Hacking My HealthTue 27 November 2012 by Xitij Ritesh Patel
I am a hacker. Always have been, and always will be. It’s no wonder that I went into engineering. It’s also no wonder that I am taking the same approach to fixing my health.
I am overweight. I was 216.6 lbs about 3 weeks ago. At a height of 5‘10”, that means I have a BMI of OMGWTFBBQ. I need to lose weight.
Research that I don’t care to cite right now indicates that the human body obeys the laws of thermodynamics. Thus, in order to use enough energy to sustain ourselves, we must obtain it from some external source. The day that our cells cease receiving sufficient energy input to maintain metabolism results in a certain irreversible health condition that many have termed death.
Similar research indicates that our bodies have evolved various mechanisms for energy storage, namely glycogen and fat. Generally, when people say they need to lose weight, they are colloquially referring to using up their excess fat stores.
It is my hypothesis that the human body (or any living organism) will source energy to maintain normal metabolism as needed, either from external or internal sources. If the individual intakes less energy than they utilize, the body will obtain the difference in energy from these internal sources.
WTF? In English Please!
Eat less than you burn, and you’ll lose weight.
Of course, it isn’t that easy. If it were, obesity rates wouldn’t be exploding in the western world. There are various metabolic and psychological processes in place that make losing weight difficult. Some day, I’ll detail them on this blog, as I feel that there are too few articles on the Internet that properly address these issues.
Suffice it to say, low-carbohydrate and high-fat/protein diets seem to fit the bill. Many of you may calling me crazy at this point, and think that I’m just following a fad. I’ll prove you wrong in a future blog post.
Materials & Methods
To hack my health, I need to tackle the excess fat issue. Indeed, there is much more to health than just this, but I feel that addressing this issue first is in my best interests.
I normally exercise (i.e. weight-lifting) but haven’t been lately. I’ll be returning to the gym in a few weeks, but for now, I’m focusing on just my diet.
Everyday, I maintain a calorie distribution of 65% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates, with a caloric intake of 1430. That means that I can eat only 18g of carbohydrates a day, which I normally obtain from the green vegetables I eat. I measure and weigh everything that I eat, and track it in MFP. I make sure that I keep my carbohydrate intake around the 20g range, and just spread out my meals.
Sound complicated? It isn’t. Just eat meats, nuts, green vegetables, avocados, and high-fat dairy products like cheese, butter, and cream. Oils are great too, especially coconut and olive. I don’t eat beef or pork, so my selection is bit more limited, but it means that the rest of you can gorge on things like bacon and steak.
This is an ongoing study, but suffice it to say, the results have been positive and have been supporting my hypothesis. In 3 weeks, I have lost 8.8 lbs, and 1% of body fat, just by modifying my diet.
The best part is that I don’t feel hungry, as long as I eat my 3 or 4 meals a day. Being able to turn away awesome desserts is really easy on this diet because you simply don’t crave them!
This project to hack my health is just starting, and I’ll be detailing more experiments and results surrounding it as I go. So stay tuned…