I remember once calorie tracking over Christmas and new year. (I know, insane, right?) I don’t remember why. It was just a thing. But I do remember making a joke at some point about 70% of my calories over that week coming from champagne and Christmas cake.
Mates, I have been tracking my calories for a couple of months now as I tried to repair the damage from last year’s illness and surgery and, no joke, a significant amount of my weekly calorie intake came from alcohol and baked goods.
I think I posted here a while ago about giving up the booze for a couple of weeks to let my immune system have a clear run at a cold, a chest infection, or something that wasn’t going away. It worked. I deep-sixed the cold and dropped a couple of kilogrammes of fat in almost no time.
When I decided to swap out most of my cardio for strength training – mostly because my doctor didn’t want me doing high-intensity cardio – I decided I would also see a nutritionist to clean up my diet.
Even as I write that, it seems like such an indulgence. How hard could it be? Less alcohol and baked goods, more green leafy vegetables, right? But I’ve been checking in with Katelyn, the nutritionist, once every two weeks for a couple of months now. Along with the switch from cardio to strength training, I credit it with most of the 8 kilogrammes of blubber eel I’ve melted away from my gut.
Perhaps I’m less likely to indulge by having to check in with somebody who’ll call me out on my champagne and bakery treats lifestyle. But along with the daily calorie tracking, it is making me a lot more mindful about what I stick into my central face hole.
The weird thing about it is that I wasn’t eating nearly enough, if you take out the champagne and blueberry danishes. I’m still not eating nearly enough, which is why I’m losing weight, natch. The biggest revelation to me has been this idea that if I am going to do serious strength training, I need to eat a serious amount of protein and clean carbs to fuel it. A shit tonne more calories than I was eating before if you take out all the treats.
The other revelation? Just how hard it is to fill up that calorie budget when you are not padding it out with garbage. I’m constantly surprised when I record a chicken breast or a steak just how few calories it actually contains. On the other hand, it’s horrifying to have a sneaky chocolate croissant, as I did about a fortnight ago, and see your finely calibrated calorie budget for the entire day get blown to hell and back.
Luckily, I like protein. I like it in all its forms, even the weird vegetable forms like tofu (as long as it’s fried and drenched in a spicy Mexican sauce). Also, lucky for me, I can eat a shit tonne of eggs and dairy without blowing out my cholesterol or having any kind of allergic reaction. This stuff would be hard if you had food intolerances or were vegan.
But man, it is hard to hit that protein goal each day.
I'm all about losing weight, and happy to do it by cutting out evening carbs, pastry-based snacks and upping the cardio exercise.
I think if the health goal is a bit more niche- like recovering from surgery or an illness- then there's a very sound argument for a nutritionist and medical supervision.
There is increasing evidence that we're all super individual special snowflakes when it comes to antibiotics, medicines, and yes, nutrition and exercise. The next big frontier is personalised medicine and other therapies, so seeking out a nutritionist for a personalised approach to your diet totally makes sense. As you've noted before, your cholesterol tolerance super power means that the rest of us can't follow your plan without risking exploding our arteries...
Can't you collaborate with a ghost eater?
I've hovered at the 95kg mark for ages now - I'm 180cms and don't look huge as its fairly evenly distributed but also haven't seen a doc in ages (or a dentist but i still have all my teeth). At 47 going on 48 that little annoying voice at the back of my head is getting louder "go and start seeing docs on the reg, you are getting old and also need to lose a couple of kgs". There's no real family history of illnesses to speak of and everyone tends to make it to ripe old ages in the line (unless you get taken out by alcoholism, but my two uncles were in the merchant navy and i think that had a lot to do with it) but i think i'm relying on that history a bit too much.
I'm trying to think what sort of dish you could make with the salmon, steak and chicken pictured. I can imagine the basil and nuts converted into a pesto, but you'd need quite a lot of basil to make enough pesto to make all of those pieces of meat look like food. No idea what to do with the boiled eggs. Probably just snack on them while you're cooking the rest.
Protein smoothies are the easiest way. Scoop of whey or plant-based protein, add in almond/oat milk, add in some fruit, blend it up and bingo. Six-pack abs!
My son and DIL, who are into weightlifting, have made the same complaint about getting enough protein.
Interestingly I hadn't realised until I watched a live comedy piece by Dara O'Briain that 'nutritionist' isn't a protected term, anyone can call themselves a 'nutritionist' the professional protected term in Australia and the UK is 'Dietitian'.
Fizzy water does wonders for me. Probably more expensive than petrol, but stops me going for the pastries.
I started fasting about 4 years ago after a comment from Flinthart caught my eye and I had a few discussions with him. Completely Rewired my body and brain to an extent as well