Monthly Archives: May 2013

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When you are trying to lose weight on a diet that doesn't involve counting calories, it's important to be in tune with your hunger cues.

Unfortunately, I don't think my stomach and I have been talking for a while.  I'm pretty sure I know what hungry feels like, I'm not quite sure if I know what full feels like.  However, I do know what overstuffed to the point of hating life feels like, and more often than not that's how I gauge my biggest meal of the day.  While this is apparently just fine if I want to maintain my weight:

WL Chart2

MAINTAINING LIKE A BOSS

Obviously my eating habits right now aren't serving my goals so something has to change.  Here is what a usual day of eating typically looks like:

  • Coffee / Tea / Water until anywhere from 12 - 2 PM
  • Lunch is the biggest meal - typically will eat around 80% of whatever I'm eating that day then.
  • Coffee / Water / Tea / maybe an apple until anywhere from 7:30 - 9:00 PM
  • Something small like a smoothie or greek yogurt

If I wasn't trying to lose weight, I'd probably just keep this up.  It's clearly working from a maintenance point of view, but I need to learn to control what I do at lunch.  If I'm honest, it does bother me that I want something like 1,000+ calories to feel 'satisfied' at a meal.  That's definitely going to be past the point where I should stop feeling hunger and achieve sweet, sweet satiety.  To that extent, I've already implemented a couple changes:

  1. Eat most of my meals at home at the table instead of on the couch.
  2. Take a multi-vitamin / fish oil at least 4 days a week.
  3. Drink more water with meals
  4. Try to remember to put down the damn fork between bites

Past that, just trying to be more 'present' while I'm eating.  Trying to actually appreciate and taste the food instead of wolfing it down.  Most importantly, learn to be happy and comfortable being just slightly full, not stuffed.  That is going to be a tough one for me.  I failed absolutely miserably at it yesterday!

WHAT THE HELL IS CLEAN EATING UPDATE

I was complaining to one of my clients about how 'eating clean' doesn't actually mean anything, so she was kind enough to loan me a copy of a book called "The Eat-Clean Diet" by Tosca Reno, as well as an issue of Clean Eating Magazine.  I read through both of these rather quickly, because for some reason when I read things that I disagree with vehemently, it usually inspires me to read more.  If I'm going to dislike something, I usually like to be able to really thoroughly tell you why.  (This may or may not be why I know way too much about the Twilight series storyline)

Here are the laws of eating clean according to Clean Eating magazine:

photo (1)

If you read through my weight loss journey last year - or you could infer my eating schedule above - you know that I tend to not follow rule #1 exaaaaactly right.  As well, I'm pretty cool with saturated fat.  You should be too.  Which made this my favorite quote from the Eat-Clean book:

I know right??? BACON AND SAUSAGE IS SOOOO GROSS - especially compared to plain oatmeal.

Okay, I can't just be a negative Nancy and bash these two publications.  After all, some of the rules from the magazine (avoid processed and refined foods, slow down and savor, reduce portion sizes) are all things I just said I'm trying to work on.  But come on now, don't try to tell me bacon and sausage doesn't taste good.

I'm coming to realize I probably should have planned this whole 'clean eating' thing out a bit better.

You may have noticed that I've always included 'clean' in quotations - I've always thought the notion was a bit odd.  But the idea that I would have NO FREAKING IDEA what makes a food clean or not didn't occur to me.  I assumed it would be like the old saying regarding pornography "I can't quite explain it, but I know it when I see it."

Unfortunately, that is not the case.  I've come across way too many definitions and way too many food items that don't seem to fit in a clear category.  Let's take some examples of what 'clean eating' is from various people:

"If you don't recognize the ingredients, don't eat it"

Well, being a person who is very interested in nutrition, some of the more mystifying ingredients are things I'm actually familiar with.  Xanthan Gum?  Sure got some in the cabinets.  Citric Acid?  Yeah it's in most fruits.  Dextrose?  Mmmm sugarrrr.  So for some foods that would most definitely not be considered 'clean,' this strategy doesn't work.  Not to mention several items I can think of (such as PB2) that have simple ingredients, but are most definitely processed.

"If it has a nutrition label, don't eat it."

Bottled water has a nutrition label.  A lot of meats have nutrition labels.  I can buy a bag of apples that have a nutrition label on it.  Steel-cut oats have labels...etc.

"If it was made in a plant, processed or manufactured, don't eat it."

What about coconut flour?  Almond flour?  Even wheat flour?  Besides fresh produce, I don't know how many foods fit under this definition.  Most meats were processed through a factory of some sort.  Your albacore didn't jump out of the ocean into a tin.  How much process is too much process?  Bringing up the previous example of PB2, the process is pretty simple - they press the roasted peanuts to get the oil out so most fat content is removed.  Is that too much of a process?  Which brings me to the next point -

"If a process was done to remove nutrition from the product, don't eat it."

