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Newenham – new user, new year, first challenge…


Newenham

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Thanks for the encouragements!

 

I keep wanting to grade myself but I designed the challenge to be graded at the end of the six weeks.

 

I'm not paying too much attention to calories and macros, just trying to stay around 1800–2000 kcal/day with low carbs and high protein. Ideally I'd like to find the sweet spot where I just know what's healthy and optimal without having to look it up and track it in MFP. That's another goal for the future, along with Eliminate Distractions!

 

Regarding my life quest (i.e. get a job) I've finished my portfolio last week and answered 10 job offers today. I'll keep doing this and hopefully I'll get some interviews. I've been freelancing for so long, all this is daunting. But interviews should coincide with me being healthy and fit, which is great for self confidence. It's good to keep in mind my ultimate motivation, which is to be dependable and responsible, so all I'm doing is going towards that.

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Newenham                              Level 1

STR 2 | STA 1 | CON 1 | DEX 1 | WIS 1 | CHA 2
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Update after 12 days: I'm learning a lot about myself through this challenge and everyone's experiences, and also by nerding around on nutrition/fitness resources, notably Carb Back-Loading, which is either a contemporary, evolved spin on intermittent fasting, or just a fancy way of calling classic weight training and carb cycling, depending on who you ask. It seems like there are as many protocols as people, and the only way to succeed is to build your own. I'm the kind of person who likes following recipes to the letter, when I should ideally be adapting them. So I'm gradually learning to tweak my habits, little by little, to eventually figure out the perfect system. The Holy Grail probably won't look like an ultra-scientific protocol but an educated intuition about how things work – behaviour, feeding, training, and so on.

 

So I'm already thinking about a future challenge where I switch from intermittent fasting to (moderate) backloading on lifting days and lower carbs on yoga days.

But for now I'm sticking to my current plan, which seems to be working.

The thing is, no matter how many articles and books I read, there doesn't seem to be a tailored set of rules for someone in my particular situation – alternating Bikram and weight lifting, my age and body composition, etc. – and if there were, I'd probably be disappointed.

 

Stats – weight 75 kg (down about 3 kg) – waist 82 cm (down 3–4 cm). I'm as impatient as ever but it's going fast enough, actually.

 

One thing I noticed: the first day of the challenge, I lost fat really fast (–1cm waist) and didn't put it back on. I only ate 1200kcal that day (I couldn't find enough proper food and it was too late to go shopping). So If I managed to replicate that day once a week, it might be a way to accelerate fat loss. 1200 is really low for me and definitely unsustainable, but many experts suggest a weekly full-day fast, so why not. Oh and it's Lent (since Wednesday) so avoiding dessert has further meaning now!

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Newenham                              Level 1

STR 2 | STA 1 | CON 1 | DEX 1 | WIS 1 | CHA 2
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So many theories out there, self experiment ends up the only way to find out what works personally. I get hugely tempted to mess up an experiment out of impatience, so it's good seeing you stick with one thing through the challenge so far.

Level 3 Tengu assassin

||  STR 6 || DEX 7 || STA 5 || CON 5.5 || WIS 5.5 || CHA 2  ||

 

The heart says, "Chocolate!"

 

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So many theories out there, self experiment ends up the only way to find out what works personally. I get hugely tempted to mess up an experiment out of impatience, so it's good seeing you stick with one thing through the challenge so far.

 

Normally I would have rushed to try something new but I'm sticking with the original plan this time!

 

My fist weekend was quite balanced nutrition-wise – eating low-ish carb + a few semi-cheat meals.

Second weekend was more challenging – lots of opportunities for wine and desserts.

Must remember to be extra careful next time.

 

week3.jpg

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Newenham                              Level 1

STR 2 | STA 1 | CON 1 | DEX 1 | WIS 1 | CHA 2
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Weekly recap —

 

Goal 1: Fine. Heavier and heavier weights!

Goal 2: Fine too, although I missed out on one session last week. Catching up this week.

Goal 3: not so good. I think I'm still losing fat but it's slowed down. I need more calories and "good" calories are hard to find. I usually eat primal (paleo with some cheese) but it's like an expensive hobby and I'm going through financial trouble. Can't be too picky when I'm not paying for lunch. My body composition stalled last week but it seems like it's changing again now. What I learned through recent experience: cooking exciting meals is the best way to eat healthy (duh) and I really can't be bothered counting calories – I can eyeball what's enough macros for me. I'm still IFing most days.

Life goal: I've taken decisions and completely changed my life course. For now it's mainly in my head. Applying for some new jobs this week.

