Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Monday, 18 July 2016

A Weekend of Excess – Health Implications

I’m just back from an amazing weekend. A friend is getting married so it was his stag party. We used the best man’s boat to travel along the South Coast, enjoying go-karting, jetskiing, and powerboating along the way. There were bars, clubs and restaurants – and as this was a “rare and appropriate” occasion, I was eating everything and anything, and drinking alcohol and sugary drinks. This blog is just to highlight a couple of effects on my health.

Previous to this weekend I have been eating a high quality, nearly completely plant based diet. I hadn’t even had a meal with meat in it for 8 weeks. There had been no sugary drinks, and only a couple of alcoholic drinks, for nearly three months. During the last five weeks I’ve been weighing myself and taking blood pressure readings to see the effect of my new way of eating on my overall health. I am also very active to say the least, and in good physical health. So what would a single long weekend of excess do to me?

You may not consider that I ate too unhealthily overall. Friday night was a curry, consisting of a sea bass starter on vegetables, then a chicken korma and naan to follow. Saturday morning was the bad one, where I had a quick McDonalds meal of cardboard masquerading as food. Saturday night was pretty healthy with a lovely nasi goreng in Banana Wharf at Poole. They had a great take on it, with nice, natural, wholesome foods perfectly prepared. Then I blew a relatively healthy option with stacks of ice cream, chocolate chips and strawberries for desert. Well, the strawberries were healthy anyway! Sunday breakfast was back in Banana Wharf enjoying their full English breakfast. I polished off most people’s left overs in our little group too. I’d turned into an eating machine. Followed it up almost immediately with a stack of ice cream from one of the quayside shops too.

Drinks wise I stuck with Pepsi Max during the day. During the night it was orange juice and lemonade to start, then glasses of Red Bull in between drinks of wine, shots, and brandy Red Bulls (yes, it goes together – well I think it does!). I didn’t get too drunk as I paced myself, yet, the alcohol over 10 hrs of drinking each day needed to be processed.

The three days of excess was over last night, when I got home. I straight away ordered potato wedges and a big pizza before hitting the sack before 9pm. I needed the sleep!

Over the weekend I noticed some adjustments to my body. I don’t think my gut biome was prepared for the toxic shock, nor the meat. I think they got a little drunk from the alcohol, and missed their fibre! After the first 24hrs I basically ‘clammed up’, and was not as regular or as ‘appropriate’ in my ablutions. I was peeing constantly with clear urine. I was definitely having too high a fluid intake. Mostly alcohol and Red Bull to be honest. My digestive tract was definitely thrown out.

I started to crave sugar. This was satisfied with the sugary drinks and the ice creams. I’m still craving sugar today, my first day back.

Despite only about 5 hours sleep over the course of the weekend (very late nights and early mornings to pack everything in) I did feel alert overall, until the weekend was over. This, I think, was down to having so much to see and do, and all the interaction with everyone.

My body has smoothed over. Rather than the sharpness that was starting to appear I’m now rounded and my muscles appear ‘bloated’, and there is definitely some loose stuff that wasn’t there when I left on Friday! There is definitely a rise in my ‘fat’ levels – yet that quick? Most of it has to be water retention. This will account for my ‘full’ muscles too.

This is confirmed in my statistics this morning. My weight is the highest it has been since May. I have gone from 84.9kg up to 87.8kg – near enough 3kg (6.6lbs) in just three days. That is a scary amount!

The increase in weight appears to be from water mainly. I believe my overall hydration has increased increasing my intracellular and extracellular fluid. I’m likely a little inflamed as well. In other words, this weekend has ‘bloated me up’. There’s probably a good amount of food still working its way through my digestive tract too adding to excess weight.

My blood pressure has scared me. Normally in the ‘optimum’ to ‘normal’ range, it has rocketed up to ‘high normal’. When I left my last reading was 117/74. Today it was 132/82. This is the highest my systolic pressure has been since I started recording it. The increase is likely due to the uncontrolled salt intake in the food.

It is worth noting that I did nowhere near as much physical activity as usual over the last three days, so my body had a bit of a rest, despite playing around on the jet skis and walking from bar to restaurant to club.

Today I’m back on my health eating. I’m seeing if I can return my body to its previous healthy status as quickly as I can. Today is a very hot day, so I got up early snuck in a 2.5mile easy run with the huskies before the heat came up. I then did a quick Tabata protocol for some high intensity interval training, before spending 30minutes mobilising my body with my movement drills. Lunch was just a nectarine and an apple, to satisfy my sweet tooth, yet I’m not actually hungry – I think I know I’ve had a lot of food! I’m drinking just my usual coffee and water.

I’m going to be watching with interest how quickly my body returns to normal – I’m hoping it will be quite quick! I’m also hoping that readers of this blog will think about what they are doing to excess, and the effects that it has on their bodies. We only live once, that’s for sure, and I definitely lived this weekend! Yet, I want to continue through my life in good health. So as my good friend (and former NASA Metabolic Scientist) Ray Cronise has said, let’s keep such excess to when it is “rare and appropriate”.

It was indeed a fantastic weekend though!