Sunday, July 08, 2012
So in my 30s, I gave up drinking.
In my 40s I gave up smoking.
In my 50s I'm giving up.....carbs?
I don't know. After 3 weeks of keeping carbs below 50gm/day, it's certainly too early to tell what affect its had on me. I don't have many of the Cumbaya sing-song successes that other can point to very soon after going low carb. I've lost about a pound or two on any given day. But my blood pressure has gone from the 140s over the 80s to the 120s over the 70s, which is certainly a good sign.
Subjectively, I "feel thinner" and I have been getting significantly more compliments on weight loss. I took a few measurements with my Myotape this AM, and I am bigger in the chest, biceps, & thigh, and a little thinner in the waist and neck, so I've added some muscle and lost some belly fat. I also "feel looser"; bending & twisting at the waist, neck, and shoulders seems smoother....fewer minor aches.
I also "feel full" at some point in my meal and stop eating. On those occasions I have overeaten, I don't feel bloated. 20-30 minutes after the meal, I feel kind of normal (I have too many memories walking out of restaurants eating the same number of calories and just wanting to curl up and sleep for 20 years). In the TMI category, I am less "gassy".
And I am eating in the most amazing way! As I mentioned in my last blog, I am averaging 2800-3000 calories a day, most of it oils to cook and to put in salads, but still, when I have consistently eaten above 2200 calories in the past, the scales have crept relentlessly upward on me. I'm eating so much because I have worked real hard at ST these past 3 years, so I don't want to lose lean muscle. But I am eating A LOT and not gaining weight either, which is pretty amazing.
It's really not that hard to do either. We've gone out to eat a few times, and when they bring out the bread I can easily decline. I say no to the fries and have them pass me the butter to put on my veggies (or steak!) I make a 3-egg omelet, cooked in butter for breakfast every morning. I spoon coconut oil onto my salads and lick the spoon afterwards because it tastes so good! Today I had an awesome Prime Rib Burger with extra sharp cheddar cheese, no bun.....WOW was it good!
I also don't feel compelled to snack. I feel pretty good between meals, and don't feel the need to eat. (What's interesting though is I THINK about having a snack, but I don't feel hungry so it's much easier to say no......it's kind of like when I stopped smoking....once I was over the craving, I often thought about having a smoke out of habit for weeks and months afterward, but I just told myself, "You're not a smoker anymore")
When I stopped smoking & drinking, it took a while to fully realize the benefits and many, many months before I fully acknowledged that I was a non-smoker and a non-drinker. I don't think it will be any different for this lifestyle change either (I am pissed that everything I read about low carb lifestyle changes has people getting instant gratification though!)
Unlike cigarettes and booze though, carbs aren't as easily identifiable, are fairly ubiquitous, and they are not ALL bad....I don't need to be over 18 or 21 to buy carbs. I don't think I'll ever identify myself as a "non-carber"
Likewise, there isn't any real strong science to tell me definitively either way that carbs are either good or bad for you.....I am trying my case study of N=1 based on a few books I've read, some witness testimony, and my own indicators & family history that tell me I could succumb to Type-2 diabetes in the future....so I'm willing to give it a try, but it's a leap of faith unlike anything I have done in the past. I am trying to calibrate my body to gauge my own tolerance for them.
The good news is I'm starting from a reasonably good baseline. I'm a fairly fit and active 52-year old male and I only want to slim down by about 10-15 lbs, so maybe my progress will just be slower.
The first real test is in 2 weeks when we go to Alaska for a 7-day cruise......it could be a sugary dessert heaven.
In August, I've scheduled another BodPod session, so I hope to get an accurate bodyfat percentage. Then in October, I'll have my annual physical and will have all my indicators measured.....till then, I'm all in keeping carbs low!
The only real problem will be trying to figure out what the hell I'll have to give up in my 60s!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Thursday, July 05, 2012
So get this; I go into Starbucks this morning for my usual Grande Americano and my favorite barista perks up over the espresso machine and chimes out with a loud, "Hey you are really slimming down!"
