Sunday, April 20, 2014

High Fat = High Performance?

Just a note before you read this blog-- please don't ever blindly follow anyone's advice on anything (whether it be diet, exercise, or life in general). Do your own research; don't just read one article or study. This is your life. Find what works for you.
Typical breakfast: eggs, bacon and stuffed peppers

I am celebrating three weeks on a high fat, low carb diet. We have a love/hate relationship, this new way of eating and me. You see, I would consider myself to be a carbohydrate addict. I love carbs. Lately, the love has been manifested in cravings for apples and whole grain tortilla chips-- not too bad considering I once ate too many Cheez-Itz and bowls of ice cream.

It's still too early in the game to decide if this will be THE diet for me forever. But I've actually been quite surprised at the results-- especially because I'm feeling great and am losing my cravings for the most part. This week's pizza night came and went, and I DIDN'T EVEN CARE. (Pizza night has historically been my oasis in the middle of a barren week of stress and healthy eating. Something guarded and celebrated and ABSOLUTELY necessary.)


The "Diet"

Basically I am eating according to the Bulletproof® diet. I heard Dave Asprey speak at Wodapalooza Miami in January 2014, and what he said about food just made lots of sense. On his website, everything is backed by research and explained very thoroughly. Primarily, the concept is to eat high quality food-- about 50-60% of calories from fat, about 20% from protein and the remainder from vegetables. Once every 7-10 days, add a higher amount of carbohydrates to bring the body out of ketosis and "reset." Although Asprey's goal is not to become a high performing athlete, he strives to create a body that performs to the best of its abilities in all areas of life. 

So, it's Paleo? Not exactly. I don't consider any vegetables off limits. I avoid wheat and dairy (except for the grassfed butter in my Bulletproof® coffee). And the whole Paleo "thing" kind of just turns me off. True confession-- I probably will never say I'm Paleo because if you Google "Paleo" you will find a million and one "Paleo" dessert recipes. Like if you label something "Paleo," it automatically becomes a health food. That annoys me. And frankly, I believe, is the reason America has an obesity problem. We want to have our cake and eat way too much of it. Of course, I know there are people who don't use the label to binge on desserts; heck, having a treat is ok. Maybe I just get annoyed too easily. Anyway...

Why?

The husband made me do it! Well, not really. He changed his eating habits at about the end of January. Nearly 3 months in, and he's lost 30 lbs. He's ripped, and eating about 2500 MORE calories than he did to get ready for a bodybuilding show. I only wish we had before and after body fat percentages, but honestly we really didn't expect these results. His strength has also NOT been affected. 

At first I got annoyed (ok, I need to work on not getting annoyed) by his constant chatter about this new way of eating. But now I get it. (I'm sorry, honey, for being annoyed!) Because I'm just so surprised at my own results that I can't help talking about it, too. 

I had been having some stomach issues. I will spare you the details. But it was enough for me to say that I was ready to try something different. And there was my cramping issues during races. Calf and foot cramps were fairly debilitating at the end of every longer race that I've pushed hard in. Something needed to change.

My Results

3 weeks in, I'm 6 lbs down. Strength is up. But, more importantly, I feel great. Stomach issues have pretty much disappeared. I ran the Super Spartan a week ago, fueled with a Justin's honey peanut butter packet (ok, peanut butter isn't Paleo or very Bulletproof®), and I had no problems with cramping. 

I'm still playing with what I eat. Trying to determine how many carbs are optimal for me. Because this way of eating isn't about losing weight or body fat, this is about performing better. 

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