Friday, January 21, 2011

Diet update and strategy

Since yesterday's post was so focused on training I thought today I'd talk more about diet. This past weekend I went up to the mountains with one of my friends, and let's just say we didn't eat as cleanly as possible (read: crapton of beer & liquor, chips, burgers, and some good stuff like grilled meat). But I knew that would be the case, and used it as a kind of "last hurrah" before I really started focusing on my training. So this week has been really good. I've got lots of food already prepared in the fridge, I've got a big order of grassfed beef coming in next week, and a ton of fresh produce from the local Mexican market. The worst thing I have in my apartment right now is a bar of Trader Joes 85% cocoa dark chocolate, and a few bottles of red wine. So I'm pretty set, at the moment.

The whole "eating less" thing is going pretty good as well. I've started portioning out some of the big meals into measured, calorie-controlled containers, so I can't really overeat. I'm doing well with limiting my nut and fruit intake, and I'm also eating a lot of veggies (either on their own or cooked into something like chili or stir fry). My energy levels seem to have stabilized, and my workouts are going great. I allow for 2 glasses of red wine each night, and that's it, which keeps me sane without hurting my goals.

I'm also (re)integrating one day a week of overfeeding, a.k.a. cheating. Reading back on my posts from 2008 I find that allowing a cheat day helped keep me in line the rest of the week, and to be honest you can only do so much damage in one day, no matter how hard you try. Weekly refeeds help in other ways too, as they upregulate the hormone leptin, which regulates lipolysis (fat burning), and since I'm doing pretty intense training any carbs are preferentially used to restore muscle glycogen instead of just going to fat stores.

I've missed weigh-ins the past few days, but I'm considering moving to weekly weigh-ins (just prior to beginning the cheat day, which I'm planning to be Saturdays) to get a more consistent picture overall picture. The cheat day adds a kink to the daily weigh-ins, since fluctuations in weight of up to 8 pounds (due to depleted glycogen stores prior to overfeeding, and carb and water retention after) gum up the works for a day or two after the refeed. I'll try the weekly ones and see if it works for me, and if not I'll go back to the dailies.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, both red wine and dark chocolate are my saving grace. Sounds like you've got a good strategy. Keep it up, man!

Fatman said...

I have been seeing some good results from the following strategy: oatmeal in the a.m. - green shake (casein protein, fruit and greens) at lunch - big meal in the evening (I generally cook my own). Alcohol is kept to a minimum - a bottle or two of beer or a glass of wine, not every day. No planned overfeeding, but it still happens sometimes.

Tried the low-carb approach for a while, it helped me lose some flab but made me extremely unpleasant to be around. Seems like you have the diet zeroed in.