Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm all about the clean these days ....

No, not the kettlebell clean, though there has been some of that happening as well. More on that later.

I think I mentioned a couple posts down that I'm looking to lose some weight/body fat. Not a lot, just five pounds or so. Maybe not even that. I have roughly 100 pounds of lean mass, so my body fat percentage is already down in the teens. Plenty lean, but I'm used to myself a little leaner and a little lighter.

It has been some time since I've had to give much thought to my weight. When I was around 40 it finally clicked for me that starch is really not my friend, and once that piece fell into place it became easy for me to achieve and maintain a very lean (>15%) body composition.

Of course I pretty much knew that I couldn't count on that happy state of affairs continuing indefinitely and, sure enough, as my 47th birthday drew near it became obvious to me that my metabolic free ride was coming to a close. Even though I was working out hard and eating no more than usual, my weight was creeping inexorably upward. And it wasn't because I was building muscle. I've been lifting serious weights for long enough that I pretty much know I'm not going to be adding an appreciable amount of muscle unless someone slips me some steroids, and anyway I haven't been training for mass. Besides, my waist was getting thicker and my thighs were losing some of their definition ... and if those aren't signs of fat gain then I'm Jillian Michaels.

And I want it gone. I swear I don't mind getting older. I don't mind the gray hairs, at least when they confine themselves to my head, and I don't even mind the crows' feet and the splotches on my cheekbones that I tell myself are freckles but really aren't. All that is mostly genetic and I've got no real control over it. But I do want to control what I can, and my weight certainly falls into that category.

The last time I went on anything resembling an eating plan was 5 or 6 years ago when I did Body for Life. I did a modified version, sticking pretty closely to the recommended eating schedule, calorie allowance, and and macronutrient ratios (40/40/20), but consuming fewer grains and processed foods than allowed. Since it worked well then, I'm doing something similar now. I know that intermittent fasting and Warrior-Diet type plans are very popular alternatives, but since I tend to feel fairly awful if I go for too long without eating those plans hold little appeal for me. Actually, any eating plan that doesn't involve Absolut Citron and peanut butter by the tablespoon-ful holds very little appeal for me, but whatever.

As I've said before, I'm a great believer in not making myself crazier than I must, but at the same time I'm realistic about the fact that what I want to achieve won't be easy, particularly since I'm trying to get stronger as well as lose fat. I can't cut my calories too aggressively, and I need to be sure I'm getting enough protein and complex carbs to maintain my muscle mass. I chose a target of 1400-1700 clean, unprocessed calories per day, spread out over 5 meals, and about 100 grams of protein per day, again spread out over 5 meals. That's about as much as I can stand thinking about at one time, so my plan is to stay within that framework, then make adjustments as needed depending on how I do.

I've been on plan now for four days, and so far so good. Except that sometimes I want to eat more than the 300-400 calories I am allowed per meal. It's not a problem when I'm out, because once my food is gone it's gone. But when I am at home I need to distract myself.

So I have been cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning some more.

Have I mentioned that I hate to clean, and am a terrible, terrible housekeeper?

In the process of cleaning my house I have made some interesting observations. For instance, I am fairly sure that women's shoes are the larvae of men's t-shirts. I am sure I am not the only female who has purchased an item of clothing secure in the knowledge that I already own the perfect shoes to complete the outfit, only to find when I get home that the shoes I remember are missing from my closet. Sure, I may own similar shoes, but not the ones I distinctly remember possessing. They must have gone somewhere, and I'm pretty sure my husband's t-shirt drawer is where they end up. That man owns dozens of t-shirts commemorating his participation in various athletic events he never competed in, promoting teams he does not support, advertising businesses he does not patronize, and commemorating visits to places he has never been. They must have come from somewhere, and the reasonable assumption is that they metamorphosed from my shoes.

Y'all know what I mean, right? Or do I need to go eat something?