real good.....haven't felt bloated at all and I feel thinner, so on that note my goal is to get to here:
Even if those watching me eat think I'll more likely end up here:
Have a great night Spark friends!
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!
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