I loved when I read in the Primal Blueprint that calories don’t matter as long as I eat Primal (a complete hijacking of paleo with a new name). Sounded awesome. I followed the Primal / Paleo lifestyle for a long time. I got high cholesterol and lost no weight whatsoever. It’s my own fault. I was eating too much. So that didn’t work for me. Plus, I got tired of feeling guilty if I wanted my sandwich on 2 pieces of bread instead of a fucking lettuce wrap.
The Whole 30 went a little better. Followed the rigid rules excluding lots of foods. Dropped about 8 pounds in 30 days. But after the restrictions were gone on day 31, the weight came back quickly. Why? Because when following their rules it’s hard to get a lot of calories.
I crapped out on Keto. I like carbs. Sue me, I don’t care.
The only thing that’s ever worked consistently for me in terms of managing my weight is tracking my calories. It’s like paying attention to your money. You simply must.
It’s really easy in the modern world of endless stress and extremely convenient, hyper-palatable foods to fall into a pattern of simply eating too much. Even if you’re eating “healthy”.
So I’m going to track my calories and protein to make sure I’m staying around calories (see Day 1), and staying around 146 grams of protein (see Day 1).
I’ll post the food logs on here out of myfitnesspal (the app / website). I’ve always struggled hitting a protein number above 100, so to get there I’ll start off relying more on protein powders than I know I should. I’ll work on transitioning away from over reliance on protein powders as I get into the habit of hitting my numbers. With my hectic work schedule it’s just a little easier to start establishing the habits this way.
On most days I will try to log my planned eating in advance, rather than doing it retroactively. Why? Because it’s a lot easier to stay on track by planning ahead and seeing what the numbers look like, as opposed to guessing and finding out that you ate too much that day. Just works for me. Remember, I’m just reporting what I’m doing, not telling you what to do.
If you don’t drink, this is a no brainer. If you rarely drink, maybe skip this one, no biggie.
But, sometimes those of us who enjoy a few glasses of wine or a few beers or a few whatevers can find ourselves perhaps tipping the glass too often.
Wife and I are guilty of that lately. Our drink of choice is wine. A couple of glasses probably a few too many times a week recently. Never before driving or anything like that. We understand how it becomes a ritual in relation to stress: unwinding with a couple of glasses of wine together across the dinner table is indeed awesome.
But it’s become more of a habit than we’d like since Thanksgiving(ish), so we are just saying no for 6 weeks. After that the plan will be to limit wine to weekend nights only, if we go back to drinking wine at all 😉
If you read yesterday’s post, you know my wife (46) and I (53) like to workout a lot. So we sometimes have to force ourselves to take days off, knowing that too much exercise can become a for of stress on its own.
We have 3 teenage boys and work full time, so sports and school and work all create stress that can add up. Rule 3 can be easier said than done. But substituting some yoga for a strength and conditioning workout can be a perfect sub. We like Rodney Yee and some of the stuff in the beachbody app.
On day 2, let’s talk about rule 2. Makes sense, right?
Rule 2. Lift reasonably heavy at least 3x a week, w at least 3 conditioning workouts each week (can stack one of each on any given day)
Strength training works. I am not going to bother proving that here. It helps build and maintain muscle mass. This is important for longevity and getting shit done. Also looks good.
Conditioning works. It helps improve endurance and heart health. Helps increase your metabolism. Also get you ready for sports. I play ice hockey and do short off-road triathlons. So I vary my conditioning workouts around that. Sometimes it’s hard intervals. Sometimes it’s “Zone 2” aerobic training. Sometimes it’s agility and movement type stuff. I mix it up and go by feel.
I love this kind of stuff. I am one that needs to be wary of over training (I’m turning 53 soon as I write this). So for me nailing 6 workouts a week will be easy.
I have a few authorities that I look to in my training. Look them all up if you want. I get a lot of my workout programming from Mike Matthew at Legion Athletics. Very well researched and common sense approach. I also like advice from Brad Kearns and his books / podcasts. My wife and I have a beachbody.com online membership and stream some of those workouts when we train together. We like Amoila Ceasar, Sagi Kalev, and Autumn Calabrese in there. I’m also a CSCS (look it up) so I know how to synthesize training programming.
I have a gym at home. It’s at most 250 sq feet in our basement. We have a bench, olympic set, full rack of dumbbells and kettlebells, a treadmill and a road bike on a trainer (not a peloton in case you are wondering.)
