M+ Lean, Week 1: Bye-Bye Dirty Burgers

Ramly Burger Kedai Makan, Medium Plus

Fewer midnight trips to Kedai Makan for egg-hugged Ramly burgers.

Last week on Thursday the 1st, I wrote the debut post of a new nutrition scheme that I will be following for the month of October, and perhaps longer. In summary, I will be tracking each meal in writing, and eliminating alcohol. 

The next day on Friday the 2nd, I visited coach Jim Hein at Level 4 CrossFit, to conduct a nutrition and body composition assessment. Having snoozed my alarm in dream-addled confusion, I ended up running a shameful half-hour late to our appointment, yet Jim remained steadfast in his support. Being late is such a bummer, and this case was due to a single point of failure, that being a sole alarm. Lesson learned: backups save the day.

Nevertheless, we commenced our session in good spirit, beginning with weight and body composition measurements. Jim measured my body fat percentage using precision Poliquin skinfold caliper measurements in several areas: cheek, neck, arm, side, stomach, thigh, kneecap, calf, and hamstring. He would measure to the midway point on an area, and have me flex then release, thus separating fascia from other tissue. From there, the firm pinch of cold metal awakened my senses to realize that change was at hand.

(So as not to ruin the surprise, I have decided to not reveal these measurements until the end of the month, to compare with the final results of the experiment. I will also emphasize that I am not trying to lose weight per se, in favor of adjusted body composition, which can keep weight static as fat goes down and muscle increases.)

Following the initial collection of data, Jim and I discussed nutrition. Not only would I be recording my feasts and abjuring grapefruit mimosas: I would need to focus on eating well. In bullet points, here are the ideas we covered:

  • Consume one-gram of protein per pound of body mass, daily. Assuming a chicken cutlet has 25 grams of protein, and is about the size of my palm, I would need to be high-fiving eight cutlets a day, WAY more than what I’ve been eating before. As far as protein type, we’re looking at mostly lean varieties. No fatty ribeye for Nicky D, dang it.
  • Jim also mentioned leafy greens, with every meal. Think kale, mustard greens, chard, and so on. They’re packed with Vitamin C and other goodies. A fist-size heap of leafy greens per meal would set me right. Do the chicken and greens with every meal, and post-workout, include a cupped palm of yams or sweet potatoes for carbs. Other than that, avoid the typical boatload of low-grade carbs. Do a tablespoon of Macadamia Oil with the first and last meal of the day for extra nutty goodness.
  • Include a capsule of fish oil, 1000mg of Vitamin C, and 5000 IU of Vitamin D to stay happy. We hope to reduce Cortisol, a stress hormone that promotes fat retention, especially around the middle. The fish oil and vitamin C tend to help with that. As a native to often-cloudy Seattle, a bit of bonus Vitamin D does the body well. A $3 weekly pill dispenser from Bartell Drugs makes consuming these supplements easy, as a part of one’s morning hygiene routine.
  • Cheat days are ok every once and a while, but too often and I might get derailed. Also, Caffeine before a workout can be fun.

Armed with this powerful knowledge, I left our meeting feeling energized and ready to tackle the task. Success is found in one decision at a time, and I would need to take each meal as it arrived, learning to say “no” like a pro. Here is my food log for the week, with fitness sessions added in bold, just for fun:

  • Thu, 10/1
    • 1pm: Kimchee, rice, short rib, mustard greens, hot sauce, green tea, water. (Revel)
    • 5pm: Cold brew, kale, mushrooms, cauliflower, garbanzo cake, fried chicken wings. (Whole Foods)
    • Late night: Quesadilla, chicken, beans, sour cream, sriracha, lemon tea. (Ha! Fremont)
  • Fri, 10/2
    • 12pm: 3-piece chicken, kale/corn/bean/pepper salad. (Fred Meyer)
    • 6pm: Beef skewers, pork belly, bacon mayo, butter lettuce, sun tea. (Schooner Exact)
    • 9pm: Black coffee (Safeco field)
    • Late night: corn/bean/kale salad (home)
  • Sat, 10/3
    • 11am: Corn/bean/kale salad. (home)
    • 2pm: Four piece baked chicken. (Fred Meyer)
    • 6pm: Clif builder bar, vitamin water zero. (Gas station)
    • 11pm: 4 ½ Al Pastor Tacos, ½ piece B-Day cake, SIPS OF A COCKTAIL. (party) 
  • Sun, 10/4
    • 12pm: Black coffee, english muffin, egg, ham. (Vif)
    • 3pm: Clif builder bar, water. (gym)
    • 3pm: Climbing: top-ropes and bouldering.
    • 11pm: Chicken, beets, mashed potatoes, “Asian salad”, cookies, SIP OF A COCKTAIL/WINE. (party)
  • Mon, 10/5
    • 1pm: Leftover potatoes, “Asian salad”, and chicken. (home)
    • 4pm: CrossFit: military press; running/ring row.
    • 5pm: 4-piece baked chicken. (Fred Meyer)
    • 7pm: Candied hazelnuts, chicory/parmesan salad, stuffed bowtie pasta, shrub cocktail. (Artusi)
    • 9pm: Non-alcoholic ginger beer. (Montana Bar)
  • Tue, 10/6
    • 8am: Kale/bean/corn salad. (home)
    • 10am: 3 eggs, spinach, swiss cheeze, bacon, toast, greens, coffee w/ cream. (Ha!)
    • 1pm: Turkey sandwich. (Starbux)
    • 11pm: Bread, cured meats, olives, marconas, ribeye steak w/sauce, green tea. (Betty)
  • Wed, 10/7
    • 9am: Bean/kale/corn salad, cured meat leftovers, black coffee. (home)
    • 3pm: Chicken salad, chamomile tea. (Fairmont Olympic hotel)
    • 5pm: Bowl with black beans, Barbacoa, pico, guac, chipotle Tobasco. (Chipotle)
    • 7pm: Marconas, olives, coppa, homemade V8, beans/corn/kale. (home)
    • 8pm: Climbing: lead routes. 15-foot fall!
    • 10pm: 10oz ribeye steak, medium lean. (home)

Aside from a few sips of cocktails for quality control at parties I was hosting, my record remained alcohol free. The same goes for dessert, which is generally my favorite meal of the day. After the third day, I didn’t seem to miss much of either, and was still able to go out with friends and not feel weird about it. Cocktail cravings did creep in a few times, mostly during fierce battles with late-afternoon traffic. Avoiding these stressful situations may prove to help keep the Mezcal-monsters away.

In a bold mindset shift, I have decided not to answer to others, concerning their approval of my personal health decisions. It’s not like I’m telling anyone else what to do, or judging them for Jägerbombing like a boss. Friends of value have been supportive of the plan, and others can go jump off a dock. My climbing buddy Sean is even joining me in abstaining this month, the rapscallion.

In just a week’s time, I feel sharper and more energized without the depressant effects of ethanol on my system. My motivation to get things done is up, and I have saved three digits in cash so far. Coming from about  2 drinks per day, I am frankly surprised in such a shift.

I would like to limit my screen-time towards bedtime, to help with falling asleep, and would like to cook at home more. One step at a time! Stay tuned for future weekly updates, and get in touch with Jim Hein to get some personal coaching of your own!


Nicky D