Saturday, 30 October 2010

How much can someone lose through diet and exercise? Thintervention provides the answer

Programmes like The Biggest Loser are great. They show people losing huge amounts of weight, week after week. Apart from the aspect of people having to leave when they don't measure up to expectations, it's not a bad show. However, the people there are spending large amounts of time exercising, and their weight range is at a point where they can lose large amounts easily. What about the rest of us - the people who aren't that heavy and want to lose smaller amounts, we weigh less than say 120kg? How much can we expect to reasonably lose using diet and exercise, and we're not exercising 24/7 with an expectation that we'll win a large prize?

Thintervention is a programme that provides the answer. If you are able to get hold of it, I'd suggest you watch it. It has overweight and obese people struggling to exercise and eat properly. A diverse group of people are given a 13 week challenge. Using a personal trainer and an assistant, the group of 7 people are taught how to exercise (with the inevitable friction and conflict that results when you have a highly fit/motivated person telling unfit people what to do) and eat well, and not over indulge. This is actually harder than it looks, some of the group are real sticks in the mud (such as still drinking alcohol) and other people lie/don't tell the truth about what they are eating. This is brought out in the weekly counseling sessions, when the group leader decides to bring in a polygraph lie detector to ferret out who is telling the truth (nb: the polygraph lie detection is inaccurate, there are more accurate lie detection methods).

It sounds easy, a motivator, and counselling, for 7 weeks. Then the hard part begins. The group are left alone for 6 weeks. They're on their own, like the rest of us. How will they handle it? They all did amazingly well. All lost a large amount of weight. Over the 13 weeks, the smallest loss is about 10kg. Because the range of starting weights was from 76kg to 121kg, you could expect that the amount people lost would vary as well, which it did. But was there a relationship between weight and how much they lost? Yes.

As it turns out, the expected loss can be represented as a square relationship. That means that if you double the persons weight, you can expect that they'd lose 4 times as much weight per week. A simple way to use this to calculate your expected loss per week is to take your weight (in kilograms) and divide that number by 60. That's your expected loss per week as a percentage. Multiply that number by your weight and you've got the "Thintervention" expected loss. As an example, if your weight is 90kg, dividing that by 60 gives 1.5% per week loss, which equals about 1.4kg a week. Note that as your weight drops, so does the percentage loss per week unfortunately. In case anyone checks my calculations and trendlines, I've used the persons middle weight (halfway between minimum and maximum) to calculate the percentage, rather than maximum.

The graph above shows each persons loss over the 13 weeks (the vertical axis is percentage loss each week, the horizontal axis is weight in kilograms), with the diagonal line being the average depending on the weight of the person.

To use this information as an example, if I were to start at 94kg (my maximum when I started my blog) and get down to my goal of 66kg, it would take 28 weeks.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Yet another change of plan

Anyone reading this blog will note that I often change the way I do things. I'm not sure why that is, I'm not like that in the rest of my life. Anyway, I did some calculations. I have come to the realisation that it's unlikely that I'll be able to reach goal weight before July next year, so I've decided to attempt to reach goal weight at the 2 year anniversary of starting this weight loss - September 3rd. Note the use of the word 'attempt'. There is no guarantee that I'll reach goal weight on that date, or any date for that matter. However, if I do aim to reach goal weight on the anniversary, it won't be a difficult weight loss journey, or at least at the moment it doesn't seem that difficult. I'll be losing 105 grams a day at the start, going down to about 37 grams a day for the last 5 months. That's because I want to train myself to eat properly before I reach goal weight (and the subsequent holiday) and not have a reaching goal rebound.

I have also decided to go high carb again. Low carb is great, but I never feel full, and I don't really enjoy food. Now I can have fruit! I've missed it. I know that last time I went high carb, it stalled my weight loss for 6 months. I'm hoping that this won't happen again. Why am I confident that it won't this time? Because I'll be doing things differently. First, I'll be counting kilojoules. I'm aiming for 6,000kj a day, if that's too little I think I can change it without too many issues. Second, I'll be aiming to have 100 grams of protein a day. Finally, I'll be exercising on the days where I think it's necessary. My plan is to be a specific weight each day. I weigh myself, and if I'm too high, I'll have to count and do exercise. If I'm below, I won't have to. I've done this before, but it didn't stick. Will things be different this time? I'm hoping so.

