Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Thine Own Self Be True

196.4 lbs. Okay, that’s more like it.

Today, a totally strange woman (in every conceivable meaning of the word) turned to me in the locker room and said, “I made $11,000 last month.”  Initial reaction (outward was a “good for you”): “Bitch, I know you’re trying to sell me something. I know I’m not wearing makeup but do I look stupid?”

I broke the plateau. I applied the Sinatra principle and did it my way (although technically, since Paul Anka wrote it, perhaps the Anka way would be also apropos).

I figure, if you’re working out to the tune of 1212 calories burned and 1600 calories eaten + a basal metabolic rate of 2300, there should be less of your ass the next day. If, on the other hand, nothing changes, it’s time to take a hard look at what’s clogging up the works (Not literally, in my case. All elimination functions are healthy).

The one change I had made to my diet that coincided with the upward weight bounce and maintenance at the higher level was the addition of a bowl of oatmeal (with fruit, flax, cinnamon and agave) before working out. Yes, complex carbohydrates are supposed to be great for you, but I figure (and have absolutely no  training or scientific studies conducted by nutrition experts or me to back it up) that starches and I are natural enemies, even if they’re in healthy things like oatmeal.  Here’s the unscientific theory: you use starches (flour, cornstarch, potato starch, etc.) to thicken dishes. I’m not Alton Brown and don’t have Food Network on right now (actually, it’s Phat Girlz which is a lousy movie, but I can relate to so much in it. However, I WILL be switching over to “The Voice” at 9. This IS a lousy movie) so I can’t explain how it works. But, I figure, what’s sauce for the goose (or duck, or turkey or chicken) is sauce for the gander. If it thickens things up outside your belly, it probably does the same thing on the inside (I know a nutritionist could undoubtedly make an argument about stomach acid and all that jazz, but like I said, this is highly unscientific). I noticed that certain functions slowed down.  I can eat half a cow, medium rare and it doesn’t screw up the works.

An overnight spike of 2 lbs. is water weight. Fine. A plateau indicates that something isn’t moving. I also felt a bit bloated. So, I was thinking that the oatmeal had slowed down the digestive tract. And I had  (ahem) evidence (or lack thereof) that this was the case. One day at the upper plateau, I had VERY little animal protein. And things still didn’t shift. So, contrary to the instructions of Torquemada, I did not have a bowl (or even a double bowl, as she was pushing) of oatmeal before going to the gym yesterday.

I FELT the digestive process working better. I stuck with the protein shake after working out because my past experience with my body has shown me that it likes protein. It would be perfectly happy with some kind of meat and a salad. Or a bunch of green beans. Or tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. However, despite their status as a super food, hand me a Brussels Sprout and it will be inserted in your left nostril.

There are general rules for nutrition, granted, but I believe that human biochemistry is as individual as your fingerprints. Look at it this way: if all of our bodies reacted identically to stimuli (foods, contact with dander or sunlight), we’d all have the same allergies and preferences in foods and scents. Like the rest of my family, I could down seafood without getting sick to my stomach. And we’d all like the same people on American Idol (which I don’t watch. It gives me hives). The point being, whereas most people benefit from having those complex carbs to prime the energy burning pump, I do better with protein (yogurt  or cottage cheese).   I love Cheerios, but cannot start the day with them: an hour later and I’m starved. And fatigued.  However, give me a protein shake (My mother used to make them for me in the blender: egg – which she snuck in – some kind of flavoring, milk and ice and sometimes peanut butter)  and I’m good to go for hours.

Oh, I apologized to Torquemada for barking at her yesterday. She smiled sweetly, which I took to mean that my ass is grass tomorrow. But, despite her status as a trained professional and my resolve to do things as instructed to do, I have found it necessary to be my stubborn, mulish self and do things my way. Sometimes.

So, I will increase my protein and chicken intake (black pepper, crystallized lemon, granulated garlic and the Foreman grill makes for a formidable dish. No salt need be applied), eat my fruits and vegetables and if that fails to work, maybe we’ll revisit the oatmeal. Or not.

In case anyone thinks I’ve gone totally maverick (didn’t work so well for McCain), I have begun to incorporate Torquemada’s “hour of intense cardio” rule. I made the mistake of doing it BEFORE yoga today and did not complete the hour. I did not have it in me and there was a sub in for Lila who went in for the tough stuff pretty much out of the gate. Like MacArthur, I shall return, only this time, it will be after a job interview (wish me luck) and not an hour of cardio. That will come afterwards.

And if I run into the strange lady in the locker room again, I will offer to hook her up with a Nigerian prince.

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