A new beginning

It seems quite cliché to be doing this now, at the beginning of a new year, but that when it is, and I will just have to deal with that.

What am I doing now? A little experiment, on myself. For the past year or more, my brother has gone on and on about Tim Ferriss, who is among other things, a lifestyle designer (it is what it sounds like). He recently published a new book called The 4-Hour Body in which he reveals the results of 10 years of research into “hacking the human body”.

Just one of the gems in this book, which I purchased when at home over the holidays, is his Slow Carb Diet. And that is where my experiment comes in. But first some background.

I’m a big guy. I have been for many, many years. I shop the Big & Tall stores, but I’m only on the border for “tall”. At 6’1” (185.4cm), I’m not short, but peaking at over 310lbs (140kg) in the not too distant past, I am decidedly overweight. Last February (2010) I was eating a particularly heavy store-bought breakfast at my desk at work when a light came on. I wasn’t happy where I was physically. As a software developer, it is very easy to drift into a sedentary lifestyle filled with poor nutrition.

Fortunately this revelation as I call it came at a particularly convenient time. My company was in the process of moving to a new office building (our own) and as such there was a lot of general change happening. I’m one to very easily slip into routine, but also someone who loves changing that routine periodically. I’m quite adaptable you could say. This physical move allowed me to adapt my lifestyle in other ways at the same time. It was the snacking that was the worst for me, so I cut out pop (soda) entirely and eating between meals. In fact I went water-only from a drinks perspective.

At this point I wasn’t interested in weighing myself, just trying to improve how I felt. It was also the time when I started measuring my sleep quality. And quantity, at least to the best of the abilities of the 99¢ Sleep Cycle iPhone app. For me it wasn’t a diet, it was a lifestyle change, which was facilitated by the move to the new office. One noticeable difference I did see was in my clothes: they stopped fitting. But in a good way, everything was too big. The real dilemma with that is I am in Bermuda as you know. Getting new clothes even at my slightly reduced size was very difficult.

Before too long, our office gym opened (in May), which greatly increased the amount of exercise I was getting. Unlike some, I tried not to over-commit because I work a lot, but managed to go twice a week for every week I was on the island. In addition, I’ve also been fencing once a week, which I find to be a fantastic cardio workout. Thanks to these various factors I’m down from a size 48 to 42 in my pants. Likewise the shirt size is much smaller. In that time I’ve built up a fair bit of muscle, and now tip the scales somewhere around 280lbs. Still bigger than my optimal, but I estimate that I’ve lost around 40lbs of fat in this past year, if not more.

And back to the present. Having just returned from Christmas holidays back in Canada and also having just moved office locations again (up two floors in our building), this seems like a good time to start something new. I’m going to get a scale and a tape measure and I’m going to start keeping track. My working conditions at the moment are more conducive to lifestyle changes, and I feel I have an advantage on this Slow Card Diet that many people complain about.

Part of the diet is cutting out fast/white carbs (bread, pasta, rice, etc) and replacing them with slow carbs (legumes mostly). Also features higher protein, particularly in the morning. It also suggests finding a few meals consisting of the recommended foods and rotating through those meals. This is where I shine. I’ve always had the ability to eat the same food over and over again, without getting bored. This has been a huge benefit living in Bermuda where variety isn’t necessarily the spice of life. The trick will be finding a source of the allowed foods on a regular basis, but once I have a routine, I can following it easily.

So I bought a number of cans of beans tonight, along with some chicken and eggs and I’m ready to start getting this show on the road. It will likely be pretty rough out of the gate, but I’m going to give it a try. Why not, what is a week or two out of my life if it isn’t for me? And another 15lbs gone in a couple weeks would be nice. Fortunately there is one binge day a week which is not only allowed, but necessary. At the moment, my plan if for that day to be Sunday. Mostly because of the Bermudian Sunday brunches that I love so much.

Until I measure up for certain, I’m hesitant to set any firm goals, but what the heck, I would like to reach (or surpass) 240lbs by my birthday in May. That gives me 4 months to lose roughly 40 pounds. And if I can end up south of a size 40 pair of pants, I would be slimmer than I have been since junior high school. And please check back, my plan is to use this site to track my progress.