I chucked an extra 2 bucks into the tip jar!
But I have been hearing this quite a bit these past 2 weeks even though the scales have barely moved down by 2 lbs. (see blog: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Could I actually be achieving my low carb lifestyle goal of losing fat and adding muscle? I don't know....I'm not equipped to say....not even my Tanita bodyfat measuring scale is budging from its 24-27% bodyfat reading (never really sure how accurate this bad boy is).
I'm going to jump back in to the Bod Pod in August ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4750201 ) to see if my bodyfat % is down significantly. SWMBO shares my love of data gathering, so we started taking blood pressure readings (we really are geeks!) with a cool home BP monitor:
Last night I was at 128/72....smack in the middle of normal!
Here's the amazing part....I have been averaging about 2800-3000 calories a day!! Now a lot of this is due to the liberal use of olive oil, coconut oil, & butter in cooking and salads. I have kept my carbs below 50 gms every day for about 3 weeks.
But I am eating cheeses, eggs, ribeye steaks, chicken with the skin, spareribs, and salmon. I put heavy cream over blueberries at night. I'm even eating Smucker's natural peanut butter and NOT pouring off the oil like I used to!
Today I did a spin class, the first hard cardio I've done since going low carb and I felt friggin' fantastic (even though one of the "Sister's of Pain was howling in the class ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4827773 ). Yesterday I powered through squats & deadlifts (medium weight - 15 reps) and felt not only strong, but more flexible, getting really deep on the squats.
Next week, I'll give a more in-depth assessment of what I think. I'm still reading tons of books on keto-adaptation (just started "Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" yesterday). I'm not seeing dramatic "lose 5 pounds a week!" type testimonials as many others that have started low carb lifestyles, but I was in pretty decent shape when I started, so I'm at a different point on the performance curve and so may progress slower (obviously this does nothing for my desire for instant gratification, but apparently low carb living can't cure everything....I'm still bald too by the way!)
But seriously, I'm eating almost 3000 calories/day and not gaining weight!!! What the hell is up with that!
I have a theory that I'm researching about how keto-adaptation keeps you from gaining weight, but that if you want to lose weight, you need to restrict calories. Until then, I am eating well and working out as always!
More to follow next time.....I'll try to give a 3-week assessment on Sunday
Have a great night Spark friends!
Monday, July 02, 2012
I had the most exquisite session in the gym today....walked out of there sore as all get-out, but feeling just right with the world!
It wasn't like my Stasi-trained trainer guy and I did anything spectacular. Today was a medium weight/hi-rep day (I've really grown to hate these days! We do 15 reps with 80% of the max weight I was able to do for only 5 reps....I feel like I'm pushing and pulling forever!) All I really did was to complete everything in the routine for chest & shoulders, nothing extraordinary.
However, the last 2 weeks of workouts have felt particularly tough, mostly because I shifted my diet to very low carbs. I've felt my metabolism shift and my "normal" workouts have seemed a lot tougher. Today I took some electrolytes about 30 minutes prior to the gym and so I'll attribute some of the success to them.
But here's where I can really say I'm digging the low carb thing. I came home and SWMBO had sauteed up some chinese cabbage & leeks and grilled some salmon on the BBQ. As I plated up my food, I spied a jar of coconut oil in the cabinet and said, "Why not?" and proceeded to drizzle a tablespoon of coconut oil onto the veggies & fish.
Oil as a garnish---sheer madness I tell you! That single act added about 120 calories to my meal! "Not to worry," the experts tell me, "You're body is adapting to burning fat, you'll just burn this right off and won't even notice it....stop counting calories!"
But it did taste damn good! I felt like I should be sitting on a Hawaiian lanai, watching the sunset, listening to the sing-song melodies from a ukelele in the background....yeah, that's worth 100 calories any day!
Have a great night Spark friends!
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!
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