The Ultralight Body

My self-conscious self, 2-3 pounds above trail-running weight. March 24, 20013.

My self-conscious self, 2-3 pounds above trail-running weight. March 24, 20013.

I'm 57 years old, 5-11 when I remember to stand up straight, and 148 pounds. You could grate cheese on my abs--a soft cheese at least. Waist: 30, down from 34 a year ago.

I'm not competing for the 2014 Geezer Centerfold Calendar. I'm just getting ready for Phase II of my quest to break the time barrier, running my age up Mount Moosilauke this summer. It's an ideal measure of aerobic fitness, Plus Moosilauke means "bald on top" in Abenaki. Talk about symbolic.

I'll be writing a lot about nutrition in this blog. While you probably won't want to mimic everything I did, if you used just a few of my tools, you'd lose weight, guaranteed, and probably keep most of it off. 

Here's a brief summary of the weight-loss tools. I'll cover them in detail in later posts.

1. High intensity workouts. In the days to come I'll start bringing in the research that backs up my tools. Just know that solid research correlates relatively short, high-intensity training with weight loss. I'm beginning week 8 of Insanity, Beachbody's aptly named workout, 30 to 68 minutes a day. (Disclosure: Beachbody is a client of mine, but I had been using P90X and other Beachbody products long before that.)

2. Smoothies for breakfast and dinner, plus a whey protein bar and dried mangoes for snacks. Liquids are easier to measure than solid meals, and fill you up faster. Breakfast: Beachbody's chocolate Shakeology plus Super Seed, sometimes blended with frozen raspberries and a banana. Dinner: frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, banana, Greek yogurt, and cider. Plus popcorn microwaved without oil, sprayed with a little olive oil, and sprinkled with some salt. Eating light late in the day fosters weight loss. 

3. Biggest meal at midday. That's a hefty salad with various vegetables, guacamole, seeds, and eggs or meat of some kind. And a bite of dark chocolate for lunch. 

4. No alcohol during training. Confession: I narrowly interpret "training," which allowed me to have two glasses of wine last night and a beer at lunch. Now that I'm about to enter Phase II, the drinking really does have to stop. No alcohol for several months. This is a big incentive for me to meet my goal of running my age; I can practically see a giant lager hovering over Moosilauke's summit.

5. Naps. 30-40 minutes a day. One of the bennies of not having a legitimate job. 

6. Eight hours' sleep. Research is solid on this one, too: Inadequate sleep causes weight gain.

7. Indoor temp of 64 degrees. Temps below 70 have been shown to cause weight loss. You might try 68 to start with. Keep moving...

8. Toys. When I'm cold I shoot mini-basketball baskets or do pull-ups on climbing blocks. This beats computer games for procrastination. And what precisely heats me up? The warm burn of calories. 

9. No desk chair. Instead, a stand-up desk and a balance ball. Again, well correlated with weight loss.

10. Outdoor play.  I Nordic-ski, bike, hike, and, obviously, trail run. I live in a beautiful area where being outside doesn't seem like a workout so much as pure fun.

Now you tell me: Which of these tools sound doable to you? Am I just eccentric--or, as my wife once called me, "stark raving you"?