Apr 282013

The last time I checked in on my weight loss log was August 2012.  At that time I was 168 pounds and 20 percent body fast measured using the US Navy Body Fat calculator at a height of 5’9, weight 168, neck 15 inches and waist at belly button of 35.  Since that time I have lost a half inch around my neck and gained an inch around my belly and gained 7 pounds, three of which are muscle.  That brings my current stats up to 22% body fat.  Needless to say this is not making me very happy, especially considering the effort I expend on a daily basis to attempt to remain fit.

So in the last few months I’ve embarked on a couple of different experiments in order to push my body fat percentage down.  I know of course that I can apply the techniques used in Lyle McDonald’s body recomposition.com and push my percent body fat down, but that technique does not support a lot of aerobic activity and since that is an important part of my life I’d rather not go that road.

I eat relatively low carb, but there are definitely carbs in my diet. I really felt that I was eating relatively clean and there wasn’t much I could possibly do to make a difference in my diet. I don’t empty carbs, I do eat whole wheat and complex carbs with lots of low lean proteins and low fat foods and vegetables.  So for some reason (mostly laziness) I decided to keep my diet but start counting my calories again.

I should also mention that I follow intermittent fasting as a rule every single day. That means that I only consume food in an eight hour window per day and fast the rest. I won’t get into the reasons for that here, as there are many resources on the Internet that it could explain why intermittent fasting is an excellent lifestyle.  But the basic theory is that we have evolved to eat once or twice a day rather than grazing all day long.

  • In the first experiment I counted all of my calories targeting a 500 cal deficit per day but not eating back calories expended through exercise. Of course I do expend a lots of calories in exercise, easily averaging 5 to 6 hours a week with my heart rate in the “fat burning zone”.  It should come to no surprise to those of you that are very knowledgeable about these things, but I actually gained 2 pounds over the course of six weeks.  Yes, that is right, I was consuming 1200 cal a day and I gained 2 pounds in six weeks.  I also had periods of weakness and frequented dizzy spells throughout this time period. Not much fun.
  • In the second experiment I decided that I would continue to count calories but I would eat to back all the calories that I expended in my exercise. I got myself a very accurate polar heart watch to monitor my heart rate during my aerobic activities so that I could very precisely calculate the amount of calories expended during these efforts. Just to be slightly conservative I took 75% of what was calculated as calories expended and ate those back each day.  That means if I went and ran for 90 minutes I would eat back 700 additional calories of food that day. This a eliminated the weakness and dizzy spells that I was having but over the course of six weeks I did not lose one single pound. This was with a net of -500 cal a day!

Which brings me to today. I reviewed the various websites, books, and my notes regarding weight loss and calorie management.  I feel like I keep figuring out little pieces of the overall puzzle but have been failing to put them altogether in anything that you be consistently works. Mind you, the puzzle that I am trying to solve is me, and as such there may be a solution that ultimately works for me but not for other people.

Here is my current thesis:

  • I am very insulin intolerant. Almost any carbs in my system will trigger the storage of fat.  This conclusion is due to my own observations and is backed up by the science in “Why we get fat, and what to do about it ” by Gary Taubs.  
  • I have an insufficient weight training routine in my weekly schedule.  I am much less disciplined about my weight training than I am about my running, and that has created an imbalance in my overall health plan.

So I started looking around for a nutrition plan and a strength training plan that would address these two categories.

  • For the nutrition plan I settled on the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.  He has a great website called MarksDailyApple.com which I highly recommend.  This is to be contrasted to the very popular Paleo Diet.  They are not the same thing although there are similarities.  To read about the difference you can read this article.
  • I then started looking for a strengthening routine that would coincide with my own fitness goals. I wanted something that was within my capabilities and structured enough that I could integrate it into my usual obsessive-compulsive system of daily exercise. I settled on Power 90, by beach body.  This is not same thing as P90X, but actually its predecessor.  If things go well with P90 I might move on to P90X.

So these two systems will constitute my approach for this cycle of transformation.  I have a great deal of hope that they will move me a step closer to my goals: primarily a lower percent body fat, increased muscle mass and cardio fitness.

So to kick it off here are my current (before) pictures on day one.  Hopefully this will be in stark contrast to my final pictures in the p90 transformation.




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