I made a graph. Sort of.

I’ve been kicking something around a bit, and wanted to share with you all while I still have it more or less solidified in my brain. Here goes:

I’ve been trying to figure out just how restrictive I need to be with my diet to reach my admittedly modest goals. I keep coming back to the graph in this post from Dr. Attia, because I think it’s brilliant: What I actually eat

I’ve made my own, similar version, here:

Okay, so what is this about? It’s about how strict I have to be with my food, really. Dr. Attia is talking about carbohydrate restriction, but I see this in terms of generalized paleo eating as well. So for me, right now, I think I’m probably in the lower left hand box. Maybe on the line between the two bottom boxes, actually. My goals at this point are really simple, and I’ve got decent genes. Here are my goals: I don’t want to feel sick and I don’t want to be fat. I’m okay with being in the 12-18% bodyfat camp right now. I lost twice as much weight during my wife’s pregnancy as she gained (wacky, right?) when most guys I know put on a lot of chub during that period. I feel like a champion. And losing that weight took a little restriction, dietarily. But maintaining really isn’t all that hard. I have to screw up pretty badly to see anything register on the scale or in my waistband. Let’s be clear, I definitely screwed up badly enough to notice some slippage in the past month. But very little, relatively speaking. And I was eating really, really poorly for a lot of that month.

But this graph keeps popping into my head, so I wanted to revisit it, and maybe remind everyone else about it. It’s a great way to think about how much effort you really need to be putting forward. It’s not just about food, either. It can also be about exercise, sleep, and any number of other things. Everyone has to find out how their own personal body works with these various stimuli to move you towards or away from your goals. The thing that I take away from this is that I’m not really gaining anything by restricting myself more than I need to for my goals. So while I have a tendency to beat myself up for eating nachos as often as I do (dude, I seriously love nachos) the simple fact is that I can probably get away with it as long as it’s not holding me back. And right now, it really doesn’t seem to be. The thing that does hold me back from the goals I listed above is too much sugar consumption, and too much dairy consumption (I have discovered that even with grassfed dairy, I can push myself too far, specifically with sour cream, though butter, cheese and heavy cream all seem to be pretty much unlimited). Those are the things in my life where I tend to give myself a little too much slack, and I’ll push it until I feel a little sick or start getting a little fat. I don’t struggle at all avoiding grains or legumes anymore, so that’s a moot point. But anyway, I just wanted to share this with you guys, since I think it’s a useful way to organize thoughts about this stuff.

I ran some more sprintervals this morning, and felt pretty good about them. I think I’m going to rest up and let all my foot and leg muscles recover until race day on Monday. I’m running with a friend who is kind of a fitness maniac, and I’m really just hoping I don’t embarrass myself.

Okay, now for some links! Another good-sized batch today:

Calcium Supplements Linked to Significantly Increased Heart Attack Risk, Study Suggests – I think most people take calcium supplements to improve bone health, but since so many people are Vitamin D deficient, it seems like an easier, safer solution is to get your D levels in order rather than pushing a bunch more calcium into the system.

Blueberry Honey Coconut Cups – These just sound so freaking good.

Why Nutella Is Not Healthy (& A Recipe for Better-Than-Nutella Creamy Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread) -I loved this post from Heba. I’ve never actually eaten Nutella, but I loved the breakdown of all the ingredients in it, and why they’re not good for us. These same ingredients are in so many other processed, packaged food, that it’s easy to see why hardly any of that stuff is good for us. The recipe also sounds like it would be delicious, so maybe my first experiment with Nutella will be with the homemade variety?

How to Make Healthy Jello – Another good one. My wife has been craving Jello recently, and I just got a bunch of the junky stuff, literally minutes before I saw this post. D’oh! Oh well, we’ll get this thing figured out.

Decadent Fruit Dip – I love dipping my food more than any person older than three has any right to.

What Are “Hydrolyzed Soy Protein” And “Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein,” And Why Are They In Everything? – A post from Gnolls.org, which I have come to really love. J. Stanton makes thorough, well-researched, well-reasoned cases in all of his posts. This is a great piece explaining these nasty food-like products that you’ll find in so many packaged, processed foods.

Your Whey Protein and Whey Isolate May Not Be Gluten-Free: Beware “Glutamine Peptides” – I don’t do whey protein (or any protein powders, actually) but I liked the explanation of what the stuff is and how it’s produced anyway. If nothing else, this is just good info to extrapolate to other foods.

Paleolithic Diet May Help Control Diabetes – A cool piece from UCSF on their research into the paleo diet. So far, everything is looking really promising for their trials. UCSF is just on point with all this diet research, it seems. Good for them.

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