I suppose a better question would be: what have we been doing?
The short answer is: making some changes.
In July, we both read The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, Timothy Ferriss’s guide to hacking the human condition. In the book, he presents a series of self-experiments whose results have been successfully replicated by a team of testers. None of these testers are professional scientists, though Ferriss consulted with a whole slew of professionals in a variety of related fields in order to form theories and verify subsequent results. Having spent the first half of the summer trying to hack our own bodies through lower carb eating (Shane) and P90X (both of us), we decided to give some of the experiments a try.
Let me tell you, it’s difficult to know how to approach a food blog when you’re actively trying to change your diet and restrict the sorts of foods you used to write about in lavish detail. The diet recommended by 4HB is as follows:
- Avoid white or starchy carbohydrates – so no bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, pastries, baked goods, crackers, cereals, corn, chips, tortillas, fried things with breading, etc.
- Don’t drink your calories (with the exception of protein shakes).
- No fruit and minimal dairy.
- Eat the same few meals repeatedly. These meals should include lots of protein, non-starchy vegetables, and a hearty helping of legumes.
- Once a week, eat whatever the hell you want.
So we tried that for a few weeks, and it was mostly really good. We both felt great and were satiated by our meals. On the weekends, we Ate All The Food: toast, ice cream, sushi, baked goods, etc. The only problem for me? My running was very negatively affected – as in: I couldn’t do more than a mile or two without bonking. And Shane was starting to feel crazy about all the counting, tracking, etc.
So we switched it up again. I’m now ignoring rule #3 and trying to focus on post-workout nutrition, eating more carbohydrates after a run or the night before a long run. Shane has been trying the LeanGains approach to eating, and has been adjusting his meals based on whether/not he’ll be lifting that night.
Since our vacation, I’ve lost 3% body fat and he’s lost at least 10 pounds. We’re both pulling down or putting up more weight, and last night I did my very first push-up ever. My runs have gotten faster, and my endurance better. We’re drinking less during the week, and trying to curb cravings with healthy alternatives. And on the weekends, we eat whatever the hell we want.
A couple of years ago, we made a fairly dramatic shift in our eating to favor local and sustainably grown food. This is nearly as dramatic a shift, especially as we try to strike a balance between our nutritional requirements, our values, and our checking account. In the coming weeks, I hope to share with you some of the ways we’re managing these things – while also talking about the delicious foods we’re eating on (and off) this new plan. Stay tuned for more!