The Process: Part Two

completely unrelated photo. Credits: Janice Ng

In the last one I wrote about the training I did whilst also briefly mentioning mindfulness as a key factor in the process. Since publishing that I’ve spent a lot of my time in transit thinking about what it means to me and it’s given me another topic to type about after this one. Hopefully that won’t take too long to materialise, I’m quite psyched to talk about that. As for now, I’ll get the dieting thing out of the way first.

Part Two: Dieting

I started altering my diet for three reasons. The first: I wanted more control over how I felt and I strongly believe that whatever I consumed for energy directly affected that. Taking on a more “professional athlete” mentality, I was regularly experimenting (still am) with ways to stay centred and be more balanced. Everything I’ve done started from my mindful movement practice and it naturally spilled over into other aspects of my life like eating and sleeping habits. Every aspect of being that I realise I have control over, I continually work on taking charge and leave as little of it to chance.

The second reason was to drop a few kilos (I felt kinda heavy) and I got interested in the Ketogenic Diet through an acquaintance’s social media feed. His weight loss was impressive but he was eating food that looked simple but tasty. After some information scouring on the net I made the decision to give it a go because it seemed sustainable. I won’t go into the details of what it does to your body (this is readily available on the internet) or discuss my meals but for the record, I did not starve myself. If caloric intake is anything to go by, I was hitting my macros quite consistently. I lost some, and at my target weight I felt even better on the wall.

My favourite thing about this diet — apart from loving what I eat — is how it’s affected my energy levels. It’s consistent, with no spikes. You know that feeling when you get sleepy after a meal and you function slower? The brain fog is real. I don’t get that anymore, as long as I’m not exceeding my carb limit or having a cheat day (yes I do have these, it’s important for the soul and I love burgers and prata). I actually hate that feeling especially if I’m working, it makes me feel tired and lazy for 1–2 hours after eating.

Over the last two years I think some studies/articles with regards to sugar consumption surfaced and circulated on social media and that made me think a lot about what I was putting into my body. My third reason stems from this discovery/epiphany of sorts — I needed to relegate sugar (carbs) from my staple and find alternative fuels. Again, that led me to going keto or low carb high fat or whatever variation in name that you’d find. I’m pretty close to believing that sugar, even at what’s deemed as moderate levels, isn’t good for the body and we’ve been misled into believing that fat is bad. All that low-fat food/drinks are just compensated with fillers.

Here’s an article posted yesterday from The New York Times. Of course all this can be very controversial and in no way am I trying to influence anyone with this, I’m just sharing what I believe. Moving on.

One of the major differences I felt was the mental clarity. The fogginess in my mind disappeared and I remember telling Marcus that I felt sharper than ever. My focus on the wall felt like a different level, almost as if I could snap into the zone without having to try hard to get into it. It’s a lot easier to climb good when you feel good. I felt fresh all the time without needing any stimulants (but I still had my pre competition coffees because I love coffee).

In the entire period which was about two months from the beginning of my “training” and dieting, the changes I felt were gradual and sustained. Up till today, I’m loosely basing my diet around the same principles, with a little more room for what I call soul food. It’s alright to relax a little when I’m not gearing for a competition, I don’t need to be in peak form and I see it as a way of resting my mind and body. What I’m enjoying most second to feeling good most of the time is the experimentation. This process kinda forces me to be more aware with how my body reacts to different or new foods, or even brands of a product like coconut oil.

If you came here thinking I’d offer a quick weight loss solution then I’m sorry for misleading. I think if I did have a quick fix, it’d be totally unsustainable for both body and mind. All shifts in my approach towards better climbing come from the simple roots of sustainability and longevity. I’m not exactly young anymore (maybe at heart) and I’d like to preserve my performance for the longer run.

Of course comments, feedback, questions, debates, they’ll be appreciated here all the time. Thanks for reading!

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