Southern Man

Monday, January 09, 2012

Diet Week One

This is all about accountability: Southern Man is bound and determined to lose that "last twenty pounds" and get rid of the roll around his middle and blogging about it every Monday will at the very least make him feel guilty about not doing what he should. So today was Day One of the six-week diet proposed in The Six-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle by Micheal and Mary Eades. The theory they espouse follows Gary Taubes' recommendation of a low-carb, low-starch, low-sweets diet. It was his book Why We Get Fat that got Southern Man started on this particular regime.

So here's the back story. In graduate school Southern Man's metabolism burned everything he consumed with the greatest of ease. He ate and drank what he wanted (which included tons of sweets and liters and liters and liters of sugary cola every day) but also ran regularly and even competitively (thanks, Wayne!) and couldn't top 140 lbs soaking wet. Then he married a girl who was probably the best country cook in three states and she put a hundred pounds on him the first year and it stayed. After the divorce he lost about forty pounds fairly quickly but was still at least forty overweight.

Then a year ago he read Taubes' book and did nothing more than cut 'way back on the carbs and starches - only one piece of garlic toast with a meal instead of ten, no more toast and jelly and pancakes for breakfast, no more massive plates of homemade nachos three times a week, more meat and veggies, and no watching portions or counting calories or any of that nonsense - and twenty pounds just melted away.

The theory is that our bodies evolved for both feast and famine. Most of the time we got by on lean protein, nuts, and the occasional berry; starches and carbs and sugars were rare treats. That's famine mode; your body burns what it gets and supplements with body fat as it can. But when on a steady diet of the good stuff our body goes into "feast" mode and packs as much of that nutrition away as it possibly can to get us through the next famine. What our bodies never expected was today's land of plenty where good food is abundant and cheap so your body tends to be in "feast" mode all the time. Thus, Eades proposes that to shed that curse of the middle-aged male you must put your body in famine mode for a while, reduce your fat store to the desired level, and then go on a maintenance diet that's not too different from what Southern Man eats now - plenty of meat and veggies and taking it easy on the pasta and breads and sweets. In other words, the traditional food pyramid turned upside down and with sweets still on the bottom.

The other idea Southern Man finally learned is that you don't control your weight with exercise. You control your fitness with exercise. You control your weight with diet.

Southern Man knows so many overweight women who watch (and even weigh) their portions and count their calories and drink only diet soda and spend hours on the treadmill every week and can't lose weight. Well, women have it tougher as their feast-and-famine modes also pack fat away to feed the babies. But Southern Man now observes what they eat and it's all small portions of carbs and starches which is the worst thing you can do to lose weight as your body thinks "feast and small portions, must pack as much away as possible for tomorrow which may be famine." One woman he knows that constantly moans about the failures of her rigorous diet actually picks the meat out of her pasta and won't eat it because "meat makes you fat." And the diet sodas make it even worse; there's lots of evidence that fake sugar increases cravings for the real thing. Ladies - stop kidding yourself with the Diet Cokes and the calorie counting and the portion weighing and just cut back on pasta and bread and eat your meat and veggies.

The first two weeks of this diet are fairly radical from Southern Man's point of view: one small meal and three or four protein shakes per day, and that's all. No caffeine (no problem, Southern Man kicked caffeine a decade ago), no sweets (damn), no alcohol (damn!), all intended to convince your body (and particularly your liver, which is lord and master of your food metabolism) to go into famine mode and start shedding fat. At least the meals are pretty much what Southern Man eats anyway. And (interestingly enough) at the end of the two weeks Eades says give blood to dump 20% of the newly-liberated fat that is now in the bloodstream. Southern Man is a regular donor anyway so that will be no problem at all.

We'll see how it goes. Southern Man is counting on all three of his readers to comment and encourage him to keep on the straight and narrow!


At Tuesday, January 10, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful with that famine mode stuff. The problem is that the weight lost can go right back on when a more regular eating pattern is resumed. That's why so many women have "yo-yo" weight. And the weight regained is frequently more than the weight lost.

That's why I am careful to loose weight slowly. It stays off.

Good luck. Girl Programmer

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you succeed. Post pictures of before and after when you have achieved goal.

At Wednesday, January 11, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to make my own comment then I read Girl Pro comment. I agree with it 100%. Hang tough!

At Sunday, January 15, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I switched to primal/paleo. Mostly follow The Primal Blueprint. Easy to lose weight and keep it off for good: was the best thing ever to happen to my body.


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