Archive | February 2013

Week in review 2/18 – 2/24

Weight: 214.6 lbs (down from 216)
Average Calories/day: 1978 (down from 2291)
Average Carbs/day: 165  (down from 187)
Average ZEO sleep score: 92.5 (average for 2013: 90)
Average waking temperature: 96.5F
Average steps per day: 7,416

Exercise
Lift#1:
Squat 225×3, 225×5, 265×5
Power Clean 135x3x5
Dips, Assisted -60: 5,5,5
Chin-up 2 2 2 2

Lift#2:
Squat 275x5x3, DL 275x5x2, OHP 100x5x3, Chin-Up 3 2

Comments:
I saw my weight drop as low as 212.6 this week, over a lbs down from last week’s lowest point and lower than during my ketosis experiment.  I’m still kind of amazed that I can lose weight and eat carbs at the same time.

Here’s a reverse-engineered meal plan of what I ate this week:

MealPlan_02182013_02

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The Best Diet for America: Low Carb or Caloric Restriction?

When I think about my journey, I realize that I have made a pretty stunning number of changes.  The metamorphosis I am undergoing has been a multi-year process requiring education, habit change, and skill building.   I am still cycling through diets trying to find the best: high protein, high fat, and (less intentionally) high carb.  I taught myself to cook meals from scratch – first standard American meals and then nourishing, paleo ones.  I am still working to change a lifetime of poor habits that I had formed.

I favor a low-carb, ketogenic diet for the committed individual who wants rapid weight loss, but there is a tremendous mind shift required to make the changes required to execute this.  I think it is easier and sustainable for the average person to start with a focus on optimizing one habit: caloric restriction.  Then they can gradually add habits to this first one as they work to achieve their goal.

What diet strategy do you propose for the 150 million Americans who are dangerously overweight or worse?

Whether choosing low-carb or not, I am in complete support of both habit change and social engagement applications.  I used DietBet during my 2 month ketosis experiment.  I also use the Lift application daily to focus on learning new habits.

Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof Exec tweeted a link yesterday to this Quantified Self Article by Adam Bosworth: “The Un-quantified Self: Reaching True Health is about Habits, Not Gadgets.”   In the article, Adam says that creating new habits is more important than quantification, apps, or tools.  He stresses that weight loss programs work better with social support, something I guess he finds “un-quantified.”  This is a bit ironic to me considering that the Quantified Self movement revolves around conferences (meetups) – a topic that he does not mention.  He also says that weight loss is going to require a significant caloric deficit, not just exercise:

The truth is we simply have to eat less: smaller portions, no snacks and fewer desserts – taking in about 500-750 fewer calories a day.

Adam also uses this quite depressing chart to remind me that I’m “obese” by BMI.  At least I’m no longer “morbidly obese” as I was before I started my nutritional ketosis experiment.  If I met the highest allowable “fit” BMI at 5’8″ / 164 lbs, I’d have to have 4% bodyfat!

2013-02-14-Screenshot20130214at4.48.15PM.png

I think Dave’s concern was that the article talked about a reduction of calories being necessary for weight loss.  He’s arguing that by using a “bulletproof” low-carb diet you can eat a surplus of fat calories and still lose weight.  I haven’t verified this through self-experimentation yet.  I did find that without viscosity changes (specifically melted fats), it takes some significant work to make a caloric surplus palatable in ketosis.  I will definitely try eating a surplus in my next experiment with ketosis.

Week in review 2/11 – 2/17

Weight: 216.0 lbs (up from 215.2)
Average Calories/day: 2291 (up from 1876)
Average Carbs/day: 187 (up from 166)
Average ZEO sleep score: 88.2 (average for 2013: 90)
Average waking temperature: NA

Exercise
Light weight workout:  Squat 225x6x3, Deadlift 225×5, OHP 95x5x3
Cardio: 3 mile walk

Comments:
I saw my weight as low as 213.8 lbs this week, so I am optimistic that weight loss is possible while eating starches based off the recommendations in the Perfect Health Diet.

Valentine’s Day Paleo

I am lucky enough to live in a place where “gluten-free” is a common phrase.  For valentine’s day this year I picked Five Restaurant with a four course menu that I could tell was pretty optimal.    I was pleased when the waiter told us that the ONLY item on the menu with gluten in it was one of the two dessert options. I think he probably forgot about the tortellini entree option, but I wasn’t going anywhere near that anyways.

The chef clearly went out of his way to do this – was it because he made a healthy choice?  Probably not.  I think it’s more likely he is tired of altering his dishes for discerning patrons and opted for the simplest option – skip gluten.  He chose crisped salsify (a root vegetable) to add texture to the sashimi appetizer, gelatin and dairy as thickeners for the soup, salmon with a very crispy skin that needed no breading, and for dessert a meringue which needs no gluten.

