To look at me, you wouldn’t think I was a good person to take fitness advice from. I’m overweight, I have some terrible habits, a history of substance abuse issues, my teeth are stained, chipped, and losing fillings, I’m really not the finest specimen of human health. On the other hand, maybe you can relate to some of these issues, and taking advice from someone who is taking steps to correct them, could be valuable.
Since moving to New Hampshire, I’ve lost over 20lbs, and counting. I’m more active, more alert, and feeling better every day. I get laid when I want to, which is pretty frequently. I don’t frequently find myself lacking energy or motivation to do the things I want to do. If you can’t presently relate to that, and you would like to find yourself in such a position, then perhaps I am a good person to take some advice from.
The first 15lbs that I lost, I lost by accident. I was not trying to lose weight. I just made some lifestyle changes, like eliminating fast food and soda. I was also socializing more, having sex more frequently, and living in a small town where many things are in walking distance, encouraging me to walk more. I didn’t even realize I had lost the weight until somebody else pointed it out. I was still drinking alcohol the entire time.
This inspired me to lose more weight, and so I’ve been trying to eat better, and exercise more. I’ve cut alcohol out of my diet for the time being, and I think you should too, but I realize that’s a pretty big ask for some of you, so I’m not going to harp on that today.
Diet – In General
I’m sort of teetering between paleo and Atkins. I’m actively trying to avoid all carbohydrates, but when I do consume carbs, I try to make them better carbs. Fruits, vegetables, that sort of thing. I have eliminated bread and pasta and that sort of thing from my diet. If I were to drink, I would stick to straight whiskey, and avoid beer and wine and mixers.
In addition to limiting the carbs and attempting to eat better, I am trying to exercise some portion control. Fad diets like paleo and Atkins will tell you to eat as much as you want and just eat the right things. Traditional wisdom however, suggests that one must burn 3500 calories more than they take in to eliminate one pound of fat. If you want to visualize what one pound of fat looks like, imagine a pound of butter, by burning off a pound of fat, you’re eliminating that much volume from your body.
I’m attempting to take both routes. If eating as much chicken, steak, eggs, and bacon as I want can help me lose weight, then presumably limiting my intake of those things while eliminating other carbs and unhealthy foods can help me lose more.
I had previously eliminated soda from my diet. You should too, even if you’re drinking diet soda. I hate the idea of soda bans, but people have a point when they say that soda is a huge burden on the health of our society. Before I started trying to lose weight though, I was still drinking a lot of iced tea and lemonade made from mixes which contained a great deal of sugar.
When I started making the effort to lose weight, I switched almost exclusively to water. This of course helps remove a great deal of calories and carbohydrates from one’s diet, but it can be rather boring when you’re used to a flavored beverage. During one of my stays with Adam Kokesh some time ago, I noticed he was adding lemon juice to his drinking water. It occurred to me that I had lemon juice in my fridge, and when I looked at the nutritional facts on the label, it had 0 calories and 0 carbs. I added some lemon juice to my water bottle before I went out walking one day, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s almost as good as drinking lemonade, but without all the sugar.
I also remembered a friend doing a “lemonade fast” which involved adding maple syrup and cayenne pepper to water, and drinking that as his exclusive food source for a period of several days or weeks. Some research on the subject lead me to reading about a few things like “the master cleanse” which suggested using this as a diet consuming less than 800 calories a day for weight loss. You could certainly lose weight doing it, but keeping it off was another story, and there were some negative health consequences to this. I also had no intention of eliminating real food from my diet.
Other sources talked about drinking lemon water with cayenne pepper for health reasons on top of a diet containing actual food. Lemons are rich in antioxidants and electrolytes including potassium, calcium and magnesium. Lemon is also known to stimulate the liver’s natural enzymes by helping to oxygenate the body. Cayenne pepper stimulates the circulatory system by opening the capillaries, aids digestion, and helps regulate blood sugar. Furthermore, and very importantly, it increases the temperature of your body and kick-starts your metabolism, which, yes, can help you to lose weight over time. I also find the combination acts as an appetite suppressant, so I am not nearly as tempted to overeat. This is especially helpful at night, since I got myself very used to pigging out right before bed.