 

week4.jpg

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Newenham                              Level 1

STR 2 | STA 1 | CON 1 | DEX 1 | WIS 1 | CHA 2
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I guess with low carb, then the extra calories would come from fats?  I don't know what the ethnic food situation is in your country, but I've found that in ethnic stores one can get coconut or red palm oil for pretty cheap.  At least in terms of calorie-per-unit-money.

 

Congrats on the life course decisions - even without knowing any details I'm excited by the sound of it.  Best of luck with the job applications!

Level 3 Tengu assassin

||  STR 6 || DEX 7 || STA 5 || CON 5.5 || WIS 5.5 || CHA 2  ||

 

The heart says, "Chocolate!"

 

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Good work so far, the difference in your photos is amazing!

 

I'm interested to read your thoughts on IF. It's something I do now too, I tried 5:2 for a while but it just didn't work well for me, now I've moved to a 16:8(ish) routine, skipping breakfast, and I find that in general it works really well. It's good to hear about someone elses experiences - hopefully I can learn from your experience a little too.

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Goal 3: not so good. I think I'm still losing fat but it's slowed down. I need more calories and "good" calories are hard to find. I usually eat primal (paleo with some cheese) but it's like an expensive hobby and I'm going through financial trouble. Can't be too picky when I'm not paying for lunch.

 

Yeah, paleo/primal is an expensive way to eat, unfortunately. :( And paid for lunches are a mixed blessing. I'm being treated to lunch today, and the entrees at the restaurant we're going to are 1400 calories each. It's ridiculous!

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Thanks everyone for your kind replies!

I tend to be impatient and hard on myself – so it's nice to have other people's thoughts and advice. I guess I've changed, but I'm still below my goal. Two weeks left!
 

I guess with low carb, then the extra calories would come from fats?  I don't know what the ethnic food situation is in your country, but I've found that in ethnic stores one can get coconut or red palm oil for pretty cheap.

 
Good idea, I'm almost out of coconut oil. Yes I try to get energy from fat more than from carbs, but I'm not being obsessive about it.
 

I'm interested to read your thoughts on IF. It's something I do now too, I tried 5:2 for a while but it just didn't work well for me, now I've moved to a 16:8(ish) routine, skipping breakfast, and I find that in general it works really well. It's good to hear about someone elses experiences - hopefully I can learn from your experience a little too.

 
I do between 16/8 and 18/6 when IFing. Very rarely longer. And when it's shorter, I don't really count it as IF.
 
But I don't do it every day because I can't manage Bikram yoga totally fasted (it's tough and long!). I always do weightlifting fasted, and then eat soon afterwards. Maybe when I start lifting over 100 kg I'll need some kind of food, but so far I'm fine. Are you doing it every day?
 
I believe you can do almost any exercise while fasted. Exceptions are when you're doing something athletic and kind of high-level, like professional ballet or running marathons, for instance. When performance matters more than anything. And usually your body fat is quite low when you've got that far. I'm gradually getting to that level at yoga, after two years of it, and plan to become a teacher. But the other exercise I do is more of a hobby.
 
Never managed a full day fast, like the experts suggest. The experts also suggest those crazy binge fests (okay, "strategic overfeeding") but that's not for me. I guess it depends on your own behavioural patterns. To me it looks and feels like a disorder, even though the idea is attractive. I honestly don't believe people who follow John Romaniello or Martin Berkhan actually go to such extremes. At least not a significant portion of them. I could be wrong though. I'm still experimenting with all this.
 

Yeah, paleo/primal is an expensive way to eat, unfortunately. :( And paid for lunches are a mixed blessing. I'm being treated to lunch today, and the entrees at the restaurant we're going to are 1400 calories each. It's ridiculous!

 
Wow, they must put tons of sugar in every dish… My advice would be to enjoy it regardless, because it's a treat and it's meant to make you happy! I found that when you skip desserts just for a few days, and then have something sweet, it tastes way too sweet. I make sweets with a lot less sugar than in most recipes.
 
And my favourite new cheap source of protein? Cans of sardines and mackerel!
 

I can imagine that it is more expensive to eat low carb, maybe you can find a place (like a farm) where you can buy cheap vegetables, eggs or meat?


I live in a big city where "farmers" markets are just resellers. I just buy whatever is cheap, in season, usually organic when it's leafy. Frozen wild salmon is okay. For meat it's tricky though. I think all meat is cereal-fed where I live, unfortunately. I've asked really expensive butchers if their beef was grass-fed and it's not. I've been eating rabbits, which are probably less industrially bred. If anyone has ideas about getting healthy meat in France, I'm interested.

