Monday, May 21, 2007


So loyal long-time readers of the Scantabulous Technodojo will remember when I posted half-naked pictures of myself along with a nutrition log in the latter half of 2006. This is when I had lost a ton of weight by eating properly and exercising at the gym with Muncher.

Well then I graduated from chemistry school and went to Thailand for a three-month postdoc.

The Thai people like to brag that when American farang come to Thailand for a long time (3+ weeks) they always lose a bunch of weight eating Thai food (noodles). Now food poisoning not withstanding, this seems like a perfectly reasonable claim, as most farang that come to Thailand are seriously obese American businessmen who could lose weight by bagging their own groceries. At the time I, on the other hand, went to Thailand in the best shape of my life, and the only direction to go from there was toward worst-shape.

Leave for Thailand:
Weight: 164.4 lbs
Body Fat: 9%*

Return from Thailand:
Weight: 181.6 lbs
Body Fat: 23%*

Now, admittedly I was probably slightly underweight when I left, but that doesn't make up for the hideous body fat gain due to noodles. Lots and lots of noodles. I'm not going to post pictures, as the before picture isn't supposed to be better than the after picture, but you can imagine the terrible results of going from a high-protein diet to a noodle-only diet, even when you still work out.

In any case, now that I'm back in the states with access to regular food, I decided to get back into shape. Unfortunately there were some unexpected factors that have inhibited my self-discipline in getting back into the groove. The first one is that I do not have the awesome gym a block away like I had in Champaign, as well as the very consistent workout partner Muncher to ensure I don't wuss out. Secondly, in Champaign I had coworker Ted who was doing the exact same diet/exercise method as me, and everyday at work we would discuss carb-loading and compare nutrition charts like two blueshirts fresh out of Intro to Biochem for Health Majors. I didn't realize how much that kind of positive reinforcement helps one stick with maintaining the workout and logging their nutrition.

So I decided to analyze what worked and try to simplify the dieting and exercising method so my lazy butt could maintain it without too much conscious thought. Reading various websites, Men's Health articles, and playing with the nutrition log math I have found a simplified solution that allows one to maintain the proper nutrition and fiber without logging everyday.

Every Sun-Fri meal (4-5 per day) should contain 1 item from each of the 3 following lists:

1) Protein (2-4 oz)
Chicken breast
Ground Turkey (lowfat)
Organic Beef (lowfat)
3-5 egg whites + 1 egg

2) Legumes (1/2-1 cup)
Black Beans
Kidney beans
Pinto Beans

3) Veggies (1/2-1 cup)
Spinach / lettuce
Mixed Veggies

No matter how you mix these meals they will be about 1:4:4 = fats:carbs:protein. Plus you'll get your necessary allotment of fiber without resorting to 3 bowls of Kashi a day. Toss in one protein shake in there sometime during the day and you're golden. I've been logging it for a few days now after I eat to check it and it works great. So I just load up on these things at the grocery store and I'm good to go. No need to log anymore!

Saturdays are cheat days, which means I can eat whatever I want. Pad Thai, Bagels, Ice Cream, whatever. This is actually an important part of the diet as I found out last year. You need one cheat day per week to maximize weight loss, because otherwise your body thinks you're starving and gets too efficient. Also by eating a ton of hot tomales on Saturday I can make myself sick of them for the rest of the week.

As for the lack of a Muncher and gym I have found this 30-minute Men's Health workout, which totally kicks my ass, and I can do it in my apartment with a folding chair, broomstick, and two dumbells. For the cardio section I practice Thai Sword, but that can totally be replaced by treadmill running for the nonjas out there.

Just thought if anyone else felt like cuttin' the old love handles they'd appreciate the company.

*Body Fat Percentage is based on a programmable electrode body fat scale. You put in your height and stuff so its fairly accurate.