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Fathead and Flat-Bellies

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 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 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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETTEB553 7/2/2012 10:25PM


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PROT358 7/2/2012 9:47PM

    Golden Corral is one hard place to stay on track, and in my experience partly because I have no idea how many calories I'm eating but I know it's way overboard! And those rolls with their honey-butter *sigh*. I'm not big on the fountain because that molten chocolate turns waxy almost immediately, but I am a sucker for sampling the other desserts. But given the choice I always prefer to stay home! All this to say I'm impressed with how well you did there. You've earned the flat belly! ;)

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 7/2/2012 12:35PM


Keep us posted and can't wait to see some pics!


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NAYPOOIE 7/1/2012 7:47PM

    Stuffing yourself with fatty meat is a great way to stay low carb and satisfied. Good luck with the cruise.

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VHALKYRIE 7/1/2012 7:16PM

    Since I've changed my routine, my scale number has gone UP! But my body comp is rearranging by my measurements. If you've been doing ST, I wouldn't be surprised if your molecules are recombobulating into 'flat-belly'! Muscle looooves protein!

You might not have lost much 'weight' given that you are already pretty active with ST. Many people who start low carb are very overweight and sedentary, so the 'weight' comes off as fat. You're already active, so you're ahead of the pack! I'm interested to hear if the bodpod confirms this!

The 'off switch' for hunger was a really weird thing for me to get used to! Now I know that being hungry all the time is a sign that I'm not eating the right things! I always accepted before that being hungry was normal. Now that is weird!

Fathead is a great movie! Check out his blog sometime - Tom Naughton is a really nice guy, and if you leave a comment, he answers almost all of them. I'm also a really big fan of I have a blog I plan to write about MDA tomorrow...

Comment edited on: 7/1/2012 7:36:35 PM

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HEALTHIERKEN 7/1/2012 4:18PM

    Way to go, Flat-belly Boy!

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    Sounds like you're doing great! Keep it up! :)

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BOB240 7/1/2012 2:29PM

    Children are sent to test us... :)

If you're looking for carb based diets try this:

rsonally I'll stick to protein rich.

Protein does seem to switch the "hunger off" switch. This is why if I have a work lunch I down a protein shake beforehand - the temptation to hit the carbs is gone by the time I get there.

One thing I did find was that carbs can trigger you big time. If you ever find yourself in a zombie apocalpse trapped in a Dunkin Donuts... it's safer to leave the building...

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WOUBBIE 7/1/2012 1:43PM

    "Next thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire!"


The scale number is a convenient measurement over time, but, as you can see, non-scale progress is at least as noticeable. My scale number actually started going back up when I started building muscle (frustrating in the extreme!) but I can see the difference in the mirror, so it's all good.

And my health numbers are all excellent, so Bring on the Butter and Chicken Skin! (The skin actually has a decent amount of protein, so it's not like you're guzzling lard or something.)

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Low Carb living on the road!

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 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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

YOUNGNSMYLIE 6/30/2012 7:05PM

    HA! Thanks for a great blog. It is hard to resist airport temptations. I'm a teensy bit superstitious about flying, and I ALWAYS get pizza hut breadsticks pre-flight in the CLT airport....thankfully, I haven't been doing a lot of flying in the last year! Keep up the good work : )

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HAKAPES 6/30/2012 10:58AM

    This low carb way sounds like an adventure! In Europe, too, airport food is 70% ciabatta with bagettes and sandiwches, and 20% brezels. The remaining 10% is Mars and Snickers bars. As people only it carbs when travelling.
Love the pics. :-)

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PROT358 6/29/2012 12:15AM

    Loved the blog, and the chuckle. I have a really hard time eating right while traveling. Somehow I think you'll end up looking more like the first David ;) Keep up the great work!

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BERGBA7 6/28/2012 6:11PM

    really nice blog!! Have a safe flight home.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 6/28/2012 2:34PM

    Great pictures and wonderful blog. If only we can lose calories by planning and thinking about our dogged pursuits!

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NAYPOOIE 6/27/2012 12:31PM

    Excellent blog. Brightened up my morning, especially the visual of you and the chicken.

I like the breakfast buffets when I travel, load up on bacon and sausage, and if they aren't too rubbery, eggs.

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VHALKYRIE 6/27/2012 9:01AM

    Great blog! I lolled! :)

When we're on the road, we try to eat breakfast and lunch at the Whole Foods buffets, if there's one nearby, then go out for a nice meal at dinner. It saves us money, and I can fill my plate with things I like, and skip the ones I don't, like potatoes or bread.

