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A Little Over a Year, How My Diet has Changed

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm glad you've figured out your road to success.

    3137 days ago
    Awesome that you found something that works so well for you.
    3137 days ago
    SMILES650: Good luck finding what works for you! You never know...!

    BEARCLAW6: I've been following your journey, and you've been a big source of inspiration for me! Your success is picture perfect!

    WOUBBIE: Yes, indeed, although I had to learn it the long way since I used to think this way myself. "Oh no, I had that cookie, I better get to the gym." It became a source of punishment, which is a shame. Not healthy at all.

    NEILITHICMAN: WOW! Congratulations! 20 kilos is incredible! It's always exciting to hear from others whom have similar experiences! emoticon

    MKPRINCESS007: I'm glad this inspired you. :) You already know this, but if you are on any medications, particularly for blood pressure, you should talk to your doctor before making any dietary changes. Low carb, in particular, can change the balance with the change in insulin levels. Good luck!

    GETSTRONGRRR: See my comment on your spark page wall. :)
    3137 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/20/2012 8:42:06 AM
    Great blog and a great program! I like how you've been able to calibrate your carbs for losing, maintaining, gaining, etc.

    So I'm trying this out right now, keeping carbs as low as I can (below 30 gms). So far I've been at it for 3 days.

    No weight loss yet, but it is easier to eat like this then I expected.....much more to follow....for now, I am taking a leap of faith based on books I've read and experiences like yours
    3138 days ago
    Thank you SO MUCH for describing in detail what has been successful for you. I feel, as you did many years ago, that I NEVER really will lose weight, I can honestly say that I haven't ever really researched or tried a paleo diet. You have given me "food for thought" :) and I think that if I want to be serious, especially at my age and taking medication that contributes to the challenge of me losing weight, I need to think outside the box. Thanks so much!

    3138 days ago
    Well done on your weight loss. I was eating was too many carbs too. I cut down on fat and sugar but I had a love affair with bread that saw me stay heavy. Now I've been allowing myself only 2 slices a day and eating more fruit, vegetables, beans, eggs, fish and chicken and I've managed to drop 20 kilos (44 pounds) in the last 3 and a half months
    3138 days ago
    Great insight! I wish more people understood that "exercise does not cancel a bad diet".
    3138 days ago
    Right on, sister! Isn't it nice to have it finally make sense?
    3138 days ago
  • SMILES650
    Good for you! Thanks for sharing this wonderful information......I think this might just be what I need to try, emoticon

    By the way, you look amazing! emoticon
    3138 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/19/2012 11:22:02 AM
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