*Sorry guys, meant to post this on Friday. Enjoy!*
There are a few things that happened this week that I thought were worth mentioning, and hadn’t gotten round to writing about yet. First, here are my latest food thoughts:
Last night, I made an extra-large batch of broccoli/sausage/cheese and this time I added onions. That was good. Unfortunately, my extra large batch ended up being enough for maybe two meals. I was hoping it would be more like 3 or 4. It’s seriously just so tasty, I can’t get enough of it. This is exactly what Dr. Guyenet is talking about at WholeHealthSource. When something is really delicious, you want to eat more of it. That just makes sense. Sometimes you even eat more than it takes to fill you up. Then you feel overfull and gross, generally. But when you’re eating foods that don’t screw with your hormones, you can do that sometimes and still not gain any weight. So that’s awesome.
Also, I’ve more or less given up on trying to maintain ketosis for now. I’m still staying relatively low carb (under 50g/day, I’d guess) but I’m not trying to stay below 20g or whatever I was before. Sometimes, I just want to have some dark chocolate, or some honey almond butter, or some sweet potato. I know I could probably manage that and stay in ketosis, but the whole reason I love this paleo lifestyle is that it’s very easy and low-maintenance. When I have to start trying to remember how many grams of carbs I’ve had in a day, it starts feeling like work. There’s also the psychological pressure of knowing that I can’t have something, which just makes me want it more. Interestingly enough, I don’t have that same issue with wheat products because they make me feels like smashed butts. Whatever pleasure I gain from eating them would not make up for feeling like smashed butts afterward. I don’t even really crave bread and pasta of the gluten free variety very often. If it’s available, I’ll probably have some, but it’s not the sort of thing I’ll binge on. And really, my “binges” these days are pretty weak sauce compared to the binges of old. Most of you have never even seen a proper binge. Those who have speak of them only in frightened whispers. I can still see the empty bags and the piles of wrappers stacked high on the coffee table. When I was in college (and at varying points since) I ate absolutely absurd amounts of candy. I’m talking actual, literal, plural pounds per sitting. For realsies. So you can see why me referring to half of an 85% dark chocolate bar as a “binge” seems a little silly to me now. For where I am at this point, though, it kind of is. I’ve really changed my tastes in a lot of ways, and I’ve started caring about the content of my food to a much larger extent. It’s no longer just “Skittles are empty calories, and I probably don’t need them” it’s more like “Not only is there no nutrient value to these Skittles, but the sugar in them is going to actively kick my hormonal balance in the groin.” I’ll take some coconut milk ice cream, some dark chocolate, some honey-sweetened whipped heavy cream on a bowl of berries, or whatever else, please. It’s still not the best thing for me, but it’s at least not 100% awful.
Okay, so there’s that.
Now, what about fitness? I haven’t been talking about fitness a lot, since it’s not one of my big driving forces right now. I am fit enough right now to do everything I care to do. I can carry the groceries in from the car without being out of breath, I can do about 30 flights of stairs over the course of the day, I can pick up and move heavy objects. Those are the things that come up for me on a daily basis. I have been maintaining that level of fitness on maybe 15 minutes, 3-4 days a week of pushups, v-sits, dips, air squats, etc. Very basic movements, not even done with high intensity. I’ve been incorporating more weights into the mix, and I’m definitely enjoying that. I feel stronger, and my muscles are responding well to it. But I’m not doing any dedicated cardio at all. I’m not even really walking like I should be.
So imagine my surprise when the other day, I perceived a change in my cardio capacity. My wife and I were driving, and some baseboard that had been stored on the roof rack of her car came clattering off the roof and into the street. It took me a moment to realize what had happened, and then another moment to find a place to pull over to the side of the road. I walked and then jogged back along the sidewalk to where the board was lying in pieces on the pavement, and grabbed them up (It wasn’t usable anymore, but I abhor littering). Then I jogged back to the car. Not sprinting, but definitely a good pace. I got into the car, and almost immediately my heart rate and breathing returned to normal. This wasn’t an exceptional exertion, mind you, but I wasn’t expecting such a quick recovery. It has been months and months since I actually trained for that sort of thing. I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time, but I would have thought that I would be worse off now than I was back when I was running in a dedicated way, even though I was heavier. Without any kind of scientific measurements, it’s impossible to say for sure, but my own subjective memory indicates that I’m out of breath less easily now, and that I recover more quickly.
So here are my thoughts. One, it’s possible I’m misremembering. Maybe I’m actually way worse now than I used to be, I just don’t actually recall how awesome I used to be. Two, it’s possible that I was mistaken. Maybe I wasn’t running as hard as I think I was, and the recovery was nothing special at all. Three, it’s possible I was just distracted after getting back into the car, so I lost track of how much time it took me to recover. Those are all viable, so I don’t want to ignore them as possibilities. Here are some other possibilities. Four, maybe the fact that I’m carrying 30-40 pounds less weight means that my body is working better overall, even without intentionally working on cardio capacity. Maybe I’ve lost visceral fat that was keeping my heart and lungs from working at maximum efficiency. Five, maybe my intermittent attempts at short, intense exercise are having a larger effect on my cardio capacity than I would have thought. It’s not consistent, but it’s probably at least once every few weeks where I’ll really ramp up my heart rate in a big way for a short period. Six, maybe my regular daily life is doing enough to keep up a baseline of fitness for me, just by virtue of the fact that I tend to run up and down stairs, carry my dog around, carry my wife around, etc. I wouldn’t say that I have an active lifestyle, as my job is pretty sedentary and my home life is pretty sedentary. I do work on my house and just live the life of a husband with a very tiny and pregnant wife who needs help carrying things a lot. Maybe that’s enough? I’m guessing it’s a combination of these things. My daily life, coupled with some intense, sprint-type weight bearing exercise every so often, coupled with a major reduction in body weight might just mean that I’ve gotten to a passable level of cardiovascular fitness without really trying.
That would be cool.
So anyway, that’s what’s been going on. Thanks for reading!