Category Archives: polyphasic food


Oo, I was good all day, and enjoyed it even, but come eveningtime — when I get the most snacky — the having of cheater-food in the house from yesterday totally caught up with me, and I ate a bunch of (lovely, lovely) chocolate.  Now I feel a familiar kinda sick.  ::sigh::

I will HAVE to get better about this if I'm to survive the holidays without gaining a few millimeters of bioprene*, that's for sure.  Hockey was even canceled today because so many of our players are out of town — augh I hate the holidays sometimes!

In more interesting/relevant news, I realized that I forgot to point out a wrench that polyphasic sleep throws into this diet — eating a high-protein breakfast within a half-hour of waking is tough when you wake up at four a.m. and only went to bed a few hours earlier!  Of course, if I didn't eat in the evenings — which I shouldn't, especially sugary shit, I know; that's kind of the point of this I guess — might not be so bad, but on days like today when I add about 300 calories after 11pm, it's going to suck.  Must fix must fix must fix….



*bioprene:  A much-loved diving term for layers of "naturally-occurring neoprene", which, of course, makes you float.  ;)


EDIT:  Threw out the rest of the chocolate.  Tomorrow night I need to remember how I felt tonight — heart-poundy, sickish, sluggish, and icky.  Before I got into the sweets, I had vegetables as a "late snack" and felt great, and was looking forward to breakfast; then I went and ruined it.  Best antedote is to not do it again!  ::goes to bed humming selfhacker mantras::

Craziest. Sunday. Ever.

The extra kilo's stabled out; holding at just about 57 exactly.  Of course, it's 9pm on Sunday and I've only JUST gotten around to cheating!

Last night was the kind of enjoyable Saturday everyone ought to have once in a while, that involves really nice sushi and a bit too much sake.  So I woke up feeling a little rough, and with everything in my guts screaming for something to set things right.  I wound up with a lot of water and a handful of almonds for breakfast — perfectly healthy & on-diet.  I didn't get anything else for quite a few hours, and when I did it was pumpkin soup and couscous — carb-y, but still mad healthy!  I managed to stuff in the boston creme donut I promised myself before my evening swim practice; and then swam my butt off for an hour.  

On the way home I stopped at a grocery, and bought *mostly* food I can eat for the next week, but then probably about six times what I can eat tonight in "cheat food".  Plus a rather awesome beer.  (Just one; the sake still being fresh in memory.)

On the one hand, having cheat food around during the week when I shouldn't be cheating is stupid — especially since I'm traveling next week and won't take it with me, since the holidays will handle all my cheating quite well, thank you.  On the other hand, I'm craving the hell out of the beans and vegetables I bought, and actually had to convince myself to eat the chocolate instead, so that's probably a good sign!  And I'm still going to cheat my butt off this evening until I'm full.  

Mind you, yes I had some baked goods, a little chocolate, some beer; but you know what I'm cheating with now?  Gluten-free organic granola.  Because dammit, it's yummy and I've missed it.  

Wow — That's me now.  Cheating on health food.

::is so proud!::


OK, a little whining here — I was going to avoid it, but why give the impression that this is easy, when it isn't; right?


…I say.  Twice.  With plenty of theatrics and hand-waving.

Firstly, damn am I not hungry — I'm full.  Yesterday, by the end of the day, my stomach hurt.  This is because the carb-cravings are prodding me to eat constantly, and the food I'm allowed to have is all really filling, either because it's protein or vegetables.  I'm trying to lean on the vegetables as much as I can to control my calorie-intake, and to drink a lot of extra water.  I also appear to have gained a kilo, but that could be normal fluctuation or incidental or whatever.  Still, oof.

Also still a bit fatigued, but not too badly.  Also haven't had much in the way of heavy athletics the last couple days — I have done workouts, but no big ol' hockey games or equivalents.  (That may also explain the kilo.  ;)

I do still really like the first-thing high-protein breakfast.  I feel settled and high-energy after that, and it's quite a while before I get hungry again.  Tweaking the shake recipe still (adding spinach, for example).  

