Eat like a man

Fried, fried and more fried

I’ve noted along my journey to badassness here that I’ve been able to — needed to — eat a lot more than ever before.

I’ve learned lately that I seem to have, in fact, produced one raging furnace of a metabolism while I was doing things like squatting 150 pounds 3 times for 3 sets, benching 80 pounds 3×3 and deadlifting 160 pounds 3×3.

Don’t think for an instant this is a DICE (documented instance of public eating) — one of those deals where thin women pretend they plow into steaks and shakes when the reporter is looking, but really subsist on slivers of jicama. No. I seriously eat as much as a healthy, average sized man. And that wasn’t enough to gain the three pounds that Ben, we’ll say, requested (read insisted) I gain for training.


In a last-ditch effort to gain the final elusive pound, I hit the festival food this weekend at the Mountain Mushroom Festival.  Equal parts disgusted and amused, I sat down to a hot mess of a basket containing: deep fried potatoes, cheese, sour cream and bacon. At 11 a.m. After a breakfast of eggs and bacon and snacking on trail mix along the drive to the festival. And an Ale8 1. I followed up my grease-fest with a bag of kettle corn containing at least 10 servings that I nearly polished off with a little help from my friends. Then I sat down to a late dinner of homemade pasta with morels — I estimate my share to have been about a third of a pound of fettucine —  grilled steak and asparagus, and fried morels and oysters. And grilled baguette slices. Oh, and we tossed the pasta with a stick of butter. I washed this all down with half a bottle of wine. On my second helping of pasta my friends and husband cheered me on like it was some absurd sporting event. But I was determined to get to my goal weight.

And I did. For a day. A day of normal eating and it fell away.

I don’t recommend a day of this gluttony to anyone for any reason — it was an experiment, and I felt dreadful the next day. But it showed me that lifting heavy weights is without a doubt the most effective tool for managing body weight available, period. I eat about five times a day, till I’m happily full every time, and enjoy high calorie foods like avocados, nut butters, steak, and chocolate milk regularly.  My dinner plate contains as much food as my husband’s.  My appetite has come to be an ongoing joke among friends and family. And yet I stay the weight I was when I was 17.

I wish every woman who portions out her slivers of this and tendrils of that and slogs away on the treadmill hoping to lose five pounds or ten would toss away her diet books, jump off the treadmill, and make her way to the corner of the gym where she can learn the immense satisfaction of letting 165 pounds come crashing to the floor after a successful deadlift.

Whether lifting weights kept me lean or not, I would do it for the sheer joy of completing a lift so hard that I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to do it. But the amazing bonus is that it lets me eat as much as I could ever want — more than I even want to sometimes! It’s so very curious that all the weight-loss advice in the world leaves out this incredibly empowering activity.  I’ve found my soapbox and I want to find a way to tell all the women on the diet hamster wheel to stop, pick up some heavy weights, and go enjoy that steak!


2 thoughts on “Eat like a man

  1. I’m glad CrossFit and heavy weightlifting is working so well for you, Dana! I wish I could say that heavy weight lifting does the same thing for me. I’m one of the (very few) women who gain muscle very easily, and regular heavy weight lifting just means I have to buy bigger pants. My body fat is on the low end of normal; I just have a buttload of muscle and I gain more when I lift heavy weight. :\

  2. I wish I had a bit of your muscle-gaining problem! 🙂 It’s been hard for me to teach myself to eat as much as I need to fuel the growth, and not getting enough calories may have slowed down my growth.

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