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Critical Mass

I’m 5’8” (with the right shoes on), 164 pounds. I look… pretty good. Very good, maybe. I get it. But I’m also a perfectionist, an obsessive tinkerer, and a former chunky teenager who *never* had the body of an 18-year-old, even as an 18-year-old. While I’m happy that I look the way I look, I want better. So I consulted our old friend Tim Ferriss, who wrote a little blurb in his 4-Hour Body book about how to lose those last 5-10 pounds, if you really wanted to. It doesn’t look easy. He cites a bodybuilding expert / nutritionist named Dave Palumbo, who uses a tried-and-true ‘classic low-carb’ method to lean out his clients for their fitness shows. The rules are:

1) Eat every 3 hours while awake
2) 30-40g protein and 15-20g fat per meal (for someone my size)
3) As many leafy green veggies (spinach, broccoli, lettuce) as you want.
4) No other explicit carbohydrate sources. See you later, sweet potater.
5) One cheat *meal* a week.

(With Fruity Pebbles on top.)

6) 2 cups coffee a day, max. Carb-free alcohols only (vodka, tequila, whiskey, gin).
7) Exercise: minimal cardio, not a whole lot else. They weren’t too explicit.

I think I’m willing to put in some work between now and Labor Day to drop those last 5-10 pounds of body fat and attempt to get ripped. Or, I may just abandon the project after 2 or 3 days because it’s *way* too complicated and I just don’t give a damn. Sounds intriguing, though, which is why I decided to put the diet through the ringer on a regular day at work. Here’s how my trial day went:

Breakfast, 7am – after a quick run up 10 flights of stairs, I downed a scoop of whey protein along with some creamed spinach (using Nutiva Coconut Manna and coconut oil, which has the added perks of nicely melting at anything above room temp, and also soaking up the excess water from the cooked spinach to make a very rich coconut sauce. Add a little salt and Bob’s your uncle.)

Snack, 9:30am – scrambled eggs from the hospital cafeteria. I’m worried they may not be made of real eggs.

Lunch, 12:30pm – Surin’s cashew chicken stir-fry, a ‘business lunch’ with The Co-Worker, who wants me to go to a speed-dating thing with her on Monday. I’ll probably go. I’ve ruminated over The Co-Worker before, and whether it would be completely suicidal to date her or even intimate the possibility. She’s mature, funny, and really beautiful. But, our offices are essentially next door to each other, and we see each other *everyday*. If I were more suave and had the ‘mechanics’ to make an office hook-up work, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Snack #2, 3pm – a scoop of whey protein with creamed spinach, a repeat of breakfast. The Paleo diet really got me on the “only eat whole, natural foods” bandwagon for a while, so I’m not a *fan* of whey protein. But for this experiment, should I choose to keep it going, it’s a necessary evil. Time to buy me a shaker bottle.

Dinner, 5:30pm – salmon filet, cabbage slaw, right before my newest match.com date with The Terrorist, which I’ll talk about next.

Bedtime snack, 10pm – salmon filet, cabbage slaw

Impressions: Very challenging. Very. Then again, we’re talking about 3 weeks. Not even. I know, it sounds a bit crash diet-y, especially having its roots in competitive bodybuilding circles. There are several informative online forums that talk about the diet, and how people have done with it, meal ideas, etc. I’m going to give it a whirl. It’s going to take a hell of a lot of shopping, cooking, preparation, planning… but come on, who’s a better planner than I am?

Okay, match.com continues to blow up, and has probably reached critical mass (i.e., no e-mailing new people until I figure out what to do with the current crop). The dates were starting to confirm that there were good reasons for these women to resort to non-traditional ways of meeting men. So far, they kinda sucked.

Housekeeping to start:

The Killer (slightly older brunette Dr. Kevorkian wannabe) is going to medical conferences all week, so we’re regrouping next week. I feel like I’m putting much more work into pursuing her than she is into pursuing me. My plan is to wait for *her* to call, and see if she’s really interested in hooking up, or if she has come convoluted ‘let’s be friends’ agenda in mind.

The Tennis Nerd (with whom I bonded over Gordon Ramsay shows last week) just doesn’t do it for me. I felt like I was falling into my usual trap of exalting a girl who I didn’t find particularly attractive, just because she found *me* attractive. Those situations occasionally end with me sleeping with the girl, then regretting it and wondering why I led her on in the first place.

