July 30, 2008


Prior to a planned, one-week dietary experiment, I'm going to write a short history.
Twice upon a time, I was in pretty damn good shape.

The first time was eons ago while still pursuing my BSE. I was taking aikido classes three times a week, lifting 4 times a week, doing cardio of some form another 3 times a week. I ate very high protein, very low fat, and very low sugar. At my colossal height of 5'5", I weighed in at about 127 (I'd started at about 210). As a natural endomorph, I was gaunt at this weight, but I carried a fair amount of muscle. I was as fit as any good gymnast, not for a sport or a job, but just because I wanted to be. I was also an insufferable jackass. I was better than you, and I'd let you know. Probably while smirking.

It didn't last. School got harder as I progressed into my senior and super-senior years, and in stress I slowly dropped every behavior that had made me fit. My gut came back, my pants didn't fit, and I hated myself for it. I was, at least, much more sufferable.

Graduation, my first job, and marriage added every pound back on. I coasted, in mediocre shape, for a few years. My divorce was a shock. It woke me up and scared the crap out of me. I needed my health back for a lot of reasons. It was at about this time that I read Neanderthin, the best, hokiest-titled diet book I'd ever read.

Neanderthin has a simple premise: your body is the result of untold millenia of evolution, and many of the foods we eat today didn't exist for the vast majority of history. Fire's only been under human control for about 100,000 years, and grains and farming have only been around for 10,000-20,000 years. The prescription to go along with this premise is that -- for optimal health -- you should only eat things that man could have acquired prior to agriculture, and preferably prior to fire (though you should still cook meat for safety).

So, for 6 straight months, without a single cheat, I did just that.

I ate: meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Nothing else. No booze, no diet soda, and not one cracker. I lost 50lbs. I wasn't hungry once. I had energy I hadn't had since college. My occasional migraines vanished. My perpetual sinus congestion was gone. I joined a gym and actually used it. I felt fantastic. But I really, really wanted a brownie.

After 6 months without a single cheat, I planned a single day of "nutritional adventure". I gorged, I had unbelievable sugar highs. I got high on milk, for crying out loud. The next day... I didn't crash. I expected to, but I felt fine. I wish to God I'd felt a hangover, horrible pain, something. No such luck. Between the lack of consequences for my cheat day and starting to date again (disastrously), the dam was broken. I haven't exercised regularly or eaten right since.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 08:18 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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