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Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

It all started with my casual discussion with one of our traveling ER physicians a couple of weeks ago.  He was talking about his night-before three-hour workout and in my ignorance I suggested P-90X as a great workout that he should try sometime.  He immediately sneered at that idea and after I understood what I didn’t understand AT ALL about working out, I realized how inferior something like P-90X might seem to someone who has his body literally down to a science. You see, he is a body builder, not the kind who tries to build huge muscles, but the kind that competes basically against his own willpower; how proportioned he can mold his own physique, not how well he stacks against the size of another guy’s muscles.  His previous night’s workout was 3 hours of SQUATS with 150 to 200 lbs.  Okay, I concede my perceived brilliance in knowing about tough workouts. 

So he proceeded to tell me what his sequence of 3 hours a night workouts entailed and mentioned that he had a competition at the end of the summer.  Now get this… he then casually said, “That’s when I get down to about 2 to 3% body fat to compete,” like he’s saying, “That’s when I go to the store to buy socks.”  In other words, MATTER OF FACT.  I wanted to yell, “Hello!! Did you know that there are billions of dollars spent, countless books, diets, special food, workout DVD’s, fitness clubs, discussion groups, counseling, and I’m not even going to talk about people who have SURGERY to get their stomach’s stapled or bands inserted all to LOSE WEIGHT!  And you just so casually say that you’re going to get down to 2-3% body fat by such-and-such date and you are going to do it without losing an ounce of your precious, hard-earned muscle tissue.”  Wow, he had my attention.  Wow, wow! 

Now I’ve always been athletic and haven’t fluctuated more that 20 lbs over my high school weight except when I had my kids and I gained almost 100 lbs each pregnancy.  Three years after my last child was born, I ended up signing up for weight watchers (had a sobbing meltdown in the parking lot prior to going in because I felt so desperate and out of control).  Weight watchers worked, I lost the rest of my baby fat and have semi-maintained that mode until the last 5 years.  Approaching 50, having a hysterectomy, sitting on my butt at a desk job, whatever the reason, I’ve been feeling that freaky out-of-control feeling again, especially after doing aforementioned P-90X for a year and gaining enough weight to essentially have whittled my wardrobe down to just 3 pants that fit.

So the next question, of course, is how do you do it?  How do you lose the fat, keep the muscle and KNOW it’s going to work?  “Oh, just cut back on carbs and up your protein,” he answers nonchalantly.  JUST LIKE THAT…  I was stunned.  I was mesmerized.  I felt like I had fallen into another dimension.  He didn’t wonder whether it would work.  He didn’t agonize about whether he could do it.  He didn’t give it a second thought.  Again, I think what amazed me the most is that he seemed to have NO idea what it is like to NOT know if the diet will work, NOT know if you can do it, NOT feel like you have any control of what your body has decided to do on its own without your permission. 

So I mulled on that for about a week and then happened to be talking to a diabetic friend of mine who has been immobile for several months due to intolerable back pain.  Obesity is the obvious factor in her back issues and she finally has a nutritionalist working with her.  And guess what diet the nutritionalist started her on?  You guessed it.  Low carbs and high protein.  Alright, we’re on to something here.  I know this idea isn’t new.  Atkins has been around since the 90’s but for some reason I always dismissed it because I love bread, cereal, desserts, pasta and starchy food in general.  Always having been a reactive hypoglycemic and from experiencing many blood sugar crashes in the middle of a sporting endeavor, I somehow determined that my blood sugar would bottom out and I would feel terrible without having carbs in my diet.  And to be honest, I also just didn’t want to sacrifice my favorite foods. 

Now it was time to quit being in denial, quit ignoring what was right in front of me and TRY IT.  So I came home that night from being with my friend and announced to my husband and daughter that we were going to try a new way of eating (my 15-year-old son needs all the calories he can get so he is automatically eliminated).  The first thing my husband said was, “Ketosis?  Isn’t that bad for you? Can I eat rice?  Why can’t I eat rice?  The Japanese eat rice and they’re skinny.”  My daughter couldn’t imagine life without bread.  “How do I eat a sandwich without bread.” 

“Just take the bread off and eat the stuff in the middle.” 

“Yuck… if I can’t eat the bread, I don’t want to eat the sandwich at all!” 

“Okay, don’t eat the sandwich at all.” 

“Great, I can see how much you care about me.  Now I’m going to starve!!” 

Daughter huffs away downstairs, husband goes outside to smoke.  I go to the computer to google “High protein foods” and “Carb counts.”  This should be FUN?? 

A week later… daughter has lost 8 lbs, husband 5 lbs, me 5 lbs. AMAZING!  Only had to navigate through a couple of late night carb fits (I’m sick of eating meat.  This CAN’T be GOOD for you) and temper tantrums.  Everyone feeling much clearer, lighter, like a fog has lifted.  I don’t want to nap all the time.  My husband’s up and down moods have lessened.  I don’t have the constant, nagging, background headache that I’ve had FORVEVER. My daughter’s constant food cravings are weakening.  Amazing! 

Next up: I’m running a 5K next week and wonder, “Could being in ketosis help my performance?  Might I be a middle-aged, fat-burning running fuel machine with unsurpassed energy reserves, blowing around the 5K course like it’s a walk in the park?”  Hmmm… could happen.  After all, some people sculpt their body to the exact millimeter muscle size they WANT and get down to 2% body fat to show it all off.  No worries.  What’s a little 5K?  I guess we’ll find out…

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