My website host says that around 100 new people look at this blog each day. That means either: A) People are really interested in ways to start eating healthier and feeling better OR B) Our URL is really close to that of a porn site. Although it is probably B, it's about time for another post just incase. I just had a long conversation with a friend and we agreed that 'self-help' books that don't give you exact step by step instructions to achieve what they promise suck. Therefore, as my other blogs have attempted to do, I'll give you 4 easy items you can change today to start losing weight and/or feeling better.
Please just remember I am NOT a Doctor or trained dietitian. I spend a great deal of time reading the science on OFM and am almost 2 1/2 years into an experiment on my own body. If it turns out sugar and processed food are really healthy and you want to sue- odds are I'll be dead from lack of sugar.
1) Stop drinking crap!
This shouldn't be a shocker. I'm nearly certain you have heard this before and probably said to yourself "I only drink 1 soda a day", "A few beers at night doesn't hurt anything", or "Water makes my mouth bored".
When you go get your triplefrappamochachino with whipped cream, you might as well just sit down, eat some sugar cubes and skip your workout for the day instead. "I'll just have a sweet tea with lunch. Tea is good right?" NO! Have you ever made sweet tea yourself? You take a little bit of tea and add an ass-ton of sugar. How about you have black coffee with some heavy whipping creme? It might take you a few days to adjust but I think you can handle it. Kill Cliff, the title sponsor of the Destin Marathon, (double shameless plug, yes!) just sent me some of their new Epic Mojo iced coffee...4g carbs for the regular black type. Now that's a sensible choice.
Ok, you can handle black coffee and water or unsweet tea during the day but what about happy hour? No one wants to look uncool around their co-workers and drink water. You look at the chart above and decide you will just have vodka tonic since the vodka bar is really small on the chart and it is clear so it must be low in sugar. Wrong! Tonic and most other mixers are full of sugar. A better choice would be vodka and soda with lime. "But it doesn't taste like anything." Here's a trick: carry a little bottle of your favorite Mio in your purse or man-bag and add a few drops to your drink. I think red wine is the real sleeper here. There are so many different kinds, I'm sure you can find one or two that you can choke down. If you must drink that micro-brew beer, try not to drink a dozen of them...I mean, if you are really trying to improve your body.
2) Goodbye bread....It's not you, it's me
Bread is really tasty- And who can pass up something "free" at a restaurant when you are so hungry and about to pay $30 for a steak? (like those damn tortilla chip at the Mexican restaurant) Anyway do I really need a graphic and another paragraph for this? Don't eat bread. Yes tortillas are bread.
3) Dear Potatoes, I think it's better if we are just friends
I love potatoes. Mashed, fried, chipped, roasted, souped, saladed, or baked but like our friend bread, they are packed with carbs. If eating out order no potatoes, double veggies. At home I like this super easy recipe to use just like mashed potatoes. I tried it on my co-workers today and they all approved.
Fake Mashed Potatoes
-1 big head cauliflower (don't worry it won't taste like cauliflower once we get done with it!)
-1 package FULL fat Cream Cheese
-1 package other shredded cheese of your choice
-Heavy whipping cream
Steam, boil, microwave or otherwise make the cauliflower mushy. It should come apart easy with a folk. I would use just the puffy flower parts unless you really want to eat the tree trunk part. Throw those cooked cauliflower pieces in a blender, mixer or food processor with the cream cheese and just enough heavy cream to get it going. Once it looks like mashed potatoes you have a choice to make: either serve them like that or put them in a pan, cover them with shredded cheese and bake them at 350 for 30 min. If you don't like them I'll refund all the money you spent for this recipe.
4) Drunk food and drinks still count
This shouldn't even count as one of my 4 points, but I feel it is worth highlighting as a way you can help your body out. I'm not advocating that you get drunk but I have heard that sometimes it happens. And when it happens some people make really bad decisions. Now, I'm not here to judge you for making out with questionable people or puking in the Uber on the way home- but please DO NOT decide to end the night with a few margaritas, a pizza, and french fries. If this happens, not only will your Uber rating be crap and there be a photo of you groping questionable person on Insta, but you will have ruined all the work you did by following the previous 3 steps all week.
