Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Health Update: Week 1.5

Initial Weigh-in (January 31): 301 pounds

2/11/13 Weigh-in: 296.8 pounds

2/11/13 exercise update: 20 abdominal crunches done today, mainly out of curiosity

I can't say that the above weight loss-- about four pounds-- is good news. I can vary by several pounds in a matter of hours, so it's almost as if I've lost no weight at all, despite eleven days on a Taubesian regime. I wonder whether I should resign myself to the fact that, given what I know about how I've lost weight in the past, the key for me may be exercise, not diet. I lost a tremendous amount of weight while living in Switzerland because I was hiking literally every single day: the walk to the university went way downhill, then way uphill, so like Bill Cosby, I walked uphill both ways. What's more, I hiked relentlessly during my free time. I also lost around 50 or 60 pounds during the three months of my 600-mile trudge in 2008. Constant physical effort really seems to be the key. My body responds more quickly to that than to changes in diet-- especially diets that say, "Hey, don't worry about how much you eat!" I still pack in a voluminous amount of food, even though there are almost no carbs in it anymore. I'm sure that, despite the pooping, my guts remain full of partially digested meals, which is one explanation for the modest weight loss.

I can say, though, that the radical reduction in sugar has had some salutary effects. There have been fewer headaches, for one thing. And while I have no clue what my blood pressure might be, I'm guessing it's ever so slightly lower than it was. I've also generally enjoyed the challenge of figuring out low-carb solutions for my diet. While it sucks to realize that most of the grocery store becomes your enemy the moment you switch to a Taubes/Atkins paradigm, you've still got some friends on those food shelves, and the new diet is a good chance to make new acquaintances as well. Spaghetti squash, which was suggested to me by several people, has turned out to be pretty good. While not the most satisfying alternative to pasta, it's good enough to work in an Alfredo. In fact, I'll be attempting a bleu-cheese twist on that Alfredo later today.

I do plan to include more data in future updates, especially regarding exercise, but perhaps also regarding things like resting heart rate and, assuming I buy a home kit, blood pressure (though I need a larger-than-normal cuff for my bear-sized arms). I know my blood pressure has gotten frighteningly high; it's past time for me to pull myself out of my nosedive.

My phone has several free exercise apps: Ab Workout, Arm Workout, Butt Workout, Pushups, Situps, and the very comprehensive JE Fit; the latter must be used in conjunction with gym equipment, but the first five apps require nothing but a soft surface on which to do one's workouts. I plan to start by mastering the first five apps-- which constitute the basics-- and only then will I move forward into the gym for higher-level resistance training. On the side, I may use my bunk bed's pipe frame as a way to do easy, inclined pullups. (No app for that, alas.) And I'll need to start walking again. Walking is key.

Expect more info next week.



Maqzito said...

Good work! Keep it up! I've lost 60 lbs since October. If you stick to the low carb thing it will work.

John said...

Stick with it! I'd like to hear more of how commenter Maqzito managed to lose 60 pounds in less than 6 months. That's my goal/dream.

Anyway, I'm going to start next week when I get back to the USA. I've been forced to miss out on a lot of my high carb favorites here (although I'm still pounding down the carbs via bread and cereal).

What's your take on fruit? Some things I've read say only berries, then I read somewhere else that apples and oranges are ok. I can consult my Taubes when I get home I guess, just curious what you are snacking on these days.

As to exercise, I'm gonna walk the old treadmill everyday I reckon. And of course, there's darts (which does involve a surprisingly good bit of walking when you think about it). I'll have to switch to low carb beer on dart night though.

So I just wanted you to know I'm rooting for you and maybe we can watch each other's progress for inspiration. Or maybe I can serve as a bad example. One of those...

Maqzito said...

Basically I do the low-carb thing, but pretty simply and pretty restrictive. The way I see it, any major weight loss is going to come with some amount of suffering, so why not increase the suffering a bit and get it done faster? That being said, I never feel as though I'm starving myself or anything harsh like that. I eat plenty, just not too much. Things that I do that seem to get me the best results:
- Don't eat anything at all after 7 or 8pm.
- Lots of animal fats and fatty meat (chicken thighs, ribeyes, bacon, pork belly, eggs in butter)
- Everything prepared very simply with not very many sauces.
- Not too much cheese.
- All little processed food as possible.
- Nutrient-dense veggies (broccoli, kale, collards, etc)
- Jogging for at least 30 min most days of the week.

This really works for me because I love fatty meat anyway. There's not much more satisfying to me than a big charred medium-rare ribeye with a big dollop of dijon mustard on the side of the plate.

Maven said...

Great work!

There's a trick I have learned, and I hope you might benefit from it. WHen I get hunger pangs, before I eat something, I drink something hot. Tea, coffee, or chicken broth usually. If I still feel hungry after 12 oz of hot liquid, then I'm convinced I'm hungry. Sometimes thirst disguises itself as hunger.

Also worth mentioning, diets high in protein and not so much in vegetable matter usually is quite binding. Plain ol' magnesium supplements help with that, immensely.