Some thoughts on why I am feeling so incredible.
I’m now into the sixth week of my 2014 cut, and I am feeling awesome.
As of this morning I’m down to 168.2 pounds, for a total loss of 17.2 pounds since my cut started on January 13, 2014. That puts just 8.2 pounds between me and my goal of 160 pounds. The absolute lightest I’ve been since 2004 is 167.0 pounds (November 2012), so those last seven pounds will be, for all intents and purposes, unexplored territory.
Aside from my relatively fast fat loss progress (which I’m really noticing on the bike), I’m also feeling noticeably more healthy and energetic. Considering my aggressive cutting diet, on the surface this is somewhat surprising–especially when factoring in my extremely high activity level.
When taking account my fat loss diet diet and training program, by any measure I’ve been in a borderline extreme caloric deficit for more than five weeks now. So why do I feel so good, and where the heck am I getting all this energy? I think those are excellent questions, and these are subjects into which I’ve recently put a fair amount of thought…
– Quality of my diet. The overwhelming majority of the foods that comprise my cutting diet are clean, all-natural whole foods. The few processed foods I’m consuming consist of, almost without exception, all-natural ingredients. For example, check out the ingredients list for Clif Bars (White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, my current favorite):
INGREDIENTS: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro® (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour), Organic Rolled Oats, Soy White Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Cocoa Butter, Soy Flour, Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Cane Syrup, ClifCrunch® (Organic Oat Fiber, Inulin [Chicory Extract], Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Bran, Organic Psyllium), Macadamia Nuts, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Macadamia Nuts, Organic Date Paste, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant).
Note that I don’t consider soy to be a valuable protein source, but that’s not why I eat Clif Bars; I consume Clif bars primarily as a source of carbs and energy.
– No alcohol. I feel this is probably the second largest contributor to how good I’m feeling right now. While I enjoy drinking as much as the next guy, maybe even more, I always feel noticeably better when I’m completely abstaining from alcohol. Towards the end of last year I allowed myself to fall into a pattern of consuming alcohol nightly. I wasn’t drinking to excess or anything, but alcohol is indeed a poison, and consuming it every day is obviously not healthy.
– A good night’s sleep. Towards the end of Loki’s life Lisa and I were up several times every night to tend to him. While we took turns and shared the responsibility (and were happy to do it), the broken sleep was starting to affect me. I was going to bed very early in an attempt to help compensate for the fragmented rest patterns, and that helped somewhat, but nothing beats an uninterrupted night of sleep. Along these lines, I resumed taking ZMA, which is an amazing, all-natural, synergistic blend of Zinc, Magnesium and vitamin B6. This simple supplement really helps me get a great night of sleep. For more information on this supplement, see my blog “What is ZMA, and is it a worthwhile supplement?”
Also, every night before bed Lisa and I enjoy a cup of Yogi Bedtime tea. This tea made my Favorite Things list back in 2011, and it remains a nightly tradition in our home. I never even liked hot tea before I found Yogi Bedtime tea, and now I really look forward to a cup each evening. My full review is here.
– DeTox. Yeah, this is not my usual style. I’ve never done a big “cleanse” or anything like that, but there are a couple of all-natural products under this umbrella I’ve recently tried that seem to be helpful…
The first is another Yogi product: Peach DeTox tea. This is a delicious, all-natural, organic tea, and I’ve been drinking a cup every afternoon for a couple of weeks now. The tea contains a number of herbs that have been shown to support healthy liver and kidney function. Do they? I can’t say for sure, but I can say without a doubt that I love this tea, and it makes me feel good. Note, this tea does NOT taste anything like peach. It’s more of a very spicy cinnamon flavor. I absolutely love it.
The other so-called DeTox product I’ve been taking is Milk Thistle (Silymarin Extract). Milk Thistle has a lot of research behind it, and has been shown to improve immune response, help cleanse and protect the liver along with antioxidant/free radical scavenging benefits. As I mentioned above, I was consuming alcohol nightly for a while towards the end of 2013, and I figured as long as I’m tea-totaling now, I might as well try this simple, inexpensive and all-natural supplement.
Apart from tea and black coffee in the morning, the only thing I drink is water. I have been consuming, on average, about 1.5 gallons of water per day.
–Progress. Nothing motivates me more and boosts my mood like good old-fashioned progress does! I love putting in the work, because I know the reward for that work will always come. The simple reason why I never half-ass anything is that I don’t like settling for less. My philosophy is pretty straightforward: I give it my all because anything less is inefficient and a waste of time. This ideology is precisely why I am so strict when I’m cutting. Why take four weeks to accomplish what can be done in two?