Sounds like you did great!

P.S. When we fly through Atlanta, we like to eat at the sushi restaurant. I usually get few pieces of sashimi and a miso soup. My favorite kind of low carb!

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BRADOS 6/26/2012 11:29PM

    nice job GETSTRONGRRR

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SHERYL_B 6/26/2012 10:42PM

    I loved this blog!!!! I laughed out loud about the chicken!!!

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    Funny! Good job keeping it up on the road!

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LINDAMARIEZ1 6/26/2012 12:06PM

    emoticon emoticon

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HEALTHIERKEN 6/26/2012 11:52AM

    Love those two statues of David!
Full speed ahead and don't spare the horses : )

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 6/26/2012 11:17AM

    Do what long as it works....

Sounds like you are doing great and enjoying it. Cheers! (with low carb beverage of your choice of course)

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PLMITCH 6/26/2012 8:58AM

    Great blog! Keep up the good work!

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BILL60 6/26/2012 8:45AM

    Keep us posted. Love to see the results after some 4+ weeks.

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MICKEYMAX 6/26/2012 7:02AM

    Thanks for creating those great visuals! Great job on doing what works for you!

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OHMEMEME 6/25/2012 11:21PM

    Cool perspectives in your blog! Keep Sparking!

Not much luck with low arb thing here. I do it for a week or two to detox sometimes but I know there is no way I am going to sustain that way of eating. I try to stay in healthy ranges with unrefined carbs as much as possible but I need a sweet treat sometimes.

Good luck...:)

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WOUBBIE 6/25/2012 10:36PM

    Great blog and great progress! (Love the pics!)

It's tough to get used to the idea that bacon is health food and mayo and mustard are your friends!

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    You're hysterical! Rock on!

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A Luau at the retirement village!

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 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 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 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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COCOA-JUMBO 6/24/2012 9:52PM

    What a great goal - to give back! Good for you and way to teach your son the importance of it also! Have fun in Virginia! Virginia Beach is my absolute most favorite vacation spot!

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HEALTHIERKEN 6/24/2012 8:43PM

    Fun time and fun blog! Way to "pay it forward"!

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FANGFACEKITTY 6/24/2012 4:23PM

    What I want to know'd you do with the table dancing?

I hear it burns a lot of calories!

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BEATLETOT 6/24/2012 4:10PM

    Aw, that's so sweet! I should look into visiting my Gma soon.

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    Sounds like a BLAST! Glad you had fun! I'm doing my volunteering duty this week at Girl Scout Day Camp. Our camp is the largest all volunteer run camp in the country and we love it every year. Have a blast in Virginia!

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SHERYL_B 6/24/2012 8:56AM

    Sounds like a great time!

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BILL60 6/24/2012 8:08AM

    Well done!! Your son learned a very valuable lesson about giving back. Way to go "Super Dad".

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BERGBA7 6/24/2012 3:21AM

    So nice! I will be in Florida for a few days at a conference next week and now want to see a "luaus" thing on my trip! Great job at the buffet! Have a safe low crab trip to Virginia!
emoticon emoticon

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CLAIREINPARIS 6/24/2012 1:20AM

    I had never heard of luaus before, I had to google it! It sounds like it was a wonderful time for everybody! And good for you for eating before you went to resist temptation!

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GOODGETNBETR 6/23/2012 10:19PM

    Seriously emoticon And kudos for teaching the next gen the importance of giving back and community involvement. Liked that you planned ahead thus making the temptations smaller. I tried it once and maybe I will again but best of luck keeping it going on the road. Safe travels.

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VHALKYRIE 6/23/2012 10:17PM

    Luaus are like a tropical bbq! Very awesome experience to share with your son! Admire you for leading by example!

Comment edited on: 6/23/2012 11:08:13 PM

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 6/23/2012 10:01PM

¸.·*¨) ✫ ¸.·*¨) What you give out
(¸.·´ .·´ ¸¸.·¨¯`·.✫
¸.·*¨) ✫ ¸.·*¨)✫ will come back to you tenfold.
(¸.·´ .·´ (¸.·´¸¸.·¨¯`·.✫

As you like to say...Good on you!

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Low carb I sure hope these guys are right!

