Diet and Nutrition

*Sigh*  This is a touchy subject for me.  I’ve always been in relatively decent shape, and most of my life slightly, just slightly bigger than could be described as “slim”.  In reality for just regular life I don’t particularly need to manage my diet, but lately I’ve become interested in bouldering, swimming, and a few other things that require both strength and fitness.

Nutrition science is full of tons of intriguing ideas and theories for maximizing health and well being.  It’s also full of theories about weight loss.  There’s a fairly well appreciated mathematical diet plan for weight loss (particularly in overweight individuals) that says quite simply, “Consume fewer calories than you burn”.  It’s basically irrefutable, you will lose weight if you do this.  It’s the simple truth of weight loss that many overweight individuals have a hard time coming to grips with and developing ways to manage their daily caloric intake and daily caloric burn.

There are however, many other dieting ideas as well that are not all completely oriented towards weight loss, and even some that are that claim results that seem contradictory to simple math.  I decided lately to cut out a few more things from my daily diet and be more strict about making my own lunches and dinners lately as part of engaging in the “slow-carb” diet, a diet that heavily resembles the paleo diet in many essential ways.  Both of these diets aim to prevent insulin spikes that encourage extra calories to be immediately shuffled into storage as fat cells while eating nominal quantities of food.  The “slow carb” diet recommends a binge day once a week.  This idea intrigued me, so I figured I’d give it a go.  I’ve always been of the opinion that everything in moderation is important and also that worrying so much about your diet or exercise plan is really quite bad for you since it induces stress.  This diet is fairly relaxed for me, not requiring drastic change in my lifestyle and in fact encourages me to be more economical by making my own food instead of eating out so often.

I’m almost at the end of the first week and although I’ve fudged some of it a bit (I drank a bit of beer one night and had three okinawan donuts given to me another night) I’ve mostly respected it and as a result accidentally dropped my daily caloric intake off the charts.  I actually have a hard time making enough food daily to keep me going.  It’s interesting though and encourages me to expand my culinary horizons to new areas, something I’m always happy to try.

As for climbing and swimming that I’m partly doing this for, climbing has plateaued and swimming has rocketed forward.  I started bouldering last year after a very decent gym opened in Kochi city and learned a lot but soon found some pretty rough limits in my physical ability to hold myself up.  Plateauing can be pretty frustrating when each night of climbing costs upwards of twenty dollars.

Swimming on the other hand has surprised my incredibly as a simple, fun, and easy way to exercise, pain free!  Zero impact is a big thing for me after countless joint injuries and several broken bones growing up.  Running on asphalt and concrete is about my least favorite form of exercise, but it was the most readily available and thus served as my primary way to sweat and get off my lazy butt.  Now?  I’ve started swimming every few days and made a drastic shift forward in my understanding of how it works.

Learning how to breathe properly during the crawl was a big hurdle for me, but as I’ve progressed far enough that I can keep my head down and focus on my arms, legs, and body positioning a bit more I’m beginning to think this is going to be a wonderful outlet.

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Filed under exercise and outdoors, food and drink

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