Click here to google "Drunk People Eating". (I just saved you from appearing on here)
To recap 4 things you can start today to improve your body and well-being. 1) Don't drink crap that is full of sugar- for breakfast, during the day, or at happy hour. 2) Bread = Bad. 3) Break up with potatoes. 4) All these rules still apply when you are drunk. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
This is going to be short and sweet A) So no one sues me B) Because I'm busy with things that pay my mortgage. B leads me to my point....please don't spend hundreds for weight loss advice or supplements. Do I want you to click on that Amazon ad to the right so I get 18 cents from your diaper purchase? Yes, it would be great if I could pay for the costs of this blog but it is not why I write. I write here so that I can inspire and help a few of my friends get their bodies and energy back to where they want it to be. And so far it has worked for at least 13 of you that I know of....hopefully there are a few more that avoid telling me so my head doesn't get too big.
I have asked you to buy two books, for a total of $25. The other investments I have asked you to make don't cost you anything: read the books, download a free app, eat fats instead of carbs. Could I probably help more people with a nice website that summarizes those two books with cool graphics and daily meal plans? Yes. Maybe someday Dr. Volek and Dr. Phinney will let me do that, but until that happens you are stuck with actually reading the books and reading this graphically lacking blog. In addition to this horrible excuse for an eating blog, there are at least 10 other great high fat/low carb blogs written by people with actual credentials and graphic designers.
Just by reading these books and opening your mind to fats (and closing it to sugar=the devil) you are already ahead of the thinking of 99% of our society...and a hell of a lot of people who actually claim to know what they are talking about and try to sell you crap! You are on the cutting edge of dietary science...well the earliest known humans figured it out the fat thing, so let's say...You are on the cutting edge of modern dietary science.
Experts Applaud Dietary Guidelines That Lift Dietary Fat Cap
"In recent years, evidence has been building that diets higher in healthful fats -- even when they exceed the current limit of 35% -- can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. At the same time, no evidence suggests that diets low in fat but high in carbohydrates prevent any major diseases."
My suggestion is to save your $150 a month someone wants you to spend on advice or "super-diet-explode-hydro-cut-abs-extreme" and use that money to buy real food. *Now, if you are a serious athlete I think there are things other than food that you can benefit from, but for this blog I'm talking only about losing weight.* Next time you go to the traditional old grocery store, do all your shopping on the outside of the store (except toilet paper...get that in the inside isle). Veggies, fish, meats, cheese, beer (ooops- skip that area), butter, eggs and heavy cream. That pretty much sums up about 90% of my meals. Enjoy your 4th of July BBQs and remember: burger, no bun, extra cheese, bacon, avocado, and a little sour cream- if you feel like getting crazy.
Well it appears my first blog struck a cord with quite a few people. I didn't even know 8 people read it, but I have had at least 8 friends tell me this past week that they are going to start the diet in the near future. And then they suggested I write a 'getting started' blog. I'm going to tell you some resources you can use, what to buy at the store, and why you will hate me the first week.
First a disclaimer- I'm not a Dr or dietitian or anything of the such. You can jump right into this just reading my blog and figure it out (odds are you will not die, but I not making any promises). But I would highly suggest reading at least The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance (see Resources page) before starting the diet. I see several of you have already ordered the book, which I made $.36 total off of for all 4 books ordered (it might take a while to make back the $100 invested in this site so far - but if it helps those 1 of you it's all worth it). The following are my thoughts/experiences only and I probably forgot a lot of shit. If you have something seriously wrong with your body then you might want to see a Dr before you change everything up.
In addition to buying AND READING the book (it's a quick read), I suggest you download MyFitnessPal on your iPhone or tablet or whatever you carry all the time. You are going to use this app to track your carbs/fat the first month or until you get confident in your carb counting ability. You can use anything to track your carbs/fat but that is what I used.
Now that you have the tools, you need some food. If you are serious you are going to purge your house of carbs, just like a recovering alcoholic gets rid of the booze when they quit. Don't worry all your carb eating friends will love the gifts of pasta, bread, and all that stuff. Just look at the labels, if they have more than about 20 carbs a serving, donate it. Then you are going to go to the grocery store and stock up for your first week. If you are vegetarian or vegan or some other special diet already, you are just going to have to figure it out. *Note: Yes veggies have carbs but you are still going to eat them. If you only eat meat and cheese- don't come crying to me if you don't poop for a week....or ever again.
