I was trained the same way most physicians are trained in nutrition, and I suspect the same way that most other people in the health care industry are indoctrinated. For years, I thought the equation for weight was simple. Input equals output. If your input in terms of calories are greater than your output, then you gain weight. If your output was greater than your input, you lost weight. Simple. I recited the food pyramid to my patients diligently, and suspected that most people who thought they were following the correct diet and who did not lose weight were really not as strict as they thought. If they only counted calories, they would lose weight. I was the typical 35% cards, 35% protein, 30% fat diet guy. When I started to hack my own diet and exercise, I discovered that at least for me, what I had been taught was all wrong. Now I eat at least 50% of my calories from fat, and approximately 30-35% protein, with the rest being carbs. I don’t eat bread or pasta. I eat sweet potatoes only on a leg or back workout day (large muscle groups). I have lost body fat, my waist size is less than 30 inches, and I am 56 years old (soon to be 57). Turns out there is new science validating some of this information. As we get older, the body does not like to let go of fat. You have to trick it into thinking there is lots of fat around. It really works. If you are a male in your 40’s or older, change the way you eat. Combine it with variations of high intensity interval training. You will feel better, and you will lose the body fat. I should add I suspect the situation is more complex for women.
I unfortunately have to agree that deadlifting is probably the most bang for the buck weight lifting maneuver. As much as I don’t like doing it, the move really improves my core and strengthens my upper body. As with most other type A personalities, I get addicted to the exercise easily, and try and pack on more weight in order to outdo myself. I think that why I tore my rotator cuff on the incline dumbbell press. So I try to think like a mature 56 year old and do reasonable weights. I learned a lot from listening to Pavel Tsatsouline, the chairman of StrongFirst. Pavel apparently introduced the west to the kettle bell training program. A few tricks I learned from him include gripping the bar really hard helps recruit muscles during a lift. Also concentrating on tightening the core muscles just prior to the actual lift seems to make the effort easier. He also mentions that the Russian powerlifters usually stick to 6 reps in order to build mass. There are a ton of videos on Youtube on deadlifting technique by Mark Rippetoe, Dan John, and Ed Coen. The one I think that is most informative for us normal sized folks is at the link by Mark Rippetoe.
I used to think that weight control was just an issue of calories in versus calories out. Now I have to face the fact that what I was taught many years ago, and spouted off with regularity may not be exactly correct. I know from my own personal body hacks that the old paradigm of low fat diet did not work, especially after age 50. I actually eat much more fat in my daily diet. My morning starts of with 2 cups of coffee with a single teaspoon of brown sugar, and a spoonful of MCT oil. I then drink a 42 g Myoplex EAS protein shake (Chocolate of course!) in between seeing patients. A couple of spoonfuls of natural peanut butter helps. I also eat 2 handfuls of pistachios, and well as 2 handfuls of almonds. For lunch, I have protein such as chicken breast and salad. I have a mid-afternoon snack of greek yoghurt, and then hit the gym. I usually lift weights for 50-60 minutes, but I don’t take more than a 3-5 minute break between sets. I then do 30-40 minutes of cardio, either treadmill or stair stepper. I try and do high intensity intervals if at all possible, but sometimes my body just is too tired, so i just try and be persistent and complete 40 minutes of some type of cardio with a minimal heart rate of 100. As I am finishing my weight lifting part, I take 25 grams of cold ultra filtered whey protein, 25 grams of casein, and 5 grams of creatine in about 12 – 16 ounces of water. I learned a lot by researching proteins before I made my purchase. A good general rule of thumb is look at the ingredients on the side of the protein package. If it is high in cholesterol (greater than 10-20 mg per serving), it is not a good quality protein. Then I have dinner, usually protein and vegetables. By sticking to this regimen, my waist size is 30, and my body fat is the lowest it has ben since I was a teenager. By the way, interesting factoid that most people don’t know. Waist size of 40 inches or greater in men an 35 or greater in women is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In plan English, this means that even if you are not diabetic or have high blood pressure, you are at an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes if your waist size is greater than 40 inches or 35 inches in a male or female, respectively.
My epiphany moment was 7 years ago at age 49 when I woke up at 5 am as I had done for many years, got out of bed and thought to myself “why do I feel like crap?” I have lifted weight since I was 18 years old and have always done regular cardiovascular activity. As a physician, I knew a good bit about nutrition, and felt that I was following a good diet. I ate a low fat diet, balanced carbs and proteins. My paradigm was the old input equals output equation, which I quoted to my overweight patients. But despite what I thought was the correct way of eating and exercising, I realized at age 49 that I did not feel good. I went to Las Vegas to the Cenegenics Institute for anti-aging, was evaluated, and actually took the course and was certified by them in anti-aging medicine. To be perfectly honest, I did not like the gist of the course. They pushed hormone replacement rather than trying to root out the cause of testosterone deficiency in a young male. That introduction led to years of hacking myself and my body with different ways of eating and exercising. I trained for a year with a professional bodybuilder, and got jacked up to 185 pounds on a 5’8” frame. I could barely fit into my lab coat. Then I tore all 4 of my rotator cuff muscles on my left arm doing incline dumbbell press with 80 pounds, and had to have a surgical repair 3 years ago. After years of trying different ways of eating and exercising, I realized that my old paradigm of a low fat diet, input versus output concept was just not correct. So now I eat a diet high in selected fats, and weight train and exercise with much more focus on the outcomes I want to achieve. The results have been nothing short of spectacular.
OK just completed my second week of keto diet, and I really must say that it does seem to be “tightening things up” although my weight is basically unchanged at 170 pounds. My pants are looser (waist size 32). I have not checked my labs i about 3 months so I will probable check my blood work to make sure my triglycerides and cholesterol levels as well as the cholesterol fractions are good. Going to take another picture to document the progression.
I have been reading a lot about the various diets. I guess diet is really a misnomer since I don’t really limit limit the amount I eat, unlike the traditional diets. I just change the composition of what I eat as well as the times. I am going to put a table together of the popular diets, and compare the different philosophies behind them. The ones I am going to concentrate on are the Bullet Proof Diet, the Paleo Diet, The Atkins Diet, and the Ketogenic Diet. After 6 weeks, i will post my results with the ketogenic diet. I will say that it has not been hard to keep the ketogenic diet. I also am sliding away from heavy weight training and more towards calisthenics for strength and fitness