Some of you know but most probably don’t about my recent experiment using modern medicine to solve a truly American problem: fat, lazy and little self control.
See, this is me recently in photo #1, this was me in photo #2
A few weeks ago I went to my doctor as I realized that 2/3 of my Facebook status updates or tweets were about egg nog or bacon or both. Last year I think I gained 15lbs from Sept to Dec – skiing 2 days a week doesn’t really do much and I didn’t train a lick. I think I started the 2010 season over 200lbs and ended in the 170’s but in a whole month off or maybe 6 weeks – my love for egg nog, pumpkin spice lattes, and bacon combined with an appetite still believing that I’m swim/bike/run-ing 10-12 hrs a week, got me to 193lbs.
I knew with Thanksgiving, Christmas and the nearly free-flowing egg nog that I’d be hard pressed to remain fit and handsome. So I caved.
My goals were the following:
- get to the 170’s (ideally very low 170’s) – this should enable me with a healthy ‘platform’ to train with – less impact on my knees, feet, and hips should help reduce the chance for injury and help me recover faster and train with greater regularity
The Doc weighed me, ran some calcs and said he could help – technically I was on the high side of the BMI scale. He tried all the normal routes like: put the fork down (Rhae likes to text that one to me regularly), eat less, eat better and grow up and get some self control. I’m barely better than our dog when it comes to not eating everything in front of me – just barely, so I plead for more help. I know a whole bunch of pro cyclists generally get busted for appetite suppressants – so that’s what I got. Along with a foot-long list of blood tests to be run.
He said I can’t really call it a training aid, but it sort of is.
So basically it makes you feel sort of immune to hunger. I generally eat when I physically feel my stomach flipping over from hunger – but don’t really ‘feel’ hungry. Put a barrel of egg nog and Costco pallet of pumpkin pie in front of me and I won’t even notice. It’s sort of nice.
I can ride for 3 hrs on water and not be hungry – but not something I’d advise. You sort of bonk the same but given the stimulant properties of the drug, you go faster, like a lot faster. Because you don’t eat much – you’re also a super lightweight when it comes to wine or beer or another glass of wine.
- You are wired for the day at 5am to about 10pm, regardless of your day’s activities
- You have to think about eating, particularly enough to fuel a workout
- Sleeping isn’t so much fun. I go to bed like a baby but wake up after about 4-5 hours and need a good 1.5 to 2 hrs to find another hour for sleep. I might be getting 4-5 hours a night now. Which isn’t good.
- You don’t want to eat
- If you do eat, you can’t eat much a) you don’t feel like it b) your stomach has shrunk a lot and you fill up on a half sandwich.
- You get cranky sometimes
- You’re never tired even with very little sleep, never.
- You lose weight but it messes up your hormones – thus the blood work
- You can get sick more easily…
So here’s how it’s working:
Week 5 to 6 was Thanksgiving where I had a 1/2 cup of Cream of Wheat for breakfast and then a single plate of dinner – turkey, veggies and some stuffing – no heaps or piles. A one story meal!
So weeks 1-4 I was ok but as the last bullet point above notes… you can get sick. I did and had to take ~2 weeks off from riding and swimming (I’m not running until I’m a bit leaner to save my knees which have tendonosis that is being treated).
The data bars from week 7 onwards (I’m doing a 12 week plan of this stuff) is just a projection based on past results – but likely a bit conservative since I didn’t train for 2 weeks. I suspect I’ll come in around the low 170’s but lean mass around 157 and body fat around 11-12%.
So the people who do know I’m doing this have mixed reactions. Half say ‘I so need that’ and the other half (who seem to be mostly women) say I’m crazy. I sort of expect this, women have sense (generally) and because of it insurance companies cut your car insurance by 50% when you get married. They assume you’ve now got a passenger who you will listen to. It sort of works.
So that is part one.
- I need to eat a bit more to keep my immune system strong so I can supplement a lower intake with exercise. More veggies! More lean protein!
- I need to take a break from the meds and get my sleep back – it slowly got worse each week but is nearly intolerable right now. More sleep should help get my hormone levels back to normal. Hopefully taking a day off every other day should still maintain the desired effect but not the side effects.
- I’d recommend this to anyone who is struggling to nail down 15-30lbs, it’s hard. It’s not fun to be cow-ish. I tried moving to fewer carbs outside of training windows – replacing only what I burn. But I didn’t stop eating the same volume when I took a break.
- I need to learn how I feel when I’m hungry vs. bored or some other non-reason to eat.
- I know there are many other options (drugs) I could have tried, but have chosen to continue with what I started. I also didn’t want to take sleeping pills on top of what I’m already taking – that seemed excessive. Now you know I draw that line not at ridiculous but only at Beverly-Hills Housewife excessive.
I’ll write up the rest when I’m all done with it.