Thanks to Brian and Kiera at Body Unique for hosting our first Nutrition Seminar!
Great turnout and fantastic interaction! Lots of excellent questions and discussion.
Strive and thrive!
Today marks the last day of The 21-Day Sugar Detox. My wife and I both feel fantastic and now have a great baseline to launch from.
What we’re aiming for now is to continue with the basic precepts of the program. Essentially keeping our sugar intake to as close to zero as possible.
Now the “sugar” I am referring to is the high fructose corn syrup products and also the sugar in dairy products. (This isn’t really that hard for me as I’m rather lactose intolerant…)
During the detox, we only ate one serving of fruit per day (either a green apple or a green-tipped banana). From now on, we’ll relax this a bit and likely consume a couple more servings each day–mostly mixed into protein smoothies or other shakes. The rest of our nutrition will be the same. Meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, and water.
One thing I was pleasantly surprised with had to do with my prior “addiction” to sugar substitutes/artificial sweeteners. I had been drinking tons of the stuff…mostly diet drinks and diet sodas. After the past 21-days without them, I’m feeling no urge or cravings at all. It probably helped to have seltzer water mixed with real lemon and lime juice to serve as a valid and likely more healthful substitute.
In terms of body composition: I am convinced that eliminating sugar from our daily nutrition has helped us both lose fat…WITHOUT dieting or feeling deprived/hungry!
I know I’ve kind of harped on this throughout the past three weeks but you must realize that dieting and feeling hungry all the time is NOT the answer to life-long fat loss and body composition optimization. (Optimization meaning losing fat and building/keeping muscle)
I started at 195 lbs. (in fact, I was a little over 200 lbs. a couple of months ago!) and now I am between 189 lbs. and 190 lbs. (as of yesterday morning). Of course, as I’ve always said, following the scale number must only be noted for the general trend. If you saw my latest ab assessment video, you can tell that my ab flab has decreased as well! I am logging my skin-fold measurements and taking progress pictures as well.
Well, another journey ended and another begins. I am so happy to share this journey with my wife and I know we will continue to live more healthfully for years to come!
So I took the trusty measuring tape out today and assessed my belly fat. If you recall the video I posted back in March where I made a similar assessment, my abdominal circumference measured 44-inches.
Today, as you’ll see in the new video, my ab now measures 42-inches. Definitely a step in the right direction!
Click here for the video.
Sure, it could happen faster. No doubt, I must lose several more inches. But, I’m in this for the long term. Fat loss is something I’ve been studying, striving for, (achieved in the past and failed at it many times…), and am now consistently experiencing due to my lifestyle changes.
My wife and I have nutritionally tweaked a few things gradually over the past few months and both of us are voraciously reading and learning lots about aspects of the ‘low-carb’ lifestyle that I was mostly unaware of–’paleo’ principles (Robb Wolf), ‘primal’ blueprints (Mark Sisson), ‘eating academy’ info (Dr. Peter Attia), and some of the science behind it (Harvard trained chemist, Dr. Mat Lalonde) etc.
I’m simply stoked that I’ve finally felt like my body is responding by losing fat and keeping/gaining muscle WITHOUT dieting or feeling deprived or experiencing those intense sugar cravings.
I’ve started writing my next fitness book, which will incorporate much of what Jennifer and I are living through.
What I find fascinating is that after all the training and education I’ve gone through–from college (4 yrs), to graduate school (3 yrs), to medical school (4 yrs), then internal medicine residency (3 yrs)–and after the fitness writing (2 books) and bodybuilding competition/activities I’d been heavily involved in…I still have SO MUCH LEFT TO LEARN about nutrition and changing the body for the better!
I embrace this challenge ’cause after all, I’ve dedicated myself to life-long learning and applying what works.
So, my ab is 42-inches around. Still got work to do! First goal: Less than 40-inches.
Ultimately I am shooting for closer to 32 inches to be at the roughly 10% body fat percent I was at ten years ago.
Stay strong, strive, and thrive!