Anyway, today (Friday) I weigh 84kg (note the weight gain due to eating carbs).

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Day 3

Yesterday I changed the amount of food that I eat on my desert island diet so that the protein is 113 grams a day. That's the highest it's ever been in my life. The total energy stays at about 6,000kj. Today, again I fiddle with what I'm eating (while staying with the foods that I mentioned a few days ago) to make it just a bit less expensive. I'm really not sure whether to just aim for 3rd September, it would make things much easier. However, I'd like to see how much I can lose with a combination of my 6,000kj diet and exercise, so I'll give that a few weeks to see how that goes, and extrapolate into the future and see how much time I'll save.

Tidiness: could do better (I have a lot of tidying planned, because Becky is coming home tomorrow from Auckland, where she went to celebrate her father's 60th birthday party).

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Day 2

Today is the start of my 'desert island diet'. I've planned what I'm going to eat at each part of the day, and I'll see how I can handle it. If there is enough variety during the day, I should be fine. Apart from that, there isn't much to say. I get the feeling that maybe I'll be reaching goal weight on the second anniversary of starting this diet (Sep 3rd), we'll see. I haven't weighed myself, and I won't until Tuesday, when any carbohydrate related weight gain will have disappeared.

I'm also planning to post how tidy my home is, I'd say it 'needs some work' to get up to standard.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Day 1 restart

I stopped blogging, I'm not entirely sure, why, probably because the blog wasn't important enough (being honest to myself) although I'd like that to change. I have this feeling that the blog follows my weight loss, and my weight loss follows the blog, so when one stops the other stops as well.

Today is a restart. I've been indulging just a bit too much, and I need to stop that, immediately. Starting from tomorrow, my diet is going to be the 'fixed' diet that I've talked about. By fixed, I mean the same day after day after day. Of course, I can change it, but I want to only change one food item at a time. If I change too many things, I just go off track.

The foods that I will be eating are: peanuts, olive oil, eggs, cheese, frozen vegetables, meat patties, olives, olive oil, milk and whey protein powder, and coffee. I'll try and see if I can eat the same things at the same time of the day. This is an unusual way of feeding myself, but because of my attitude to food (I don't really need variety) it'll be interesting to see how I'll handle it. I call this my "desert island diet" because I have no control over it (although this is not stricktly true). This diet has 100g of protein, and 6,000kj of energy.

Today also marks two other changes in my life, that I'll blog occasionally about. My tidiness. I've never been a tidy person, but I'll be making an attempt to be tidy at home, and posting here about how tidy I really am. I think it'll improve the home environment for both Becky and myself. Apart from the obvious reason why, I also want to show Becky that a person can change for the better, because I'll be asking Becky to change the way she does something (related to the blog) in the next 3-4 months.

As well as that, I want to be more organised. I've thought of a system of being organised, today marks a good start at actually using that to get things done. From what I can gather, many people aren't really organised, and as a result, don't lead as fullfilling lives as the could be. I want to achieve my hopes and dreams more than I currently am. The idea is simple enough: every day, at the start of the day I spend 10 minutes planning my day. That's it. I'll do it in front of the computer, looking at lists of things I want to achieve in the next 5, 20, 100, 500 and 2000 days. I've measured how organised I've been in the past, and it's shocking how ineffective I am. That has to stop. Put basically, most things on my to-do list never get done.

Tomorrow also starts the saving towards my iPod Touch. I'll put $20 towards it a week, but any money used to buy foods that aren't really healthy are taken off the money.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Day 8 of 100

82.8kg, lowest weight in 1255 days, 4 days without sugar

I'm starting to think that maybe I don't have enough things to say to justify posting every day. Anyway, things are going well and I'm very confident in reaching goal, just when that happens, I have no real idea.


Well, I blew it. I ate a sausage and chips tonight, washed down with a can of Fanta. It's not a disaster, I'm not worried but I need to stop any follow-on effects that might happen.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Day 7 of 100

82.9kg, lowest weight in 1253 days, 3 days without sugar

Not much to say about today, I seem to be losing weight steadily, although it's way too early to get carried away with calculations about what rate I'm losing and when I'll reach goal. But I can't help myself.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Day 6 of 100

83.1kg, lowest weight in 1251 days, 2 days without sugar

Another loss. Yay. At the moment, the eating what I'm meant to be eating thing is going really well. I did buy some eggs today, and I'm adding an egg to my menu, so I'm about 5,750kj and about 80 grams of protein. I still need to fiddle with my protein intake as I think it's too low - I need to suppress my appetite more.