I honestly can't imagine how difficult this is going to be over the holidays, when I'm staying in my mom's junk-food-riddled house…but one challenge at a time, I guess.  Today I'm declaring a win, because the roommate baked banana-bread, and it's been here alone with me all afternoon, untouched!  (The fact that I'm stuffed from beans, mixed veggies, broccoli, tuna fish, and my coconut "cookies" is probably mostly why, but hey, whatever works for now.)

Now, back to the Ubersleep Second Edition edits — It's getting there, and I'm getting really excited to have it done!! 

…and there’s cooking, too.

I found a recipe for "cookies" that are basically made from coconut and stevia, and decided to try them so I could have a no-carb, no-sugar Thing around for those psychologically-uncomfortable moments.

I mentioned to my roommate that I was trying this, and she said, "Oh, so you're going from basically not cooking at all to cooking gluten-free and stuff?  Mmm."  

"Mmm" is her very polite way of laughing her ass off.

It's not like I've *never* cooked; I quite proficiently provided basic meals for a family for years, and I can rock a crock-pot when needed…but I definitely don't have The Cooking Bug, and I won't do it unless really motivated by something.  And while I can "produce food", and edible food too, I'm definitely not what you'd call "good at it".

All of which is to say that I just put cookies in, forgetting to add anything to make them not stick like gecko-feet to the pan, and forgetting to set a timer.  Fortunately I panicked about the timer and checked them early enough to pry them loose from the pan before they were properly chemically bonded, but…yeah.  Me + cooking = a little scary.

(I also turned the leftover egg yolks from the recipe, some leftover chicken my roommate (who actually CAN cook) made last night, and a fistful of spinach into lunch.  Yay!)

((Also, don't expect many posts about food-preparation…like I said, not a topic that really gets me going…but obviously this week it's on my mind, so.))


EDIT:  Hey, those "cookies" aren't bad, either!  ::win::

["]I am an adaptation[,]["] period[.][..]


…Yup, that's my thought for today*:  My life is one…big…long…adjustment period.  And on top of that, I'm totally the kind of person who gets off on phrases that can be understood several ways depending on spelling and punctuation tweaks.  Oh frabjous d[el]ay.

And right about the time I finally get the hang of it (upside-down-A[X]), something will kill me, I'm sure.  (Or I'll just never get the hang of it.  Oo!  Immortality by refusal to adjust!  ;)

So, until this very (two) afternoon(s ago), I hadn't looked into what adjusting to a low-carb diet would be like at all.  But I'm glad I did, because hoooo boy is it not insignificant.

Some numbers:  My old before-it-started-sucking DailyBurn goal was 200g of carbs daily, and I consistently went over that — sometimes way over it.  Monday I cheated a little because of hockey — I was a bit worried about doing an intense 90-minute workout with next to no carbs in me, so I had a piece of flatbread before and some fruit + half a beer after (yes — I didn't want to finish my post-hockey beer!  Weeeeeeird.).  I estimate ~100, maybe 150g on Monday.  Tuesday, much less; I didn't cheat at all, and of course I'm getting some carbs from vegetables, the cream in my coffee and honey in my tea, and stuff like that; but overall there's no way it was more than 100g.  And Wednesday was about the same — no real cheating, but probably 50-75g cumulative from dairy, vegetables, etc.  

Yesterday and today (and today) I hacked together a protein-shake for breakfast, and now that I don't have to *cook* first thing in the morning, I'm loving getting the high-protein meal first thing.  (Coconut milk + protein powder + spoonful of cocoa = OH YES PLS.)  Yesterday I swam at 8am, so I had my shake at 6 so as not to throw it up through my snorkel, heh.  I felt great during the workout, and afterwards I was hungry, but a small handful of almonds fixed it nicely.  Today I have no huge exercise planned, but the shake will definitely get me through to lunch easy.  Sometimes my stomach is gurgly after it, like, "WAUGH that's a lot of food first thing in the morning, hey!", but it hasn't made me sick or uncomfortable, so sticking with that for now.

Lunches tend to make me really full now — to get a reasonable amount of calories in, I have to eat about two CANS of food — 1/2 can of beans, 1/2 can of vegetables, and then so far I've been needing a whole 'nother serving or two of vegetables on top of that — which, man, that's WAY healthier than I've ever eaten before, so WOOT.  And it isn't unpleasant, really — I'm eating plenty, after all.  