What about skim milk?  1% milk?  Pasteurized milk at all?  0% Greek yogurt?  Peeled shrimp?  Peeled oranges?

"If your ancestors didn't recognize it, don't eat it." 

I'm pretty sure our ancestors didn't recognize the modern-day banana.  Or peanut butter.  Or almond milk...etc.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhgh!

If you couldn't tell, I've had a frustrating week of eating.  Here are some items on my list of contention.  I have down the big ticket items, but I'd like to hear any input as well:

1) Quest Bars - I've given this a tentative no.  Big hit to my pre / post workout / dessert / anytime, really snacks.

2) Greek Yogurt / Dairy in general - I've been eating this, and I'm pretty sure I'll continue to include it.

3) Dark Chocolate - I might just need to include this for my sanity.

4) Almond Milk - I LOVE almond milk, but there is no doubt it's been processed.  But is it too much processing?! WHO THE HELL KNOWS.

5) Protein Powder - I'm eating all of this anyway, processed or no.  Like 25% of my protein intake consists of protein powder, and I am unwilling to give it up!

ProteinPowder

Not pictured: 2 other bins - totaling 10 bins of protein powder between me and Luke. <insert some bro joke here>

Incidentally, there is also another Layne Norton video that talks about basically the experiment I'm about to do: clean eating vs. calorie and macronutrient counting.

Personally, I like his definition of 'clean' food best: food you spray with windex before you eat it.

Anyway, I've basically come to the conclusion that the phrase 'clean eating' means absolutely NOTHING definitive.  I suppose it's just a way for people to have a new buzzword for eating healthy.

But even 'healthy' is a word that's up for debate.

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With no powerlifting meets on the horizon, a host of bodyweight exercises I want to master and feeling a general lull in my training, I figured it's about that time of year again:  I'm gonna lose some weight.  (I'd be lying if I said it wasn't for some aesthetic reasons as well.)  Last year I went through this journey experimenting with intermittent fasting, carb cycling and performing zero cardio to achieve my goals.  Unfortunately, I think I made a mistake in getting down to a mere 1,200 calories on rest days and 1,500 on workout days.  This time around, I want to ask; can I drop to an even lower weight without dropping the calories so low?

I've been spending the last few months trying to hash out what I want to test on this new round of fat loss.  After a bit of deliberation, I've set out a rough plan for what I'm going to do for the next few months:

Phase 1: Eating 'clean'

The first phase will probably be 2-3 months in duration.  Eating 'clean' seems to be a really popular idea among people trying to optimize their health and weight.  It's appealing for a number of reasons, most important for a lot of people being the idea that as long as you're 'eating clean' you don't need to count your calories.  Whether it's because when eating minimally processed 'clean' foods you'll feel full when you're meant to, or because you subscribe to the idea that 'a calorie is not just a calorie,' it's presumed that there is no need to weigh and measure your food.

Well, that suits me just fine because the few times in my life I've tried to keep an online food log and be super precise with my eating, I've gotten rather agitated and annoyed - which will make Phase 2 and 3 particularly tough.

Phase 2: Meticulous Weighing 

I'm really not a type-A personality.  I don't feel the need to know exactly what I'm putting in my mouth at all times - I'm okay with a little ambiguity.  Unfortunately for this phase though, I'm going to need to weigh, measure, and calculate the nutritional profile of everything I put in my mouth.  This phase will last until I reach a few pounds below the top end of the weight class I want to compete in.  (132.5 lb. up to 148.5 lb, so I'll stop around 145lbs)

Phase 3: How much can I eat?

I recently watched a video about the kind of metabolic damage that figure athletes / bodybuilder / average dieters (particularly women) go through when trying to cut down their weight.

While I don't think I'm suffering from a particularly low metabolism, it sure does sound fun to see just how far I push my calories without gaining back more than 3-5 pounds.  This will be a ridiculously slow process, so I'm not sure how long this phase will last.

Where I'm Starting

When last we left, I was weighing in at 154.  Nowadays I've gone up to ~160, which is a weight that's been holding relatively steady regardless of what I've been eating (within reason of course).  I did sort of push the calories the past few months in anticipation of this upcoming experiment, so hopefully I'll have a little more room to work with!  The past 2 weeks I've tracked my weight daily to see what the natural fluctuations are:

WG (4-29, 5-13)

Safe to say I'm starting at 160!  I'll end this post with some starting pictures.  Here's to hoping for some more flattering ones in the future!

Taken 5/12/13:

photo 1Side (5-13)Back (5-13)BackF (5-13)

People often seem surprised when I tell them how much I weigh.  They ask me where I keep it all.  I'll leave that for you to figure out!

Oh yeah and I made a new site.