Monday, October 13, 2014

An unusual mood

I’ve been working long days every day of the week just to stay afloat lately, but this afternoon I was feeling restless and in desperate need of a real break, though I couldn’t think of anything that really sounded like a good one. Then I saw the word “run” somewhere on the Internet, and I realized that was EXACTLY what I wanted to be doing.

I haven’t been running in—I don’t know, months? The Tabata sprinting thing was a nice, short workout, but I think they were just so hard that I just couldn’t make myself get out there and do it consistently. I wanted to approach this run in a sort of yoga-ish way, by which I mean push myself slightly, hold it there for a few seconds, and then back off and rest.

That is such a glorious way to do it. You go at the pace you like, let it get a little hard, and then walk until you feel like you’d rather be going fast again. If I would run like this on a regular basis, I’m sure it would eventually make me a better runner, too. But we’ll see how far I get with the “run only when the mood strikes” method.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I put my arm around Mik in church today and was a bit taken aback—the kid feels SOLID, like he’s put on about 10 pounds of muscle. When we got home I had him weigh himself, and sure enough he’s put on 10 pounds of something in the past couple of months. It’s clearly not fat. Might be height. Or it might be him busting out of his shirts like the Hulk, just like I planned.

Hey, it might also be brain! He just got the news that he made the middle school’s Science Bowl team, which is a bigger deal than it sounds like, because this team regularly goes to nationals in Washington, D.C., and often wins it. I gave him so many high-fives as M.H. was reading us the email that my hand hurts.

I’m in a good mood today. On top of all of the above, the weather is nice, one of my bushes is blooming purple flowers, and my pastor just preached a sermon arguing that Genesis 1 is not science—which is at least an adjustment from his previous view, if not a 180. Sincere belief and intellectual honesty: You can’t ask for much more than that in a church.

I mean, now that I think about it for two seconds, yes, you can, but anyway here’s a pretty picture of my landscaping because I totally lied about the last pictures being the last ones:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Part 12: The end

I have not really wanted to sound like a commercial for Carb Nite, but obviously I’m pretty sold on it, and I guess that’s just where “getting you back into my brain” has led me. I would have liked to tell you all about this as it was happening and let it all unfold more organically, but (a) I was more or less forbidden from doing that and (b) it did seem irresponsible to start flooding my blog with info about a magical-sounding diet until I had actually tried it myself and learned as much as I could.

Anyway, it’s been fun having a little story to tell you, and at least now my friends and family will know what I’m talking about—or more than usual.

And, obviously, it would make me pretty happy if anyone else tried this based on my suggestion and had M.H.-like success. (Or even Julie-like success, since I have had a ton of fun and am not actually sneezing at the 11 pounds I’ve lost so far.) I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it—though much less often—and will for sure let you know if I succeed in getting willowy.

So now you’re all caught up. The end!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Part 11: Takeaways

Regardless of whether this diet continues to work for me or not—and given my propensity to jump on new bandwagons embrace new adventures when they come along, my guess is I won’t be doing it forever—I have learned some useful things.

One, which I mentioned earlier, is the thing about our bodies being most efficient at turning carbohydrates into fat in the morning. Another is that the best way to eat those late-in-the day carbohydrates is after a weight-training workout, when all the carbs are going to go directly to rebuilding muscle. I started applying this latter point by heading to the gym and doing all my shoulder physical therapy right before Carb Nite. It immediately started feeling stronger, and I’d say I’m about 95 percent healed.

I keep thinking that if I were to ever do another Ironman—never gonna happen, but if I did—it would be solely to see if I could train successfully while applying all the new diet and exercise principles I’ve been learning.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Part 10: In the groove

Everything I’ve heard about Carb Nite says not to bother too much about the scale, but after a few weeks of M.H. dropping weight and me standing still, I started to worry that he would “catch” me, and that’s just not okay. So it was nice to see my weight start moving again three weeks ago, just ticking down about a pound a week. That I can certainly live with.

Another thing that has encouraged me is joining a Facebook group devoted to discussing Carb Nite. They want you to have read the book in order to participate (which is reasonable), so I don’t contribute an awful lot there, but it’s entertaining. Every week a different person posts about how she’s been doing Carb Nite for three whole weeks and nothing seems to be happening—should she give up??! And then every Friday the page starts blowing up with people posting pictures of the candy and pie and cookies they’re about to eat, so it’s pretty much the goofiest “diet” page ever.

Kiefer’s YouTube channel is more informative but less hilarious, if you’re looking for resources.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Part 9: Oil grey

One little tidbit that I’ve learned from being obsessed with Carb Nite and Carb Backloading is that our bodies are most sensitive to insulin in the morning, which means that that’s when they are much better at turning carbohydrates into fat. So a lot of people who do Carb Nite don’t eat carbs at all in the morning, and we’ve been experimenting with that, too.

The trendy way to do it is to, instead of eating breakfast, have some sort of fat in your morning hot drink. For a lot of people it’s cream or butter in coffee, but we have been having coconut oil in tea. It’s okay. It does keep you from getting hungry, but the taste is kind of meh. Plus it makes all the teacups and tea infusers all oily and disgusting. So the jury is still out.

I still eat three meals—they’re just shifted later in the day, which also makes dinner work well with the kids’ new schedules. Hey, remember how not eating in the evening tended to make me wake up super-peppy the next morning? Well, too bad for me because that’s gone and I have to drag my sorry, exhausted carcass out of bed in the morning now like everyone else. Hrm.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Part 8: Mik

I love including Mik in my dietary experiments because he’s a scientist at heart. He’s only 14, but he has definitely noticed how a different kind of diet has helped him personally. Actually, it’s kind of hard to miss being cured of a stomach ulcer, but I’m also talking about things like how strong he feels while swimming, or how his face will break out after he eats too much sugar.

(True story: He “learned” in health class that diet has absolutely nothing to do with acne. “Um, you know that’s total crap, right?” “Of course!”)

Anyway, Carb Nite is for metabolically damaged people who have fat to lose, so it’s not appropriate for someone as lean as he is. And I am not stupid enough to play with restricting carbs in a teen athlete. However, the Carb Nite guy (who goes by the I’m-such-a-rock-star-I-only-need-one-name name of “Kiefer”) also talks a lot about his muscle-building protocol called Carb Backloading, which basically just means eating fat and protein early in the day and then eating all your carbs at night, after a workout.

So I came up with a new routine for Mik: He eats the kinds of foods that would normally be his dinner—hamburgers (no bun), broccoli, cheese, bacon—for breakfast. He eats the same kind of moderate-carb lunch he was eating before. And then he eats a hashbrown or rice or something with dinner, after swim practice.

I can’t tell yet if it’s doing anything, and I’m pretty sure he’s not going to let me measure his biceps to find out. If he starts busting out of his shirts like the Hulk, I will let you know.