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Metabolic Typing

While I enjoy ripping on vegetarians quite frequently (sorry vegetarian readers), I do just as often admit that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to dieting.

Different diets are going to work for different people.

End of story.

And while I don’t think this means that there is truly someone out there that can eat junk food and be healthy, I do believe that there is a range of things that will work for different people.

diet books

The diet industry thrives on trying to sell you a magic diet solution…it wouldn’t exist if everyone just kept it simple and ate WHOLE, NATURAL FOODS instead of looking for a quick fix!

Which is why I was interested in attending our nutritional workshop about Metabolic Typing today at the gym.

“One man’s food is another man’s poison.” – Hippocrates

What works for you may not work for your friend or family member.

Had that happen to you before, right? Had a friend say to you, “I followed ______ diet and felt great and lost 20lbs!” And then you went and tried the diet only to find out that you felt crappy and gained weight.

And it wasn’t that you didn’t do the diet correctly. It wasn’t that you didn’t follow the directions to a T.

It’s just that each of us have slightly unique nutritional requirements and different environmental factors that affect our gene expression. Our genetic make-up and our environment play a huge role in determining what “diet” works well for us.

There are a ton of studies out there about cultures that have a high number of centenarians. Researches have looked for that perfect diet that promises a long and healthy life.

But what they found wasn’t one diet. It was a variety of diets.

Of course there were some commonalities between the diets, like a lack of crap processed foods, but each diet was DIFFERENT.

Because there is no magic prescription, no one size fits all.

Trust me, I know. I had to test out a few different diets that have worked for other people before I found the one that worked best for me.

Over the last few years, I’ve experimented with a variety of diets and macronutrient breakdowns. I’ve done low-fat and high carb. Low-fat and low-carb. High fat, high protein and low-carb. Carb and fat cycling…

I’ve messed around with grains, dairy, fruits, nuts, organic, local, grass-fed. I’ve experimented with a ton of different variables.

Some things have worked. Some….some well…didn’t.

But instead of worrying about what SHOULD work, about what worked for other people, I focused on what actually worked for me.

And the things that worked, I kept. And the rest, I discarded without looking back.

By running my own experiments, I’ve found a diet that works for me. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not constantly learning and still always making micro-adjustments.

Because let’s face it, your environment doesn’t always stay the same.

And my perfect diet isn’t the same as Ryan’s perfect diet. I’ve found that I need more carbs than Ryan. Be it my genetic requirements or the way my body reacts to my workouts or a variety of other factors, I need more carbs.

As the guy who came in today and did the Metabolic Typing workshop said, “We are as individual as our fingerprint.”

Each of us will have slightly different nutritional requirements.

And while I do believe that if we all live by the principle “eat whole natural foods” we will all be pretty darn healthy, I do think that to reach our full potential we need to consider our own unique needs.

Have you done any self-experiments? What diet works for you? Ever tried a friend’s diet and had it completely backfire?

NOTE: Now whether or not I agree with the whole questionnaire that supposed reveals your metabolic type is another question and a post for another day. Dr. Oz has a four question metabolic typing quiz that shows you how it works. I do, however, believe that your genetic make-up does affect exactly what variation of a “whole, natural foods diet” is right for you and that genetic testing can be valuable. I just don’t know if a questionnaire can really determine it….

One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes…ICK! No more!

The potato diet has been sweeping the Primal and Paleo community ever since Chris Voigt did his 20 potatoes a day for 60 days diet and lost weight and improved his cholesterol and blood pressure.

So I decided to try it.

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Baked fries were great the first meal….

I mean how can you turn down trying a diet that has health benefits, promotes weight loss and supposedly keeps you full and energized throughout the entire day!?!

Anyway, I started the diet and for the first day, liked it. It was fun eating potatoes and getting to eat a large quantity of food at each meal. (This diet is literally potatoes and about a tsp. of fat per potato).

But the morning after my first day on the diet, I woke up starving, which is something I’m not used to. Usually, even when I’m not doing a lot of fasting, I don’t get hungry to at least 12 p.m.

But I was starving. My stomach was literally growling.

However, I did lose 2lbs after my very first day on the diet.

Eating potatoes that next day again wasn’t bad except that an hour after eating, I was again starving.

My energy was low all day and I felt sluggish during my workout

Ryan felt the same way. He was grouchy and aggravated all day.

But we stuck with it.

I slept well the following night even though I again woke up feeling ravenous. (I  lost a pound.)

Ryan on the other hand slept terribly and woke up hungry and in one of the worst moods ever. He, however, gained weight.

We again stuck with the diet. We tried making mashed potatoes. We baked some “fries.”

And it tasted fine although we both started craving meat.

I felt like I was suffering from the low carb flu. I felt awful.

But another day complete.

On the third day, I woke up angry, but I’d lost another 1/2 pound. Ryan also gained weight and he was ready to give up.

Again we struggled through another day of feeling crappy…And my workout suffered.

On the fourth day, we both gained weight. We both decided that if we gained again, we just couldn’t put up with the fact that we felt completely and utterly horrible. (And trust me, we don’t give up on diets easily…Actually Ryan has never even acted like a diet was tough!)

On the fifth day, Ryan gave up. He gained weight again. I only chose to continue since I lost another pound, putting my total at 3 1/2 for four days.

It was hard struggling through without him on that fifth day. All of his food looked so good!

All I could think was, “I HATE POTATOES!” How the heck did all of these people like this diet!?! I feel hungry basically all the time. I’m low energy AND my workouts are suffering. I feel like I have the low carb flu, but unlike the low carb flu…IT WON’T GO AWAY!

That night I woke up starving in the middle of the night and felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin. I sat awake reading for hours until my body normalized.

When I woke up, I’d lost 2 more pounds, but I couldn’t handle any more. I was eating till I was full each meal, but I ended up feeling like I hadn’t eaten only 30 minutes later!

I’d lost 5.5lbs in 5 days, but the weight loss wasn’t worth the way I felt. While the potato diet wasn’t ever meant to be something long term, it wasn’t even maintainable for me for one week.

On that sixth day, I caved. I needed a re-feed. The second meat touched my lips, I felt re-energized.

But on Monday, I went right back on the diet. I’m trying to really give it a chance, but I’m not sure I’m going to make it another 5 straight days.

I’m sure there are people out there that this diet would work to kick-start their weight loss, but it isn’t for me….And definitely isn’t for Ryan.

His body definitely operates better on few to no carbs. I definitely need more carbs than he does, but all potatoes…Uhm…NO.

This diet doesn’t work for me. Is it worth trying?

Of course! (I did find it interesting that I didn’t really crave anything specific while eating ONLY potatoes. I did want real food, but nothing specific…It makes me wonder if you crave more specific things when you can occasionally have them…)

I would be interested to hear anyone else’s experience with the potato diet! And I’ll keep you posted during this second week of trying!

P.S. This does also highlight my point that just because someone says something works for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you!

P.P.S. Coming soon…An Under Armour giveaway! Get excited! 🙂

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