I’ve gotten fat.
Which is quite an embarrassing thing to admit. Too much of the good life. Poor diet coupled with a now sedentary lifestyle. I used to be able to rely on my above average metabolism and workout regime to keep me lean. You imagine that things will stay the same, that you are somehow excluded from the ravages of time and sugar and that you can drink Red Bull and smash Krispy Kreme all day with reckless abandon. Fat is something that happens to other people. People that you treat with derision and scorn. ‘Pick up a kettlebell fatty’.
I am now, at 38, officially the heaviest I’ve ever been. Topping out at 109kg or 240lbs. My body fat percentage is a whopping 23.6% and my blood glucose level is 6.1 mmol/L. All bad. Blood pressure is a medicated 130/80. In fact the only thing that is okay-ish is a resting pulse of 68.
I’ve had only a few profoundly liminal moments in my life. The first was an audio-book by Richard Dawkins that I listened to on a fourteen hour road trip which completely turned my life on its head. As of Thursday I’m adding Chris Kresser to the list of prophets that Joey will espouse with some level of fanaticism. Chris managed to resonate so completely with me that it was like a lightening bolt from the heavens. (Irony loosely intended)
I listened to Chris on the Joe Rogan experience podcast. I want to say Chris is a nutritionist. But I’m not 100% sure that’s accurate. Maybe I should say a real food and lifestyle enthusiast.
Perhaps foremost I should say that Joe Rogan is a machine, churning out prodigious content at a remarkable rate. I however tend pick and choose my podcasts even though I am a huge fan. Its more that I don’t really have the time to commit to just one avenue of information flow. Sufficed to say it was odd that I would even consider listening to a podcast on nutrition. Making a snap decision off a five line blurb. Even more so that I’ve been off podcasts for a while now, favoring real and audio-books of late.
Chris was describing the new normal, which is an overweight prediabetic with two or three chronic conditions. It suddenly hit me, OMG THAT WAS ME.
I devoured Chris’s two hour interview with this new and strange kind of resolve. I should probably mention I am huge skeptic. Generally pseudoscience, alternative medicine, herbal remedies, homeopathy, chiropractors and clairvoyants just make me angry. Nutrition based medicine however, is something I can totally get behind.
Enter the cold potato diet.
Initially I was somewhat weary. But I did some googling. And this seems totally plausible. You basically eat nothing but cold potatoes. If you’ve seen Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) lately and his incredible weight loss, that’s the potato diet. I LOVE Penn Jillette… and his hulking six foot seven frame of magical awesomeness.
Δ My stash of boring, boiled and cooled potatoes.
The basics of the cold potato diet are as follows;
Starches are long chains of glucose that are found in potatoes and various grains.
When you cook a potato… and then let it cool, it becomes something called Resistant starch. Ie. It resists being absorbed by the body. Eating resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduced appetite and offers countless benefits for digestion.
Eating cold potatoes is supposed to do a couple of things.
- I makes you feel full. Potatoes are proven to be the most satiating food available
- It is basically impossible to over eat cold potatoes (Trust me, this is true)
- It removes the food reward system completely (DEFINITELY TRUE)
Day one – Saturday morning
Opening Stat line – Height 6’3”, 108.9kg (240lbs), 23.6% Body fat, Blood Glucose 6.1 mmol/L
I’m using my Fitbit Surge and Aria to measure body weight and fat percentage. I bought a (surprisingly cheap) finger prick glucose testing machine. Also I don’t plan on doing any exercise other than walking. Although I walk quite a lot
I supplemented my insanely bland bowl of potatoes with a dollop of sauerkraut. I’m simultaneously trying to lose weight and improve my gut biome. Even though the sauerkraut is relatively gross when not paired with a hotdog. It was either that or Kimchi and the only Kimchi I seem to be able to acquire commercially has enough garlic and chili in it to strip paint and bubble aluminium. I can’t imagine that doing anything good for my intestinal bacteria.
So on day one I ran a 2562 Cal deficit. Breakfast was easy. Lunch harder. For dinner my wife and daughter were eating delicious beef lasagne while I, unenthusiastically gnawed at my cold potato. (I thought about licking their plates afterwards)
Started feeling a bit weird and spacey by about 3pm and developed a headache but that eventually passed. Likely my body wondering why I hadn’t had caffeine all day. (I’ve since changed my no caffeine policy. I’m not a complete masochist) By 9pm I was exhausted. I tried to read a page of Nietzsche before falling asleep, but to no avail. Fitbit has me passed out at 21H06.
Day two – Sunday morning
Opening Stat line – Height 6’3”, 107.2kg (236lbs), [-1.7kg or 3,74lbs*] 23.7% Body fat [+0.1], Blood Glucose 5.9 mmol/L [-0.2 mmol/L]
*yeah, that’s insane. But that’s what the scale said. I plan on weighing myself at 5am every morning.
Decided that this no-caffeine thing was onerous and purgatory. Also Sunday morning is breakfast at this little bakery near our house, I decided I couldn’t sit there with my boiled potato and a glass of water while the smells of freshly baked bread and croissants wafted around me. So I had two cups of black coffee sans anything. Worse still was watching my wife with her buttery toast, bacon and a sunny side up egg. Just typing about it makes sad.
Weirdy not as famished as I thought I would be. Also not grouchy/hangry (yet). I get hangry very easily. At least once a day.
I’m drinking alot of water and (trying to) supplement my desire for hot coffee with herbal (Rooibos) tea. If I start gravitating towards colonics, yoga and tie dye hopefully someone with intervene and drag me back from the brink. (preferably with the haunch of some cooked animal)
By 5pm I was feeling weird and headachey again. Fell asleep watching Youtube at about eight thirty or so. Lame.
Day three – Monday mornig
Opening Stat line – Height 6’3”, 106.8kg (235lbs), [-2.1kg or 4.62lbs] 23.8% Body fat [+0.2], Blood Glucose 6 mmol/L [-0.1 mmol/L]
Woke up feeling weird*, a bit stiff and nursing a dull headache, which has dissipated somewhat now.
*I’m not sure what I mean by weird. Feeling a bit not grounded. A bit spacey. Its not a terrible feeling, maybe just.. weird.
Today is the real test. Work is filled with co-workers with a penchant for grease, deep fried food and ice-cream. It could be argued that I am in fact I’m the chief enabler for this kind of behavior. Behavior I obviously deny and feign ignorance about (something I’m remarkably accomplished* at) In fact I would go so far as to blame my sales manager exclusively for all the bad eating that goes on.
*”What documents/file/form/missing cake?”
Having the dietary equivalent of Mephistopheles in the office is going to make things challenging. I think I will okay though. Feeling confident. Hopefully that will translate into discipline.
If you’re interested