I've experienced quite a bit of psychological hunger, but since I'm so physically full from all of the vegetables and protien-heavy meals, it's been a lot of thinking, "I wish I had a…oh.  Actually no, if I ate anything right now I'd be sick."  Sugar-cravings are frequent, but tea sweetened with a little honey or agave syrup, or celery with peanut butter, takes care of them — and I've been letting myself have a few squares of dark chocolate in the evenings, when I would normally be grabbing cookies or the equivalent.  (Cookies and a beer or two = 50g or more of carbs.  Glass of red wine and 1/4 bar of dark chocolate = less than 10g.)

I weigh the same now as I did three days ago, so no immediate rapid weight-loss, which is good:  I'm still 57kg average over a day; usually waking up at 56-ish and nearing or hitting 58 at some point.  (On workout days, it's not unusual to weigh 1-2kg more or less over the course of a day.  Weirded me out at first when I got a scale, but I'm told it's quite normal.)  I don't look any different either, which again, is good.  Visible change in three days would scare the crap out of me!  In 2.5 more weeks, I'd like to be feeling better — with more consistent energy-levels and less symptoms of sugar overload — and maybe have a tiny bit less body-fat to show for it; I'd call that a HUGE success. 

(Also, my plan to internalize the metric system more fully is going almost too well — I find my weight easier to track in kg than lbs, now.  For your reference, 56kg = about 125 lbs.  I've decided that I can safely lose up to 10lbs on this diet, but if I get below 52kg I need to make some adjustments pronto.)

And let's be clear:  I am doing this "diet" as a lifestyle change, not a fast way to lose a few.  I was looking for the lifestyle change away from my bread-and-sugar-centric diet, for one thing; and for another, all my reading tells me that carb-restrictive diets are a bad idea in the short-term:  Put simply, if you train your body to burn protein and fat, then if you start giving it a lot of carbs again, it will store them, resulting in weight gain.  I've talked to plenty of people who lost a lot of weight by cutting carbs, but then gained it all back and then some by reverting to their old dietary habits.  That kind of rapid up-and-down isn't healthy I think, but nor is it my plan:  I'd rather make smaller changes and keep them for good; and to the degree that I'm making a more extreme change now, it's for the purpose of jump-starting the habit, and pushing through the discomfort of restricting carbs.

Oh yeah, discomfort.

I talked to a medical professional I know, and read some more, and both things confirmed that it's normal to feel some serious adjustment to cutting one's carb intake.  It's not unhealthy by itself (for most people — contraindicated for anyone with kidney trouble), but doing it means that you're changing your systems over from "here burn this easily-available energy that I will constantly feed you" over to "there is very little easily-burnable energy, so fire up the glucogenesis engines and get working on all this healthy fat and protein I'm giving you instead".  It's sort of like re-jiggering a fire to burn logs instead of newspaper, and it's normal to feel some fatigue, weakness, or other weirdness while things shift over.  Humans are designed to burn protein and fat — we have enough systems in place to do it that we can, in fact, exist entirely without carbs if we need to — but humans like me who've had a steady daily supply, and often oversupply, of bread and sugar for basically all their lives need time for the internal systems to reconfigure.

I'm definitely experiencing that:  Mostly, fatigue.  I'm riding it out with extra naps and just sticking to things and hoping it passes soon.  My workouts aren't impacted, but my motivation is; probably some of it is the psychological hunger making me want to hide until it's time to eat again.  Also, in the interest of full disclosure, there's some emotional shit going on here too, and I have no way of telling how much of it is physiological; and how much is the holidays or various tricky bits of Life; but I do know that it's making me that much more willing to take as many naps as I can.  (I am still making darn sure to take the three naps a day I promised — and bet! — that I would take, no matter what; and wow am I glad for them; they're keeping my sleep regular even as it's trying to tear itself to shambles.)  My stomach is also noisier than usual, but all the eliminative stuff is, while not exactly the same, still well within the bounds of normal-and-not-miserable, so I'm sticking with it.  Holy good lord am I looking forward to Sunday, though!  I plan to get up early, walk to the donut shop, pick up a beer on the way home, and then flagrantly embarrass myself at brunch, using the afternoon nap to rejuvenate enough to walk to the place with the amazing scones.  Then we'll see what I can fit in there in the evening…  ;)  

Anyway, let's call this the update for now and post it, before something else distracts me and I don't get around to it until tomorrow again!


