A Mindful Geek

Friday, October 8, 2010

Get over it!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Booze, Diet Mind and Exorcising


Twice last week I imbibed. Thursday of last week, Shari and I went to a local brewery where I had a 24 oz. Irish Red. It was oh so tasty. But I did notice that my body temperature dropped from 97.2 to 97.0 the next morning. Of course it was back up the following day so no worries.

This past Sunday we had a friend over to help us eat a lasagna and drink a bottle of wine. That pretty much boiled down to two glasses each, roughly the same alcohol content as the 24 oz. glass of beer. The next morning, my body temperature was all the way down to 96.5! It took two days to come back up!

So I did a little bit of research and talked with a chemist friend of mine and know what? Alcohol lowers your body temperature. It's actually well known. People have died from hypothermia by consuming alcohol. Now there are a few things going on that makes this happen that I won't go into but suffice it to say, it causes you to lose body heat. And of course, when your body temperature goes down, the ambient temperature appears to be warmer so you get hot, throw off the covers, turn on the fan and make it worse.

So it looks like I'm off the booze until my body temperature is up close to normal. I'm shooting for 97.8 and am currently at 97.3. Considering I started at 96.1 (!), I'd so I'm doing okay. Although that's hard for me to admit.

Diet Mind

I just can't help it. My mind is still stuck on "diet" mode. I keep honestly believing that I can't have stuff like lasagna, pizza or ice cream. I have my list of prohibited items: white flour, sugar and vegetable oil. But I can't avoid them! So I worry and get a bit hang-dog about it. But the fact of the matter is, I've had pasta and chocolate and my body temperature continues to climb (ignoring the alcohol affect). The take home lesson? Don't avoid these items. Don't be a pain-in-the ass about what you are eating. If your wife makes you a lasagna with garlic bread, eat it! Want a turtle sundae at 9:00 pm? Go for it. Don't avoid it! But don't chase it down, either. You'll be fine as long as you mostly eat well and track your body temperature.

Exorcise the Exercise

I have been powerlifting for the past six months and have made some incredible gains. But I am going to take the advice of Matt Stone and Jon Gabriel and give it a rest. Oddly enough, this is kind of tough for me to do! I really don't want to lose any gains I've made! But honestly, I doubt that's going to happen. My body temperature is up and once it's to 97.7, I'll start back with the weight training. You never know! This could happen next week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gonna fix my guts!

Weight problem

I have had a weight problem most of my life. I'm not morbidly obese although many doctors would label me "obese." Honestly, I've got a belly and my body fat percentage seems to want to hang out at around 30. So really, just above "overweight" according to BMI. Never really hindered me physically, just sometimes I feel chunky and rarely do I appreciate the roll when I sit down.

As most people who are overweight, I am guilty of yo-yo dieting. In 2000 I was at my heaviest weighing 233 pounds. At five-foot, seven-inches, that's a hefty load! In 2002, I joined Weight Watchers and managed to get down to 147 pounds (about six pounds below my goal of 153). The irony about getting down to 147 was that I didn't really look any different, just smaller. Same gut, same flab. Not unlike a melted snowman. I also noticed this to be true of all of the "lifetime members" at Weight Watchers. Nobody looked fit. At all.

In 2004, I had some major life changes which produced a ton of stress. And guess what? I put weight back on. Now unlike most yo-yo dieters, I did not go over my former weight. As a matter of fact, I have stayed under that weight. Currently, at my heaviest since 2004, I weigh around 192 pounds. Now granted since then I have started strength training and have put on a significant amount of muscle. I'm what you would call "overweight" with 29% body fat.

Burn metabolism, burn

A month or so ago I came across a blog titled 180 Degree Health. I honestly couldn't tell you how I found it but I'm guessing it was referenced from another blog. I know that Zen to Fitness has 180 Degree Health on their "what I read" list.

Anyway, I checked out the blog and found much of what Matt Stone, the owner, had to say about health and fitness.

So I read Matt Stone's free e-book as well as his 180 Degree Metabolism and even picked up Jon Gabriel's The Gabriel Method which, new-age visualize-a-stream crap aside, was a fantastic read. I feel that these author/researchers are really on to something and I have to say, I feel a bit hang-dog about the way I've been treating my body. So, per Stone and Gabriel's recommendations, I have decided to take some action.

So what are they saying? Well, since I've been spending my adult life either dieting or eating crap, my metabolism isn't running as efficiently as it should. This is easily testable by taking your morning temperature. Ideally, your waking temp should be around 98.2 although I am going to guess that if you are anywhere close to 98, you're doing okay.

Fix it

Fix your metabolism. So how is this done? Well, strangely enough, nobody is 100% sure. Out of all of the mysteries science has solved, how our metabolism functions is one that eludes us. But studies point to several culprits for slowing down the metabolism: refined carbs, increased Omega-6 fatty acids (i.e., vegetable oils), super-sweet substances (high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners), over exercise, stress, lack of sleep and CALORIC DEFICITS. So basically, the American lifestyle.

So for the past couple of weeks I have been taking some steps to try and fix some of the damage I have done over the years.
  • No more dieting. I am eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm not. My focus has been on whole foods with nothing artificial. No margarine or vegetable oil (coconut oil seems to be the huge exception); no sodas; no alcohol; no refined carbohydrates. Now by "no" I mean they aren't a part of my daily food routine. I've had ice cream, because I wanted ice cream. Deprivation is stupid. If I want it, I'm going to eat it. But when I am neutral on what I want, which is the case 90% of the time, I'm eat whole foods with a ton of nutrients.
  • Easy on the exercise. This is another "don't force" issue. Personally, I love lifting weights so I have been continuing with the strength training. But other than that, I'm taking it easy. If I do any type of cardio, it's high-intensity interval training which has been shown in studies to help increase the metabolism.
  • Sleep. I'm not a huge sleeper. Leave me to wake up on my own and I'll sleep maybe eight hours but am fully functional at five. But I really need to make sure I'm getting plenty of sleep. This has been the hardest step for me since my wife likes to stay up pretty late and enjoys my company.
  • Meditation. This covers the stress part. I've actually had a meditation routine for several years but I'm not as steady with my practice as I should be.
  • Track my body temperature. I want it to be around 98 degrees in the morning. So far it has gone from 96.1 to 96.6.
This is something to do for about a month or until my body temperature reaches 98 degrees. I am not looking to lose weight doing this. That's not the point. My goal is to re-feed my body and get my metabolism up. Weight loss comes later and will be the topic of another blog posting.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

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