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Newenham                              Level 1

STR 2 | STA 1 | CON 1 | DEX 1 | WIS 1 | CHA 2
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Darn, there goes my image of France being a utopia of food quality.  I guess it's kind of like in Japan.  Just about given up on finding properly raised meat now, relying much more on fish and lean cuts.

Level 3 Tengu assassin

||  STR 6 || DEX 7 || STA 5 || CON 5.5 || WIS 5.5 || CHA 2  ||

 

The heart says, "Chocolate!"

 

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I guess I usually fit within 16:8, I don't really stick to it too religiously but I do aim to do it every day yes. In the week lunchtime is pretty fixed but if we have a long climbing session in the evening dinner might be pretty late and it'll be longer than 8 hours, usually less than 9 though. I'm pretty useless at sticking to fixed schedules so really I just aim to not eat till lunchtime and not snack after dinner which will usually result in about 16:8. The only days when I'm not so good at getting IF to work for me are if we're out climbing for the whole day, I can't eat a proper meal in the middle of a days climbing so I normally just have some breakfast before we start. I need to experiment a bit to find what I can eat through the day that will give me enough energy. I have a three week trip coming up so maybe by the end of that I'll have figured it out!

 

I love France for food! But then I'm completely not low-carb and I'm mostly vegetarian. Give me some yummy bread, some cheese and a pile of vegetables and I'm happy. Plus a nice trip to the patisserie to follow up. It's probably a good thing I don't live there and have access to that stuff all the time!

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Seems like a good quest. :joyous:

 

Maybe your eating plan could be eating low-glycemic? It is easier to do in mainstream society than paleo, imho, but helps a lot with getting rid of cravings.

 

Good luck!

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I love France for food! But then I'm completely not low-carb and I'm mostly vegetarian. Give me some yummy bread, some cheese and a pile of vegetables and I'm happy. Plus a nice trip to the patisserie to follow up. It's probably a good thing I don't live there and have access to that stuff all the time!

 

Yes! France was great for food. I was there in '89 and I ate sooo much. I also love bread/crackers + cheese + veggies (and/or meat), plus a glass of tea/wine for a meal. Simple and delicious.

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Darn, there goes my image of France being a utopia of food quality.  I guess it's kind of like in Japan.  Just about given up on finding properly raised meat now, relying much more on fish and lean cuts.

 

Don't take my word for it, I'm probably quite ignorant compared to others. Also, it would be completely different if I lived in the country or even in a smaller city, where you can get real farm products anywhere.

 

What about Kobe beef? 

 

Kylie — Interesting to read your experience with IF because your habits are completely different to mine, both nutrition- and activity-wise. Actually I'm surprised you fast at all because your have the kind of diet that usually requires many small top-ups. At least that's what I assumed. It goes to show it's a perfectly sensible and sustainable way for all humans to feed, not just meatheads!

Newenham                              Level 1

STR 2 | STA 1 | CON 1 | DEX 1 | WIS 1 | CHA 2
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Japanese 'brand' beef like kobe and wagyu are prized for the cows' sedentary lifestyles and their all-grain diet, I kid you not. I'll take imported Australian beef over that any day. Makes me realise though how great England is for paleo living. Grass fed is the norm, and people make a big deal about free range chickens.

Level 3 Tengu assassin

||  STR 6 || DEX 7 || STA 5 || CON 5.5 || WIS 5.5 || CHA 2  ||

 

The heart says, "Chocolate!"

 

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Kylie — Interesting to read your experience with IF because your habits are completely different to mine, both nutrition- and activity-wise. Actually I'm surprised you fast at all because your have the kind of diet that usually requires many small top-ups. At least that's what I assumed. It goes to show it's a perfectly sensible and sustainable way for all humans to feed, not just meatheads!

 

I tend to think IF works for certain people rather than certain diets. My partner eats basically the same as me but really can't cope with skipping breakfast.

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Week 4 recap…

 

1. 100% of goal. Getting stronger; weights are starting to get challenging.

2. Over 100%. I'm entering a 30-day yoga challenge (I was thinking April but it looks like I've started already).

3. Not sure if fat loss has slowed, stopped or continued; I measure my waist and it seems to be stagnating since last week. I think I've found a nutritional balance so I'm not going to change anything this week.

Life: I've decided to train to become a yoga teacher. That's a long term goal, and training is in September. I think it would suit me because it can accommodate all sorts of other activities. I'm never happy working in an office (unless it's my own).

 

Not sure what guild to join. I've been labeled a warrior because I started weightlifting with this challenge. But maybe I'm something else…?

 

week5.jpg

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Newenham                              Level 1

STR 2 | STA 1 | CON 1 | DEX 1 | WIS 1 | CHA 2
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