"Never give up. Never surrender." - Galaxy Quest
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success." - Thomas Edison
Back in May 2011, I made the switch to a lower carb diet. Here's how my progress has worked out.
For 10 years I was overweight. In 2000, I was obese at 160lbs. In 2005, I lost 30 pounds, but was still overweight with 32% bodyfat.
The reason for it eluded me. It wasn't for lack of exercise. I was plenty active with bike riding, hiking, inline skating, kayaking and swimming. I eliminated fast food, sugary drinks, and junk food. I followed all the dietary advice of balancing carbs, fat and protein, and stayed within my calorie ranges.
But the most I could manage was yo-yo. Up-down, up-down went my weight.
I was an athlete, but I didn't look much different than a moderate couch potato. Why didn't I look like the other people who were just as active as me?
It was exceedingly frustrating to be at 32% bodyfat. 'Normal' bodyfat range is about 28%. I was almost there. I could see it, visualize it. And yet it remained just outside my grasp.
When I started researching paleo type diets, it seemed to fit. I experimented with various forms of it, and have eventually settled on what works for me.
Here's how I lose weight:
- About 60-80g carbs per day when losing weight.
- I eat a grain or starch with one meal only per day, usually dinner.
- Protein and vegetables. Forget about the Atkin stereotypes. The only meal where I don't eat vegetables is breakfast. And that's because a salad at breakfast seems weird!
- Breakfast: Typically one egg prepared either poached or omelet, and a piece of fruit like a watermelon, raspberries, or blueberries. This week it is plain yogurt and a cup of coffee.
- Snacks: Hard boiled egg, or a small bowl of cottage cheese.
- Lunch: A large salad with tuna or chicken salad, and a bowl of veggie soup. It's basically replacing lettuce for the bread portion in a sandwich. Last week I made a white bean veggie soup. This week I'm making a butternut squash soup.
- Dinner: Steak, chicken, pork or fish, small serving of rice or potatoes, steamed veggies, and a side salad.
- Dessert is homemade, and I make small serving petit four type desserts. Last week was banana bread. This week is shortbread cookies. But of course this is a treat, and I can skip it entirely.
- I drink beer and wine in the week, and a Friday happy hour cocktail. I'm very picky about my cocktails. It must be real juice, and no adult kool-aid mixes.
- Exercise 3-4x per week at 30 minutes with a longer excursion on the weekends. Biking, kayaking, hiking, etc.
Here's how I gain weight:
- Eating fast food or standard American restaurants.
- Not eating meals at home.
- Eating more than 120g carbs per day.
- No exercise.
Exercise and nutrition are important. As I've learned over the years, exercise does not cancel a bad diet, or even a decent one but composed of the wrong things.
I do have to exercise in order to lose/maintain weight. However, 30 minutes 3-4 times per week is all that is required. I don't need to spend hours at the gym, nor does it need to be vigorous. I keep my heart rate at about 60-70% of max. Quite moderate.
In July 2003, this was me:
This was me last month, May 2012:
For years, I thought I was always going to be fat, no matter what I did. The answer that I needed was always within my grasp. I just had to look a little further to find it. For me, the golden key was not my calorie total, but my macronutrient balance. My calorie total is actually about the same, but distributed differently.