Friday, January 14, 2011

update on my quest for lean

This week provided some frustrations (weight gains, each day!) but also some opportunities for insights, into both my diet and my life in general.

If you've been following along with my diet, you know that it calls for eating lots of protein, fiber, and leafy greens for 6 days and then a "carb load" day that is essentially a free-for-all for the carbs I wanted but couldn't eat during the 6 days.  (My carb day is on Saturday, and I CAN'T WAIT)

Well, I have been following the plan like a champ, and I have been experiencing some challenges.

1.  I have been tracking my pounds and inches faithfully, and my inches have not budged (the book suggests I should be dropping inches like Palin drops boneheaded comments).  And my weight?  That deserves its own spot in my outline:

2.  The pattern last week and this week are similar, with a steady rise in pounds coming out of carb day, and continuing into the middle of the week, peaking Wednesday or Thursday and then sliding a bit into the weekend. Last Saturday's morning weigh-in (before the carb-tastrophe began) was my lowest weight I recorded in a VERY long time...but then?  I basically gained it all back, back to my "pre-diet" weight.  Which has led me to this critical insight:

3.  Poop is very important.  4HB doesn't address poop at all.  Reading on a Kindle gives you the ability to search by keywords pretty easily, so I'm pretty sure I didn't miss some critical section on keeping the bowels moving.  The closest the book comes is when it address "gastric emptying" as triage for the carb day...and I can honestly say that I have no problem "going" on carb day.  Carb day is wonderful, even if a bit gross.

Now, I know that several of my readers are well versed in nutrition and exercise and whatnot, and I'm sure that several of you are shaking your heads and saying "what did you think would happen after eating a whole cow's worth of beef in 3 weeks?!"

To which, I respond, "I didn't really know."

no particular reason, just wanted to share.  Cheese, Gromit!
I guess if I had thought about it more, but here's the rub:  as previously mentioned, I'm eating TONS more fiber and healthy greens than ever before in my life, and I would have also thought that these would keep the wheels a-turnin', so to speak.  As it turns out, you also needs massive amounts of water to allow the fiber to do its job...

So I have added water, along with a probiotic (acidophilus capsules) and a daily multi-vitamin in search of a better poop.  Because, again, I have to tell you, poop is important.  As I mentioned before, I can apparently carry well over a pound of pee in me, and now I suspect that my midweek weight gains point to the amount of poo in my trunk (sorry if this is TMI or too gross...I'm sympathetic now to Dooce's fear that people think her blog is poo-centric)

I also tweaked my food consumption on Wednesday and Thursday of this week (and so far for Friday) to drastically reduce the amount of meat...the last two days I've mainly eaten eggs, beans, spinach, and broccoli (I had a little salami last night and a late night bite of chorizo...), and things seem to be loosening up a bit.  And, tellingly enough, the weight has slid lower each trip to the water closet.

I'm still able to follow the diet, as I can get the 20+ grams of protein from 3 - 4 eggs and from the beans, but the lack of variety (and frankly, the missing tasty tasty fatty meat taste) will make this version of the diet less attractive and sustainable for me.

So let's take stock of this diet for a minute, and what else it has led to:

  • Basic rules:  don't eat carbs at all for 6 days; eat tons of protein, fiber, and greens; "cheat" one day
  • Don't exercise (much) - the book suggests that intense work-outs will affect the results of the bio-chemistry at play
  • so I eat lots more veggies than before (unqualified positive, right?)
  • I eat lots more fiber (should be good for cholesterol, colon health, etc)
  • For 6 days out of 7 I consume no soft drinks, beer, HF corn syrup, cookies, candy...
  • I've restarted taking a robust multi-vitamin / mineral supplement (I've been on again / off again on the supplements for years...)
  • and I've begun taking a probiotic (should have started a long time ago)
  • I'm drinking considerably more water (good for kidney and liver function, complexion, toxin removal, etc)
My point is that the diet has turned into far more than a's a lifestyle shift.  And that shift has brought both positive and negative externalities to the diet process.  The diet has led to a significant and expanding commitment to new routines...And this point leads to some more general life lessons.

ducks at the mall - again, just breaking things up a little for visual relief

There is a reason that our plans often fail; it's hard for humans to stick to a plan.

My friend knows that yoga will help his back and his mood, but occasionally "forgets" to practice.

Another friend knows she needs to save money consistently, period over period, but struggles to maintain the plan.

The faithful see themselves fail in their struggle with sin, and rededicate themselves to the fight, only to see the cycle repeat.

We resolve each year at the holidays to make a better plan for the next year, a more practical AND loving plan...

I plan every day to manage my family's tiredness in more effective ways...

Heck, New Year's resolutions are probably still fresh on everyone's mind right now, and those jokes provide plenty of fodder for this discussion.

So what is to be done?  We have to plan, right?  Maybe we just need to make different sorts of plans, create a system that allows for slippage and reconsiderations on the fly, a pragmatic approach to the 1 hour - 1 day - 1 week - 1 year - 5 year - 10 year plans...

My bias is to apply the "everything is relative" and "just stoically roll with it" model to this discussion, but I could be wrong.


  1. Food comment: you might be getting too much iron with your spinach, which can keep the poop locked up. Try a variety of greens--cooked and raw--and see if that helps at all.

    Other comment: you are such a great candidate to be a client. Can't wait for that to happen when the time is right!

  2. @Jeni Lee - good advice. I'll check it out.