I took last week off. I didn’t really mean to but — no excuses, it just worked out that way.
But I made a discovery.
Sometimes, I really do need to take a week off or maybe half a week off. My six-day workout schedule isn’t too much for me at all. But sometimes I get tired. Most days, I get up and go to work and then I come home, do cardio, eat, head to the gym, and then come home and fall into bed. And even so, the fatigue just builds and builds and builds until I start to feel that I could sleep for about three days straight.
That’s when it’s time to take some time off.
The best part about it is that I find I have all kinds of energy and strength to resume my workouts when I do get back to them. I bounce around with the cardio and have a bunch of fun. I work really hard at the strength work, pushing myself and getting the most out of every move. I kill those workouts and it feels really good.
Here’s something else about the time I took off. My friend Larry shared a diet that I’d never heard of but that he’s been using to take of a bit of weight, called the Ferriss Diet. Of course, Larry doesn’t have anywhere near as much weight to lose as I do but still, it has been doing some surprising but great things for me and I’ve only been working this diet for a few days.
It’s got only four basic tenets:
- Don’t eat anything that is or could be “white”: no potatoes or pasta or bread or rice or cereal or even breaded fried food. The only exception is if you eat it within 1.5 hours of a high-resistance training session of at least 20 minutes in duration.
- Substitute legumes for all those carbs: low carb diets leave a lot of people starving so that they end up giving up, because carbs provide the average person with a lot of calories. Legumes are better because they are calorically dense but high in protein and fiber and low in carbs.
- Don’t drink calories: stay away from soft drinks, fruit juices or even milk (I would argue about the milk, which has all sorts of nutritional value aside from calories). Drink lots and lots and lots of water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or other low calorie or no calorie beverage available. I’d avoid diet sodas, though, since they’re sweetened with plastic sugar.
- Take one day off per week: once a week, you forget about all of the above and eat anything at all that you want. Soda, ice cream, 15 Snickers bars … literally anything you want to eat is fine. “Paradoxically, dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function, etc.) doesn’t downregulate from extended caloric restriction,” per the diet instructions I got. Good stuff, huh?
Now, I’m not expecting any of the kinds of miracle changes that you’ll find if you go to Google Images for “Ferriss Diet”. I try not to be unreasonable. And I’m afraid I fell off the wagon pretty badly last week when I was out of town at that conference in Albany. It’s difficult to stay on this strict a diet when you are not the one in charge of your own menus. But, in spite of all that, I have been seeing results and they are results I didn’t anticipate.
Another article that recently caught my eye is this one, which offers some suggestions to diabetics on how to increase insulin sensitivity. The main reason why it caught my eye is because this is precisely the sort of diabetes I have: insulin resistant. Now, at the behest of my doctor, I measure my fasting blood sugar every morning. When I was doing badly with all the abdominal fat increasing my insulin resistance, my fasting blood sugar might get as high as 180. Normal is around 100 to 120. These days, after more or less a week on this diet, my fasting blood sugar is averaging around 75 — without my insulin.
Yes, that’s right. I had to stop taking the insulin altogether because I was waking up with my blood sugar as low as 49. And I’m only just getting started! It sort of makes me wonder if it’s possible to build my insulin sensitivity to the point that I can just stop taking all or almost all of my meds.
Still further illustration of the fact that you can find the positive results of good diet and exercise in other places besides a scale and a mirror. (Thanks, Larry!)