Today marks the beginning of our last week of this 21-day sugar detox and thus far, all is AWESOME!
I’m currently 192 lbs. and feeling lighter, leaner, and “cleaner” if that makes any sense.
Jennifer and I have been sticking to the program 100% and we’ve encountered some extremely wonderful benefits:
1. NO hunger pangs! (HUGE BENEFIT!)
2. Virtually ZERO sugar cravings. (At times, I felt that I “missed” my diet sodas…but some carbonated water–i.e. seltzer or club soda–mixed with pure lemon/lime juice took care of that!)
3. Fat loss. (Mind you, I don’t use the scale as my primary benchmark. Nor should you. The scale simply tells you that gravity works. In other words, you won’t really know if you’re losing/gaining muscle or fat simply by watching the scale numbers. The best way to notice physical results is to step in front of a mirror, try on some older clothes, notice the notches on your belt buckle, see what jiggles less when you jump up and down, etc. If you want more objective measures then use a measuring tape around those “stubborn” areas and note the trend.) Of course, I still step on that crazy scale once in a while just to see the overall trend. I already know what my body composition ought to be and roughly at what body weight that will correspond to. For me, my body weight must reside in the 150-160 lbs. range to be closer to the 15% (and less) body fat percentage that I’ve achieved in the past.
4. Greater energy. My strength at the gym is returning much faster to my pre-injury (I had cervical radiculopathy almost a year ago and then a separated shoulder a few months after that) and my endurance is improving every week during the ‘boot-camp’-type group class that Jennifer and I attend at Body Unique.
5. Clear mind. Without sugary-laden carbs clogging my system, I feel more focused and clear headed. This is a good thing as I tend to get side-tracked with multiple projects all at once! Sound mind, healthy body…
6. More “in synch” with the love of my life! This program has streamlined our lifestyle. Jennifer and I eat the same food (she lets me cook for her and I LOVE IT!) and we both share in the experience; shopping for our food, preparing it, dining together…AWESOME!
7. Established a healthy foundation. I’m not always sure that it really takes all of 21 days to make or break a habit. I’ve always believed that if you are committed enough, you can make changes in an INSTANT and make them last. However, I do know that the more you do something, the more it becomes essentially automatic. I’m CONVINCED that Jennifer and I will continue this healthful lifestyle and I look forward to sharing my continual progress on this blog.
Till then, stay strong, strive, and as always…THRIVE!
I’ve completed just over half of this fantastic program. It’s currently Day #11 and I’m already feeling some of the excellent benefits of this sugar “detox.” First of all, it’s not really a weight-loss/fat-loss diet per se. It’s simply a way to establish baseline healthful eating and living that will, over time, help one to lose excess fat and to maintain great health and vitality…WITHOUT cravings!
One “side effect” that I’ve experienced has essentially been 3 lbs. of fat loss WITHOUT COUNTING CALORIES! Plus, I don’t feel hunger or even any sugar cravings. And no, I’m not flying off the handle and losing my temper every 10 minutes either!
How is this possible?
Well, it’s really no secret that when you cut out sugar (i.e. reduce carbs) your body secretes less insulin and this translates to more fat loss. Essentially, if you keep insulin levels low, you keep the fat storage low as well. The challenge that some folks have with low carb diets is that they don’t eat enough OTHER stuff like fat and protein and thus, they get hungry and they “fall off” the low carb “wagon.”
What this sugar detox does is help you choose better foods to nourish you and keep you from feeling hungry. Also, you can eat PLENTY of these designated foods.
Here’s what my wife and I have been eating on a daily basis:
Breakfast: BACON! (YUM!)
Snack: Fruit smoothie (One piece of fruit, 1-2 cups spinach, coconut milk)
Lunch: Ground meat (e.g. 75% lean beef) cooked in the bacon grease from the AM (wow, this just tastes UNBELIEVABLY GOOD!), 2 cups steamed broccoli or green beans
Snack: Almond butter cocoa treat (made with coconut oil/butter and unsweeted cocoa)
Dinner: Chicken thighs (baked, seasoned–Celtic sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder) with large side of vegetable
Sometimes, I’ll cook up some hot dogs for a quick snack or even cook up more bacon (we LOVE bacon…can you tell?!).
