The need for consistency.

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Kea was giving me wifely advice this morning. To stick with what we have done over the last few days, and not think that because we have had success we can relax our ultra low carbohydrate diet. If we fall off it, we become physically unwell and anxious. Consistency is the key, but it is hard.

It is better to enjoy the fact that clothes are now loose. That I can stand up freely, and have full range of motion. On carbohyrdates, it takes a couple of hours in the morning to loosen up.

The fact that you’ve lost that amount of weight and kept if off is proof you’re committed to your goal. Even better, I love that you’re not using words like “diet” or “falling off the wagon,” both of which imply that you’ve embarked on a temporary lifestyle change. Weight loss is a long-term process that includes ups and downs. And plateaus like the one you’re experiencing right now are a natural part of that process.

Anytime you’re going through a plateau, you can take it as a sign that something needs to change. It doesn’t need to be a drastic change, but it is an opportunity to take a closer look at what you’re doing — or not doing.

I find that the biggest culprit of weight loss plateaus with my own health coaching clients is that they’ve loosened the reins a bit. In the beginning of your journey, you might have been meticulous about avoiding grains and refined sugars. If you’re following the Primal Blueprint, you might have kept your split at a solid 80/20. But as the months and years go on it’s absolutely normal to let some things slide without realizing it.

Eating more than you think is extremely common. Extra handfuls of nuts. Wine every night. A carb-fest on Sunday that turns into sandwiches and ice cream all week. You get the picture. Occasional indulgences should be enjoyed guilt-free, however it’s important to be aware of them instead of mindlessly refilling your glass. Small changes can be sneaky, and they add up fast.

If you are adjusting to a low carbohydrate diet, you really can’t do intense exercise at the same time. I think this is why most crossfit athletes are on a moderate carb diet: they don’t allow themselves enough time to recover. Most of them are teaching early morning and evening classes and fitting in two workouts in the middle of the day, and they generally don’t do enough walking etc.

The very best (Froning, Fraser etc) don’t do much coaching. They train full time and allow themselves time to rest. But a fair number of them can and do eat junk food — for the same reason I did when I was in my 20s. I was training so much that I needed every calorie I could get into me. This led to a serious pizza habit, chronic inflammation (now gone: I don’t have Achilles Tendinitis, and I had that for three decades). But the rest of us have lives, and we need to go as primal or close to carnivore as we can afford.

This is a recipe from Crossfit: sliders are an American thing. Both of us would react to this. Your mileage may vary.

Now for some badthink. If you are middle aged and male locally, you will probably be offered a statin: my GP put me on one when I had a lower cholesterol than I had running marathons as a student. But does it matter? Low carb, lots of meat makes you feel better and stronger and fitter.

You can now shut off your brain, take your statin, eat your tofu and kale salad and perhaps you don’t feel good anymore but at least you can take solace in the assumption that won’t be on the fast track to clutching your chest anytime soon. Yay, crisis averted, your doctor can check that box and the cute drug rep gal that sells the statins in the office will give him a high five and perhaps and extra smile and tell him how great a doctor he is.

But what if feeling great, having lower inflammation, being leaner and noticing you are almost aging in reverse is actually a good thing despite cholesterol going up. What if isolated cholesterol reading are not that reliable as a predictor of disease when other things are working well. What if people with normal or low cholesterol are dying of heart disease. What if low cholesterol tends to put one at risk for dying early and of getting many other diseases like cancer or neurodegenerative diseases. What if drugs like statins were associated with up to 100 times the risk of developing a horrible debilitating diseases such as ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease)

As it turns out, low cholesterol is associated with a number of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Huge percentages of people with “normal” cholesterol are having heart attacks, including those supposedly invincible vegans, in which heart disease is their number one killer as well. Imagine spending your life eating a bunch of unsatisfying vegan food thinking you’re going to avoid heart disease only to have it kill you anyway.

Personal experience: I have had statins affect my ability to write (changing the statin solved that). I hate Kale. Getting rid of spinach also helped. Tofu is horrible.

I hate mega gyms. I like functional group fitness, but for a third of NZ that is not an option at present. Walking and body weight workouts is where we are at.

And the Lancet diet is not designed to make you well. It was designed by Greens, who consider most agriculture as non sustainable, to make veganism mandatory.

2 thoughts on “The need for consistency.

  1. My cholesterol went down progressively over my primal diet years – down from the time I ate a heaping bowl of oatmeal every day for breakfast. Went down more last year on “slow carbs” – when recovery after heavy lifting involved a *lot* of red meat. YMMV indeed.

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