3200 Calories a Day

Four years ago, I lost 50 pounds in four months. It was pretty easy; eat little and run often. I ran 2 to 3 miles a day and took up tennis. Eventually, I got tired of being skinny. I started lifting weights seriously. However, the diet available to me didn’t provide much in the way of protein. I managed to put on about 10 pounds in 18 months without changing pant sizes.

Four years ago, I lost 50 pounds in four months.  It was pretty easy; eat little and run often.  I ran 2 to 3 miles a day and took up

Hibachi paleo.
Hibachi paleo.

tennis.  Eventually, I got tired of being skinny.  I started lifting weights seriously.  However, the diet available to me didn’t provide much in the way of protein.  I managed to put on about 10 pounds in 18 months without changing pant sizes.

My circumstances are different now, and so I wanted to experiment with a dramatic reversal of what I did for several years.  I all but eliminated my cardio, running no more than one mile at a time, and that only occasionally, just so I wouldn’t get out of breath walking up the stairs.  I also reduced the frequency of my workouts, from 5-6 a week to 3 to 4, and dramatically changed my approach.  Instead of 60 to 90 minute sessions, I do about 45 minutes.  Instead of 3 minute rests between sets, I do no more than 60 seconds, and I do 4 sets of 6-8 reps rather than 3 of 10 to 12.

Home paleo.
Home paleo.

I abandoned any attempt at restricting what I ate or drink, except to limit my intake between noon and 8pm.  This is called “intermittent fasting“.  I also leaned heavily towards paleo, usually eating meals consisting of meat and green vegetables.  I didn’t always stop eating at 8pm, I didn’t always stick with the paleo diet, and I ate breakfast on the few occasions She cooked beforehand without asking me if I wanted homemade sausage biscuits, eggs Benedict, homemade biscuits with homemade gravy, or a Bloody Mary.

Admittedly, this wasn’t purely ‘self experimentation’, a la Tim Ferris.  I wanted to see if I could reduce my time at the gym so I could add a few other family activities to the schedule.  Cutting the exercise time ought to involve a drop in performance, right?

The results have been…interesting.  Skipping breakfast is pretty easy.  Not eating after 8pm is, for me, hard.  Eating as much as you want is pretty easy.  Eating only protein and veggies is not.  That bag of Doritos that #2 and #11 somehow missed can disappear pretty quickly if the only carbs you’ve had in 72 hours came from a martini two martinis yesterday.

At the gym, I was shocked.  In 30 days my bench press jumped 30%, my squats jumped 60%, and I max out most of the machines,

Not paleo.
Not paleo.

which probably represents a 50lb increase in most every area.  (Not the most powerful man in the world, granted, but #2 is bigger and has a 21 year advantage on me and he’s been conspicuously absent with me lately, preferring to “get my workout in early”, as he says.  This despite the fact we started attracting small crowds as we exceeded 450lbs on machines).  I gained 10 pounds in 30 days.  Fat?  Muscle?  I don’t know.

What’s next?  Conventional wisdom and the over-eager fitness trainer at the gym would say to hit the treadmill again and up the reps to cut the fat and see how much I can drop while preserving my strength gains.  I’m not convinced.  Sounds like a lot of work.  Besides, it’s time for second lunch.

Fear of Failure is Fear of Living

It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen.

I love the diversity of personalities that make up a big family, and life, for that matter. #2 is much more like his Mother than he is

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

me. This morning I mentioned off-handedly that I’d ordered something online from China. A business expense.  A look of slight alarm passed over his face. I preemptively explained that I’d done some research on this particular item, the seller, and was reasonably sure it would work out.

He replied with great gravity, “What do you think the chances are you’ll be disappointed?” Ha! What a great question! I got a good laugh at that and said, “Well, I guess I would say about 30%, although it’d be tough to justify that. I’m quite a bit more sure of being satisfied, although I would say the chances are fair that I won’t be. But I have a plan if that’s the case, so I’m not too worried about it either way”.  I then briefly explained my Plan B.

He didn’t say anything. The look on his face showed his doubt. So like his Mom! So I said, “I don’t mind risks…I’m prepared for some disappointment, but also delight in achieving something, discovering something new, or learning something, or perhaps just as satisfying, proving my judgment to be accurate. That’s pride, of course, but enjoyable.  I learn something, perhaps even more, from my mistakes”.

At that moment his Mother entered the room and, hearing at least some part of the discussion, said, “Yeah, but I don’t like risk…yours or mine”.  Okay, so risk isn’t always fun.  But this is a woman who won’t try a new dish at a restaurant for fear she won’t like it!

I’ll let you know how it works out.