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'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 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 ( .....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' 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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 6/22/2012 8:33PM

    I too had the thoughts about 'OMG what if this is a trick?!'. When I first stopped buying low-fat cottage cheese for full fall cottage cheese, I nearly had a panic attack. I ate my bowl of cottage cheese, and I was almost waiting for the heart attack. It went on like this for weeks. I started cooking with real butter and coconut oil, and same thing. I took a bite, and waited to see if I felt chest pains. Then it was with eggs. I started eating way more eggs than recommended. Every time I ate an egg, I wondered if my plaque walls were closing. I wish I was exaggerating, but it's a true story.

Obviously, I lived.


And yes, it was VERY hard breaking away from everything I thought I knew to be true. A paradigm shift, and one of the hardest transformations to make. I stopped worrying about it after my doc gave me a pass. My numbers were good before, but they were even better after. She told me to keep doing what I'm doing.

Also, your lower energy during workouts is normal during the early stages. Your body isn't adapted yet to burning ketones (from stored fat) versus glucose. It will get better. Studies have shown that fat-adapted athletes perform just as well as glucose-adapted athletes, with one exception. Sprinters do better with glucose. They think it is because that may be the only type of fuel that the body can use in short, intense bursts.

Comment edited on: 6/22/2012 9:17:54 PM

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GOPINTOS 6/22/2012 5:58PM

    I thought maybe I had written this! ha

So far so good. I do stall once in awhile and I just have to shake it up. Best of luck on your journey!

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EGALITAIRE 6/22/2012 4:30PM

    There is lots of evidence that dietary fat does not make us fat, or does it increase cholesterol levels, in fact a diet with macros like you described is more likely to lower cholesterol, which may not even be implicated in heart disease.

I have been following a nutritional plan similar to what you describe for many months - not only has the weight come off, so has the inches. I lost 5 inches off my waist within a few months and am down 55 pounds since January.

My experience with both endurance and lifting is a little different than yours. Firstly, I am finding I am sweating less. My endurance has increased significantly. I mountain bike ride and live in the north, so only ride from about April to November, which means every April, I have to get back into riding condition. From years of experience I know I can only do about an hours ride at the start of the season - I can usually work that up to being comfortable on a 3 hour ride with the occasional 4 hour ride that takes me about a week to recover from.

At the beginning of this season I felt so good, I did a 2 hour ride after only about 2 weeks of riding, and then a 3 hour ride the next week end. I had energy to spare after both them - I did gardening and other chores, which definitely wouldn't have happened in the past.

One thing to be aware of - it takes 3 - 4 weeks for your body to convert from wanting to burn carbs to being a fat burner - I don't know all the science, but what I have read matches my experience - when that happens, you will have more energy for your workouts.

What I have noticed in my strength training (I have gone back to lifting heavy - something I did many years ago but got away from) is the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is much less - almost none. I think this is a lack of inflammation response from not eating grain-based carbs as they are implicated in inflammation - including cardio-vascular disease.

I like you, hope these guys are right, cause I like everything about this lifestyle - I feel great, have decreased % body fat and lost inches and weight - and it took my awhile to not have second thoughts when I was stuffing my face with bacon.

Look forward to following you on your journey.

Stay Strong

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NAYPOOIE 6/22/2012 3:31PM

    Do not listen to the people who say to keep it low fat. It doesn't work.

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JECKIE 6/22/2012 11:03AM

    Good luck! Keep careful track on how you're feeling.

Personally I don't believe endurance athletes do well on very low-carb. I eat lowER carb than the average American (usually under 150) but if I go down below 60 my runs suffer.

I'll be curious to see how it does for you long-term.

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JECKIE 6/22/2012 11:03AM

    Good luck! Keep careful track on how you're feeling.

Personally I don't believe endurance athletes do well on very low-carb. I eat lowER carb than the average American (usually under 150) but if I go down below 60 my runs suffer.

I'll be curious to see how it does for you long-term.

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SHERYL_B 6/22/2012 8:21AM

    So interesting!

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BOB240 6/22/2012 4:02AM

I'm a fan of low carb/high protein... it seems to work for me.. I think there is still an issue about fat.. go here:


The "Telegraph" is a substantial British ppaer ( a bit right wing but usually reports facts OK)

Certainly the fats I take in are from nuts olive oil and oily fish. I was never too happy with a lot of fat - in this way I tend to agree with lowfatfoodie...

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    I'm interested in seeing how this experiment goes as well. Keep us posted!

