Tuesday, August 24, 2010

System Reboot?

So, today marks day 5 of the "new" diet as advised by the nice nutritionist lady. Rather than going for the full bore 3,000 calorie insanity that she had initially proposed, I've been aiming for something in the less porcine 2,200 to 2,500 range with the hope that that is sufficient to reboot my metabolism and get things cooking again.
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Remarkably, it has proven to be immensely difficult. You'd think that simply eating more calories would be as easy as snarfing down burgers, pizza, and ice cream at every available opportunity but it's far more challenging than that. The trick has been to move my overall daily calorie intake up by more than 500 calories while ensuring that no more than 20 per cent of them come from fat. The only way to tackle it successfully has been to turn it into a bit of an ongoing mental game. I punch everything I eat or drink into the MyPlate application on the LiveStrong website and iPhone app and track calories, fat, protein, and sugars to make sure that everything sits within the range that it's supposed to be.

Not. Easy.

On my first day I struggled to eat more than 1,900 calories and with over 800 calories burned on the bike and at the gym, my net intake for the day was actually less than usual. The following day wasn't much better, but because I didn't work out at all I could at least feel comfortable that I nearly squeezed 2,000 calories into my system while only overshooting my fat goal by 5 grams. By Sunday I was getting into the swing of things more, but I was starting to realize that the optimal mix of calories and carbs necessitates a lot of lean protein, and a lot of vegetables and high fiber breads and cereals which make you feel bloated in the short term and, um... let's call it "loose" in the longer term.

I've been loathe to step on the scales for fear of the horrors that it will reveal (I could put on between three and six pounds before things start moving in the right direction, apparently,) but I have to say that by yesterday I was noticing a distinct difference in how I felt.
I wasn't feeling hungry in the middle of the night (a big no-no according to the nutritionist, and a sign that something is seriously amiss) but I was starting to feel much hungrier during the day. The recommendation/warning that I would need to eat six or more times a day was pretty much on-target, and I find that I have to keep topping up the tank every three hours or so to avoid feeling absolutely ravenous.

Given that today is the fifth day of this madness, my whole system should have rebooted by tonight. If the changes in hunger pangs are any indication, something is definitely happening, and so far it all seems to be along the lines of what was described.

Given that I'm a gentleman of leisure for the time being while I spend a fortnight between jobs, I'm able to put a lot more time and effort into this than I would otherwise. I'm also able to spend a lot more time exercising. Sadly though the weather is conspiring against this. Today I had to cut a long ride short at just 20 miles due to the fact that the thermometer was pushing well north of 100' on my chosen training route. As I pushed up White's Hill in Fairfax I thought my tires were going to melt. It was so hot that my insulated water bottle, which was also packed with ice to chill the Gatorade even further, heated up so much that in less than an hour the contents were undrinkable.

It was all a necessary evil though. If, indeed, my new diet is working today's ride should have elevated my resting metabolic rate by more than 1 calorie a minute for the next 24 hours. That may not sound like much, but it means that with the right fuels I should now be burning 1,440 more calories while resting. It also means that if I have this carbs/fat thing balanced correctly that I should have retrained my body to burn through things in the right order.

The proof will come later this week when I start weighing myself again, I guess.



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