Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Body-for-Life v. Low-Carb: Pictures

Ten years ago today (yes, the day before Thanksgiving), I started Body-for-Life. BFL involves eating several small meals per day that balance protein and carbohydrate and minimizes dietary fat. Daily workouts involve intense weightlifting or cardio. One day a week is a free day, where you don't exercise and eat whatever you want. Initially, I lost weight, gained muscle and felt great. Eventually, though, I gained back the weight and developed cavities and upper GI problems. The cardio workouts left me exhausted. Free day foods found their way into the other days. I developed GERD, an esophageal ulcer, chronic sinus congestion and a constantly upset stomach. I've written about the logical fallacies of BFL here, here and here. If only I'd read the book with a more critical eye back then, I 'd have saved myself most, if not all, of the misery.

The endpapers of the Body-for-Life book are before and after photos taken 12 weeks apart. Let me share some photos here.

Five years into BFL. Yes, I'd gained weight.
Eight months into a wheat-free, low-carb diet with weekly exercise. Photo taken two years after the above photo.

Two and a half years into a wheat-free, low-carb diet. I hadn't exercised in months due to injuries from an accident.

For those who end up here looking for info on BFL, here's the executive summary: low-carb beats BFL in every way, shape and form. I don't have any problem with free day foods creeping into other days because there isn't any free day: I limit carbs every day, and don't eat certain foods, ever. It's actually easier to be good all the time. My last dental appointment showed no tooth decay, despite my limited ability to clean my teeth for a few months because of an accident.

BTW, high-fat meals are a great antidote for pain: not only do I have no post-workout pain, but I never opened my Vicoden after my accident (I fractured my arm and hit my face on the pavement in a bike accident) or surgery (a broken tooth was removed and an implant put in). By the end of my time on BFL, OTOH, my knees and left shoulder frequently hurt.

Want to try a low-carb Thanksgiving? Here's what I'm making: chicken pot pie with cheddar herb almond crust and crustless squash pie. If you're having a more traditional Thanksgiving, have more turkey (with mayonnaise if you like it), more non-starchy veg like olives, salad and green beans, coffee or tea (with cream if you like) but without sugar for dessert, and less of the potatoes, yams, rolls, stuffing, pie and alcohol. Do this, and you can probably leave the naps, weight gain and stomach pain for everyone who's on a free day.