I've started to do my thing - what is my thing? Calculating when I'll finish my weight loss, and reach that hard to obtain state called being at goal weight. It's been 10 years since I was at goal (I remember the day, headed off to McDonalds to get a Kiwiburger, they are nice, it's a shame they don't make them anymore, I was only at goal for one day, because of the stress of my relationship with my then girlfriend and her controlling parents). The thing is that many times in the past 10 years I've done the same, worked out when I would reach goal, but for it to never happen. Will things be different this time? I really do think so, but I can't tell for sure.

I thought about making the reaching goal day the 2 year anniversary of my starting this blog, September 3rd. That's almost a year from now! But I plan the last 5kg to take 5 months. Another choice is to just see how I go at the current diet/exercise system, and then calculate when I reach goal based on that. I really have no idea about what rate I'll lose in the near future, and again, I really have no idea what rate I'll lose when I get thinner either. I'm sure my loss rate will slow down, but to what extent, I don't know. So my initial thoughts are when my 'theoretical goal day' breaks July 3rd, I'll take things easy and just aim for September 3rd.

I hope, I really hope that I don't go past the day. I will be truly annoyed.

Today at the gym I managed 72 minutes on the elliptical. That's not as much as I wanted (2 hours), but I'll take it. I had the first 10 minutes at the 8 setting, before the rest at the 7 setting. I don't think I'll do that for a while, it's just not worth it as it can result in my not exercising for 2 hours.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Day 5 of 100

83.2kg, 1 day without sugar

Today my weight was the same as yesterday. The reason for this is because of the weight gain when I eat sugar. I'm not too concerned, it's just annoying that when you go low carb, your weight drops 3-4 days later by 1-2kg. Of course, the opposite happens when you have carbs, and you gain. Because of this, although I want to lose 17.2kg, in actual fact I need to lose about 18-19kg. I'll deal with this when I reach 76kg, by a slow change from low carb to high carb. More on that later.

I didn't get to the gym today because I was really tired. I didn't sleep well last night, as I had a lot of my mind, and I was simply too tired to go to the gym today. As for eating, 5,000kj is not enough for me, so I increased it to 5,500kj, by the addition of two slices of cheese. Eating this way seems to be fine, at the moment. Tomorrow I may go and increase the number of foods, we'll see.

In terms of what I eat, it's 75 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbohydrates. That's fine. I'll try to increase the protein just a little.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Day 4 of 100

83.2kg, 5 days without sugar, lowest weight in 1247 days

I have to confess that yesterday, after a trip to supermarket, I ate just a little too much, although I almost certainly lost weight yesterday anyway. The solution is to go to the supermarket as infrequently as possible, which in my case is once in about 10 days (which is related to how much frozen vegetables the freezer can hold). Today starts the beginning of my planned eating. I've never seriously done this before, eating the same thing day after day, I'm sure I'll find it boring but so what? Being on a diet has been known to be boring, the same as using exercise equipment is boring as well.

I have made a decision - today I am allowed sugar, in the form of coffee and something sweet when I go out today. This isn't me being perfect in my eating, but I want to be at least 6 days before I eat sugar again.

After I go out, it's off to the gym to do up to 2 hours of elliptical.

Update: well the gym went well, I did 2 hours on the elliptical on the 7 setting. The elliptical showed that I used quite a bit of energy during that, and I have difficulty believing that, when I compare what energy I use during running on a treadmill. For this reason, I won't say how much the display showed, rather I'll say that I did 100 units of energy expenditure, and all elliptical use will be a comparison to that.

