Friday, December 2, 2011

Overcompensation - Or - my new diet. for now. probably

Last post I mentioned a new nutrition plan. It’s a simple one but hopefully very effective. A friend of mine bought and read The Four Hour Body and started the slow carb diet that is described in a couple of the chapters. I saw him on day one and then again eight weeks later and noticed a huge difference. He was yoked. He had dropped weight and added muscle in a very noticeable manner, or he was wearing a tiny shirt. I asked him how and he said it was the diet and exercise.  I wanted to try it but I was concerned about two things: my ulcerative colitis and how the restricted food options would affect my running. He couldn’t tell me because he is normal (gastro-intestinally speaking) and a non-runner (thanks to a particularly gnarly motorcycle wreck) though he did admit that the diet would likely strain my training as it eliminates most sources of carbohydrates.
But as I may have mentioned another time, I’m fueled on rage. And a likely unhealthy body dismorphia and a fear of being what I consider fat. And I’m also lazy and in a hurry. The more weight I lose quicker, the faster I’ll be. I have heard that losing 1 pound of fat translates to 3-5 seconds per mile improvement with the same effort. So if I lose 10 pounds of fat I gain at least 30 seconds per mile. That is a huge advantage. The problem is the more I run, the hungrier I get and the more I eat so the calorie burn is neutralized by my enhanced appetite and as I get more fuel efficient I may even gain weight during training!
I read the book and originally was going to modify the diet to accommodate my training and nutritional needs. In the book Tim Ferris even mentions the fact that just making a change at breakfast you can see benefits. This was my plan. Until the thanksgiving gut bombing. Even though I only gained a pound that week, I felt terrible. I was making disgusting choices. I was in “I’m training so diet doesn’t matter” mode which for a recovering compulsive eater is not appropriate. On Sunday night I made the decision: whole hog until Christmas and hit the store to gather my protein and frozen / canned resolve.
It’s the slow carb diet. I won’t explain it because I’m still learning it and it would be a disservice if someone used this blog as a resource. But it is described in detail in the book mentioned above. So far it’s been quite alright stomach-wise. I don’t know why but my stomach handles reduced calorie diets very effectively. Surprisingly effectively considering the damage a diet coke does.
The other question is how it would translate to running energy. I don’t feel low energy throughout the day like when I was on the cookie diet, but as soon as I get on the road my legs felt heavy and taxed almost instantly on the one short run I’ve been on.  I was wearing heavy shoes for this run as well, so I’m not totally certain the diet is to blame but time will tell. I will be able to make all the midweek runs for the next few weeks, as they’re all quite short and I can make do with the energy I get from mostly meat and veggies and beans. The long run on Sundays worries me a lot because they’re extremely difficult run on full nutrition, imagining them on restricted diet is quite unpleasant and may be the diet’s undoing.
I believe it can work because of Saturday. Saturday I have to eat anything I can get my hands on. Literally. It’s a cheat day and the more I cheat the better the rest of the diet works (or so I’m told), so it’s going to be bread and beer and pizza and pasta – or a 24 hour carbo load that should fill my stores enough to happily complete the long one on the next day.
I started this week because it’s a step down week with a relatively light Sunday run that I can use to test the Saturday fuels Sunday principle with little negative effect if it doesn’t pan out. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to modify the diet. If it does, then I’ll get four good weeks in before modifying it and maybe a couple more early in the New Year. It’s exciting to compliment my fitness with a weight loss program and even if this doesn’t end up working out exactly as planned I still am taking away valuable lessons as far as what I can and should be putting in my body and when which is part of my ongoing journey.

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