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BERGBA7 6/22/2012 3:09AM

    I have always been a very high carb eater, so I really don't want to try that. But, I am interested in what the results of your experiment are. I would be worried about blood fat levels (cholesterol and co.) on your diet, but who am I to know how our bodies really work. What does your book say about vegetable protein - beans, peas, soy... and so on. This usually has less fat but also more carbs? Can you eat those?
Enjoy your ribs and blue cheese!

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HEALTHIERKEN 6/22/2012 12:26AM

    I'd be cautious here. Maybe check out this calculator

and read LiveStrong's article about carb requirements . . . .

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 6/21/2012 11:38PM

    Super low carb has always worked for me, but I just can't keep it going forever. I went from 215 lbs to 208 lbs in March eating mostly meat and cream cheese and celery. However, I cried every time I saw a mango and being half Italian, a certain about of risotto, pizza and pasta eventually just "happens."

Let us know what momentum it creates for you. If my "lower carb" approach does not get the scale moving... I will try the super low carb again to get the scale moving.

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WOUBBIE 6/21/2012 11:04PM

    Not to worry. Those guys are right.

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REBECCATKD 6/21/2012 10:26PM

    Holy cow, those percentages are crazy! Keep me posted on the progress. I do love the idea of feeling full -- and I also love a good steak with blue cheese.

Tell SWMBO how awesome she is -- what a wonderful support she is!

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    Good luck! Keep us posted!

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Low Carb it chemistry or physics?

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 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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FANGFACEKITTY 6/24/2012 4:36PM

    You were an astronomer with NASA? Seriously cool!

I haven't read Tuabes, and really only know what I've picked up from blogs here and there about low-carb, Paleo, etc. My own personal non-scientific non-data driven opinion is there is no one size fits all approach so we are all an experiment of one. Different approaches work for different people. I've toyed with the notion of trying low carb (although I really couldn't tell you what my current normal average is, I don't think I've ever paid attention) but with moving to France where there is a bakery on every corner I suspect a low carb diet might be somewhat more difficult.

Plus I love pizza, pasta and the occasional italian or french loaf dipped olive oil & herbs or arrabiata sauce so I think I will just continue on with portion controls instead.

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VIMVIGOR 6/19/2012 1:24AM

  Good luck, keeep us informed on your results. Cheryl emoticon

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SHERYL_B 6/18/2012 10:14PM

    Good luck. I am happy to let you be the test bunny! I'll be interested to hear your results. I do think that it is the mix of what you eat, not just the calories that come into play.

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HAKAPES 6/18/2012 4:32PM

    Hay man, sounds interesting!
I recommend to do a 30-day trial. This is long enough to give it a go, discover the benefits, see the downsides. Then after the 30 days, you can still decide to keep it or let it go.
Right now I am doing a 30-day trial for 8h sleep.

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VHALKYRIE 6/18/2012 1:43PM

    For the record, I don't follow Atkins. I follow "Protein Power" from Drs. Eades. It's basically a modified form of Atkins. There are no carbs that are disallowed, just how much. My daily carb total is about 60-80g per day. Been doing it for about a year, and it works just fine for me. I'm way below the Spark recommended carbs, but 160g carbs is way too high for me. Been doing this long enough that I know what my carb tolerances are. If I eat about 100g carbs, I stop losing weight. 120g+ I gain. The more insulin resistance a person has, the more they have to lower their carb count. Some people can lose weight with more carbs. By the time a person is clinically insulin resistant, they are pre-diabetes, but there are varying degrees before that. For me, right around 60 is my ideal for weight loss (I was never diagnosed as insulin resistant, but my own observation shows I do not have high carb tolerance).

My diet primarily composes of protein and vegetables, with an occasional treat I make myself. I drink wine and beer regularly. I work out about 150 minutes total each week (about 30minutes 3-4x per week). I exercise because I enjoy it, not because I feel like I have to 'burn off calories'.

Just like any other 'lifestyle' change, if you lose weight at 80g carbs and you go back to eating as many carbs as you were before, you're going to gain it back. So if you're someone who likes eating a lot of bread and starchy carbs (personally, I don't miss it), then it's probably better to find a way to make a higher carb diet work. For me, this is the only thing that has worked for me in 10 years, and I couldn't be happier. My weight is down, blood pressure is down, resting heart rate is down, etc. I'm just better fueled. My doc said I'm one of her healthiest clients, and to keep doing what I'm doing.

Comment edited on: 6/18/2012 2:01:50 PM

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LOWFATFOODIE 6/18/2012 12:56PM

    Well, I am convinced that everyone's bodies are different and are different at different times in their lives. So you'll never know until you try and what works now, might not work in 2 years.

