My Big Non-Fat Jiu-Jitsu Wedding
As a nurse’s aide I work with a lot of women. Most of them end up finding out that I do Jiu-jitsu when I am cutting weight for a tournament. I end up being forced to decline offers of junk food and am always asked why I won’t eat. After all I am already so skinny? In the break room at work there is always tons of junk food that nurses or supervisors or even patients and family members bring in for us. The temptation is intense. I constantly overhear my female coworkers discussing their latest diets. Many of them do weight watchers and they talk about their points and calories and everything else. The masses of junk food lying about only serves to spark even more of these conversations. I believe that nurses in particular are vulnerable to thinking about weight loss as they spend a large amount of their time taking care of patients who require care due to food related illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Also, nursing school is extremely stressful and requires so much dedication that many students end up cutting their workout routines and start eating fast food just to find the time to study. On my college campus I often hear about the freshman fifteen, but I think that nursing school has an even worse version of that with many graduates having gained weight while trying to get through nursing school.
In the break room, the women also tend to choose the TV channel. I have watched more than my share of Oxygen, Lifetime and HGTV. There are a ton of bride reality shows on right now. The Perfect Bride, Bridezilla, and Mail Order Bride just to name a few. The craziest bride show so far is Bridalplasty. In this show, engaged soon-to-be brides compete for a chance to win the grand prize of their dream plastic surgery procedures to complement their dream weddings. These women want to look fabulous on the biggest day of their lives. This got me thinking, instead of spending all this money on procedures why don’t these women try cutting weight before their weddings? After all it is very similar. A wedding is planned well in advance and the goal is to look perfect on the big day. A fight or grappling tournament is also planned in advance and fighters’ goals are to be in perfect shape at a target weight on the big day. Maybe there is something the grappling community can teach brides-to-be.
Of course, we have to assume that brides-to-be who are trying to compete on reality TV for plastic surgery are not willing to simply exercise and eat healthy diets in order to prepare for their big day. Since they are not looking for a long-term solution to their weight goals they need to look at short-term goals for weight loss. This is where the weight cutting techniques honed by the grappling community over decades of competition can help. There are two methods that I have personally used to cut weight that have worked extremely well for me: the paleo/no carbs diet method and the gallon of water a day method. There are also several other methods that many of my teammates have used to cut weight that have successfully worked for them. For the benefit of brides-to-be everywhere lets go over these methods.
Paleo/no carbs diet
I have used this diet two weeks out from competition to lose as much as six pounds. It is a modified Paleolithic diet.
The reason that it is modified is that the Paleo diet is a little too strict for me, my goal is not to eat the way that cavemen ate, my goal is to lose weight and stay healthy.
I eat as much food as I want on this diet, which keeps me fueled for training, but I cut out the carbohydrates from grains. No wheat, rice, corn, pasta, or bread. I also try to cut out as much corn syrup as possible. I was shocked at how much corn syrup is in processed foods. Simply cutting corn syrup out of my diet helped me lose a lot of weight. I also stopped drinking beer. Just cutting out a few beers a week without any dieting helped me lose five pounds in two weeks. I also try to minimize my sodium intake. This helps me lose water weight because salt attracts water, the less salt in my body the less water is retained and the more I sweat and urinate. This is especially important in combination with the gallon of water a day method of weight cutting. However, I am always careful not to cut salt entirely out of my diet as this is very dangerous and could lead to hyponatremia or water intoxication. This diet basically consists of eating non-processed meat, vegetables, fruit, salad, and unsalted nuts. It can be a little bland, but I have learned how to spice it up and it is only for two weeks. Also, I can eat as much as I want on this diet, so I don’t have to starve myself to get results.
Gallon of water a day
This method is a very simple way to lose weight. I have lost four pounds using this method, but I only weigh 140. One of my teammates who weighs 180 lost eleven pounds on this method. If the big day is on Saturday then drink a gallon of water on Monday, another gallon on Tuesday and two gallons on Wednesday. On Thursday I drink one gallon and on Friday I drink nothing. On Saturday I will weigh less having urinated off excess water weight. Sounds simple right? There are a few caveats however, I always make sure that there is salt in my diet or else I risk hyponatremia. It is also important not to go to bed thirsty on Friday night. If I go to bed thirsty I won’t be able to sleep, and I won’t be well rested for the big day. It is especially important for brides to look well rested on their big day. I usually allow myself a few sips of ice tea before bed so I can get to sleep without cottonmouth. Ice tea is good because it acts as a mild diuretic which I may need to help with bowel movements, as it is possible to become constipated after not drinking water all day. This method is simple and works great in tandem with the paleo/no carbs/no beer diet. Using these methods together I have lost 12 pounds in two weeks. Larger people can expect to lose even more weight as they have more water and fat to lose. I also looked good after cutting weight. I was never drained, fatigued, or pale and my muscle tone was much more visible. It is important to cut weight correctly or brides may look bad on their big day and may not have enough time to re-energize for the big night.
These other methods I have not personally tried, but I have seen teammates use them successfully.
One tool to lose weight is to sit in a sauna the day before the big day. As you sit, doing nothing your body sweats away water weight.
As before, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough salt. As your body sweats water, salt is also sweated out and it is possible to disrupt your body’s electrolyte balance if you lose too much salt.
You can also work out on a stationary bike or run to help yourself sweat. Often grapplers will wear sweat suits that look like black garbage bags to help them sweat. This can be dangerous, but it will make you sweat. Always be careful to test this method out before trying it for real. You should know your body’s limits and have an awareness of when you have had enough and how much weight you can expect to lose.
Another easy method to lose water weight is by using Epsom salts. Run a hot bath and pour a bag of Epsom salts into the tub. Make sure to stir the water to ensure that the salt dissolves. Then sit in the bath. This method works by increasing the salt content of the bath water well above the salt content of your body. Water is attracted to salt and your body will sweat water weight into the saline bath water as you sit watching TV or reading a book. This is easy, but it is possible to go overboard and sweat too much. One thing that can help while using this method is to have a scale near the tub. Periodically step out of the bath, towel off, and check your weight to see if you have reached your goal. Once you have reached your goal, stop. It is possible to lose track of time and cut more weight than you meant to.
The last method of cutting weight is laxatives. By taking a mild to moderate laxative before the big day you can cut excess weight by forcing your body to remove waste faster. This method can also be dangerous as it is possible to lose too much water weight along with the extra waste weight. A method that functions similarly is the colonic. The colonic also stimulates the bowels to excrete waste. However, instead of being taken orally the colonic is taken rectally. A tube is inserted into the rectum, as with an enema, but continues up into the colon. Water is then run through the tube to clean out the colon. I have heard reports of people losing 5-10 pounds with this method. I have never tried it however, and will not vouch for its efficacy.
As a final note to potential weight cutting brides-to-be it is important to remember safety when cutting weight. I always test a weight cutting method well in advance of the big day. I never use a method for the first time the day before I need to make weight. I know my body and I know how much weight I can expect to cut and I plan in advance. Another important aspect to understand is the difference between weight loss and weight cutting. Weight loss is an attempt to permanently lose weight. Weight cutting is an attempt to temporarily lose weight. With the water methods weight will come back when you rehydrate, with the diet method weight will come back when you revert back to your normal diet, with the laxative methods weight will come back naturally as you eat over the next couple days.
The differentiation between weight cutting and weight loss is important because it means that weight cutting is about meeting the weight goal on the big day, afterwards the weight will come back.
Also, with all of these methods, after the wedding ceremony be sure to drink some Gatorade or a similar drink containing electrolytes. After all brides will need to be hydrated and at their best for the big night.