I also have a rack, oly set and adjustable dumbbells at my office so I can do strength workouts there.
The General Spilt I like for training is 3 hard workouts along Mike Matthews’s approach: Upper Push, Upper Pull, and Legs. I generally do the Upper Push Workouts and the Upper Pull workouts at the office on Mondays and weds/thurs. Legs is almost always on Sunday. About 4 conditioning workouts get spread out with that, usually a couple of morning during the week, and Saturday / Sunday. This is just what works for us.
Eating was easy peasy, I’ll copy it into here when I get a chance.
My family and I just got back from California last night after a great weekend & youth hockey tournament (our kid scored 4 goals!).
Today is the day to face the music. The holiday over eating and over drinking (more on that in a second) has run its course.
I’ve gained about 10 pounds since Thanksgiving. Yes, I’ve been lifting heavier as I always like the call the holidays a “bulking phase” which is kinda bullshit, kinda legit.
But if I had to guess I’d say the 10 pounds I gained is maybe 1 pound of muscle, 5 pounds of fat and 4 pounds of water. That’s a guess. But I think it’s reasonable.
So how did I get here? Up to 190 when I know I’m at my best at 180?
Easy peasy- I ate too much and drank wine far too frequently. I’m not beating myself up about. I understand how I fall into that trap. Mostly, overeating and drinking wine (way) too frequently is how my wife and I cope with stress.
We both work full time. We have 3 teenage boys, all in competitive sports. We are effing busy. And so we tend to fall off the nutritional rails and end up gaining weight, feeling tired anxious and generally shitty.
I didn’t want to go with any of the current fad trends- Whole30 (again, ugh), Keto (I like carbs, and too much fat sends my cholesterol sky high), vegan (I’d rather die), etc.
What’s always worked for me is simply managing my calories without being overly obsessive about it, taking full break from alcohol, eating mostly whole foods (like cooking things at home, mostly), training without over training, and trying to get decent sleep.
My 42 Day Reset Rules:
Eat within my calorie target every day, no exceptions
Lift reasonably heavy at least 3x a week, w at least 3 conditioning workouts each week (can stack one of each on any given day)
Take at least 1 (or two) days off from hard training each week. Walking or yoga are fine.
Alcohol- Just say no for 6 weeks.
Track calories Every Day using an app like my fitness pal.
Weigh in twice a week at least, daily if I can remember. Record in my fitness pal to see trends.
Here is my rationale for each rule, and a little about why each rule exists.
Eating within my calorie target every day, no exceptions.
The calorie is simply the currency that we use to measure energy intake and expenditure. Think of it like money. You have to pay some attention to how much money you earn versus what you spend to get yourself the lifestyle you want. Similarly, you need to pay some attention to how many calories you consume versus what you expend to get yourself the health and appearance that you want. There really are no short cuts, no matter what all the current biohacking gurus tell you. Managing calories is the only thing that has worked reliably for me in the past, and that’s why it’s rule 1 for me.
Keto, Low Carb, IF, Carvnivore, etc- all are ways of essentially restraining calories. And that’s just fine if that’s what you want to do. I don’t like any of that, with the exception of some reasonable IF (Intermittent Fasting). I’ll discuss that a little more later.
Long story short, by averaging the calorie estimates for me from 2 apps (Lose It and My Fitness Pal, both are good), and 2 online calculators (one from Legion Athletics and one from Precision Nutrition), I came up with 2 daily calorie targets, one for losing fat and one for maintaining.
My fat loss calorie target- 2000 a day.
My maintaining calorie number- 2500 a day.
For the duration of the 6 weeks (42 days), 2000 is my target. I will allow an optional once weekly 2500 day, just to account for the occasional special event, like the Super Bowl. The apps and calculators pegged my daily protein intake at around 146 grams, so I’ll try to stay within 20% of that without going nuts over it.
As this post is getting a little long, I will elaborate on each of the other 5 rules over the next 5 days. I’ll also share my lifting and calorie log from my fitness pal.
One quick note- I do NOT connect my exercise calories to My Fitness Pal since the activity level is already factored in to the number. So if I get 600 calories of exercise I DO NOT add 600 calories to my total eating that day.
Happily, I discovered that I can copy and paste my calorie log our of myfitnesspal.com. Here is Jan 18, 2022: