Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Adventures in Strict Paleo

Peace out Dairy

Today marks a week into a new diet approach I am embarking on as an experiment. I have been on a small roller-coaster of weight loss in the last 9 months. The battle against sympathy weight has been a winning one, but I hit a sticking point. I wouldn't call it a plateau, but more like a landing on a staircase. While on shift, I am on call 24 hours a day for 14 days. This creates an environment of 0 Alcohol for 14 Days, 100% control of the food I ingest as I am responsible for my meals(groceries), and ample down time waiting for a cal to be able to workout. This has been very beneficial to my overall goals, and I have been very successful... while at work. I typically lose 5 pounds or more a shift, only to gain 5 back as soon as I get home. I know the alcohol has a huge effect on my weight, but I like my whisky. Beer has gotten to the point of making me feel like crap, so I typically eschew beer in favor of Maker's Mark. But I have determined the whisky is not the ONLY cause of weight gain while home. Time constraints are always tighter when i get home, and it always seems like there are 3 places to be at the same time. This leads to eating from a restaurant. I try to make the best decisions I can when we get take-out food, but there is no 100% compliance at a restaurant (in my particular case). I know you can pull the meat out of the bun, order extra veggies, etc. However the social pressures when I am home are usually too great for me to pass.

Until three weeks ago.

I made a specific point to eat right and fast more. My family hasn't accepted the breadless approach, and a few people are still stuck in low-fat no man's land. It's very difficult to be polite and be picky. I hate being the guy picking through his food. I have to be selective of what I pick through or what i put on my plate. The last time off was a family based 2 weeks. I was very active, and more selective. On average i gain 5 pounds back of what I lost on shift, but this time I managed to stay at the same weight. I am proud of this. This means I can continue losing, and get leaner, faster, and stronger all while maintaining a healthy balance of family and rest. SOOO....

I decided to go super strict on this hitch. This will give me a solid 14 day experiment on how my body reacts to a specific pattern. This means No Wheat, Corn, Rice, Oats, Legumes, or DAIRY. I have been relatively grain free for 6 moths at least (with the occasional cheats and rice), but this means NO cheating. I have also been slow to try out the no dairy approach due partly to my Midwestern upbringing, and partly to my love of good butter and cheese. I was never a big milk drinker, but butter and cheese have been staples. The lack of butter has proven challenging. I have also been incorporating 16-18 hour fasts (skipping breakfast) into most days. This is also an experiment in combining the methods for optimum results. I have fasted 5 of the 7 days. My goal is 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I started at 212.

To mark the occasion, I am extending my fast today. At the time I am writing this I am 16 hours in, and I want to see how far I can go. It's usually about this time that I notice cold hands and feet and greater clarity. The stomach grumblings also usually stop. Through some of the blogs around the net (specifically Leangains and Eat Stop Eat) that after an extended fast you may notice cold hands and fingers due to blood flow opening up in your fat cells to move fat out of the fat cells to mobilize fat to be converted to energy in the liver. I have been noticing cold hands and feet around hour 13 and beyond. So much so, that I timed my workout so that I could warm up. Coincidently working out fasted actually kills the hunger your brain says you have. AND before anyone says "oh you're starving yourself!" cough cough.. mom.. cough... I am STILL getting more food than I probably need a day, it's just in a smaller window of time. I'm actually eating BETTER than I would anywhere else due to the dense nutrients I am getting from all the veggies I eat. I have gone through 2 bags of carrots in the last week alone. Using the 5 colors approach, really makes for a healthy and tasty mix of vegetables in your meals.

I have to stipulate my exceptions to the Strictness. Some paleo folks, when talking about strict, i.e. the Whole 9 crew cut out honey and dark chocolate due to the sugar. I have been ok with small ammounts of Honey in my coconut fruit bowls, and I find that a GOOD dark chocolate in small pieces takes the edge off the bile taste that sometimes creeps into the back of your mouth. I enjoy the Green&Black's 70% Organic Dark Chocolate. I let a small piece melt on my tongue usually with black coffee somewhere in the near vicinity. The endorphin rush in itself is great. I see they have an espresso infused version I will DEFINITELY be trying in the near future.

So far the results have already been speaking for themselves. I wake up in the morning with less of the "trailer hangover" I get from living in the company trailers (mold and dust?), and the recovery time from my workouts is nil. I find I can workout hard on one day, and the soreness is barely there the next day. I can jump right back into another difficult workout the next day without problems. I may be moving a little slower than usual, but not sore. Sunday was my first real "re-feed" non-fasting day since starting, and I have to say, I woke up feeling like crappety crappola yesterday. It nagged me allllll day. I felt sluggish and puffy all day. I don't know if the Ham I baked for dinner had too much salt in it or what, but i just couldn't get right. I was chugging water, and eating clean, but I couldn't get right. Hopefully this doesn't happen next time.

So as far as my thoughts on this way of eating, I will definitely be incorporating more regular fasting. I feel good. The dairy thing, I am not so sure of. I know I will be limiting my intake after this 2 week thing is over( might try for a month as per Robb Wolf), but I'm not sure I can give up Organic Grass-fed Butter. There are a few things that have more benefit than detriment. Local Honey, for example, has been shown to help with seasonal allergies and is a perfectly Paleo sweetener in small doses. I am not going to be drinking it out of the bear, but to add it to coconut and cinnamon is pretty dang tasty. same with a dash on celery and sunbutter. Dark Chocolate is another. The benefits outweigh the detriment. There is minimal Dairy in a good dark chocolate bar as well as minimal sugar when you only eat a square inch at a time. Again, I am not advocating gorging on chocolate and honey, but used in minimal amounts makes things a hell of a lot more bearable and less restrictive feeling. The hardest part of a "diet" is the restriction and deprivation of things you like. If you can benefit from something you like that isn't bad for you in the long run, then use it. Sure it can be considered a cheat, but it's all up to the individual. I find it makes things better, so I will keep it up. Here's to a week down!

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