Feb 17, 2014

Nutrition Update

Typical dinner - spinach, red onion and egg salad with homemade vinaigrette
So those of you following along will know that I am currently involved in two weight loss contests. Well, one weight loss contest and one bodyfat loss contest. My weigh-in for the weight loss contest was 316lbs (heavily sandbagged, of course) and for the bodyfat was 30.1%. For this past week I have been very strict in my diet, with half my calories coming from fruits and vegetables and protein powder, and the other half coming from eggs, milk, and olive oil (in vinaigrette).

I haven't been counting calories, but I'd estimate I'm eating in the neighborhood of 1500 per day, almost none of it from simple carbohydrates.

I am specifically excluding some foods, at least initially. That includes bread including pizza, cereal, macaroni, rice, potatoes, red meat, chicken, and butter. This week I'm adding bananas to that list. All my meals are planned and choices are limited (decreased variation of food has been shown to cause people to reduce calories.)

Most importantly, my wife is doing this with me - so I'm not trying to cook separate meals for me and her, which has never worked in the past.

The problem with this is that it's tricky to train on this kind of reduced calorie load. There's this stuff I use called superstarch which is corn starch treated to have insanely-long molecular chains (500,000-700,000 g/mol* - glucose is 180 g/mol), making is so low-glycemic that it only negligibly affects insulin levels. I found that if I take that a half hour before exercise then I have sufficient energy to carry me through at least a half hour. I haven't tested it yet for long workouts.

For a few days last week I've taken in before my workouts with mixed but mostly positive results. On Saturday, something came up after I took the superstarch but before my run, so that it was over 3 hours between taking the supplement and the start of the run. The run itself was a real struggle, and my blood sugar crashed pretty hard afterwards. Bad experience.

On Sunday, I experimented by adding a teaspoon of BCAAs to the superstarch, the intent being to create this chalky tasteless cocktail that allows me to maintain a low calorie diet but also give me energy for running, while not catabolizing muscle too much. Took it 30 minutes before my Sunday run (which itself was 30 minutes long) and it seemed to work OK. Going to continue experimenting with it.

Results are promising so far. I've been resisting temptations successfully and relatively easily. I know that this "prefrontal cortex brute force" approach to weight loss can't last forever or even the entire 3 months of the weight loss contest (and the diet isn't maintainable anyway), so I've set a March 25 end-date to this phase and have not decided what 'll do afterwards.

* source: http://vimeo.com/51891286#t=41m30s