Monday, August 26, 2013

Cheeseburger in paradise

(Uh Yeah - No!)

Ok – guess it’s time to go ahead and note this for the record… I’ll only note the whole story here once, and then perhaps as I reach different significant landmarks I’ll bother everyone to post the occasional updates. What’s significant? Well I waited 7+ months to post this if that’s any indication. So read on…

Back in December I had a go around with my BP meds that made it difficult to walk up my front steps. The root of the problem was really my bad overall health and frankly my weight. I was aghast at what I had become and was resolved that I would not allow my body to betray me anymore. I started tentatively changing my diet from a ‘eat pretty much anything and everything’ to a mostly ‘paleo’ type diet.

I note ‘mostly’ here as I have never been nor will ever be a religious fanatic about anything. I certainly didn't when I quit smoking 15+ years ago, and I refuse to be sanctimonious now. In thinking about my diet, I had the help of my long suffering wife and had read over Taubes books and a few others. The answer pretty much came to cutting out starches, breads, and white sugar stuff. I changed (gradually) to eating primarily fruits, vegetables, and reasonable proteins like eggs, chicken, fish, and beef, and whole wheat (minimally), and nixing most anything processed. Oh – and no alcohol as the caloric deficit of just one beer or glass of wine is really hard (ok – damn near impossible) to make up. No pills, shakes or miracle plans.

That’s it. I didn't ever need to go hungry. I always had some fruit nearby to snack on, and was always satisfied after eating my ‘strange’ food. I’d joke with my coworkers that I was up to a ‘pack a day’ of strawberries. It wasn't a diet – it was just a different way of eating. It made a difference. At first the weight really started dropping off at about 3-5 pounds a week. That has tapered off to 1-3 pounds a week now. Today I reached what I believe is the 50 pound lost mark.

The real difference is what has come with the loss and my ability to do more things. I now routinely exercise three hours a day on my days off. I can really enjoy long hikes or bike rides, and every time I go on one of my outings I can go a little farther, do a little more, and am less sore the next day. I would have never dreamed that at my age I could be improving my health. I mean really, after 50 your health is supposed to get worse, not better. I’d say I am currently in better health than I have been in over 10 years. And the weight continues to drop off.

When will I ‘stop’ dieting? Well, the simple answer is never, since I’m not dieting now. I will admit that eating what I do is more expensive and a touch more inconvenient that a quick run by the fast food restaurant, but comparatively it’s not really that different. Since it’s not a diet, it’s sustainable. At some point I will reach the right weight for my body and lifestyle and that’s where I’d be. I have no intention of being a fitness nut or exercise diva. I will continue to be the lazy bastard I always have been, but use the expanded strength I have to do more of the stuff I enjoy, like hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Why am I telling you all this? I don’t really know. I guess just to share my experience with those of you that may be going through what I went through. It is possible to change, it doesn't really hurt, and you can do it without supplements, ‘magic’ juice, or plans. I encourage you to read Taubes’s books (I got them from the library), but really everything you really need to know is here:

Just eat the stuff on the chart, in the proportions on the chart, and mostly nothing that not on the chart. Note that no chart is perfect, so I put cheese and Greek yogurt in that bottom layer of the chart as they are excellent protein sources. Amazingly, it really is that simple. 

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