After deliberately taking all of July off from writing here, I plan to write as much as I can in August about what I’m doing to stay fit, knowledge I can share, and so on.
I am currently in an aggressive intermittent fasting phase. Similar to what’s practiced in The Warrior Diet, I am now eating all my meals in a roughly 4 hour window each day.
I typically eat my first meal at around 4-5pm, and then eat dinner at home around 8pm. Sometimes I will chase dinner with something else, almonds or oatmeal, but after that I go to bed and I don’t eat again until 4-5pm the following afternoon. I just drink coffee in the morning, and water in the interim.
I had successfully pared my weight down from the 180-185 lbs I peaked at early this year. I had two brief periods of rapid loss buffered by more extended periods of flatlined, maybe slight increases in weight, and had gotten down to about 170-175.
Ideally, I run at about 160 lbs, lower if I can get there in healthy fashion. My bodyfat, which in my peak running days was around 15%… is currently around 19-20%, and that’s an improvement over the 22-23% I peaked at early this year. By BMI rough estimates, I was technically overweight for a few weeks.
It’s harder to lose weight now in Las Vegas for some obvious reasons.
1) Because I no longer commute on foot, a lot of my previously built-in daily calorie burn is now gone, unless I go to great effort to put it back.
2) Because of the Vegas heat (100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the early mornings it’s 80-90 degrees), no races to train for, and no need to run-commute in car-focused Vegas (want to run 12 miles one way in 100+ degree heat?)… I’m not running nearly as much as I did in Chicago. Again, I’d have to make great efforts to match that mileage right now.
3) Because it’s summer in Las Vegas, it’s also really hot. Endurance exercise outside is often impractical.
So I wasn’t surprised to see my weight go up, and then struggle to come back down. I knew that, diet in principle being 80% of your body composition, most of my work to slim back down was going to require aggressive dietary habit changes.
I don’t eat processed food unless not doing so would be impractical, or if I’m about to exercise or just finished exercise and something like a protein bar is readily available.
I got my family to start cooking exclusively with healthier oils: Avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil. They were leaning on cooking with canola and vegetable oils, and getting them to switch was somewhat difficult. But the oxidative stress, inflammation and water retention from eating food cooked in the refined oils wasn’t helping them, let alone me. While they still have a lot to work to do with their diets (and that’s honestly up to them), the food we eat for dinner together has been better for my health.
I got so aggressive with cutting out industrial oils and processed food that I stopped eating most restaurant food altogether until I’ve hit my current goal. Every restaurant uses those refined oils for cooking due to cost, and then people wonder why most Americans are overweight and unhealthy. It’s not ever good for you, but now it’s harder than ever for Western society to not eat this garbage.
We’re trained to eat out of boxes and eat from restaurants, and these unhealthy ingredients are EVERYWHERE. They’re ubiquitous parts of most people’s diets and people don’t realize that it’s the source of their health problems.
And while I didn’t write this post to end up preaching out of nowhere, I did want to explain why cutting these ingredients out was important to my efforts to slim down. You can’t just fast, count calories and exercise. WHAT you eat matters as much than any of that.
I realized my current struggles with running, aside from obviously reduced volume, is because I weigh more than I did when I regularly ran in Chicago. The added fat is slowing me down. It needs to come off.
Also, because the quality of the Vegas Diet is not what I could maintain in Chicago, it was harder for me to maintain the needed metabolic health to run a lot. I’m also turning 42 in October, and I can’t just power through bad diet decisions and bounce back the way a twentysomething can.
So I decided to also curtail running, not totally stop but just do it every few days or so for now. I want to ramp up training in the fall when Vegas cools down to a more human temperature, and I want to be in better shape to maintain that volume.
Instead for now I focus on an old fitness-bro standby: Do walking for most if not all of my “cardio”, to let that and the hot Vegas sun fuel some calorie burn, instead of burning myself out by trying to run often in Vegas heat. I look to get in one good 30+ minute walk each day, and at least a bit of walking throughout the day if I can’t get that longer walk.
Since getting aggressive with slimming down in the last couple weeks I’ve gone from a stubborn 172 lbs to 170-171, and I notice energy-wise and mentally I’m feeling better overall. And this is despite some upheaval situations at work plus dealing with the 110 degree Vegas days in often-limited air conditioning.
I also strength train several times a week. I’ve increased my focus on weight training and now have found a consistent series of defined workouts, plus I’m seriously tracking my progress in weight I can lift for these workouts. I’ll get into these at some point soon. And I still walk even if I do strength train, so it adds onto the calorie burn and mitochondrial development from the walking.
That’s where I’m at right now. My plan to resume running is when the Vegas heat becomes cooler Vegas fall temperatures, and I can run in weather cooler than 87 degrees Fahrenheit or run at times other than the early morning.
Until then, I’m going to slim down with aggressive intermittent fasting, an aggressively clean diet, walking everyday and strength training throughout the week.