Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mass v2

Seven and a half months ago, in the lead up to Halloween and both Canadian and American Thanksgiving, I wrote about a new eating schedule and how it was helping me reduce my mass.  Of course the holiday season immediately followed that post -- a notoriously difficult time of year to maintain weight, much less lose it.  In addition, right after Christmas Sara and I joined friends for a trip to England* and spend two weeks on the road -- another notoriously difficult thing regarding eating and weight.

*insert obligatory joke about how English food is awful and therefore traveling to England must be a good way to lose weight.  In fact, I had the best steak of my life while we were in London and ate quite well the entire trip, thank you very much.

In fact, I ended the holidays weighing slightly less than I entered them -- a pound or three -- nothing spectacular, but I consider that a significant victory.

This morning I passed another milestone.  I'm now 10 pounds under my black belt testing weight and have lost approximately 40 pounds*.  That's approaching losing 15% of my maximum body weight.  More importantly, my BP (on medication) has dropped this week into the very low end of normal.

*Disclaimer: any particular days mass reading is temporary.  I have spent more than a month bouncing around my last plateau, moving up and down (mostly) in about a three pound range in the high 250s.  I note edge cases for the very reason that they are extremes and thus rewarding.

As my mass decreases, my ability and inclination to exercise increases.  I still have a back problem, but I have added bicycling (using an electrically assisted bicycle).  I got my first 10 mile ride in this week and am trying (not yet managing) to get a short ride in every day I'm not at the gym.  The Faraday Porteur makes hills much less scary but can be ridden up and down easy grades and on the flat without draining the battery.  It makes it easy to carry  a grocery bag (or two) and I have panniers coming that should make bigger trips possible.  If my gaming didn't end late at night I'd seriously consider riding it over to Card Kingdom for PFS.

My antipathy for calories in, calories out is probably better documented than it warrants.  Tl;Dr is that it's a decent heuristic and a terrible plan.  What you eat is important because it affects how your body processes food and releases energy, and because it affects how much (and what) your body _wants_ to eat.  But the general goal of dieting or eating healthy is to encourage your body to eat less (and better) stuff and have more energy and inclination to expend that energy.

Six small meals* (I don't know a formal name for it but that's descriptive) -- eating a small amount (think custard cup, small muffin, or half banana sized) every three hours through the day -- seems to work for us.  We rarely get more than five in, for me one is often somewhat larger, but th basic idea is working.

*Honest to Goddess, we did this under medical supervision for the last 7-8 months.  Including monthly meetings with a nutritionist/dietician and a fitness counselor and periodic meetings with an MD and a psychologist.  They were not messing around.  I don't know how much that support mattered, but we definitely benefited from it.

Given that 90+% of dieters in the U.S. fail to lose weight long-term, any dieting discussion must begin with the thought that we don't really know what we're talking about around food and that this works for me.  And that whatever works for you is good.

This is working for us.