Thursday, December 30, 2010

lose the fat

As I mentioned in my review of 4-Hour Body, I'm trying out a diet to cut my body fat percentage; the diet is based at least in part on some recommendations from that book.

First, the rationale for cutting the fat:  I've never been especially concerned with carrying around a few extra pounds (maybe a key advantage of not being: a woman, "metro", non-bear gay...), and although my self-image is not really much changed, I have crossed another one of those "getting old" milestones, and I have had a couple of slightly high blood pressure readings, and and and...I want to see if I can lose some fat.

(editor's note: this post ended up getting pretty long and I didn't want it to dominate the front page, so I'm putting the rest under the fold)

Some of my friends confused my sudden passion for running (circa June 2009 and non-stop since) for a weight loss scheme, but I really just found that I enjoyed running and the novelty of doing it minimalist style.  I have to add, however, that when I started running many miles per week, the fat did not incidentally just melt away.  I did get leaner, and probably dropped 10 or so pounds at my lowest weight, but now that I "care" about my weight I'm going to add this interesting diet to my running.  (I did run 13.2 miles on September 22; my tracker suggests that run burned 2126 calories.  Interesting tidbit?  This site claims it takes 3500 calories to burn ONE pound of fat).

Anyway, now this is my life:
black beans.  a lot of them.
I've been eating a whole can of black beans more or less every day for the last 8 or so days.  Along with a good bit of this:
NY Strip...yummy.
and also:
chicken far prepared 5+ ways
In addition to this bounty of protein and animal fats (and BEANS!), I can eat as much broccoli, asparagus, and spinach as I like, but I may not eat anything featuring flour or sugar (as a primary component; there are "sugars" in most whole foods); no bread, no juice, no "breading" for my beloved fried foods.  And this pattern holds for 6 days, and on the 7th I am supposed to carb-load.

It's too early for the effects of this diet to show up conclusively in my body stats, and the strict protocol was interrupted by a major life event (more on that soon in a different post), but I can comment now on some insights gleaned from the experience so far.

  • I'm drinking a ton of water.  I always drank some water, but when you can't consume Coke, beer, milk, OJ, you end up drinking more of what is allowed
  • My consumption of those green vegetables is much higher than at any earlier point in my life, for sure, because I have to have something on the plate besides a hunk of beef and an enormous mound of beans
  • The, oh my, the beans!  I have never been much a bean eater, aside from some refried at the Mexican places and some in my chili (and those two were only added to my diet in the last 5 or so years, thanks to the Wife).  Now, I'm eating ~ 3.5 "servings" of black beans daily.
    • I highly recommend you check out the nutritional info on a can of black beans; the cans I'm eating claim to hold 3.5 servings, with EACH serving providing ~ 24% of the daily value of dietary fiber...just imagine what all that steak and chicken would be doing in my colon without these massive amounts of beans...
    • and yes, I am tiring of the beans.  But I've found that warming them in a pan with some sliced shallot, or smashed garlic, or Tony Chachere's, or with some Sriracha on top after warming, I can vary up the experience enough to stick with it.
  • I'm drinking less booze.  Allow me to speak plainly:  I like wine, and beer, and whiskey, and a properly mixed Mai Tai.  I did not drink until I was 21 (highly evolved , religiously inspired sense of guilt and duty), but since then I have been known to indulge.  On this diet, I've been allowing myself at most 2 glasses of red wine per day, and the occasional splash of whiskey...if that still sounds like a lot of booze, you may be reading the wrong blog
  • Most of my meals on the diet so far have been prepared at home, by me, and with a nice mix of spices (garlic features a lot, but cinnamon, cloves, ginger, chilis, and peppers also enter into the rotation)
My point with all the bullet points is that there are positive effects from eating lots of greens, lots of fiber, drinking more water, and drinking less booze regardless of the other pieces of the puzzle.  And cooking more at home has positive externalities relating to family time, budget, portion control, salt control, etc...

So, for those of you interested in hearing how this process goes, I'm adding a "weight loss" label* where I will be posting updates on my progress and the evolution of the protocol.  As it stands now, after tracking my data formally for 10 days:

  • I'm down 2 pounds on the scale
  • my "inches" are essentially unchanged
  • I had a DEXA Scan on 12/20 and will be checking again in a few months to see the net change
*labels allow me to categorize a post, and allow readers to see all of the posts I have labeled in a given way; clicking on one of the labels below a post ("running", for example) will pull up all of the posts I have written and tagged with the "running" label.

1 comment:

  1. It all sounds delicious. I'm looking forward to watching what happens.

    Mmmmm Sriracha.