May 252016
 

My Weight Loss Story – Part 2

by Michael

 

I listen to a lot of podcasts at work and some of them had some health and fitness related guests on that were discussing the benefits of the ketosis diet. The basis of this diet is that consume about 50% of your calories from fats and forego the carbs. In doing so, you will optimize your body to burn fats as a fuel source instead of carbohydrates. This was a new concept to me but I was very curious to learn more about it. Then I found some podcasts that were either specifically about health and fitness or had regular guests on to discuss those topics. Before I continue, I want to state that I am not on a ketosis diet because I feel like it’s a little too difficult for me to strictly adhere to. There are however, a lot of things that I have taken from it that I do really like.

I remember a time in the 80s where buzz phrases like “low in fat” started to appear on the packages of products in the grocery stores. Years later, this has evolved into phrases like “an excellent source of whole grains” and “zero trans fats” which would lead you to believe that products like this are in fact, ideal for your health when in reality, a low-fat chip for example would 1 – taste terrible and 2 – is likely loaded with salt and sugar so it will actually taste like something that you would enjoy. In other words, it’s probably not good for you.

One of the shows I listened to had a guest on that was discussing the benefits of a high fat diet and specifically mentioned that cavemen were not out harvesting grains so they’d have enough energy to hunt in order to survive. They were eating animals and produce and the fats they consumed became their source of fuel.

I dug deeper into the topic and discovered that then ketosis diet was popular among the ultra-endurance athletes that were doing things like running 100-mile races. Athletic accomplishments like this, while impressive, are not something that I’m interested in yet the benefits of the diet are still compelling to me.

The guest would go on to give examples of what you should be eating via multiple choice questions. Time after time, he would suggest the highest item in fat or the item in the list that you’d consider to be the most sinful of the group. One example really stuck out to me and that was when he recommended eating a Snickers bar over some other items because of the items mentioned, it was the highest in fat content and therefore would be most likely to satisfy you for the longest period of time. He was clear to recommend this was only something that he’d recommend in a bind and this was not something that you should normally do. The thing that I took away from this was that if you were going to cheat on your diet, go for it. Don’t eat the fat-free frozen yogurt because a facsimile of the thing you’re craving won’t actually satisfy your desires. Instead, just get the ice cream that has all of the fat and sugar in it that you’re craving. Don’t eat it often and you should be fine.

Another guest on another show had uttered a few phrases that really resonated with me. Don’t count calories, make calories count. The other thing he said was something about earning or working hard enough so that you deserve to eat your carbohydrates. These phrases weren’t new to me but they really struck a nerve this time.

On to the diet. There are a few principles that I follow.

1 – Whenever possible, eat the fattiest version available. Gone are the days of tasteless boring skinless chicken breasts. Hello chicken thighs pan fried in coconut oil and kale sautéed with bacon!

2 – Snack on the fattiest snack items. My go to items are salami, cheeses, nuts, avocados, and veggies with Greek yogurt based dips.

3 – The carbs I eat most often are those that have a low-glycemic index value. This means that legumes and beans are the preferred carbohydrate.

4 – It’s OK to cheat on when I ride my bike a little because I will burn a ton of calories on those days. This is when I’ll have a slice of pizza, a bag of chips, or glass of wine.

A typical day of eating looks like this for me:

Breakfast – 2 pieces of bacon, 2 scrambled eggs cooked in the bacon grease, topped with avocado and jalapeños. Sometimes I’ll throw a fistful of sweet potatoes in if I feel sluggish. When I go running before work, I’ll eat Greek yogurt with blueberries afterward because I won’t have time to cook.

Lunch – Black beans topped with cheese and jalapeños, a spinach salad with olive oil and vinegar, a chicken thigh or two, and some avocado.

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Dinner – A steak, Brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon, and a side salad.

In addition, I’ll eat one or two snacks from the list I mentioned earlier.

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So what’s missing? Low-fat foods and grains – the very things that we’ve been told to consume a lot of because they’re good for us. I’m convinced now that it’s all a lie. I also don’t eat much sugar. I’ll eat some in a natural form, like what comes with fruits and veggies, but I’m fortunate that I don’t tend to have a sweet tooth. I primarily eat these foods after I exercise to help stave off an energy crash and it tends to prevent me from committing larger infractions.

I’ve been eating like this for now for a few months. The results were:

  • I have dropped 25 pounds and a pant size.
  • All of the fat I’m eating has kept me happy and I feel like this diet is very sustainable over the long haul. I don’t feel like I’m starving myself or seriously depriving myself of the foods that I love.
  • I’ve also had blood work done and all of my stats have improved – my weight is down, my cholesterol is down, and my resting heart rate is down.
  • My BMI has lowered by 3%.

I don’t necessarily have an end game for what I want to weigh. While losing weight is necessary for me to achieve my fitness goals, it’s not my primary focus which in a way, makes all of this a bit easier since I’m not constantly focusing on losing weight. Instead, I’m focused on biking, running, pull-ups, and push-ups. Anything that makes this stuff easier is good in my book.

