One of the perks of having a close acquaintance with female co-workers is the generous availability of snacks. It’s no secret, at least where I come from, that girls often were associated with snacks. I love snacks. I mean, who wouldn’t? Although I’m not a particularly a big fan of it. Oft times when I wish to buy snacks from the local convenient store, I leave with nothing because I didn’t know what to buy (and that, in itself is a blessing). However, they’re a perfect companion to have with a cup of warm beverages on a slow evening at the office over gossips and that’s mostly how you’ll find me in a particularly slow evenings at the office. Just look for the girls.
But that was before, when I’m still leisurely careless about anything that goes into my mouth. As of late, I’ve been obsessed with Tim Ferris’ book, “The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman.” Other than that I’ve been intrigued previously with Tim Ferris’ way of life and his previous book “The 4-Hour Workweek,” this particular line from its Amazon’s product description had won me right away.
“Sleep 2 hours per day and perform better than on 8 hours?”
I considered myself as a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy with interests ranging from Math to Cooking, from Astronomy to Chinese kanji, and everything in between. Contradictorily, I’m prone to boredom quite easily but when I’m interested on something, I tried as much as I could to learn everything that there’s need to know on that particular subject even up to a point where I don’t care about anything that should be of more importance such as, well, my day job. Therefore, sleep is always something that beguiled me because really, there’s so much to learn out there and why must we succumb to an eight hour of sleep?
I sleep for six hours a day, by the way. But if I could sleep for two hours a day and could still perform better than on eight hours then really, I’m sold. I could use that extra four hours to, well, learn about something that had occupied my mind at the time.
Anyway, back to the topic. On one particular evening after I had read few excerpts from Tim Ferris’ book, I went down (my office is one floor higher) to had an evening gossips with the girls. Barely ten minutes had passed since I sat down with them, exchanging few sentences that merely peeled a half skin of a particular gossip, not even the juicy part just yet, I had gulped a piece of Astor chocolate, three pieces of Lemonia biscuits and two bars of KitKat. Ten minutes, few sentences, three different snacks, and less than twenty bites. It’s decidedly only a small amount. Out of curiosity, I calculate the amount of Nutrition that went into my mouth during this very short time.
At first, it would seems as a harmless feat. I mean what could went wrong with just a few bites of snacks that I don’t even realize when I’m taking it? And then, I had my result.
In total, I had an extra 17.7 grams of Carb and 143 Calories from these snacks. A hundred and forty three Calories. As a perspective, using RunKeeper I had recorded an activity where I had burned a total of mere 234 Calories by walking for 2.16 kilometers on a path that climbed 52 meter, with a pace of 11:58 minutes per kilometer and ended up drenched in sweat. And everybody complaints about obesity. Small wonder given the generous amount of Calories from a meal (snacks) that doesn’t even close to relieve the hunger should you have it and the small amount of Calories from a workout that most of us hadn’t even bothered to take willingly. Good luck in losing that five pounds, dear.
Now, I had taken up a great deal of interest with diet nowadays, and planned to, as Tim Ferris has it, have a weekly self experiment. I had finished the first week though not as a wholesome as I would’ve expected (i.e. I’m still prone to breaking the rules of these experiments). Here’s a little table on how well I did on this first week.
|No Rice.||Once. Wednesday Night.|
|Less Calories than I needed for a day.||Success.|
|Less than 150 grams of Carb per day.||Failure.|
First of all, I had managed to not eat Rice for the whole week with the exception of one particular evening and I feel great. Usually, I was drowsy right or within a couple of hours after lunch as if someone had chained a siren to my ankle and she sings a lullaby too beautiful to ignore. This week? Never. Despite of no change on my sleep cycle. Meaning that the only changes I had was eliminating Rice from my menu. Net effect? Rice makes you drowsy, eliminating it from my diet proved to eliminate the need to sleep after lunch as well. Argue me if you will, but I’ll stick to this conclusion for the time being.
Secondly, on a rough estimation, based on frequent visits to Google and livestrong.com right after every meal, I ate less Calories than what I needed for a day. Now I’m using this formula to calculate my Calories daily requirement.
Total number of Calories per day = BMR + Physical Activity + Thermic Effect of food.
BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate is the minimum amount of Calories needed to oil the machine that is your body to work. The formula to calculate this BMR is as follows:
Adult male: 66 + (6.3 x body weight in lbs) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years).
Besides BMR, I’m also counting the amount of Calories for my daily activity based from this chart and after obtaining the amount of Calories for thermic effect of food, which is a fancy way to say how much Calories my body used to digest the food I had eaten, I managed to get roughly 2600 Calories per day.
Now I’m not sure whether I’ve made a correct calculation on my diet, but, I think it was fairly easy for me to eat less than 2600 Calories per day. Easy. So therefore, given that I didn’t lose or gain any weight during the week, it’s either I’m way off on my diet calculation or the general notion of spending more Calories than you eat to reduce weight is wrong. Or, and this is what I’m inclined to believe on, there had to be some factor that I hadn’t know about. More on this later.
The third item is I think the most interesting part. This is where I had failed miserably. Eat less Carb than 150 grams per day. Again, I had learned and believed that eating between 150 ~ 300 grams per day will give you steady, insidious weight gain while more than 300 grams simply said “Danger Zone!” With this information, I had put a target of my daily intake of Carb to be *at most* 150 grams per day and as I’ve said earlier, I failed miserably.
Even without Rice, I managed to gulp on average, 171.02 grams of Carb in the first week. Interesting fact, most of my daily dose of Carb came from Fruits. Particularly Banana which I ate daily and then of course, from twice when I had a midnight snack in the form of yummy fried Instant noodle with egg, and once, a plateful of Coconut Rice, and a healthy portion of shrimps and crabs.
Actually, come to think of it, when I say diet, I actually ate more frequently. Before, I never had any breakfast. Never. My first proper meal is usually at noon. A full six hours since my waking hour. With this self-experiment I took, I had finished my meal within one hour of my waking hour. Whether it’s a protein bar, or a cup of yoghurt, or even once, a tall Starbucks whole milk cafe latter, I’ve always had my hunger satiated within an hour of waking up. Lunch is just as usual, but with no Rice, and more in variety. They always consisted of a Chicken breast, and a vegetable among other things. Sometimes it’s potato, legumes, tofu, corn fritters, tempe, or even another form of vegetable stews. Then, three or four hours later, it’s another meal. Usually fruits, with a protein bar, or another chicken. Yes, another chicken. Afterward, it was dinner with my wife whose diet says “I cannot live without Rice,” and another meal at midnights. Four or five times of meal a day, up to strictly twice of meal a day and I didn’t gain any weight.
Some say, that results are important. Sure enough, when I say that I didn’t gain nor lose any weight during my ordeal, everybody laughs but of course, they didn’t felt what I feel. I feel leaner, happier, requires less sleep, and healthier. Even if it’s just a placebo, at least, to have that feeling of being a better and a healthier man is something that I couldn’t share to them. More yay to me, then. Granted, most likely I’ve made an err in my nutrition counting and had made an inaccurate assessments to many numbers that had plagued my notebook titled “Diet.” But, there’re actually things that I can’t measure without professional helps such as body fat percentage and the like that gaining none in terms of weight could actually means that I’m actually losing some fats and gaining some muscles.
In short words, I considered my diet as a success and I’m intended to keep this type of diet for several weeks longer. Next week, I’m going to further experimenting with myself, added some new twist in the menu. I think I’m going to cook my breakfast. Not everyday, just a couple of days on that week, and see how it goes from there.