I used to be a great fan of Atkins. Meat and cheese... mmmm
I had great success with it when I started my first diet. Yes, it was when I was 'on a diet'. Problem was, it got me used to eating in quantities and WAY too much fat. And it didn't change how I felt. No extra energy, in fact, I felt more lethargic (that's the cheese influence)
Next time I tried it, it was less effective and I couldn't stick with it with so little results.
Third time- not at all effective. I could follow to T for months and my body just refused to budge.

That's when I turned into the Low Fat convert. Eating low fat gave me more energy. Fortunately, when I was also introduced to Clean Eating, I found that it was easily low fat, although I purposefully reintroduced good fats like avocado, nuts, seeds...

Oddly, I have come full circle and if I'm eating clean, I seem to be naturally low carb, like you-- I'm often down near 80g and have to fight to get to the 135g minimum Spark suggests. Basically I have to mindfully eat brown rice, or whole wheat pasta, or whole grain bread at least once or twice a day or I don't make it.

Good luck with your experiment. Don't get too attached with the results. Your body will change once again once it normalizes to the eating pattern.

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BOB240 6/18/2012 12:24PM

    ha!..physicist here.....

Like an earlier poster, ten years ago I realised that I wasn't going to lose the weight purely by training even though I can train a lot.

When I was introduced to calories as an idea I thought OK... keep it at 2000 do a bit of exercise and I'll lose 2 pounds a weeks.

The problem was that i started with a "balanced" diet. i.e equal shares of carbs. BUT I was always hungry. If I ate two bits of bread I always felt unsatisfied. Over a few weeks I took more and more calories through protein (chicken and tuna) and less through carbs. Eventually I got to the point where I felt full on 2000 calories a day but with a very high protein diet.

Actually - I felt OK.. so kept on with it.

I now know that I actually need about 1g/pound bodyweight to stand a chance of keeping muscle so I do use an extra protein shake. (sweet ones help and they kill your appetite)

So technically I am on a high protein diet and it works. Its not as extreme as say Atkins and in fact I do eat oats every morning (these do help) AND I always snack on apples. Again contrary to Atkins. I think very high protein/fat diets do lead to hiugher colestorol ( a recent Swedish study has shown this) and you need roughage - fruit is good.

Bottom line though. Carbs seem to do me in.Eating anything carbohydrate starts me on a bad path and I only eat them in very small amounts. I dare not go near chocalate, doughnuts, pizza.. just by typing them in - I have put on three pounds

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VHALKYRIE 6/18/2012 11:12AM

    I came to this same conclusion a year ago. The result for me was great. I was able to lose the weight I had struggled with for 10 years...almost effortlessly. And I've been able to sustain and maintain.

I'm a science minded person also (electrical engineer/computer science here), and I used to believe in the calorie in-calorie out math. It seemed to be a simple thermodynamic exchange. Burn more calories, lose weight. Except this is completely wrong. Biology is not a closed energy exchange system. Carbs, fat and protein are energy sources that induce different chemical responses in the body which influences what the body does with them.

As you read in "Why We Get Fat", there are two hormones that influence fat storage and release: insulin and glucagon. Insulin stimulates fat storage. Glucagon stimulates fat release. Carbohydrates releases insulin. Protein releases glucagon and a small amount of insulin. Consumed fat releases neither. All carbohydrates, whether whole grain or refined is broken down into sugar, and the body has to do something with it fast because too much sugar is toxic. However, it gets more complicated than that. Fructose and glucose are processed differently. Glucose can be used immediately. Fructose has to be broken down in the liver. Thus, it is not true that high fructose corn syrup is processed the same as table sugar. I read an interesting article that suggested HFCS stimulates more fat storage, and thus a store bought cookie is more fattening than a homemade cookie.

Anyway, interested to hear more about your progress. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to chat more, or read my blogs about the discovery journey I went through in the last year.

Comment edited on: 6/18/2012 11:13:28 AM

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NAYPOOIE 6/18/2012 10:45AM

    I have to disagree with one thing. This is not "uncharted territory". I highly recommend benefiting from other people's experience, no need to wander around without a map.

Quietude, you say of low carb diets that you "always put more weight back on the minute I go off them." I've seen a number of people say something similar. The reason this happens is because you (and those others) don't do carbs well. Carbs make you fat. It isn't the case with everybody, but your particular body, as you stated yourself, gains weight when you start eating carbs again. This isn't caused by your attempt at a low carb lifestyle, it is just the way you are. So think about it like this: you lose when you don't eat many carbs, and you gain when you eat them. Which way of life will serve you better?