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Not sure what’s going on with my body right now, at least it’s not back, right? Yep back is a lot better. I’d say it’s 90% better. Once in awhile it feels slightly tight but nothing too bad. Friday I went for a swim and noticed that my right glute had a knot in it and swimming the breast stroke was really bothering it. I kept swimming and thought maybe it would loosen up, whatever was going on, but it didn’t. I stopped doing that stroke and stuck with the other ones.

Saturday I slept in (it was glorious) and awoke to the sound of a wind storm. It was going to be a rainy, stormy weekend in Portland and I was kind of looking forward to that. Anyways, I went to the gym and did my weights. I even added back the kettlebell swing into my routine after a break since my back issue. Everything went great until I did the one legged Romanian deadlift and my glute started bothering me again. I have no idea why or where it came from. 🙁

I skipped running on the treadmill even though that was the plan and did the elliptical instead. That did not bother my butt, so that’s good. But pretty much the rest of the day the knot in my butt kept bugging me. What the hell! It’s not painful but more uncomfortable and annoying. I hope it goes away soon…

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Calories burned: 514. The rest of the day was uneventful–the usual chores, laundry, errands, etc. But Saturday night I had a dinner date with a good friend!

I picked her up and we went to the Original Taco House. I hadn’t been there in ages! I used to go every once in awhile when I lived near it (before I moved in with Michael) and it was always good food. I was happy to go back when Debby suggested it.

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It was nice to spend time with my friend. Bonus: they gave us some crunchy churros for dessert!

Sunday

Another pain in the butt? Bella is apparently going through a chewing phase. Again I say, what the hell?? Little Miss-Behaving is clearly unhappy about something. Or bored. She’s done SO well for years. She was never really into chewing and destroying things. Then all of a sudden she’s getting into stuff. This time? She chewed Michael’s plastic water bottle to pieces. Little stinker. She has plenty of toys and stuff when we’re at work. Things she can safely chew. Not sure what’s going on here. Any ideas/tips?

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Sunday morning I was awoken early to Bella throwing up. Examination showed a few pieces of the water bottle. SIGH. More on that in a minute.

Guess what? Our power went out Saturday night. So we had no power, Bella was sick. The vet didn’t open for a few hours. She was acting normally despite throwing up, ate her breakfast no problem. Since we had no power and couldn’t cook anything, we went out to breakfast. It was not a great experience. I was worried about Bella and just grumpy about the whole thing. Little did I know it would get worse. 🙁 It was pouring rain as we drove to the restaurant (thankfully my car was in the driveway because of course, can’t open the garage door to get the other car out without power!).

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We went to Sckavone’s for breakfast because there’s rarely a line. They give you freshly baked lemon scones drizzled with lavender honey (so good). I got the French toast. It came drizzled with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, which tasted good but I didn’t want so I scraped it off.

Breakfast over, we picked Bella up and went to the vet.

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Thankfully the wait wasn’t long at all and the exam went well. The vet thinks Bella is fine, but we have to keep an eye on her just in case. Her stomach felt good and she did a rectal exam (I actually said to the dog “see Bella? This is what happens when you eat something you shouldn’t! Remember this moment.” Yes I had a conversation with my dog.)

Vet wasn’t too concerned unless she stopped doing her business, stopped eating and continued to vomit. None of that has happened so hopefully this is over with. I bought her a new toy that dispenses treats, so we’ll see if that keeps her occupied and stops the chewing.

Back home, the power was still off. I’d missed yoga. So I did my own yoga routine (about 30 minutes) and about 30 minutes on the elliptical at the gym and then back home. (Pain in my butt was still there and it was annoying.) Still no power. Shower in the dark.

The rest of the day was spent stressing about the food in the fridge and freezer, obsessively checking the PGE website and calling for updates. Since there wasn’t much we could do we spent the afternoon cleaning out closets and trying to get rid of stuff. We have about 5 bags of stuff to donate and about 5 bags of stuff to sell. So I guess that’s the bright side?

Dinner time comes and still no power. We ended up at Reverend’s because I was craving BBQ. Dinner was fantastic and so much better than the last time we went. We got some happy hour hush puppies that were AMAZING. Stuffed with corn and chunks of savory ham. Spicy dipping sauce. So good!

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We both got the brisket plate. I got the collard greens and mac n’ cheese on the side. The mac n’ cheese was topped with crushed BBQ potato chips. Which sounds gross but was kind of amazing. LOL

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Dinner was so great. It ALMOST made up for the crappy ass weekend. Almost. But not quite. I ended up eating way too much because we couldn’t take leftovers home…

Then we spent the next hour or so driving to four different grocery stores to find dry ice. At the very least we wanted to try to save the stuff in our freezers (we have two). The stuff in the fridge was already done for. 🙁

Our power finally came on at 1:30 in the morning. Too little too late. The entire fridge (both of them) went in the garbage. Of course I’d just gone grocery shopping on Saturday and Michael had just gone to Costco the week before. OF COURSE.

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Trying to have perspective but I’m in a bad mood. If you can’t tell, I am really really grumpy. 🙁