Diet & Exercise: Putting It All Together For 2013

Over the last 3 years I’ve been on a health and fitness journey that has changed who am I am in every way. I’ve read lots of books and articles and tried a half dozen diets and exercise routines both conventional and experimental. I’ve learned a lot about fitness and nutrition but greater than that I’ve learned about myself.

In 2013 I will turn 40 years old. Though my weight is at a 3 year high water mark of 194 lb. I don’t look like I did the last time I weighed this much but the fact remains: I am overweight. There are excuses, such as a shoulder injury that kept me out of the gym for 6 months, but the blame is squarely on me. This seems like a good time to make a plan.

Short Term Goals (1 Year)

Diet: Return to the low-carb diet I know and love. In the past I’ve proclaimed that this is not a lifestyle diet but now I know what it can and should be just that. The metrics to hit are:

  • reduce body fat while maintaining or slightly increasing muscle
  • lower overall cholestorol count and avoid going on statins

I’m going to slightly modify the ketogenic (low carb) diet that I’ve done in the past to target my cholestorol count more effectiviely. So the point form diet looks like this:

  • fish oils 3x daily
  • multi-vitamins 1x daily
  • caffeine daily (for a couple months I’ll be taking a fat burner)
  • green drink 3x daily
  • grapefruit 1x daily
  • oatmeal 1x on training days only
  • no more than 70g fat daily
  • no more than 80g carbohyrdrate daily (not including fibre)
  • minimum 30g fibre daily
  • minimum 120g protein daily
  • eating clean with at least 3 portions of dark greens per day
  • track everything (LoseIt)

My initiation to this diet was through The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. That book really introduced me to food restrictions and paved the way for better diets. Tim’s “slow carb” diet differs from my new diest in a few key areas:

  • food restrictions (no simple starches, no sweets) but otherwise “all you can eat”
  • cheat day once a week, again “all you can eat”
  • beans and other complex carbs are on the menu

I’ve done this diet but saw only modest weight loss that was accounted for by calorie restrictions and not due to any magic formula. This, with other experiences has led me to come to a few conclusions:

  • on a high-carb (normal) diet I can gain weight even while restricting calories
  • there is no way to cheat nature: weight loss = calories in – calories out
  • somehow, carbs break the above rule
  • cheat days are zero progress days
  • cheat days make other days seem dismal

The model for my current diet comes from two sources:

Both books outline what is essentially a ketogenic (low carb) diet that has been around in Western society for decades, maybe even hundreds of years. The diet advocated in these two sources is essentially the same with the following deltas:

  • Mark breaks down the diet into 3 allotments of macronutrients based on lean body mass
  • Mark allows a “low fat high carb” meal once a week
  • Mark prescribes calorie restriction for weight loss, even on the “carb up” day
  • Dr. Gundry puts a finer point on the inclusion of greens in the diet
  • Dr. Gundry does not put emphasis on calorie restriction

My plan is to combine the best of these two diets and make it my lifestyle. I will probably allow myself a cheat meal (not a whole day) once I hit my target weight / body fat %. That meal will probably be a sushi dinner once a week.

Exercise: My doctor wants me to get 45 minutes of cardio per day to lower my cholestorol. I don’t want to do this, at least not until I try to deal with it through diet. I am not a fan of excessive cardio and it bores me. However, while cutting calories I will be in the gym for 45 minutes a day and if I have time left over after my weight routine then I’ll hop on the rowing machine, stationary bike or grab a jump rope for whatever time remains.

Long Term Goals (10 Years)

Maybe I’m deluding myself, but a man needs a dream:

  • I want to be able to carry my daughter no matter her age
  • avoid all chronic conditions, require no medications
  • maintain 11% or less body fat
  • build 1-2 lb. muscle per year

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