The Potato diet

I’ve gotten fat. A little heftier around the midsection.

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. Weight gain is something that happens to other people…. People that you treat with derision and scorn. ‘Pick up a kettlebell fatty’.

I am now, at 39, officially the heaviest I’ve ever been. Topping out at 109kg or 240lbs. My body fat percentage is a whopping 23% 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. 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.

As with most people I found out about 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. If you haven’t listened to it. You definitely should.

In any event. 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.

The basics of the cold potato diet are as follows;

Starches are long chains of glucose that are found in potatoes and various grains.

HOWEVER.

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.

  1. I makes you feel full. Potatoes are proven to be the most satiating food available
  2. It is basically impossible to over eat cold potatoes (Trust me, this is true)
  3.  It removes the food reward system completely (DEFINITELY TRUE)

If you are going to do this thing there are a couple of things I wish I had know before.

Initially you will feel, very spaced out and weird. For me this began to hit me at the end of day two.

I started to suffer from headaches. They ranged from dull background to mild. Apparently this is your body going through withdrawal.

I suggest starting on a Thursday. By Friday afternoon when you start to get irritable and foul tempered… you can go home. And then you can have the weekend to mull, pace around and drive your partner crazy. Plus if your work environment is anything like mine you will likely have the dietary equivalent of Mephistopheles in the office… who is always suggesting ordering in or bringing a box of original glaze. Those initial couple of days set the pace, easier not to get tempted.

You blood Glucose (if you’re testing it) may remain stubbornly high. Apparently when starving yourself slash fasting your body elevates cortisol levels. Cortisol’s raises blood sugar. You can’t expect your body just to adjust immediately. These things take time. I wanted immediate results. Don’t be unrealistic.

Strange things will start happening to your stools. Know that your bowels will likely hate you. (until they adjust)

I managed to loose -3.2kg (7lbs) with the potato diet in a week. I have no idea if that’s good or not. Apparently that’s mostly water. Stick with it.

You will REALLY start resenting cold spuds and the thought of having to eat will make you sad.

I think the good thing about this diet is that you can actually see results. Which is a huge motivator. Try to stick it out for as long as possible.

And good luck!

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