Before I went to the gym, I had a coffee and a melting moment. I have to say that it was yummy. I only did 5 days without sugar, but I'm aiming for 6 days from today. I'm pretty sure I'll make that. I also had some Sparkling Duet at home, just a glass. As a result of all this energy rich food, I didn't feel like some of the normal foods that I'd planned.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Day 3 of 100

83.4kg, 96 hours without sugar, lowest weight in 1244 days

It's only day 3, and I'm being a bit slack at posting updates. Ideally, this should happen at the start of the day, rather than the end. Especially if I'm online now and then during the day, why not do it then? Exactly. Recently I've been thinking that maybe I'm not eating enough, something that is quite possible with a low carb diet. For this reason, I've decided to count kilojoules. It's not something I enjoy, as it makes me think of food more, but I've decided to aim for 5,000KJ and see how that goes. That's on the low side of things, if necessary I'll increase it.

A degree of fiddling is necessary with my food because of carbs and protein. Protein is my friend, carbs are my enemy (so to speak). I want the protein to stay about 70 grams a day, but the whey protein powder isn't that nice to eat. I'll fiddle around with all of these things to see what can be done to make things easier for me.

I was tired all of today, so I didn't get to the gym. Tomorrow is another day, of course.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Day 2 of 100

83.6kg, 63 hours without sugar, lowest weight in 1241 days

As it says above, I am lowest weight in 1241 days. That's always a good place to be, and it feels nice to know that it's 3 1/2 years since I was at this weight. That's the good news. The bad is that 3 1/2 years ago I was struggling with my weight just like I'm doing so now. Except then, I was putting on the weight quickly, now I'm taking off the weight, but not so quickly. Basically, there is a lot of wasted time in my weight loss travels.

Today I went to the gym, and did 72 minutes on the elliptical, before being too tired and needed to stop. The energy calculator in the display is way off, I'm sure that it is over estimating how much energy I'm using. I base this from the energy on a treadmill, which is verifiable, whereas a elliptical isn't, because there resistance setting is not an easily measurable thing. Because of this, I won't post what the energy used is, but I'll post a number which indicates whether I'm increasing the energy used or not.

After working out that it might be almost a year until I finish the weight loss, I've decided to speed up things a bit, by exercising as much as reasonably possible. I don't know how much that is, but time will tell. I've been on this diet for over a year now, and I'm not even half way, so I don't want it to drag on forever.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Day 1 of 100

83.9kg, 38 hours without sugar

My plan for today is simple: eat my standard meals. That means veges, whey protein powder, and as much healthy fat as I need to make up the difference. This is what I did, although I ate a bit too much cheese (or it seemed to be a lot), but since I only buy 250g of cheese a week, it's not a big deal. I plan to branch out on the healthy fats choices later on, probably by trying olives and avocados.

After a long day of work, I just didn't have it in me to go to the gym. Also, the gym closes at 8pm in the weekend, and I would have only had about 35 minutes of exercise time before it shut.

So how did day 1 go? Very well.

100 day challenge

Before Friday I hadn't logged into my blogger account for about 10 weeks. It felt good to see the work (both the writing, and the losing weight) that I'd done, so I decided that I'd restart the whole weight loss (and blogging) thing by having a 100 day challenge. Here's what I've decided to do:

Avoid sugar
Blog every day
Exercise every day
Use the money motivation for my iPod Touch
Stay low carb
Carry on with my 4 day motivational system
Have a specific rate at which I want to lose weight

What does this mean? It means that in the morning, I post what my plan for the day is, and at the end of the day I update on how I did. I try to avoid sugar, and I have a weight to be at (or below) every day. This weight drops by an amount every day, I'll start at 80 grams, then I'll try 100 grams, then 120 and finally 140 grams a day if I can make it. Today I weigh 83.9kg. This means that I'll reach goal late August next year, at the latest if I go to plan. I plan to lose the last 5kg over 5 months, to train myself to eat properly. Hopefully it won't take that long, I'll be able to lose weight faster than 80g a day.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Lowest weight in over 3 years

It's been a while, that's for sure. I just can't seem to get back into the habit of blogging, I'm not entirely sure why. However, I'm still losing weight. Slowly. A little gain now and then, but over all, I'm losing. At the moment, I'm 84.0kg, which is pretty good, 10kg lost, and 18kg to lose. Nearly half way! So I'm the lowest weight in over 3 years, the same as back in April 2007. No one at work has seen me this thin before, which makes me wonder how they'll handle it when the changes start being more noticeable. I'll try to post more often, to say how it's going.