So the point of this grocery list and those meals is taking you to the core of the plan. 1) Keep your total carbs for the day below 50 grams. 2) Get around 60-70% of your calories from fat. If you don't do anything else at all- do those two things! Now here is how your are going to make this happen.
You are going cold turkey. There is no in between where you gradually cut out the carbs. The day you start you are going to hit those two goals above and your are going to do that for a month straight. None of this cheat day stuff (for now). Although its going to be rough, there is science and stuff that says this is the best way.
The first few days your are not going to be happy with me. Sorry, it will get better. You are going to be tired, irritable, and generally feel like crap. Your body was addicted to sugar (carbs=sugar)-you are in sugar withdrawal you addict. The other thing that is going to happen is you are going to be peeing like you have been out drinking all night. This is your body getting rid of all the water stored with those carbs in your body. That initial water weight loss might be 5lbs, but it's only water.
If you are working out, you do need to cut that back a little. 25% workout effort the first week, 50% the second week, 75% the third week, then back to 100% the fourth week. Some people can do more, some less but that was a good guide for me. Also if you are working out remember to hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate. All that water you peed out, isn't there when you workout now. Also I'd suggest taking an S! Cap or salt supplement. This will limit your lightheadedness. If you are getting cramps, get some slow release magnesium (you can order this on the www.vespapower.com site).
When you get that craving for carbs (you will) have a cheese stick. Whatever you do, don't give up these first few weeks. I promise the reward at the end is worth it. This month I'm also going to ask you to give up booze for the most part. You can have your 50g carbs however you want (8 glasses dry red wine or 4 lite beers) but your body would appreciate it if you had those in the form of something with nutrition value instead. If you have to have a drink, you know to be social and stuff, I suggest vodka and soda with a lime. As time goes on you become super sensitive to sweets and you will find all that high sugar liquor/soda does not taste good anymore. (Except Guinness....that shit always tastes good!)
Here's the bottom line. Keep your carbs under 50g a day and start eating a ton of fat. You will feel gross, especially if you have been on one of the low-fat/be hungry diets. And you are probably going to feel like shit for a few days or weeks depending on how sugar addicted you are. This is the entry fee for a life where you enjoy eggs and bacon for breakfast, a ribeye for lunch, and some fatty beef ribs for dinner like I did today AND you lose weight AND you workout for hours with huge amount of energy. But we will get more into the benefits next blog...someone remind me when it's time to write that. Your comments are welcome (unless you are going to be an jerk). Especially comment if you just started on the diet!
As I watch people run around in circles for 24 hrs, something I actually enjoy, I thought I’d catch up on a well-overdue story. More than anything else I've ever done, I get questions about my weight loss journey. For years, my weight was right around 190 lbs, but around 4 years ago, it just started to sneak up a little at a time to peak around 230lbs. No matter how much I ran, it would only make me hungrier and make me want to eat more. I’ll be the first to admit I satisfied my hunger fully, and usually with pizza and beer. I’m not good at being hungry….to put it lightly! Being hungry is not fun! I could handle being hungry for a few days, maybe even a week, but in the end, a buffet or pizza would always be needed to satisfy my hunger. This continued until my flight suit was being pushed to the limits and I was struggling to run a 5K, let alone a 50-mile race.
Then, just after St. Patrick’s Day 2013, I got a note from Mike Morton that he was having some folks come to Ft. Bragg to talk about the diet he was on, and he invited me to attend. At that time, Mike was having an amazing run of winning the 24-hr World Championships and crushing 100-miler after 100-miler. But I respect Mike more for what he has done in the military than running and am always willing to consider his perspective. So I showed up for this presentation with a bunch of doctors getting ready to talk about a low-carb diet. In my mind, I was a carb-loading runner, so I sat wondering, “What do these guys know?” I listened to the presentation by Dr. Phinney, Dr. Volek and Peter Defty about changing my body from a carb-burner to a fat-burner, but was still in disbelief. And I wasn't the only one in the crowd. In the end, someone finally said they didn’t think it would work for ‘real’ military athletes. At that point Mike stated something like, “If I had known about this diet 10 years ago, I would have been on it then and would have been better at my job.” Like I said, I trust Mike. So I decided to spend the rest of the day with these folks and Mike. As we were touring the facilities we passed the DXA scanner (super precise body-fat measurement machine) and they proceeded to talk me into getting scanned and asked me to bring the results to dinner that night.
