What I Did

Posted: July 23, 2013 in diet, fitness, health, nutrition
Tags: , , , , , ,

I must admit, I’m shocked at the feedback I’ve received.

Mostly because I’m shocked that I’ve received feedback at all and that it wasn’t even hate mail!  The common thread was, “What did you actually do to drop all the weight?”

That’s a fair question, especially because one might think that I would have shared those minor details earlier in my short-lived WordPress career.  Before I get to the sordid details though, I’m going to tell you why I hesitated initially.

The fitness community, while incredibly motivating and at times inspiring, is a fickle beast.  I’ve touched on this before, everyone has an opinion and that includes me.  So, guaranteed, somebody will read this and decide that they shall bring forth the fiery flames of internet hate upon me until I apologize for my actions.

Spare me.  Unless it’s funny, then fire away Almighty Internet Fitness Police.

Also, if my lack of eloquence and disregard for common journalism practices didn’t clue you in; I’m not a doctor, dietician, personal trainer, or 6 minute abs specialist.  So that means I probably got a few things wrong, but I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and am continuing to improve so nothing you can say is really going to sway me.

One last thing, if you have any health issues I really do urge you to talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about drastically changing your diet in any way, especially for folks with diabetes.  Your needs are much different from mine or the average person’s, so don’t go jumping in blind.

On to the good stuff.

What I did was a ketogenic diet.  I limited carbohydrates (carbs) so that my body switched to burning fat for fuel instead of carbs.  I know, everyone hates to hear about counting carbs, but it does work.  Staying on this diet does take discipline but, done correctly, it can yield fantastic results.

For many, diets are something used to accomplish a mission, a temporary arrangement before they go back to living their old lives.

This is a mistake.

Living healthy is a lifestyle, not something to be done just when you feel like it.  What helped me most was the way that I looked at food.  To be frank, I don’t really know what I saw food as before, a crutch maybe or an escape.  What I view food as now, though, is fuel.  What I put into my body I get out.  If I put good in I get good out.  If I put shit in…well, you get the idea.

foodFuel

(photo @team_get_fit on Instagram)

 

My diet was a high protein/high fiber diet:

60% Lean protein (chicken, fish, turkey)

30% Green “Ruffage”  (spinach, kale, the thicker the green the better for you it is)

10% Good Fats (nuts especially almonds, avocado, the occasional piece of cheese)

I would eat 6-8 smaller meals a day, roughly every two hours.  This helps to avoid spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, which is a part of why a lot of people get sluggish in the mid-afternoon.  I won’t say that this does anything for your metabolism, that’s way above my head, I will say that eating smaller meals more frequently kept me from overeating.

Now, for the first two weeks of this I limited my net carb intake to 20g a day.  If you don’t know how to figure this out: you calculate your net carbs by taking the total carbohydrate number on the nutrition label and subtracting the fiber.  Also, sugar is a carbohydrate and on this plan, no more sweet stuff.  No simple sugars (think candy), frosting, soda, etc.

Example of calculating net carbs:

                nutrition

Total Carbohydrate 5g

 Fiber 3g

So:   5g-3g= 2g net carbohydrates.

Honesty is my thing, so I’m going to tell you right now that the first 3-5 days suck.

I mean really suck.

You are lethargic, you might have a slight headache, and you’re going to want to quit.

Do not quit.

This is your body freaking out because you aren’t giving it a steady stream of carbs to burn for fuel.  It’ll pass.

For me, around day 4, I became a furnace.  My body switched over to burning fat and I had energy for days.  I didn’t know what to do with all of that energy, I felt like a machine.

It. Was. Awesome.

If you can reach that point, you have crossed one of the toughest hurdles.  The next challenge is not stopping when your buddies want to grab a beer, your significant other wants to cook you a pasta dinner, or your budget has decided a five dollar foot long is the way to go.  Stay strong and stick to your principles.  The people who support you in this are probably the ones you want to keep around anyways, send the others packing.

After those initial two weeks, I increased my net carb allowance to 40 grams.  Another two-three weeks, I bumped it to 60g.  Once I worked myself up to about 80 grams I figured out that I could stay within the 80-100 gram range and maintain my fat burning capabilities.  This range is different for everyone but once you get to know  your body you’ll figure it out.

Keep in mind, these carbohydrates should be spread throughout your day and not just loaded into one meal.

I’m not telling you to stop living.  I pretty much allowed myself one day a month, after the first month, to eat what I wanted.  I’d go out and have those beers and relax and enjoy myself.  From what I’ve learned and experienced, it’s not such a bad thing to throw a curve-ball like that at your body once in a while.

The keys to a successful “cheat day” are:

1) Plan it, don’t just start binge eating

 2) Jump right back onto the bandwagon the next day.

If you are, in fact, going to come off the diet you need to use some self-control.  DO NOT simply revert to the carb loading days of your past or any weight you lost you will put back on.  You’ll need to slowly reintegrate carbs back into your diet, much like I stated above, so that your body can adjust to using them as fuel rather than storing them as fat.

This diet isn’t for everyone, neither is the lifestyle.  I go to the gym six times a week.  I prep my meals for work ahead of time.  These are choices I have made for myself to reach goals that I have set.  Nobody else can make a change for you; you’ve got to decide for yourself.

As for where I’m at now, I still limit my carb intake compared to that of most people, but it’s more about when and what kind of carbs I put into my body.  What I really subscribe to now is eating clean.  If you want a quick rundown on this way of life, check out this article at Bodybuilding.com.  One could skip the entire plan that I followed and jump straight into this and also see great results.

That’s it in a nutshell.  There are lots of resources out there to learn about how to get healthy, so please don’t just jump into what I did without checking things out for yourself.  I’ve got a couple sites over on my External Links page to help you get started.

-Moody

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