Sixty hours in. No chocolate. No fruit. No chips or oatmeal bars. All the meat I want. Most of the veggies. More fat than I’m accustomed to. (Ever drink melted butter? It’s weird. Even with cinnamon and sweetener.)
Sixty hours–two and-a-half days. No Fresca (a staple in our house) or Coke Zero, either. They don’t have any carbs (0% natural goodness) but they’re always like the lone sock. They need their better half–in the form of pretzels and Sun Chips.
Breakfast the first morning (10 hours in): Ham. Oh, that was weird, too. This morning? Sausage links with almonds. I could eat about ten links, but I restrict myself to three. Restriction is a good, wholesome thing, now, after too much time without restriction. (Besides, I don’t want to keep running to the store for breakfast meat, as we have a fridge full of holiday leftovers that I have to pass over with a sigh.)
Now, you may have guessed from my consumption list that I’m on a no-carb diet. Yay. It’s drastic. It’s not fun. It’s necessary.
The Blerch got me. There, I admit it.
(For those who haven’t seen or heard, the Blerch is Oatmeal.com creator Matthew Inman’s ugly, slovenly fear incarnate. The one where middle-age laziness and a lack of dedication adds a few dozen pounds to your mid-section.)
Now wait just a f_____g minute. I’m not lazy. I get exercise four times a week, including two hours of pickup soccer (7-8 miles of jogging and sprinting, realistically).
So WTF happened? Good question. The simple, harsh fact is that I’ve gained 35 pounds since May of 2015, the build-up to my last half-marathon. Really? Thirty five? Really.
Pointing fingers might be helpful. I’m super-busy (Who isn’t?). I’ve turned 40 and 41 since then (my body isn’t quite the shiny SUV that got me up Mailbox Peak and through a full marathon in ’08). I’m often tired from not enough sleep (again, Who isn’t?).
Excuses excuses excuses.
I don’t eat terribly. Lots of chicken and veggies, seldom fast-food meals, not going crazy on cookies and chips. Truth be told, I eat pretty well, don’t I?
The only logical explanation for my state (around 220 pounds) is that my diet, as it was, wasn’t good enough. My theory (which I haven’t researched) holds that stumbling into my early 40s–the dreaded middle age–brought a slight change in my metabolism. From a fuel standpoint, the intake choices which were good enough before aren’t good enough any longer.
Naturally, one of my dietary problems was eating something because it’s there. Only a “handful” of Wheat Thins left in the box–it would be silly to take up room on the pantry shelf with that. There’s only two Oreos left in the package. Why not kill them off?
Oh boy, if that isn’t the antithesis of discipline. And they’re carbohydrate no-nos. Who ever gained weight from killing off peppers or sugar snap peas? From the low-carb standpoint (Yes, I’ve drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid) each Oreo is like a stick bomb. Go military-defense: “Can’t even let one of those bastards in, Gunny!”
Now, when I say I’m being drastic, that’s because I have to. One thing I’ve learned about myself (I am 41) is that I can’t have soft restrictions or half-assed discipline. Doesn’t work. And the experts and bloggers who tout this religion–where keto is a positive state of being–warn against even one slip in the early stages. So tonight I’m skipping a friend’s vodka-and-latke party because temptation there looms like a pit of quicksand. When the kids and I walk down for doughnuts in a few minutes (3.5 miles RT) I’d rather put duct tape over my mouth. One chocolate with rainbow sprinkles completely derails the train. Goddammit.
The way this works, for those outside the loop, is fourteen days of a maximum of 20 grams of carbs per day. That’s less than half of a Clif bar. One apple blows that out of the water. An apple! Yes, I miss fruit. I miss a lot of things. But they will come again.
Another fact I accept about myself (my days of delusion are behind me) bolstered by looking in the mirror and reading books like The Yoga of Max’s Discontent: I’m not going to starve. Justin is not going to wither away and become dust anytime soon. In Minnesotan terms (think snowbound in a ditch) I must have two to three weeks of reserves on me. Yes, I think I’d rather be strapped to a gurney or put in a coma for three weeks. Bam, problem solved. Life doesn’t work that way (kids, work, marriage, house, cat, a host of other responsibilities).
Besides, how could this be any fun without some much-deserved pain?
[To be continued…]