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This old dog already knows the new tricks!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Those of you who have been SparkFriends with me since I first started out on this website know that when I joined in 2009, it was not my first attempt at losing weight. It wasn't even my first success at losing weight! But it was a time when I was feeling the most frustrated, the most motivated, and the most empowered.

Unfortunately, while I DID lose a lot of weight, I did NOT shed body fat.

My estimated body fat percentage has remained unchanged since I lose 30lbs. So while my weight is at the high end of healthy, my body fat percentage has kept me OVERWEIGHT! I'm roughly 30% fat... and I'm just NOT OKAY with that any more!!

So for the past several weeks, I've been hearing more and more about Paleo and Low Starch diets from friends, and doing some independent research as well. And while I am not prepared to give up bread forever, here are some things I'm learning:

~If you want to lose fat, you simply have to be in ketosis. The pro-carb brigade wants you to think this is a bad thing, but the simple fact is that ketosis means your body is burning fat and turning it into glucose for energy -- you cannot lose weight if you never go into ketosis.
~Your body can make all of the glucose it needs from fat reserves when needed. You can force it to do this (WITHOUT going into starvation mode!) by eating lots of slow-digesting proteins, fats, and produce.
~Human beings evolved eating only produce, the occasional root, meat, and mother's milk. Grains are a new human invention that, while awesome caloric sources for people constantly moving and doing manual labor, provide too much energy for our modern lifestyle.
~Sugar is slowly being recognized by the scientific community as being worse for you than added fats, cholesterol, and salt. It really makes you fatter than fat does!
~Every single carbohydrate you eat, no matter how complex, is turned into sugar and eventually triggers an insulin response.

Even Miles is concerned about the amount of carbohydrates we eat, and he can eat ANYTHING without gaining an ounce. Grains are his livelihood, and he's suggested that we cut back. To me, that's a huge push to limit our consumption of grains and to prepare meals that are full of protein, healthy fats, and produce.

And, of course, in my normal way of things, I have started to obsess over it. I'm trying to figure out the right numbers and make an air-tight plan, which is proving difficult already -- I am finding that this kind of lifestyle requires that I eat more and get more creative. It forces me to stop obsessing over fat grams, which, as a young woman raised after 1977, is INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT. I don't want to obsess like crazy, but it's hard!

But today, I realized that this "new plan," which I'm calling Almost Paleo, is really not that new.

Back in college, I found this series of diet books by this guy named Jorge Cruise. I followed his plan to a T up until my summer camp job started (giving me NO control over my diet), and I lost 2lbs a week without EVER BEING HUNGRY!!! And I didn't exercise half as much as I do now. And I realized today... I was eating a diet that was low in carbs and high in nutrition. His whole plan was based on a plate divided up (which the "My Plate" touted by the USDA has totally stolen, lol) but it had some very key, healthy differences.

Here's how his plan was set up:
1.) Half of your plate gets filled up with vegetables or, if it's breakfast, fruit. Fruit is great with breakfast to boost your glycogen stores, but it's sugary enough that it shouldn't be a mainstay of each me.
2.) 1/4 of your plate can have carbohydrates. If you choose bread, you can only have ONE slice, or 1/2 a pita, or 1/2 a tortilla, or 1/2 cup of whole grain. No white anything, and no large servings. BUT, that servings of carbs would also include ANY starchy vegetable: winter squashes, potatoes, corn, even PEAS go in the carbs section.
3.) 1/4 of the plate has 3 "chunks" of protein. You can mix and match any three of: 1/2 cup beans, 1 oz. meat or fish, 1/4 cup canned tuna, 3/4 milk, 1 oz. cheese, 2 oz. shellfish (shrimp, lobster).
4.) Every meal includes some healthy fats. THIS IS WHERE I DON'T QUITE AGREE WITH JORGE. He says to really limit fat, so if you, say, eat full-fat cheese or eat bacon, you can't add any more fat to your meal. And some serving sizes for his preferred fats are too low -- 1 tsp. of peanut butter is ludicrous. But he's right that a serving of healthy, natural, unsaturated fats with every meal is REALLY important!
5.) Snacks should be bulky, filling, but full of good stuff and relatively low in calories. A hard boiled egg, carrots and hummus, celery with nut butter, a piece of fruit and some cheese or nuts.

I never realized it before today, but the Jorge Cruise method is SO Almost Paleo! If I allow myself just one serving of grains each day and have it ONLY at night (so that I don't crave carbs during the day, and because we always go into ketosis at night so the serving of grain won't do any real harm then) and enjoy carbs from produce throughout the day... I can try out this Almost Paleo plan. And I won't have to obsess over numbers, or doing things the "right" way, because I've already DONE this method. I've done it, and know it works.

I think it's time to do some re-reading and research, and unleash the fat-burner within.

I've done it before. Time to do it for keeps!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sounds a lot like Atkins and South Beach.
    2534 days ago
    not sure about the carbs at night thing...I've read the opposite.....might want to check on that.

    Also, I feel that the switch from carb burning to fat burning is hard on my body.....maybe it's just me. In that first week of using up my glycogen stores, I had a day or two where I was really tired, like my body wanted more carbs for fuel.....then it reverted to ketosis and fat burning and I was full of energy.

    I keep my net carbs under 20g every day (though on occasion I've hit 30g) this seems to work for me. So if you are craving numbers, there ya go....look at total carbs, subtract your fibre and you have net carbs. Add that to the GI scale and you'll have lots of numbers to work with!

    And you're so right! Don't forget those fats!
    2538 days ago
    I agree about ditching the *complex* carbs in the form of grains. How I eat (when I haven't fallen off the wagon) involves very little grain-source carbs. Just some oatmeal at breakfast, and then the rest of my carbs come from vegetables and legumes.

    I do not know the impact of this on my body fat percentage, nor how to go about measuring it. What I do know is that I feel much, much healthier when I eat this way.
    2545 days ago
    Nice! Like you, at first I was hesitant to give up the grains. But after just limiting it to one meal a day and seeing the results for a few weeks...well, I was suddenly more willing to give it up! ;) Whether it will make a come back is to be seen.

    Keep digging! I am now coming around to believing saturated fats are not the devil. Our artificially limiting them for the past 30 years has lead to an increase of some rather serious neurological diseases like MS. The conventional cure is to limit saturated fats, but I found a study from a doctor in the 50s who treated MS with a low carb/high fat diet. Patients who had MS less than 5 years went into remission. Unfortunately, it did not improve the condition for those who had MS for more than 5 years, but it halted progression. I am finding that telling us to stop eating fats 30 years ago has lead to some very serious consequences.

    I have bought some coconut oil, and am using it with everything!

    2545 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/7/2011 11:18:44 PM
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