Monday, May 31, 2010

Diet: Week 1

Week 1 was pretty dramatic.

My observations include:
  • First three days were tough as my body adjusted to ketosis - burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydradtes. I felt fatigued and hungry often.
  • The body retains a lot more water weight on high carb diets so most of the weight loss was water
  • In days 4-7 I experienced no hunger or fatigue
  • I'm targeting ~150 g/day of protein. Too much protein is hard on the kidney and can get converted into other things. Suggested protein ranges vary, but for athletic and active males my size I do not believe 150 g/day is excessive.
  • I'm learning a lot about the make-up of foods as I go. Sometimes I don't look up the nutrition information prior to eating. I ate broccoli on day 1 only to be surprised later by the amount of carbs it contained. I ate quite a bit of chicken on day 7 and was surprised by the amount of protein.
  • I had a full physical on day 8 and blood drawn on day 9. Results to follow.
  • By the end of the first week my cravings for sweets dropped dramatically. I can attribute some of that to the fact that my mind knows I'm in this for a full year.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Randy's Dietary Experiment

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to make an exercise and diet lifestyle change. The origin of my transformation was exactly one year ago when a good friend told me about the book he was reading on nutrition. He presented the basic concept that dietary carbohydrates are quite bad and he was trying to cut way back. Then, in November that same friend decided to really commit to this lifestyle change and the results were pretty impressive. Finally, this past March we discussed it more and I decided to do more research.

The bulk of my research has been:
  • The book Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. The book provides a very detailed history on the evolution of nutrition and challenges some widely accepted ideas. The book was eye-opening and very convincing. The biggest point of the book is that carbohydrates, not fat, are the ultimate dietary evil. The book reads like a textbook so it is hard to swallow, but I highly recommend it.
  • PaNu - a website written by Dr. Kurt Harris with a rather simple set of rules for the proper diet. He provides medical answers to a lot of common questions.
  • Mark's Daily Apple - a website written by Mark Sisson a fitness and nutrition expert. He has many different opinions than PaNu, but the same main points.
I have struggled with weight my entire life. I was very heavy until 17, and after losing 50 lbs in a summer I have fluctuated +/- 15 lbs since then. I've had the discipline to lose weight the conventional way (low calorie, low fat diets) many times but my diets never gave me long term success.

Reading the book Good Calories Bad Calories completely changed my perspective on nutrition. Like most people, I was taught to avoid fat, eat fewer calories, increase fiber, reduce sodium, and try to eat whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Now I believe that the human body was designed to operate burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates and that carbohydrates in basically any form are detrimental to my health.

I understand this is a major change in philosophy and defies countless nutrition "experts" out there. But the evidence is there. If you actually look, I believe the research points to improved health when carbohydrates are removed.

So what is my plan? For one year (I started May 17), I will meticulously record every calorie I eat, my weight, my waistline, and my exercise.
  • Phase 1: Minimize carbs, shooting for less than 20g per day. Duration: 1 month
  • Phase 2: Less than 100g carbs per day (probably less than 50g). Duration: until I reach my desired weight (which I haven't decided yet, but likely less than 180)
  • Phase 3: Experiment - adjust carbs, calories, exercise, etc. as I see fit. Duration: remainder of year.
I will also compare my blood tests from May 2009, May 2010, and May 2011.

I will provide updates on this blog weekly (roughly) and try to answer questions as I learn more. Notice I don't plan to restrict calories at all. For exercise I am eliminating long cardio workouts like running. Instead, I will lift weights and play basketball a couple times a week aside from my normal levels of activity.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Indianapolis Class

Last week the three of us spent 3 days in Indianapolis while I attended a training class for work. One of the perks was going to the Indianapolis Indians AAA baseball game. The stadium was virtually empty and Evie continuously ran from our row to the row behind us until the usher told us to keep her in her seat. Obviously that wasn't going to we left (6th inning).
Before leaving Evie was terrified by the the scary Indians' mascot.
We also walked the excellent downtown canal one evening and had a terrific dinner at Alcatraz with the best fried food I can remember.

During my class one day Erin and Evie went to the Indianapolis zoo. One of the best parts of Indianapolis is that there is so much to do within walking distance if you stay downtown. Countless restaurants (all of them chain restaurants), the canal walk, a huge mall, the zoo, three professional stadiums, and a major university.

Evie loved the friendly walrus.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Riverbank Run 2010

The 2010 Riverbank run was my 6th consecutive year, but it was a much different experience. My goal at the beginning of training was to break the 2 hour mark, but my plans changed.

The early stages of my training went as expected. I started slow, built endurance and speed, and muscled through the bitterly cold months of January and February. However, my training went downhill fast in March. All of my running suddenly felt very labored and my legs felt tight and weak. Each run was worse than the one before and by early April I knew I was doomed.

So decided not to worry about my speed and just enjoy the race. And enjoy it I did.

With no specific time goal Derek and I just lined up and ran whatever speed felt good. We cruised at 8:50-9:00 miles for most of the race and chatted with each other to pass time. At mile 13 we started to agonize but I got our minds off running by giving Derek a riddle to solve, which took him 2 miles. The funny part was that Derek never solved the riddle, the guy running next to Derek blurted out the answer before Derek got it. After that it was just a short sprint to the finish line.
My 2010 time was the worst of my 6 years, but I was happy that my average pace stayed below 9 min/mile. Derek outdid me at the end a can now claim his first legitimate road race victory over me (he beat me in the 2006 Detroit 1/2 marathon but I had run a full marathon 7 days before).

Final Times:
Randy - 2:18:57
Derek - 2:18:46
Jason - 2:46:47
Darren - 2:33:33
Marv - 2:33:31

I have decided that for the indefinite future, I am going to stop doing endurance sports. I've done a fair amount of research this year on diet and nutrition and now I want to test my theories on my own body. My new dietary approach is not compatible with distance running so I will get exercise in other ways.

I will soon fill this blog with lots of information on my new diet because I plan to take it very seriously and I will document it very scientifically, presenting my results on this blog. For now, I'm enjoying a week of glutinous eating before I cut out some major foods from my diet. Unless I've discussed this with you in the last few months you'll be surprised what I plan to eat and what I plan to eliminate.

Part of me is sad that my running career is done but I also feel a tremendous amount of relief, and I am excited to begin this next phase in my life.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

High Speed

Life goes by so fast. This spring has been really busy which reminds me of that fact more than usual. So I try to stop and enjoy the few slow moments I have.

It is also fun to look back at old pictures (or blog posts) and realize that even though time has passed, it was not time wasted.

The agreement with our wedding photographer was that we could have all the originals after 5 years. She had to reformat a couple thousand pictures which took 9 months, so we just got them all back.