EFFING!

My long-suffering readers know that I am not famous for using intemperate language in this and other blogs.
The taken-aback, perineally loyal Rambophile may wonder, “Pagla gaya kya?”, which is a Hebrew expression meaning, “I love him, V Day to D Day!”. Speaking of which, incidentally, I posted on Facebook that I was wondering if, at my tender age, I should be celebrating this:
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Tender, incidentally, is not a politically correct word, in this age and context.

Do check out my short piece called ‘Microvalentine’s Day’ (old post).

Before I wade into another mile of this nonsensical ramble, I should set the record straight:
I don’t mean Effing in your kind of effing sense.
This is a radical, new verb. My invention. It intends to describe an activity that “uses E-sources for Food and Fitness.”
Brilliant, wouldn’t you say?
So, let us carry on about Effing.
This post, following on from the earth-shaking previous one titled ‘The Fat Loss Plateau and Beyond’, is focused more on the same, by popular demand.
I promise you I will talk sense, and will not bore you with statistics and evidence. I will, instead, use my anecdotal example.
I started working out in the gym an year ago. I found I was getting stronger, but I knew I had a long way to go before I could be considered fit. I also found that I had lost only so much fat in spite of a lot of effort. This is the very common conundrum that is called the fat loss plateau.
I used certain tricks that are threatening to make me the next Adonis with a six-pack neck (anywhere else, it is all so passé, so upwardly upper class!).
I got a free account in FitDay. This made me focus on exactly what I was eating on a daily basis. The results astounded me. Take a look.
This is a typical day’s intake when I was working hard and yet seeing no fat loss worth the name:

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You can see that a huge truck-load of calories was coming from carbohydrates in the flour and other grain sources, apart from sugars. Luchis are fried breads, aloo dum is fried potatoes in gravy, and samosa is a savory- fried flour pastry stuffed with spicy potatoes and a few minor vegetables.
I decided to cut that out. On the day when I fast and then break it, eating gustily in the four-hour window (read previous post on the subject linked to above), see what happens:
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I still ate rice and pancakes (the Indian equivalent) but I logged less than a hundred grams of carbs (and far too low of the proteins I need), and only half the calories I could have eaten. But that was because my mother cooked for a family get together, and who can miss out on mothers’ cooking, right? Incidentally, you can see how badly balanced a South Indian vegetarian diet is (the last four items were ‘aloo curry’, ‘sevai’, ‘kirai’ and ‘appam‘) from the chart. The names ‘ON’, and ‘ON’ powder refer to the whey protein supplement made by Optimum Nutrition. Casein is ‘channa‘- milk protein.

So, I cut out grains from my diet. I checked again, another day:
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I was still eating some rice, and worse, I was getting a lot of calories from the occasional ‘treat yourself’ sweets and the modest alcohol I drank on a given day (a get-together of family or friends). This was revealing: in spite of a conscious effort, I was still letting things slip, thereby blunting the results. I became more vigilant. Look at the typical IF day chart now:

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Violá! I was hitting the sweet spot: I was actually consuming more proteins and fats, and getting closer to the 50 grams daily dose of carbs I was looking for. I think a carb intake of up to 100 grams daily should be good enough for fat loss, especially if you eat clean and keep within your total caloric requirements. Think Primal Living.

So Intermittent Fasting works well to reduce total calorie intake, but you have to be very careful and diligent if you want to reduce your carb intake. Too often, even geniuses can eff up with their resolve, allowing the calories to slip in.
If there is one thing for the reader to take home now, it is the fact that so much of your intake is what you would forget when asked: “I don’t eat at all, but I still gain weight!” The blame is shifted to last year’s hysterectomy, gall bladder surgery, thyroid problems, baby, genetics, and even the weather!

Eating clean will bring in results, especially if you are active physically, and not merely doing what my son said (when asked about his exercise of the day), “I worked out my fingers really hard, playing FIFA World Cup on my Playstation!”

Keeping an online journal lets you be objective in analysing your results:
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So, I know how much tighter I should control my food, or when to be a little easier on myself, without losing track of the larger goals.
I also keep a mini-diary in the site, like this:
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So you think you burn a thousand calories in the treadmill, so you can hog that dinner tonight? Look at this:
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I believe I burn more than 3500 calories a day, but that does not make an effing difference to the computer! So, sadly, we have to believe the records. Moral of the story:
Keep your food journal diligently, and learn from your mistakes. It takes 5-10 minutes a day. It gives you more rewards than Twitter/Facebook/blogging, and other things for which we try to carve out some time.
Happy eating, this Valentine’s Day! Incidentally, if you think of gifting me a bottle of Ballantine’s for next year’s V Day, think of a fifty year old single malt instead. It’s twice my age!

11 responses to “EFFING!

  1. Good collection and I agree, keeping notes diligently help. I use My Calorie Counter, but recently found out Lose It! – iPhone app and it’s just wonderful!

    I see I’ve sent you rolling :-p

  2. This is very inciteful analysis…but somehow i miss the old rambodoc!

  3. Whew! Overwhelming.

  4. rambodoc, thanks for the inspiration! i have opened a fitday account and will try HIIT!

