Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I try to think of my mass as "just a number" and worry more about my capabilities.  But as I age and get creakier (back, knee, hips, shoulders, elbows -- hell, everything!) it's clear that less mass would be a good thing.

I've had a struggle with my mass for most of my mid-adult life.  I've tried various plans and mechanisms for reducing it, and have found one that works, but is too hard to maintain for an extended period.

That is low-carb eating.  I can eat as much beef, pork, and chicken as I want, and if I don't eat any carbs (I think it's actually carbs that breakdown quickly -- no bread, no sugar, etc. -- but most veggies are OK) I will lose about 1 pound a week.

Unfortunately for this plan, I love bread.  It's not too hard to avoid when I'm eating at home, but nigh-impossible for me to stay low-carb when I'm on the road, and since leaving Amazon last November I've been on the road a lot (Iceland, Vegas/Arizona, China, Chicago/DC/Blue Ridge, Bishop) this year.

But a couple of months ago, I found a new paradigm to attempt: six small meals per day.  I know that this is a current diet fad and that it's being debunked by, well, everybody who's not pushing it.  I won't go into how I found it or what the reasoning is, I'll just say that it seems to work for me.

Ideally, I'd be eating roughly a custard cup (or muffin tin) of food (emphasis on protein) at 9am, 12n, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm and either 6am or 12m.  I never make either of those last two, so it turns out to be five small meals per day.  And realistically there's something emotionally satisfying about a larger meal in there, so it's really four small meals and an almost-normal sized meal daily.

It seems to be sustainable and it seems to work for me on the road, which is really remarkable.  And I've lost more than 5% of my body weight, and on my last road trip (Bishop for a photo workshop) I crashed through my most recent plateau of 283 and this morning I weighed in at 275.

On top of the eating Sara and I have been working with a personal trainer three days a week -- usually 15-30 minutes of cardio/warm up and 30 minutes of training (something like CrossFit light).  We've been doing this for nearly a year now and both notice our bodies firming and getting stronger.  I can do things (like climb around at 10,000 feet) -- not as well as when I was younger and lighter, but well enough -- better than I expect to.

I have a reasonably well documented antipathy to "calories in, calories out" as a mechanism for weight loss.  The primary reason is that it doesn't work, as well as suffering from an increasing amount of scientific evidence that it is a flawed theory and shouldn't work.  I don't know the theory behind lots of small meals per day -- although I hear mumblings about "activating the metabolism" -- but if it works, I don't really care.