I experienced a new food adventure earlier this week that I’d like to share with you. It was another eye-opener in regards to the effects of starch on the body.
If you’d like to see what happened to me when I tried eating starchy vegan, read Starchy Vegan Made My Body Go to Sleep. It’s a lengthy read, but if you want to dig further into the world of starch and the kind of effect it can have on you, check it out.
The above foray into the starchy vegan world taught me some profound lessons. And this week’s experiment with a more “paleo” style of eating (cutting out grains and legumes) opened my eyes even further.
Pretty soon I think I’ll have an advanced degree in “starchology.”
Ever searching for the optimal diet, one that offers the most advantages in terms of better sleep, energy, mental acuity, body composition, and so forth, I happened to run across a compelling book, It Starts with Food, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Very informative book, by the way, and I certainly recommend it.
Side note: As a life-long lover of bargains, I not surprisingly found the above book at a thrift store! I find some killer books there (my thing is health / fitness and business–gee, what a surprise!) that others have donated–thanks for paying it forward, guys! I like finding stuff in this way–it feels like a treasure hunt! But let us proceed…
The Hartwigs made some powerful arguments in their book, addressing the ways in which paleo eating supposedly vastly improves the same health areas I mentioned above. I’d been gravitating to a more paleo style of eating anyway, so I thought I’d try a strict paleo program and see what happened. Wow–was I in for a shock!
No Grains, No Glory?
You see, cutting grains and legumes out of your diet causes immediate and drastic changes! I’m already quite lean, and I had no intention of getting any leaner. In fact, I’ve been wanting to bulk up some.
But eating “paleo” caused me to immediately drop weight. I lost a pound a day for the four days I ate strict paleo. And this is without even trying.
My energy was good on the program too, and my body composition was beginning to tighten up.
But I think the strangest thing that happened to me, and one I did not expect, even though the Hartwigs mentioned it in their book, is that my desire for food dropped like a stone! I was rarely hungry.
Now, you may be thinking that these are amazing results, particularly if you are overweight. They ARE amazing. But remember, the title of this blog is, Starch is a Tool–Like Fire! And that is what I learned.
Starch is a tool–a powerful lever–that can be manipulated to induce weight loss–or weight gain.
In my case, I actually want to put ON some weight.
The trick is to use starch appropriately to affect the outcome you desire.
So in my case, eating strict paleo wasn’t so cool. After four days, I was beginning to look emaciated. Even clients could see it. Not good for business, when you’re working with people who want to BUILD muscle!
And so, not surprisingly, I stopped the strict paleo experiment, and started adding starch. The desire to eat came back and… uh, oh! I probably ate 3,000 calories in my first post-paleo meal!
So I manipulated the amount and timing of my starches to avoid going from emaciation to dough boy!
And here I am today, a few days later, just about back to my normal weight of 160. Using starch–very carefully–like fire–to help me reach my goals.
I have found over and over, that clients with stubborn weight loss issues almost always find success with a reduction in starchy food. I was with a client yesterday who has had a challenging time taking his weight down (much of it belly fat), until this past week when he really concentrated on reducing his starch. He lost three pounds and an inch of belly fat in the week, and this is while doing less exercise than in his typical week.
How to Use Starch to Gain Healthy Weight
If you want to bulk up, in my opinion you’ll need some starch to do that, but if you want to avoid getting fat, you’ll need to exercise, particularly exercises that build lean muscle.
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Patrick Rooney is the Owner of GREEK PHYSIQUE™, LLC a Personal Training company located in Middle Tennessee, which specializes in body sculpting for men and women. Patrick is certified through the National Association for Fitness Certification (NAFC). Patrick is available for Personal Training and Lifestyle Coaching, both in person and via phone and Skype. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.