  5. That’s a lot of info and Analysis doc. I have found that when you try to enjoy what you eat, you eat less and when you try to eat because you are hungry you gorge. Of couse, sometimes the otherway around is possible, but mostly this is the case.

  6. I am not sure if this makes sense. The daily apple recommends 20/30/50 carbs/protein/fat diet (as a jump of point). Sure, the fats he recommends are healthy and not crap like butter/shortening coming from cookies, grease from french fries and fast food. But considering the premise that IF assumes, that eating like our primal ancestors is the way to go, then doesn’t eating a fixed diet, irrespective of timing screw it up? If your body knows you are eating in a 4 hour window, doesn’t it get used to it? Wouldn’t it also get accustomed to the break-up of fats, proteins and carbs?

    Also, aren’t coconuts high in saturated fats? So far, I have been made to believe that saturated and trans fats are the enemy.

    But recently, the more I read the more confused I get. So correct me if I am wrong, but polyunsaturated fats are better than saturated or mono unsaturated fats. Apart from omega-3’s being good, don’t polyunsaturated fats also prevent insulin resistance (which I assume is a good thing)? Also, what about cholestrol? Eggs are great, but one yolk has almost enough cholesterol for the day based on FDA recos (I currently eat about 2-4 dozen eggs a week, with no more than one dozen yolks). Then there is omega-6 in eggs, but they are good only in moderation because omega 3 and omega 6 are in competition(?). None of this makes sense…

  7. “doesn’t eating a fixed diet, irrespective of timing screw it up? If your body knows you are eating in a 4 hour window, doesn’t it get used to it? Wouldn’t it also get accustomed to the break-up of fats, proteins and carbs?”

    It could. It makes sense to have alternating high carb weeks/days for people keen on building muscle. This is not for the amateur person just looking to reduce body fat. The IF routine should not be rigid and monotonous, but flexible and variable. Keep the body guessing.
    You can get confused by reading popular notions. Be careful.
    Coconut oil is a good fat, rich in medium chain triglycerides. As far as fats are concerned, keep things simple:
    1. The best fats are all natural: coconut oil, butter, ghee, olive oil. Even the much-reviled fats of meats (lard, etc) are not as bad as they are believed to be, if they are placed in the primal perspective. Eat liberally.
    2. Have less of PUFAs that come from refined oils (refining uses a lot of acids and chemicals on the original fat sources).
    3. Say NO to trans fats. Period.
    4. Within the parameters of a primal lifestyle, which means you don’t eat processed foods and work out hard, you should eat two or three eggs a day. More egg whites if you want more proteins.
    5. Unless you eat a lot of fish, have an omega=3 fish oil capsule every day. If you are in the US, you can get them from Costco: the brand is Kirkland Signatures. Don’t bother no more, then!
    The most important thing in the whole blood cholesterol business is that it is not so much the fats in your diet that is the problem: it is the carbs that are responsible. Hence the warning to stay of the carbs (read processed foods, grains and sugars)!
    Hope this helps.

  8. wow stats figures etc
    ur getting way to serious about diet et all …
    which is not exactly bad , but i miss the humor that i always expected from ur blog
    guess what… u have competition , try
    http://rujutadiwekar.blogspot.com/
    she is the size zero maker…

  9. “3. Say NO to trans fats. Period.”

    Doc, but only a short while ago, trans fats were promoted as good and healthy, and were in wide use backed by “scientific” research which labeled saturated fats (coconut oil, palm oil) as the “villains.” Of course, now it’s been proven that saturated fats are OK (though unsaturated fats are better) and trans-fats – which are concocted in a lab by chemical process – are not healthy. There were some reports that painting coconut and palm oil as “unhealthy” was motivated by a desire to undercut those industries, rather than objective research.

    Do these people even conduct honest research, or is this objective “research” guided by food industries and what they want to sell? 🙂

    I’ve observed this drama around food in the US for 10+ years, and when it comes to food, I tend not to trust the “latest scientific research” that’s shouted from the roof-tops, because there’s just no way to distinguish good research from bad. Every so often, a new diet comes out, complete with a “doctor” endorsing it as healthy, along with a special line of products to go with it, which then disappears as the fad fades away. I agree that natural and less processed foods are, in general, also healthier than the latest fad that these food companies unfurl on us, all backed by “scientific study” of course. *rolling my eyes*
    Proof that “science” is the new “religion” – just attach that label, and you’re almost guaranteed to get away with selling whatever food you want to the gullible consumers.

    Many cultures have got it right (Mediterranean, India, Chinese, Mexican), and only in America, it takes special talent to fuck up food.

  10. Amit:
    As you know, there is good science, and there is (b)ad science. The industry sponsored studies are generally treated by serious students with skepticism and even disdain. One of the problems with fitness and health science is the small number of subjects in each trial, and the short duration of the studies. The medical community, often misguided by the Government agencies, has strongly voted in favor of eating high carbs and cutting down on fats. The beneficiaries: the agriculture industry of the US. The losers: everybody else!

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