WWI Week 16: The allure of end-game extremism

It’s tempting, with just a week to go in Wells Weighs In, to try a pro fighters’ weight-cutting strategy I read about this week on The Four-Hour Body author Tim Ferris’ blog. It’s a detailed five-day plan for jettisoning 20-30 pounds to “make weight” before a fight. The catch, of course, is that the weight reappears as soon as you go back to your usual routine.

fitnessteeshirtThere’s no real reason for anybody on our weight-loss team, the Fitness Protection Program, to go to such lengths, even if we are a bit disappointed in our lack of movement over the last month or so. The idea here is to get in better shape, not just get some temporary result on the scale. But a quick few pounds would be quite a morale boost, wouldn’t it?

The strategy on Ferris’ blog looks to me like an Atkins-style diet paired with an initial overhydration that is gradually decreased and then paired with sauna sessions and hot water baths. It looks doable; it’s not like you need any crazy equipment or have to run 100 miles or anything like that. It would be intriguing to try this experiment just to see what would happen if you were a 135-pound woman instead of a 190-pound bulked-up male athlete.

But I probably won‘t, because I’m not very confident my will power could endure an Atkins-style diet. Traci’s thinking she might try Atkins this week, assuming she picks up the necessary supplies, just to give herself a little end-game boost. Colleen’s going with Smart Ones and double-workouts. I’m not sure what Grandpa’s going to do. It’s driving him nuts that our team is fading like this at the end, but he’ll probably just stick with his strategy of “not eating so much” and trying to get in more walking.

As for me, I’ll probably stick with what I’ve been doing lately, which is “freeze-framing” a desirable midafternoon weight by cutting off all food and most liquid after that point (after overhydrating earlier in the day).

I asked Dr. John Berardi, nutritional advisor to UFC champion Georges St. Pierre and a guest on Ferris’ blog, if it was dangerous to go up to 15 hours without water if you were getting enough water over a 24-hour period.

“No real danger,” he responded, though he couldn’t understand why I’d want to.

As I told him, it’s just a short-term way of making a weight goal. (And as a former fat person, I like not wondering what the scale will say in the morning. This way I know it will be no higher than x.). 

Ultimately, whatever our final numbers in this contest, we’ll be better off if we avoid these silly extremist scenarios and just make small improvements in our day-to-day habits. Like my cousin Jill and her family, our competitors on the Family Famine team.

“Right now we are just watching our snacking and cutting out most pop,” she told me in an email earlier this week. “It’s amazing what that has done!”

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2 Responses to WWI Week 16: The allure of end-game extremism

  1. MikeR says:

    Even short-term Atkins can have long-lasting ill effects. Atkins places excess stress on kidneys. All that excess protein’s gotta go someplace. I would hope your sister stays away from Atkins. Heart disease killed an obese Dr. Atkins. His diet is not healthy.

    • tischcaylor says:

      To be honest, she’s so busy right now she probably won’t get around to doing it. But I am one of the few people in my family who is not an Atkins fan.

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