*EDIT:  Today=yesterday; I've been trying to write this update since Tuesday morning, but woah has It** been busy.  

**As an illustration, Today now = two days ago.  SO THIS IS DAY FOUR of Slow Carbness, if all the fractured language***here is making it hard to keep track.  ;)

***I've also been writing again — yay! — so fractured language is back…not only back, but pleasantly associated with the cracking of creme brule in some weird sugar-deprived place in my brain; I've been obsessively reading Jabberwocky and Regex Poetry…heavens save us…or just let us in already so we can leave the nice normal neighbors alone, yeah?

Thirty Percent: Slow Carbs and Nudie Pics

"You can't," is the general consensus I hear when I talk about dieting.  

Reason one:  I harbor a long icky history of self-esteem problems, a lot of them stemming from or tied to my self-perception as "fat" when I was younger (and not fat, but the kind of pudgy you'd expect from a sugar-laden diet and not much exercise).  I fully admit that people who've known me since childhood who are worried, based on my history, that I could develop an eating disorder aren't just whistling Dixie.  I'm truly grateful to be over that part of my life, though, and as far as proving it, well, here's my chance.  ;)

Reason two:  my greatly improved exercise and eating habits over the last two years.  People who've known me longer than that have seen me shed two clothing-sizes and go from acceptably-sized-for-the-midwest to pretty-darn-svelte-especially-for-a-mom.  At my whopping five-foot-three (160cm), I'm anything but overweight at 57kg (~127lbs), especially when you consider the amount of muscle I'm carrying around (you can't see them in the nudie pics below — oh yes, that's not a joke, in the subject-line! — but I have swimmer-shoulders and visible biceps in addition to thighs that go all carve-y when I flex 'em).  

So why, then, have I been researching diets for the last few months, and why am I doing the shopping today to start Tim Ferriss' "Slow Carbs" diet this week, when even I agree that wearing an American Size 2 in pants is quite few enough pounds to weigh thank you?  

Before I answer that, let me add that I also DON'T worship at the altar of zero body-fat, as many health- and exercise-nuts tend to.  We'd all like to see our abs more, but I'd never want to give up the robustness of constitution that I have compared to most of the people I know who carry no body-fat at all — THEY miss a few meals and get weak or lose muscle; I don't — and they get sicker, and faster, and recover more slowly than I do; partly because my immune system is awesome, but having some reserve energy to burn is part of what keeps it that way.

So back to the question:  Why a low-carb diet then?

It's not, I swear, because I'm back on the body-hating train.  (I took the nudie pics — which aren't *really* nudie of course, but certainly count as mad revealing by my standards — because you're supposed to before you start a diet; but also partially to prove that I'm not in self-hating mode…if I were, no way could I post those!)

No, I'm doing this because now that I have so much better a feeling for and relationship with my body, I can feel how wrong my eating is.  I'm a carb junkie; I fight my sugar-addition much better than I used to, but have never really kicked it; I know my blood-sugar usually isn't good and I always feel heavy and slow from eating, or weak and empty in-between.  I know from research and watching other people that this isn't what a healthy diet looks like…and I'm getting older, darnit; eating well is becoming more important, especially if I want to continue to look and feel awesome (and awesomer) over the next few decades.  

And it doesn't show too much (I'm lucky to have a solid frame and a lot of muscle, remember), but my body-fat percentage is about 60% higher than I'd like it to be:  All my best calculations put it at about 30-32%.  I'm sure less than 15% would be bordering unnatural for me, and like I said, I'm not looking to turn into a bodybuilder here — I rather like my curves for one thing (and so do other people, heh) — but the handful of butt, thigh, stomach and upper-arm I can grab is only going to contribute to saggy skin later on, and it's only there because I live on largely bread and sugar, and don't get enough water, protein and fiber, anyway.  Plus, hopefully this isn't TMI, but I also have occasional outbreaks of tinea versicolor; it doesn't bother me (yet, anyway), but it's another indication of off-balance sugar.  

SO — Fixing time!   If you give two craps about all this, click the "More" link to get the detailed plans (and oh yeah, the nudie pics ;).