All in all, this program has been incredibly easy to follow and I’m just astonished at how NOT HUNGRY I’ve been this past week and a half. When I competed in natural amateur bodybuilding, I followed a very strict low-carb diet but I often felt CRAPPY due to the low caloric intake and lower fat intake as well. Not to mention the TEDIOUS process of counting calories.
Well, I must admit that I am a firm believer in NOT COUNTING CALORIES anymore. (I’ll share some excellent resources about this in future posts coming soon…great stuff from Gary Taubes and Dr. Peter Attia about this!). And I am CONVINCED that living a simplified LIFESTYLE that’s focused on unprocessed, high energy dense food, and away from processed, sugar-laden JUNK, is the way to go about transforming your body and life.
Now, I’m not expecting to “see my abs” within three months…No, I’m not planning on stepping on a bodybuilding stage in “less than Speedos” anytime soon. But, I AM planning on losing the excess 30 lbs. of fat around my midsection and gluteus MAXimus through healthful eating and consistent, high-intensity training. It WILL HAPPEN and I will post the pictures to prove it!
This is and always has been a PROCESS. Frankly, it’s been my life’s STRUGGLE as those who know me have seen me succeed with fat loss then fail (miserably), get back up, and FAIL yet again. But I am heartened that I have a workable SOLUTION. All I need to do is continue to EXECUTE and the results will come.
I feel fortunate and blessed to have my wonderful wife on my side and we are trekking this journey together. Again, we already feel great and can envision living this lifestyle for years and years to come.
Strive and THRIVE!
I’m having a great time here in Hawaii visiting my folks for a few days. It also happens to be my birthday today and I am grateful for all the happy b-day wishes many of you have sent via my Facebook page.
If you’ve been following along my fitness journey, you’ll know that it’s been two months since I started living the low-carb (i.e. low starchy-type, refined, sugary-type), higher fat lifestyle. I haven’t done anything super drastic to try and lose weight/fat and in all honesty my exercise regimen has been sparse at best.
However, I HAVE made some progress! I did lose a little over one inch of fat around my midsection, my clothes have started to fit a little less snug, and I’m on my last hole of my belt. All this with one lifestyle modification. Limiting my consumption of starchy-type, grain-type, and all refined carbs (e.g. rice, bread, pasta, cereal, fruit, grains, etc.) and increasing my fat intake (e.g. more saturated fat like cheese, meats, cream, and other unsaturated fat like olive oil).
My overarching goal right now is to lose the excess fat around my belly because it’s the most unhealthy fat I’ve accumulated over the years. I also intend to monitor my blood work (e.g. lipid profile) as another objective measure. I saw my doctor at the beginning of this week–and I encourage anyone who wants to begin a nutrition/exercise program to consult with a health professional.
Now, I’m not entering any bodybuilding contests in the near future, but I do want to record my physique changes and note certain things like: 1.) hunger levels, 2.) ease of integration into my busy work/personal life, and 3.) mental acuity.
I’m sure you’ve read a lot about how low-carb eating can make you feel “foggy” and can put a damper on energy levels. But, I know that it’ll be different as long as I keep my fat intake higher. Fat is a phenomenal fuel source for energy and brain activity.
Frankly, I’m still reading and learning more about how much I actually don’t know. In fact, a lot of what I thought I knew about nutrition was actually wrong or misguided.
Many of you know that I’ve got a deep thirst for knowledge and an even greater drive and passion for applying stuff that’s based in fact/science. Thanks to some incredible science-based resources I’ve found in Gary Taubes, Dr. Peter Attia, and the Nutrition Metabolism Society, I’m going “back to school” and planning to “graduate” with a “Ph.D. in RESULTS!”
So, come along with me as I begin another year and another transformation. Here’s to less hunger, more energy, healthier living, leaner abs, and greater fitness overall!
Strive and thrive!