The Hot Mess (A blonde, cougar-ish type who’s also getting her 2nd Ph.D., in an attempt to avoid ever getting a real job, perhaps? Or maybe she just likes preying on college boys…) has postponed our first date *twice*, once because of ‘random family drama’, and once because she got a flat tire. Everything about this situation screams ‘bail on this flaky chick’, but simultaneously screams ‘the sex promises to be *fantastic*’… hence, attempt #3 at date #1, on Tuesday.

On to new business…

The Quiet Girl, from her profile and our e-mails, was an accomplished chemical engineering grad student who had travelled the world and had funny misadventures to share about, well, everything, including a man in Jordan who tried to purchase her. From whom, I’m not sure. We met Tuesday night at a little dive bar with an outdoor patio and settled in with a drink. She was consignment-shop cute, thin, pale, freckly, big green eyes. But dear oh dear, the girl would not talk. Like, not at all. I don’t think she strung together more than five words in a row, all night. Her eyes darted around, unable to keep a focus on anything (including my pretty face) for more than a couple seconds. It was like trying to date a chameleon.

I threw question after question at her, then told one story after another, I even tried being quiet just to see how long she would let the silence go. Easily four minutes of *nothing* before I had to jump in with some random comment or question. Could she have been excessively nervous? Yes. Did I try my best to set her at ease? Yes. Did I get nicely buzzed off my tequila-and-sodas? Yes. This may have been an all-time bottom-ten bad date. Sigh.

– My Wednesday night ‘first date’ was with The Terrorist, named so because of being placed on a no-fly list once last year (the by-product of dozens of short business trips to Israel). Very pretty. Prettier than her photos, beautiful eyes, great shape, nothing not to love instantly. She and I met at good old Rojo last night for happy hour, where we were immediately attacked by a swarm of flies. We huddled inside and sipped our drinks and had a really good time talking… I think. She’s intellectual but could also joke and let her hair down and be silly. There were a couple pauses, but none of them awkward. I let them happen. Good give and take. I don’t think I was too too open and transparent, like with the Kosher BBQ Girl. But I’m a terrible judge of that, so who knows?

We had a second round of drinks at Rogue and sat outside on the dimly lit patio. It was a *first date*, of which I have to keep reminding myself. The first time we’ve ever met, like ever. Of course, I want the girl to flirt with me a lot, and give me good physical cues that I’m an attractive person, and I want her to touch my arm and hold my hand, and I want to kiss her at the end of the date (I didn’t, which I’m still kicking myself over, a bit). But does that guarantee a successful date, or does the lack of any of those make it unsuccessful? This time, I wasn’t overly touchy or needy or any of that. Aside from the guiding hand-on-the-back when I opened a door for her, I just let it be. Which still makes no sense to me, but we’ll see if the strategy works. I guess I’m a little bit worried (okay, a lot worried) that she didn’t feel *any* attraction to me. Isn’t my job on a date to actively generate that attraction? How would I even know it’s there, aside from the cues I just mentioned?

Despite having all these first dates, I’m still drowning in pressure to make the dates ‘work’. I want a second date, I want a third date, especially with The Terrorist, who seems like a GREAT gal from the four hours we’ve known each other. What I did *well* this time, which I didn’t do other times, was actually plan a second date. Saturday night. She wants to see a movie, so I think we’re hitting the dollar theater for something light-hearted and funny, and after that, drinks somewhere. I know movies make for a bad *first* date, but we’ve already proven that we can converse and that we can connect over plenty of different things. This works, right?

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Critical Mass

  1. It does work… both the date (you can discuss the movie and other stuff after the movie) AND The Last Mile from Tim Ferrriss. I did it for almost 3 weeks to strip the last bit of fat off before an event. Best tip is watch the clock and do not let yourself longer than 3 hours and 1 minute without eating. The clock is your master. Otherwise you will be starving and at high risk of eating absolutely anything you can get your hands on. Also, watch your total fat intake on that tasty little coconut manna/coconut oil spinach sauté you described. Measure your ingredients- 15-20 grams of fat adds up quickly when you are talking oils. Good Luck- can’t wait to hear how it goes. Can’t remember, are you using the BodPod for your bodyfat %?

    Posted by Debbie | August 18, 2011, 8:07 pm
  2. hm….i’m interested in hearing how this diet goes for you. i’m close to doing it right now…i just need to eat every 3 hours and cut coffee down from 3 cups to 2. the minimal cardio might be a problem with crossfitting….hm…..let me know how it goes, sri. i’m in all my prepregnancy clothes, but i, like you, am also a perfectionist. i want to look BETTER than i did before the baby. i want to look better at 37 than i looked at 25. i wonder if that’s even possible?

    Posted by crossfit queen (haha) | August 19, 2011, 2:51 am

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