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There’s nothing quite like the feeling of victory over sleep

I am *so* thrilled to be writing this, from five a.m. on the day after a hockey game, having already started the laundry and made tea and puttered.  

I didn't get home from hockey until after 11, and I didn't manage any naps at all yesterday.  (Work making the naps harder has really impacted them, I'm sad to say.  It was hard enough to interrupt my own busy momentum, but now that I have to go to my car…)  Most of my weekend was swallowed by worky things, and what little wasn't happened over Sunday's naps, and on Sunday night I left my alarm (phone) in the car by mistake and passed out for a full 8 hours.  That must have been enough to fuel up, though, because even after a raucous late-night game that had me slinking to bed at midnight, my eyes flew right open at four.

YES!  Now I can write for a while (and do my laundry), and I'll be super motivated to get my nap this afternoon, and nothing's in the way of my evening nap either, so ha!  I've been unable to get in a perfect E3 day since I was sick last week, and it'll be awesome to switch back.

(I will admit, I've gotten quite spoiled on not having to re-adapt anymore.  I'm sure if I went monophasic for long enough I would, but since for the last, what, six times I've tried to "re-adapt" it's just been dropping right into it no problem, with maybe one day of occasional yawning, I'm guessing I've passed some line where I'm in the clear, by and large*.  I wonder if any other polyphasers have experienced this?)

Also, I've switched my breakfasts to salad.  Frontloading the oft-skipped raw-veggie part of the day's food seemed like a good idea, and I've heard it can help with weight loss.  (Do I need to lose any significant weight?  Heck no; I weigh 56kg, which is what I weighed in high school.  But body fat is largely determined by diet, and mine is awfully carb-heavy, and as a result I have all these awesome muscles and you can't really see them.  Would prefer otherwise, as long as I can do it by eating *healthier*, which I need to do anyway.)  A salad, by the way, is really mentally unappealing at 5am; but once you tuck in, it's fine.  Plus you can eat as much of it as you want, which is awesome since my usual breakfast of "a clif bar" was often leaving me feeling hungry still.  (I'm on bowl two now…hockey can also make you wake up a bit short on calories, heh.  Hmm…although, I hope this doesn't leave me craving pancakes for lunch!)

So yeah.  Adore that feeling of winning at sleep.  It's definitely a harder game to win when you're very active — just like eating right is harder when you're an athlete — but I wouldn't give up either, and I feel VERY thankful that I'm allowed, at this time of my life, to pursue both.

Oh yeah, and writing!  I've got this lovely hour to burn, and a story waiting.  ::fluttersigh::


*did you know this was a nautical term?  If you're a word-nut like me, read the Wikipedia page on nautical terminology one of these days…fascinating.

New Diet Thing

My diet suffers from three things:  

One, I have a sweet tooth and will snack if bored.  (Thankfully I hate boredom for other reasons too and will avoid it however I can — but before I learned to do this, my snacking had me carrying an extra 20lbs around.)  I also have a small appetite generally, so I like to eat small meals often…meaning it's much easier for them to be junk-food.

Two, my food-choices tend to be carb-heavy, mostly because I'm not great with shopping and cooking etc.; and keeping lots of small healthy meals around isn't as easy as cooking one big one a day.  I'm busy with other things most of the time and find food-preparation a dull affair, so I tend to eat stuff that's easy to get and keeps a long time.

And three, my calorie requirements can swing wildly from one day to the next.  I love to exercise and all my favorite "fun" activities burn a ton of calories, but I also get caught up working and parenting and whatnot and will go days without much beyond a few kettlebell swings and stretches.  I'm finding that the best way to make sure I don't run out of energy (and "athlete's crash", when you get seriously depleted, *sucks* and takes way too long to recover from — plus it screws up my sleep-schedule something fierce) is to eat what I have an appetite for…but in the world of Boston restaurants etc., this can sometimes mean putting away a lot of pasta or something on a day I probably really didn't need it.


But thankfully an old friend (same one that suggested polyphasic sleep!  There are some people you should just listen to, apparently) had a great-sounding suggestion:  Before any meal or snack, try to eat a good amount (approx. 1/3 of the amount of what you're about to eat, as I understand it) of raw, crunchy green vegetables.  Hey…that's sensible, relatively easy and if it doesn't work at all except to get me to eat more vegetables, it's still a win!  

