Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I embarked on The 6 Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle to drop ten pounds and reveal my 6-pack. Now in week 4, I am half way there. I lost ten pounds (from 188 to 178 lbs) and the visceral fat under the muscle of my belly is greatly diminished, but my 6-pack is yet to be revealed. My wife dropped a couple of more pounds. Her blood stats also improved: glucose dropped 10, total cholesterol dropped 30, LDL dropped 20 and triglycerides dropped 26.
The Cure Weeks 3&4
The middle third of The 6-Week Cure is more like a normal low carb diet. There are three meals a day, but dairy is excluded. Alcohol, limited to two drinks a week and caffeine (dash of cream, no sugar) are OK. Plenty of no/low carb veggies, but minimal fruit. I enjoyed the eggs and bacon for breakfast and popped a whole chicken in the crock pot, after slipping some herb-saturated butter under the skin of the breast. The second day I pierced the surface of a couple of thick steaks with slivers of garlic and grilled them to produce some lusciously browned edges of fat.
Bad Habits and Portion Control
Alas, I had forgotten that the main reason for going on this gut transition diet, was to destabilize my gut flora, so that I could more easily change my metabolic set point to lose some visceral fat. I apparently succeeded, because after a couple of days my weight had very easily increased again. I was clearly taking in too many calories and there was little resistance to weight loss or gain. During the first two weeks on protein shakes, it was easy to eliminate bad snacking habits and carbs, but the return of normal meals in the 3rd and 4th weeks, made portion control harder. Before the diet, I would have a poached egg with two strips of bacon. The Cure version had crept up to two fried eggs, two strips of bacon and a sausage patty. I was satisfied, but it wasn’t a cure for the middle-aged middle. The harsh lesson, was that portion sizes still matter.
Energy for Exercise
More normal meals also meant a return of energy and an interest in exercise. I had only a few times when I felt that my low carb/ high protein & fat meals, stimulated some insulin and lowered my blood sugar. Common sense prevailed. I limited my portion sizes, enjoyed coffee and occasional drinks. I also started walking three miles a day watching the construction for the new community college along Indian Creek. Another interesting result was my weight training. I started testing my strength and found that for the first time in forty years I could bench press and crunch my weight, and I could squat twice my weight. Hand stands and pull ups were also much easier with less weight and more strength.
Altered Gut Flora
Absent PCR tests of my gut flora rRNA genes, I have to settle for empirical changes. My diet is still predominantly protein and fat, and I haven’t put back as many veggies as The Cure recommends. [It is winter in Idaho and the veggies in the market are not that appealing.] That also means that my gut flora are not getting very large meals either, so my stool volume has been cut about in half, compared to before The Cure. The largest impact is the impression that I can gain or lose weight with each meal. That makes further weight loss to remove the baby fat covering my 6-pack very approachable. Unfortunately, I can just reach out and ... feel it jiggle.