I still drink coffee in the morning. Many people suggest cutting this out of your diet, but I’m not there yet. I used to switch back and forth between milk/sugar in my coffee, and CoffeeMate or International Delights French vanilla creamer. I have eliminated the milk/sugar part, and I am presently using CoffeeMate’s sugar free French vanilla creamer. It contains 15 calories and 2g of carbs per tablespoon sized serving. I am not measuring my servings, I just pour it in and mix until my coffee is the light brown color I like it.
At night I am drinking the lemon/cayenne pepper water, and also enjoying some naturally caffeine free herbal teas. Celestial seasonings “Sleepytime Tea” is good, but I found myself desiring to sweeten it. I did so with honey or agave a few times, but the carbs/cals from this were undesirable. They also make fruit flavored teas, I don’t have any desire to add anything to those, and I’ve found them to be better for my purposes.
I’ve always gone to sleep with a drink next to me in bed. Right now that drink is the lemon/cayenne pepper water previously mentioned. I drink this when I first wake up, which helps rehydrate me, and also acts as an appetite suppressant. I go downstairs make coffee, and begin preparing breakfast.
Depending on my attitude that day, I might have, bacon, eggs, cheese, sausage, ham, or any combination of these things. I flavor my eggs with cheese, and a little bit of onion and garlic powder, and some salt and pepper. No toast, no waffles, no muffins, no cereal, no carbs.
I save my bacon fat in a jar, and I have been using that to grease pans and replace butter in almost everything I cook.
The appetite suppression from the lemon/cayenne water helps prevent me from overeating. Especially when I was suffering from frequent hangovers, this was a problem for me in the morning.
I don’t always eat lunch, sometimes I’ll just skip it. I don’t generally recommend that though, because this leaves me hungrier when it comes time to eat dinner, which I sometimes end up eating very late. I’m trying to make lunch my bigger meal of the day, and reduce my urges to eat in the evenings before bed.
When I do eat lunch, it usually consists of just meat. I will make lemon pepper chicken, a marinated steak, pork chops (no breading), or beef chili with kidney beans. Occasionally I’ll also prepare some corn, or green beans as a side.
Dinner usually resembles lunch.
Lately, I haven’t been snacking much at all. When I cook for myself, I usually cook more than I eat at a single meal, and so I often have leftovers in little tupperware containers in my fridge. I occasionally take a few forkfuls out of one of those as a snack when I am hungry between meals, or before bed. If I find myself craving more snacks, I may look into getting some nuts, or beef jerky. There are chips and pretzels going stale in my pantry right now. I could throw them away, but I find the exercise in resisting temptation to be useful for when I find myself in social situations where people are eating things I know I shouldn’t be eating.
I’ve been at this a little over two weeks, and I eliminated alcohol from it 8 days ago. I’m down another 7 pounds since I started. Part of that surely has to do with exercise, and other lifestyle changes, which I’ll discuss in more detail in a future article.
Most importantly, I don’t find this diet very difficult to adhere to. Breaking away from bread and pasta was sort of difficult at first, as I had become so used to them being such a big part of my diet. Pizza is also very tempting. This gets easier with time, and I’ve always been a big meat eater. So I don’t find myself hungry or having cravings very frequently, when I do have cravings, I just eat more meat.
The primary downside is it is considerably more expensive than eating cheap abundant carb filled things like pasta and rice and that sort of thing. Keeping a watchful eye on supermarket sales fliers however, definitely helps offset the costs. Buy plenty of meat while it is on sale, and fill your freezer. It still won’t be as cheap as spaghetti, but you can save a lot of money if you plan ahead.
Still to Come
In the future I’ll share some recipes with you. I’m pretty good in the kitchen, and my guests are frequently surprised by how good the food I make tastes.
I’ll also be going into more detail on my exercise routines, and how they are evolving over time. Exercise was difficult for me to get started with, because I’ve lived a largely sedentary lifestyle for the last 10+ years. Between my career choice of computers, my drinking, and my frequent use of social media, I didn’t move around a whole lot. I have recently become very enthusiastic about exercising though, it’s no longer a punishment, but a reward. I think I have some very useful hints and tools that can help you get more active too.
I’m taking a number of supplements. I started taking them all at the same time, so I’m not sure which ones are having what effects, and I haven’t done a great deal of research into them. I do feel great though, and I am certain they are playing a big part. I’m studying these topics, and I’ll come back with future articles about their benefits, downsides, and my own personal experiences.
I hope you found this useful and entertaining. I am interested to read your experiences and suggestions in the comments.
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