I like the thinking:  You get your digestion started on high-fiber, low-sugar food (check out glycemic index theory for some of the reasons why this is a good plan); you take the edge off your hockey-honed appetite before attacking the pasta; and you make sure to get your greens (which I'm not great at).  Plus it's not cooking- or shopping-intensive:  Even I can manage to keep celery in the fridge.

I'm not looking for much in the way of outward improvement — at about 127 lbs and my musculature, I can't really lose weight safely — but it would be nice to short-circuit my body's tendency to pack anything I give it into my fat-layer (I've always joked that I was built for famine conditions:  I can eat very little but store it like mad), and make it possible to maintain a healthy diet in spite of sometimes burning a thousand more calories on Monday than Tuesday.

Fascinated — one might say, “agog”. But I also find sneezing interesting.

Today's a day for titles pulled out of random things the TV is saying in the background.  Underneath that information-rich skin, though, it's just the three-week P90X update — sorry if that's disappointing.  ;)

So.  When I lost weight using the 6x 200-calorie meals / day "Polyphasic Diet", it took about 5 weeks to really start showing.  It was pretty easy to maintain by that point, but whew, I remember about three weeks in thinking, "This is just impossible."

And tomorrow will be the last day of week 3 of P90X.  Next week I'll be 1/3 through, but the chunks go [(3 identical weeks + 1 different week) x 3], so it does feel like the end of this week is accomplishing something. 

But of course, it's still week three.  I don't really see much difference*, and man, I'm missing the time and effort this is all costing.

Fortunately, many things have taught me not to quit at week three, probably most of all polyphasic sleep itself, which is really easy to quit at about week 3 if you're not careful…The early exhaustion can be gotten through with guts alone, but the following couple weeks of time and effort to work it into one's lifestyle fully are, I would argue, sometimes even more exhausting than zombie-mode.

*It's not that I see no difference — actually my arms and stomach are minimally, but noticeably, tighter, and my shoulders and legs are definitely on the muscliest side of normal for me.  But it's not really a motivating difference.

I had prepared a bit for this, though that preparation came in the form of just plugging along, in a sense.  But I've made sure to let my days of success (which has been all but a few of them) accumulate weight that lends more legitimacy to my fitness as an ongoing enterprise, deserving of effort and investment**.  As such, my awesome workout clothes (all sale items, thank goodness) should be here any day, and my giant box of awesome Builder's Bars got here yesterday.  I'm also perfecting chocolate milk — improvements include a few trials of protein powder and an upgrade (definitely upgrade) to soymilk.  These little advances function not just for making things easier as they go forward, but also as gifts — achievement rewards, to the MMO-acquainted — to help motivate me forward.

**I would like to make it less of an effort and investment than it is now, don't get me wrong.  But changing takes a lot of effort itself, and once you've gotten past that part, you can work on making things more efficient.  I'm still holding out hope that I can try getting my polyphasic schedule back during the remaining 9 weeks of P90X, but if not, I'll focus on finding a maintenance workout to follow P90X with that takes less time and isn't so intense that I can't go back to Everyman.  (Yeah, going back to Everyman is not optional; I miss it crazy bad.)

The diet goes well too, though hitting the protein/carb balance they want for the first three weeks (50%/20%) is haaaarrrd, and there've definitely been days that I was off by a bit.  Having too many carbs vs. protein will make the "slimming down" part go slower (or possibly just not work I guess, though I should be/probably am losing fat just from burning extra calories and building muscle too — and I had minimal extra fat anyway), but that's not my biggest worry.  I like being on the thin side, sure, but I'm also old enough now to not care so much — I've shaken off the ad industry's insistence that thin is (and only is) beautiful, thank goodness.  I do find health beautiful, but I can feel totally gorgeous with a little plump on me, no problem.  (And personally speaking, I dig curvy women — I'm too small to be a proper one myself, but healthily plump hourglassy women are my favorites to look at for sure.)

Also, slipping in a totally unrelated thing at the end…I've written some new verses to an old song, and am considering the rather typical YouTubeing of myself singing a song.  Interesting idea?  Or just stupid?  Your opinions matter, Internet, even if only to this one lowly IP address!

Peaceful yet Interesting Times,