Archive for March, 2011

How do you measure a year in the life?

March 23rd, 2011 7 comments


I’ll take a stab, how about twenty six thousand and seven hundred and sixty-two grams. (fifty-nine pounds or four point two stones)

According to my logs, today marks the one year anniversary of the first weigh in of my journey to become healthier, primarily by losing weight.  My strategy has been to eat less and move more. Using mobile applications and online tools like Weight Watchers Online and LoseIt! I’ve tracked how much I’ve eaten and adjusted my intake to eat sensibly.  I’ve used iPhone applications and websites like DailyMile and RunKeeper to track my exercises, and making steady progress without major injury.  Finally using social networks like Facebook and Twitter (as well as my LoseIt! friends Holla!)I’ve used the support of many friends (both online and offline) to encourage me on this journey.  I’m not done yet, I still have around 2/3rds, but I’m proud of the steady progress and the 59 pounds I’ve lost so far.

Thank YOU! For all your encouragement and support!

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Diet Hacking and overcoming unrealistic goals

March 15th, 2011 Comments off

Since September I’ve been slowly trying to hack my diet by paying attention to the data, and making decisions going forward based on what the numbers tell me, while also understanding how I’m feeling emotionally, and towards food.

November was a month where I figured out a few things, December I made good progress until the later part of the month when I went on vacation, and the holidays, but it was still a good month.  January I got serious. 

The deal with hacking your numbers has to do with a few fairly accepted equations.  The math starts out with some variables.  I had to figure out my Basal Metabolic Rate, which is determined by understanding Physical Activity Level and multiplying that by a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), in other words how many calories it takes to keep me at my current weight, doing the things I normally do.

There are calorie calculators on the web that do a fair job of estimating a RMR, and while they are statistical models they are accurate enough to get you in the ballpark.  This is exactly what LoseIt! does so if you want to take a shortcut, just use LoseIt

The next part of the equation is to figure out how fast I want to lose weight.  This begins with a constant: 3500 calories = 1 pound.  So to determine a plan we have to figure out how many pounds I want to lose in a week, the most ambitious plan on LoseIt! is 2 pounds per week, that equates to 7000 calories, or subtracting 1000 calories from my RMR.

That’s the theory, and that’s what I hung my hat on.  Only issue was I never consistently lost 2 pounds per week.  There is part of me that just wants to finish faster, and so it’s easy to get a little greedy, and start subtracting a little more calories a day, trying to lose a little more faster.  In January I did that, subtracting 200 more calories a day from my budget.  First week I had great success, the following weeks, I had increased hunger, increased irritability, and some cravings that just wouldn’t go away. The problem, I figured was I didn’t realize that I was only starving myself faster.  Add to that adding more exercise, longer runs, more stress, it’s not surprising that I wanted more of the easy junk that would satisfy my cravings.

So I switched back to a normal routine, and the spikey weigh-ins stopped, steady progress returned, and my hunger, grumpy, cravings went away.  Then I tried the alternative, instead of trying, in vain, to lose 2 pounds per week, why not make a more attainable goal.  I changed my goal to 1 and a half pounds per week, which gives me about 250 more calories a day.  I also started looking at where my calories came from, but that’s a different post.  The results since returning my goals to sanity.  Steady losses, no spikes in weight or cravings, and better performance in my running.  Hindsight being 20/20 says, it’s because I’m giving my body the fuel it needs rather than depriving it.

There is a chart from my Hacker’s Diet data of the last three months of my weigh-ins.  The spikey time of extreme calorie restriction is shown in the middle (and it also contained Super Bowl and Valentines Day… which while I ate junk, I didn’t exceed my reduced calorie goals.)  All in all I’m very pleased with 2011.  I’m learning more about how my body responds, and regaining the energy that slowly crept away the past 10 years.

 2011Q1 DietHack

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Zero’s don’t mean too much.

March 2nd, 2011 Comments off

Why am I’m posting a song about Zero? Because if you look at my daily weigh-in numbers, and records the starting weight on February 1st, and then the weigh-in from February 28th, that is how much weight I lost the whole entire month.

Yet, I’m counting it on one of my most successful months since I started. Why? Because I’m tracking so much more than just the scale, and all those numbers (even the apparently non-budging scale) is going in the right direction.

Some examples from February:

My energy is up, I’m doing things with my kids, my wife, and the people I love. I’m engaged and productive at work.

So why, if I’m doing everything right, does the scale say I stayed even? Because the scale LIES! It is a lying liar that lies about lying too!

Here are my daily weigh-ins for the last 4 weeks:
Dialy Weigh-Ins for February
The purple circles are the beginning and end of the month, and they both are 290. What happened? Superbowl party, Stressful week at work, Valentine’s Day. That week was rough, and I tried doing it with less calories than my allotted budget. In other words, I got greedy.

I changed my calorie goal the last week of January to subtract another 250 calories a day from my budget. I was thinking that’s what I’m usually under, so why not make that match. First week, great success, the next few were a struggle very spikey ups and downs, and my hunger was much more evident. I readjusted to what LoseIt! calculated on February 15th and I think the results speak for themselves.

On February 25th, I met my intermediate goal of losing 8 pounds, and set a new goal of losing 15 more pounds. But I’ve adjusted my plan, instead of trying to lose 2 pounds a week, I’ve adjusted that up to 1.5 pounds per week. I’m gonna let that ride until I’ve met the 15 pound goal, and then see what to change for the next goal after that (16, then 23, then 42 then i’ll be at goal weight).

Don’t let that Zero mean so much to you, count all the other things you are doing right in your journey, and pay it forward.

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