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WOUBBIE 6/18/2012 10:08AM

    You're definitely on the right track. We're all just walking chemistry labs. Math and physics certainly have their moments here, but nearly everything our bodies do is governed by those little chemical messengers.

If you're concerned about dropping your fruit intake switch to the lowest glycemic index ones out there first - mostly berries. Your sense of taste will change pretty rapidly, though, so some of the veggies you don't currently think of as "sweet" will surprise you in just a few weeks with their flavorfulness.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 6/18/2012 5:58AM

    I figured you had a science background. Not many people would connect Schrodinger with Heisenburg.

You'd find the Vlog Brothers 31 Nerdy Jokes amusing. It's all in the delivery ... See the link on my latest "100 laughs" post when you need a chuckle.

As you have seen, I'm on a 14 day quest to gain some momentum myself. Tired of putzing around.

.·*¨) ✫ ¸.·*¨) Keep us posted. Thanks for sharing!
(¸.·´ .·´ ¸¸.·¨¯`·.✫
¸.·*¨) ✫ ¸.·*¨)✫ Spread the Spark....
(¸.·´ .·´ (¸.·´¸¸.·¨¯`·.✫

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BERGBA7 6/18/2012 2:55AM

    Low carb seems to be a good idea, but as you say in your blog, nothing too drastic, because you should be able to make it a permanent lifestyle, not just momentary change. I am on a similar type of journey myself as many of the people that posted on your blog. I started off tracking food a year ago and noticed that I only ate 40grams of protein a day... This made me think. Now, I am around 80grams a day with occasional "better" days, but I still have too many carbs. Please keep us posted, since we are all very interested in your journey and avid to learn from you.

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ACCEPTHECHLNGE 6/18/2012 12:51AM

    I have been reducing carbs for a couple of years, now. There is always a time when I crave it again, like my European whole grain bread. In January I did concentrate on staying on a low-carb diet and no added sugar for an entire month. It was not easy, but in the end, I felt better and eventually did lose some weight.
I am interested to hear how you will fare with this experiment and your new commitment to low-carb eating, and how it will affect your well-being. Please, do share your findings and keep us informed. We might all learn something from it.

Comment edited on: 6/18/2012 12:54:04 AM

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BRADOS 6/17/2012 10:54PM

    Low carb definitely works - had great success with it in the past - just too hard to make a permanent life style for me - although I hope that I have taken some lessons from that to merge into my current life style

best of luck with whatever you try

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QUIETUDEAGAIN1 6/17/2012 10:18PM

  I have tried low and no carb and although I lost weight on them I could never make it a life style choice and always put more weight back on the minute I go off them. I have read several books on blood type and am wondering if maybe there just might be something to that notion. I have been keeping an unofficial track on my friends and have discovered that most gravitate to the type of diet that is recommended for their blood type even though they don't know anything about them. I think it is O that thrives on low-carb , A on vegetarian, and B on a combination of everything with a few exceptions. I am a B. My friends who have managed to make low-carb a life style have absolutely fantastic health and energy now that they didn't have before so I know that it does definitely work for some people. Hope you have the success you are looking for.

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KICK-SS 6/17/2012 10:16PM

    I, too, would be interested in your progress on this.. I have pretty much eliminated all starchy carbs and legumes, that sort of thing. I try to keep the carb level to less than 50 grams per day max. Less is better.

But keep us posted on your progress and how it works out for you.

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HEALTHIERKEN 6/17/2012 9:54PM

    OK. I'm going to follow your experiment. Not that I'm unhappy with how the SP carb/fat/protein recommendations seem to affect my health, but because DW periodically does the minimal-carb thing with little discernible lasting success. Is it her erratic application of the plan? Is her personal unsuitability for that particular eating style? Is it the additives that come with the heavy protein load--eg, the salt in the bacon and fried pork rinds? All of that interests me as does the thought of too little fibre to ensure "smooth living" . . .

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ONUTHIN125 6/17/2012 8:56PM

    emoticon Please keep me posted. I too am very interested in this avenue. My only concern is that I have high cholesterol. Everyday I eat a bowl of oatmeal which takes a good portion of my carbs for the day. I have been playing with the idea of trying this "lifestyle" without giving up my oatmeal. I will watch for your progress. Good luck and Spark On! emoticon

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