7 Pounds

That’s how much weight I’ve lost in the past two weeks.

Like most Americans, I’m overweight. Although my doctor doesn’t say it like that. The term he uses is “over-nourished.” That’s the diplomatic way of saying I’d be fine if I didn’t shovel food in my mouth.

“See, you’re up around here in this orange area,” my doctor said eight months ago, pointing at a BMI chart. “You’re 5”11″. You should be around here.” He pointed closer to some sort of safe area on the chart. “There are ways to get down here, with proper diet and exercise…things like that.”

Thing is, I’m not really a couch potato. I don’t drink sodas, or buy junk food. I rarely eat fast food. I rarely sit on a couch with the TV on and go nuts on a bag of chips. So if I’m over-nourished what’s the problem? Aren’t I at least eating all the right nutrients?

In high school I weighed around 185, which is already too much, but isn’t horrible. The heaviest I ever weighed was around 212, which was a freshman 15 and then some. After months of exercise I was able to get myself down to 202, but I’ve hovered around that for the past couple of years. I fell off the regular exercise bandwagon and decided that, while I’d love to get back down to 180, in the meantime I’d be content hovering around 202-205.

But I’d still be over-nourished.

Sometime around last year I started reading a bit more about how the human body processes food and converts it into energy. Long story short: we’re not really evolved enough to eat grains.

At least according to the writings of nutritionist and physical trainer Mark Sisson and Dr. Michael Eades. It appears that homo sapiens came up by eating lots of vegetables and protein. Grains are a recent development in the human diet (by about 10,000 years, which I guess is relatively recent), and the body hasn’t really learned how to properly process them.

In other words, just about everything you’ve learned about the proper human diet is wrong. Carbohydrates should not make up the majority of your diet, yet the USDA has stated that you should get 6-11 servings every day. I was a child when the mainstream nutritional knowledge was focused on low-fat lifestyles, but the argument coming from this other school of thought is that the ideal is a low-carb lifestyle. The damnation of fat since the 1980s, and their replacement in the diet by carbohydrates, was the beginning of the diabetes and obesity epidemics.

There are some other factors too. Consider how just about everything is made out of corn these days. But corn isn’t really a vegetable. It’s a grain. And the way your body processes grains are by converting them into sugar. And sugar is bad.

Pediatrician Dr. Robert Lustig, in his lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth has an idea about sugar and corn syrup that doesn’t get a lot of coverage these days.

High Fructose Corn Syrup and sucrose are exactly the same. They’re both equally bad. They’re both dangerous. They’re both poison.

Ok – so avoid grains. Avoid carbohydrates. Avoid sugar. Let’s try it out.

Two weeks later, seven pounds lighter. No extra effort. No calorie counting. I haven’t even exercised any differently. I should, but even then Sisson and Dr. Eades suggest that strenuous, constant physical exertion is an excellent way to burn out – but not to stay healthy and fit.

And the changes are minute and realistic. I used to eat cereal for breakfast, even the healthy ones. Now I have eggs and fruit, like blueberries, or even a piece of celery. I completely cut out pasta and potatoes with/for dinners. Now I just prepare twice as many vegetables. For snacks I’ll have a handful of walnuts, maybe an apple, maybe some cheese.

At this rate I’ll hit my goal by October. Whether it will continue will remain to be seen, but I’m optimistic.