I try to stay fairly active. One happy side effect of spending time in poker rooms is that however bad a shape you think you're in, if you take a look around a card table, normally you'll conclude that things aren't actually that bad once you see some of the competition. Whilst of course some people clearly make an effort with themselves, an awful lot more just don't care. From wearing the same clothes for three days, right through to eating as much processed food as they can stuff in until their heart finally gives out one fateful day, poker can sometimes be the ultimate vessel for showing the world how little you care about it, and yourself. Which is quite sad. Still, everyone's different.
Before I started training and running in the UK with a pal, my weight was (for me) a tape-busting 184 lbs, or 13.1 stone. Now, I'm fully aware that for some people, 184 lbs might be a dream weight, however, we're of course all different in frame and lifestyle. I'm 5' 10", and have never been "fat" fat, but if you have a bad diet and never move unless it's from the card table to the dinner table, and then to bed, then everything clogs up, and you become a blob of slow moving body fat with a limited lifespan and a sluggish demeanour. Clearly whatever you do in life, this isn't great.
Anyhoo, maybe to fill a void, maybe to prove I could, or just maybe because I'm weird and thought it might be a good idea, I started some regular exercise, was more careful about what I ate, and tried to shift the excess baggage around my midfriff. This ended up with me running sometimes, doing the occasional half marathon, getting into golf a bit more seriously, and perhaps most importantly, looking a bit more into my diet. For over a year now, I've been on and off with a lifestyle (don't worry, I cringed too as I typed that word) called Ketogenic, or "Keto", or as a pal who has a wry sense of humour and remembers Burk Kwouk for the Pink Panther movies calls it... "the Kato diet". Kato it is.
I'll drop in a few links below, but in a nutshell (some nuts are allowed) the Keto diet is basically as follows. Your body normally gets it's energy from the carbs you consume in food every day, however, on the Keto diet, you eat virtually (20-30g per day only) no carbs, which puts your body into a state called Ketosis. In this state, instead of getting energy from the carbs (which you're now not eating), your body instead now uses it's own fat reserves for fuel, which leads to weight loss as the stored fat gets burned. There's a lot of science behind it, and some people are sceptical, but a lot of this is because for years, fat has been demonised, and carb heavy foods have just become a way of life and everyone simply eats them without question. It turns out in fact, that not all fats are bad for you, and not all carbs are good for you, but you need to dig around a bit for the info. On the Keto diet, you eat a lot of fat and a moderate amount of protein, but virtually no carbs. The first few days are rough as you get headaches and basically feel like crap (known as the Keto flu) as your body adjusts to not getting any carbs coming in, but this soon passes, and after that, as long as you stay in the Ketogenic state, you soon find you get hungry far less often, as the sugars and carbs eaten are normally what promote hunger, and the weight comes off pretty rapidly. Things like fried bacon, butter, eggs, steak, chicken, full fat cream, and cheeses are in, stuff like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, sodas and fruit juices, most cakes, sweets and biscuits are out. You have to look at which veggies you can still eat, and you must be careful which fats and oils to use, as if you don't know and make a mistake, you can get kicked out of Ketosis, and have to start all over again.
Anyway, it worked for me, and I'm now at 146 lbs/10.5 stone, which whilst maybe not rocking anyone else's world, makes me happy and shows at least I am capable of finding the discipline to do something right in life. I don't need to go any lower in weight for sure, but I feel a lot better for having shed all the unwanted bulk.
I don't stay in Keto all the time. I do it for a month or two, then go back to regular eating. Why? Simple answer is I like bread, pasta, potatoes and biscuits, and always will, and won't do without them for the rest of my life, simple as that. But adapting my diet for a time doesn't kill me, and I have to say the results clearly prove that the science behind it is very sound. Also, I like to cook, and there are a ton of Keto recipes and resources online which are a lifesaver. My favourite I think is Headbangerskitchen.com, this guy is great, and the recipes are amazing.
Anyways, that's that. It's not a religious cult of a Ponzi scheme, but if you're a blob and you want to maybe stop being so much of one, do some reading.
On an unrelated poker note, my first Venetian event, the MSPT $1100 NLH begins tomorrow!