The Smarter Science of Slim: Thoughts on Week 4

Why I feel like a parade float once a month ...

My body continues to transition well to this new, healthier version of me.  There was one major surprise this week and, sadly, I need to share with you some of my bodily functions. I'm about to have my period, like any second.  So the scale and the measurements this morning were amusing.  I went up a pound, which is actually great news!  I normally go up three or four pounds each month at this time, so the scale isn't reflecting what's actually happening (yet another reason to ditch the scale or at least use it sparingly). Here's what made me laugh: even though I'm in my 40s, I had never tracked my measurements before.  My boobs went up by an inch!  Yikes! OK, I know, this is way too much information. I know some of you just cringed and I'm sorry, but I just had 20+ years of annoyance get explained to me with that tape measure this morning.  It's quite liberating!  I always feel like a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and now I know it's because those suckers actually do inflate!  (Hopefully the women are laughing hard and I didn't just freak out the guys too much.) My hips and legs stayed the same size, my arms went up by 0.25 inches on each side, and my waist whittled down by 0.25 inch.  So overall, I'm up a pound and 1 1/2" but, yes, I'm calling this a victory.  I'm actually really looking forward to next week's check-in because I'm expecting to see some great numbers.  (Just had a "Biggest Loser" moment there.)

The Smarter Science of Slim Food

The food this week was a bit of a struggle with PMS, but not as bad as usual.  I was perfect for the first four days and a bit wonky the last three. However, sugar cravings, which can kick up this time of the month for me were minor and easy to deal with.  I caved a little bit, but nothing like plowing through a bag of cookies or downing a cupcake in three bites. I really look forward to eating veggies now and am getting creative with regularly add them to my egg breakfasts.  Today was asparagus left over from dinner and onion; I mixed in broccoli earlier in the week.  Both quite tasty and an easy way to get veggies in. Now starches ... starches were a bit more of a struggle. They really wanted to creep back in.  I retaliated with salad and that seemed to help a lot.  I ordered a salad at Panera and forgot to tell them to hold the sides (options are a bag of chips or a baguette) and they gave me a roll.  I was having a business meeting and started mindlessly chomping on it before I realized I was over my quota for the day.  Dang! Protein is difficult.  The increase in veggies (nine servings a day up from seven at the "fit" level) makes it really had to get the protein in.  It seemed to be a see saw; I can have one or the other but not both.  It just seems like a volume thing and also satiety.  I'd rather eat veggies than chicken.

My Final Two Weeks: I'm Doing It My Way

I'm supposed to do the last two weeks trying to follow the "Fitness Model" level.  This is zero starches or sweets, 180 grams of protein broken into six mini-meals, 12 servings of non-starchy vegetables, five servings of berries or citrus fruits, and 3/8 cup of milled flax seed. Ya know what?  I'm not gonna do it.  First of all, back when I was training to be a fitness competitor I did a diet that is very similar.  Bailor's is a well-vetted diet and, yes, I'm telling you now, it works really well.  You'll look amazing.  But ... I suspect my readers, as well as myself, don't really want to live at such a strict a level forever. The goal of "The Smarter Science of Slim" is to teach us how to live more healthfully at a sustainable level.  We're supposed to learn, adapt, and thrive from the information contained in the book.  One of the reasons I gave this such a strong endorsement is because I love the flexibility that it offers with a variety of eating plans.  So after living on it for a month, here's mine ... mostly Fit with a dash of Hot.
  • 2 daily servings of starch or sweets
  • 80 grams of protein a day broken into three meals and a snack
  • 9 servings of non-starchy vegetables
  • 3 servings of berries or citrus fruits
  • 2 tablespoons of milled flax seed
  • Eat whatever I want for two meals per week
I'm going to change the exercise up a bit too.  I'm definitely keeping the two workouts per week Bailor describes in the book.  I think they are the secret weapon to this working so well.  But I'm adding back in a butt workout series from "The 4 Hour Body" (it worked really well) and going back to Pilates twice a week.  I'm also starting to walk a lot more and, with the warmer weather, my family and I are talking about training for a 5K again, so I think we'll be adding that in starting this weekend. My approach is definitely more "me," a combination of how I like to live my life, something that will keep me happy and fit.  If you're on the diet, how are you doing? Cheers, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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4 Responses to The Smarter Science of Slim: Thoughts on Week 4

  1. Sonia Simone March 14, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Is that the Critical (m)Ass workout? I love that one.

    Any thoughts on which of the Bailor levels you think you could settle at for the long term?

  2. Lisa Johnson March 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi Sonia,

    Yes that one, it’s kettlebell swings, bridges & balance extensions on all fours.

    For the long haul I actually think I can do what I described above. I didn’t feel deprived and it kept me focused on fruits & veggies. L —

  3. Monica March 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Lisa, how do you think the exercise portion would fit in with relatively serious training? I’m toying with giving this a shot, and while the eating looks achievable, the exercise is the concern. I’ve got a plan (which is 2-3 runs a week, 2-3 bike rides a week, 2 – 3 swims per week, 1x pilates, 1x stability work from my PT. and yes, all that and I’m not losing weight… so there’s obviously something else going on).

    If I work hard enough (per the recommendations) to meet the goals of the smarter exercise work, I won’t be able to hit my training. If I don’t hit my training, I won’t be ready for my race goals.


  4. Lisa Johnson March 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Monica good question … this comes down to a lifestyle choice actually. The workouts themselves are really brief, you can knock ’em off in about 20 minutes. So it’s not really a time commitment issue. Here’s the but, the workouts will make you sore, which will make your next workout or two a little draggy. I haven’t been getting the muscle soreness that Jonathan is describing which makes me think I’m not doing it hard enough. I keep trying to do it harder the next time, I’m always shaking like a leaf and to muscle failure after a 10 second hold on the sixth rep. I’ll feel it the next day, but not bad enough that I can’t move around.

    It is the shock to the muscles that keep them from atrophying. THAT is one of the keys to this program. You need that hard muscular shock so the body preserves instead of expends muscle. That is how you tip the metabolism in your favor.

    I hope that helps answer the question. If you like tris and want to keep doing it there’s no reason not to. Bailor doesn’t say to “restrict exercise to no more than 20 per week” he actually says “this 20 minutes will boost your metabolism” and nothing else. He also says you don’t need to do mind-numbing cardio workouts in the gym to get results, but you do need to stay active.

    Let me know if you have any more questions. :-)


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