The Menu:

  • ahi tuna sashimi | green apple | ponzu | avocado | shiso | crisp salsify
  • white carrot soup | savory vanilla panna cotta | pomegranate | crisp sunchokes
  • steelhead salmon | ruby red beet love | horseradish fennel royale | caramelized caulifower hearts
  • raspberry meringue | passion fruit sorbet | berry simple syrup
My present to myself?  A new fitbit and avoiding the scale this morning.

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Meal Planning for the Perfect Health Diet

This week I attempted a meal plan.  I’m using parenthesis to indicate if I cook something that provides leftovers or if I’m eating leftovers.  So (2/4) means I am eating the 2nd of 4 prepared portions.

Some of my meal planning goals:

  • Eat consistent with the Perfect Health Diet (PHD)
  • Prep more food in advance, especially PHD “safe starches” like rice and potatoes.
  • Reduce frequency of grocery trips
  • Incorporate vegetables into 2 meals a day
  • Eat breakfast every day
Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Sunday 3 Eggs, Salami, Butter Shrimp (1/2) Rice(1/6), Steak (1/4), Guacamole
Monday Shrimp (2/2), Rice (2/6) Sushi @ Cafeteria Protein Shake Rice (3/6), Steak (2/4)
Tuesday Steak (3/4), Rice (3/6) Entree @ Cafeteria
(meat and potato)
Protein Shake  Steak 4/4, rice 5/6, guac
Wednesday  chicken sausage, eggs Protein Shake Rice  Crackers , Butter  Tuna Steak (1/3), Sweet Potato (1/3)
Thursday Bacon, Sweet Potato Entree @ Cafeteria
(meat and potato)
Chicken and Spinach Restaurant
Friday Bacon, Eggs Tuna Steak (2/3) Steak 1/4 , rice (1/6)
Saturday Chicken Sausage, Rice 2/6 Steak (2/4), Rice (3/6) Quick Chili w/ flank steak (3/4, 4/4)

I ended up with 5 shopping trips:

Costco Bacon, Steak, Shrimp, Guacamole, Rice/Corn Snacks, Chicken Broth
Local Grocery (x3) Sweet Potatoes, Onions, Frozen Red Potatoes, Rice Crackers, Chicken Thighs, Vegetables, Raw Milk
Trader Joe’s Eggs, Salami, Butter, Rice [all from a previous week]
Farmer’s Market Almond Macaroon, Shrimp, Crab

My actual eating was different mostly due to my  I ended up catching a cold.  My main deviations from the Perfect Health Diet plan that I set for myself were cheating with some rice/corn snacks and some desserts on Friday.

Here’s what I actually ate:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner 
Monday 3 Eggs, Butter Shrimp (1/2) Berry Smoothie, Raisins Rice(1/6, Steak (1/4), Guacamole
Tuesday Shrimp (2/2), Rice (2/6) Sushi @ Cafeteria Rice/Corn Snacks Rice (3/6), Steak (2/4), Guacamole
Wednesday Steak (3/4), Rice (3/6) Chicken Soup Rice/Corn Snacks Chicken Soup
Thursday Chicken Soup Chicken Soup, Frozen Potatoes (1/2) Rice/Corn Snacks Chicken Soup, Frozen Potatoes (1/2),
Guacamole
Friday Chicken Sausage,
Sweet Potato
Chicken Sausage,
Sweet Potato
Dark Chocolate Shrimp (1/2), Rice (1/3)
Saturday Almond Macaroon, Rice (2/3), Shrimp (2/2), Crab Rice (3/3), Shrimp, Crab
Sunday Flank steak, Sweet Potato Chicken Soup Flank Steak, Rice Chex, Almonds, Almond Butter, Chocolate Pie

Week in review 2/4 – 2/10

Weight: 215.2 lbs (down 2.6 lbs)
Average Calories/day: 1876 (down from 2439 cal)
Average Carbs/day: 166g carbs /day
Average ZEO sleep score: 83.4  (Average for 2013 is 90)
Average waking temperature: NA

Exercise
None

Comments:
Cold extended from last week into all of this week.  This resulted in a greatly decreased appetite,  no exercise, and poor sleep.  Not exactly the kind of weight loss I’m looking for.

The swelling in my knee turned out to be some kind of hamstring strain.  This is a relief compared to any kind of problem in the joint.  I am using massage, compression, and heat on it.  I should be able to return to the gym next week.

 

Hacking the Cost of a Ketogenic Diet

Today I analyzed my grocery spending in 2012 and found that I saved about $90 a month on groceries during my 2 month Ketosis experiment.    Not bad considering I also lost 12 lbs!

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I use Mint.com to track all my expenses – it aggregates every charge on my credit cards into one place.  Since I almost only every buy food with credit cards, it’s pretty easy to track my food expenditure over time.  I made this chart using an export from Mint.

These numbers certainly aren’t perfect.  I ate low-carb or very moderate carb for other periods in 2012.  I’ll try and update this post with a total food expenditure cost analysis next.

I was inspired to write this post by this post on the Bulletproof Executive Blog: Hacking the Cost of the Bulletproof Diet.

Also, thanks to Jimmy Moore for linking my blog this week!