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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What Did Santa Bring For Christmas?

Were you naughty or nice?
Hope you had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Holiday Feasting
My wife, daughter and I had Christmas dinner on December 25th at the Fairmont Waterfront hotel's restaurant called Herons.   I'd like to hand out some kudos to Herons.  This was something like the fourth time we have been there in as many years for Christmas meals.  2010 was the first time we went for their dinner buffet instead of a lunch buffet. Every time we've been there, every one of the staff from the host to all their wait staff have been exemplary.  Impeccably so.

As it was a buffet with a main course the chef would prepare after you ordered it, I was able to start eating seafood appetizers such as smoked oysters, smoked salmon, maple-cured salmon and fresh shrimp before moving on to salad greens.  Being the bad boy that I am, I even snuck in some dessert pastries and one marshmellow dipped in a chocolate fountain before having the entree.  

My plate of slow roasted prime rib was done to a perfect medium with roasted vegetables and stuffing.  Dinner was topped off with quite a few cups of black coffee.  This is an example of how I ate through the year end holidays. Feeding ad libitum has got to be one of life's most enjoyable pleasures!  It is truly liberating to have a lifestyle that allows me to eat till I am full, have reasonably healthy blood test results, a body composition where I feel good in my clothes, without being a slave to the gym or having to weigh food groups or manage macro-nutrient portions.

Life Interrupted
Throughout the holiday season, my workouts were less frequent than usual. My last bicycle ride was on December 21 (rode from Richmond to Shaughnessy and back).  I did kickboxing about once a week  and threw in some random bodyweight resistance exercises as described in my blog. 

I don't weigh myself much anymore since slimming down as I don't feel bound to a specific number for my weight.  Life isn't merely a performance metric. I am far more interested in actual blood test results, how I feel and actual physical performance when I challenge myself with physically demanding exercise.  Here's what the scale showed after the holiday feasting season:

Yup, those are my toes. Picture taken Jan 4, 2011.

Surprise, Surprise
So what did Santa bring me for Christmas? How about some unexpected weight loss?   I dropped 2 lbs.  to 141 lbs.  (63.9 kg) since the last time I got on the scale (sometime in November if I recall). That puts me at a BMI of 22.8.

How could I lose weight even with holiday feasting?   Two ideas:
- EW (Eating Window)
- IF (Intermittent Fasting)

Eating Window
Most days I ate two main meals: lunch and dinner.  I tried to keep my daily eating window to 8 hours.  This means that out of 24 hours a day, I would only eat within an 8 hour window.  Say 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Outside the window, I drank black coffee and water, and snacked on a few nuts.

Intermittent Fasting
I skipped the breakfast meal and only ate when I was hungry.  In case you're wondering whether skipping a meal is healthy, read this. When I ate during a meal, I ate until I was full emphasizing meat, healthy fats and veggies.  I chose to eat little bread, rice, no beans, legumes or refined starches.  I did eat desserts in moderation.  OK, one evening at Harvey's house, I had two slices of some chocolate thingy.

Primal Living (even at 80% compliance) allows me tremendous freedom to eat, exercise, play and sleep well leading to a higher quality of life than I have ever known.  Read more about Primal Living here. As a man in his mid-forties, I am halfway through the lifespan of an average male.  The first part of my journey is over.  All I can do is keep myself as healthy as possible to maximize my quality of life for the second half of the time I have left.

If you are in your forties and want to become healthier, you don't need a New Year's resolution to start.  

Read the links we post on this blog.  Don't take my word for it.  Read. Live curious.  Most importantly, begin.  Do something.  Anything.  You won't get it perfect the first time.  You will tweak what you eat and how you exercise as you go.  That's fine.  You need to start something in order to have something to adjust as you proceed.  Proceed.  That's the keyword.  Just don't settle for the same-old, same-old.  And don't make excuses.  If you want it enough, it will happen.  You want something easy to remember?  Stop eating wheat and sugar.  You will lose weight and improve blood test markers doing just that alone.

Here's a short video of a workout I did on December 30, 2010.


Harvey's Update

Great post Victor.

My turn to update. I didn't gain or lose any weight during this holiday season. I practiced IF for all feast days. For the past 2 weeks, I only eat one meal a day on feasting days. That is why I can maintain my weight. By limiting sugar and carb intake, I never once felt tired during the day even without food.

Each of us has our weaknesses and challenges. My weak point is that I don't exercise as much as Victor. Actually I probably only do a third of what Victor does. But my gift is that I don't have sugar cravings like him so I can maintain my weight loss without much exercise. My challenge now is to exercise more in order to lose more body fat. I think I have plateaued with my weight loss at this point.

Wish everyone success in 2011 in accomplishing your goals.

Jan 2011

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