So for dinner I chose one of my favorite places just to see if I could eat like these ‘strange’ people. And I brought black and white proof of how obese I was (the DXA photo here is not mine, let's just say mine was much fatter). Turns out eating with these guys wasn’t so bad and after looking at my body fat (34.9%) I decided it couldn’t possible hurt me to try this for 2 months. So I stated I was starting the diet that night. Of course, Dr. Phinney asked if I had read their books, and I didn’t even know there were books. He handed me The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance and suggested I read them. I had the premise, cut my carbs to 50 grams a day and fill 60-70% of my calories with fat….easy day right?
Well, it is easy unless your diet up until that point had consisted basically of pizza (carbs), beer (carbs), pasta (carbs), and potatoes (carbs). Needless to say the transition was a little rough for my body. When I cut the carbs to 50 grams a day, it went into full on revolt. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I was falling asleep at work, and running was nearly impossible. This lasted about 2 weeks. At that point something strange began to happen. I started to have not just more energy, but more than I had two weeks prior. Within a month, I was running better than I ever had and was down over 10 lbs after my initial water weight loss (carbs hold a lot of water in your body so you lose that first 5lbs pretty quick). Something was happening and I kind of liked it. I was eating eggs and bacon in the morning, a salad with sour cream and cheese at lunch and then a dinner of ribeye and veggies in heavy cream, butter, and cheese. I was never hungry, eating full fatty food and losing weight....rewind the tape…..I was never hungry, eating full fat food and losing weight.
I went in for another DXA scan 43 days after my first humiliating scan. I had dropped 10 lbs of pure fat and was down to 32% body fat. On top of that, a few weeks later I completed a 40-mile mountain race in West Virginia (barely making the cutoff). My fat pants were starting to get loose and it was getting a lot easier to tie my shoes. Maybe there was something to this diet. A little concerned about my cholesterol levels due to the amount of saturated fat I had been consuming, I had a full profile done along with my annual physical in October (7 months after starting the diet). My triglycerides had dropped from 135-73, HDL went from 61-70, and VLDL had gone from 27-15. Not only were my numbers not getting worse, they were actually improving!
Later that summer, I made an attempt at the Leadville 100. While I fell short of completing it, I took almost 2 hours off of my 40-mile split, compared to my race in West Virginia in the spring. Why had someone not told me about this eating plan sooner? I gave up most of my beer and pizza but my performance was increasing rapidly, I was eating like a bear, I had more energy than I had ever had before and my blood work was improving. Of course at this point people started to really take note that I was thinning down. This is the only time when someone asking you if you are sick is actually a compliment! I was heathier than I had been in years!
In November 2013 (almost exactly 8 months after starting), I went in for another DXA. This time I was down 31 lbs of pure fat and my body fat was down to 24%. The best thing, I was weighing in under 190 lbs for the first time in a long time and could break out some clothes that I had not been able to fit in years. I even thought I saw an abdominal muscle one time when the light was just right! If I had not before, at this point I saw no reason to change something that was working so well. That fall I did the JFK 50-miler. After my failure at Leadville, I ran most of the race very conservatively. I only took in about 500-1000 calories during that race but my energy levels were high. With 4 miles left, I realized I could finish under the cut-off even if everything went to hell so I just started running as fast as I could. Turns out I could run pretty fast (for me) and I kept getting faster the more I ran. Now that I look for it, I see OFM athletes getting strong in comparison to high-carb athletes as races progress, but that was a first for me.
Now I am coming up on two years of low carb/high fat eating (and as any of my friends will tell you, I mean EATING!). I have not gone hungry since March of 2012 and don’t ever plan on it again. My weight has been as low as 180 lbs when I was running 70-mile weeks and as high as 190 lbs when I was running 0 miles per week for a few months. In the past two years, I have introduced dozens of normal people and athletes to this plan with great success. And although it certainly is not for everyone, it is for me!