Fat to fit at 50

With only 3 weeks to go until my 50th birthday I have been looking at my diet and the need for adjustments to improve my fitness. I have always been a regular exerciser but have never really got the nutrition side of things really nailed down. A regular snacker and enjoyment of wine the main challenges!

So over the last 2 weeks I have been changing my diet to a low carb/high fat and protein one. Logging foods and calories consumed on an app really allows you to see what you have been eating and in particular the macro components- carbs/proteins/fat.

The western diet contains a very high number of carbohydrate foods and often would add up to 300-350g of carbs per day. Of course not all carbs are the same- an unhealthy donut for example compared to a banana- they are both carb-rich but nobody would really consider them to be of equal nutritional value. All carbohydrate is broken down into sugar that our bodies use for fuel. When someone starts a low carb diet the fruit or vegetables consumed provide the sugar rather than processed or other unhealthy sources. Ketogenic diets restrict carbohydrates to very low levels- often 30-50g per day but for now I am aiming at low carb of around 100g per day. To obtain enough calories I have been increasing my protein intake to around 150-180g per day. My weight at start of this diet was 94.5 kg- many would advise around 2g/kg pf protein per day so I am trying to reach this amount. Sources of protein include eggs, chicken, pork loin, steak and tofu. Finally the fats- this has included eating eggs, cheese and cooking with butter/oils such as olive oil or coconut oil.

At 2 weeks into the diet I have lost 3.5kg which is 7.7 pounds or half a stone. Often the weight loss in the first week or so is fairly dramatic as the reduced carb intake also leads to some water loss. I have been keeping hydrated with 1.5-2 litres of water per day.

Aside from losing some body fat a low carb diet can help to improve various health parameters. Improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation are key areas in improving long term health and there is good evidence that such a diet may help in this.

I have kept up my regular exercise alongside this diet- this includes running 5-10km 2 or 3 times per week, weights and circuits, weekend long walks of 15-20,000 steps and dance! My partner suggested we buy a Nintendo-switch console and she has got me dancing on the Dance-21 game. I have to say that this is a really fun way of exercising- adding to the step count plus using many muscles in arms etc…

As I reach my 50th birthday I aim to continue this new way of eating and get as fit/lean as possible this year. I may however allow myself a small slice of cake to celebrate on April 8th. Happy exercise and happy eating all

Dr Michael S. Burdon

Sunday March 14th 2021

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