Friday, 29 April 2011

So why am I'm doing so well?

Things have changed. Losing weight is easier now, much easier than I can ever recall in the last 10 years of attempting to lose weight (and failing half the time). I'm not saying that this system is perfect, and I won't ever rebound, but now after 9 successive weekly losses in a row, what's going on?

I'm eating exactly the same thing every day.

I have to say that this has been far easier than I thought it would be. I thought that I'd get bored. That hasn't happened. Ok, it's only been a couple of months so far, so eventually I'd get bored, maybe after a year. In which case, I would change what I'm eating, then carry on. By then anyway I'd be at goal (I know that I'm breaking a major weight loss rule here by assuming that I will be at goal at a specific date, something that hasn't happened in the last 11 years).

By exactly, I mean exactly. The only exception are bananas: because they come with their own packaging, are a bit messy out of their packaging, so I buy a bunch of middle sized bananas.
Here's what I'm eating:

Special K (I know that this is full of sugar, but it's the only sugar I'm having at the moment, excluding rewards)
Meat patties
Frozen vegetables (the 5 vegetable variety)
Whey protein powder
Added to that is a multivitamin/mineral tablet.

This totals almost exactly 6,000kj/day (and this includes a reward meal every kilogram). Protein is about 90g/day give or take a bit.

It took me about a 2-3 weeks to work out the details of the food that I enjoyed, wasn't too expensive and had enough protein.

Is it healthy? I know I'm bound to be missing out on certain minerals/vitamins, which is why I have a supplement tablet as well. In a couple of weeks I'll be heading off to a dietitian to see if there are any things that I am missing out on, and what to substitute.

The plan is simple. If I eat exactly what I'm meant to (or less), I get a green square on my chart. Otherwise, it's red. That means if I have 61g of Special K, I get a red square. I use this method because it gives me no choice in the matter. After all, if I have 61g, why can't I have 65g? You get the idea.

I accept that this idea isn't for everybody. Some people love food. I am not one of those people. I love specific foods, and dislike others. Generally speaking, the simpler the food, the more I'll like it. I attribute this to my mother, who was fussy about food. She loved to cook, and was a good cook as well. When she died, there were at least 100 ingredients left in the kitchen, some of which I sampled the following year (my father doesn't seem to enjoy cooking, and as you can imagine from my eating list, I loath it).

Growing up, my mother would often make meals that I simply didn't like. I guess the fancier the meal, the greater the chance that I wouldn't like it. I much preferred to snack on an apple and maybe some vegetables than have some of her fancier meals. Anyway, when I told my brother of my new system, he said that my mother would be shocked if she were alive. That would be certainly true. In fact I wouldn't have told her.

Anyway, I'll tell you about this chart of mine. Because images are easier to process than words, I chose a rectangular chart where each day gets a square. A good day gets a green square, a bad day gets a red one. Here it is so far:

Each new day is added to the bottom, starting at the left. See those red squares on the 3rd and 4th bottom row? That's me having Coke (the real deal sugared thing, not that Diet or Zero cheap imitation) just before I gave up on it a couple of weeks ago. Caffeine cravings so far have been few and far between, and I haven't had any chocolate to stem the cravings so far. When I have a reward meal, it's not considered a 'red' day, just because I ate that reward.

Every time I get a reward meal, I do tend to splurge and eat more than that. Yesterday was an example, I was allowed a coffee and slice, and ended up having a 1,000kj chocolate bar as well, plus I was a bit disordered in the evening (I'm not crazy about whey powder, so I ended up having more cheese than I usually do).

Because I'm eating the same thing every day, I get a great insight into my body and how it functions in terms of hunger. So far, I have identified 5 different types of hunger. I'll post about that soon. But I now know my metabolic rate, which is (was) 8,500kj/day. I say was because in the last few weeks, my rate of losing has dropped somewhat, I figure that is because my metabolism has slowed. I'm still losing though. From this I can guesstimate that when I'm at goal, my metabolic rate will be about 8,000kj. This is without exercise. Realistically, exercise is one of those things that I do only to lose weigh, I don't see myself doing it daily (or even weekly) when I'm at goal. Monthly, maybe. I decided that I wanted to be in a state of fitness where I can swim for 30 minutes. How often that requires me to swim for 30 minutes, I have no idea (yet). I'll find out in the next year.

So all in all, I'm really pleased with my new system. I've been thinking about it for months now, but assumed that it would be too hard. Wrong. My cravings have reduced quite a bit too, which is great.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Another loss this week

Some of you following me may know that things have changed, and I'm losing weight much more consistently than before. There is no point in losing the same kilogram twice (or worse, three times) but I've done this so, so many times. Up down, up down, up down down. That's the story of my weight loss journey. Until now. Yesterday's weigh in was the eighth successive weekly weigh-in where I had a loss. That's a lifetime record (actually, it's only a 16 year record, since I bought my first set of scales in 1995). Previously I was able to achieve 6 weeks in a row (I decided to not post this information last week, since an increase of one week doesn't seem enough really). I achieved the six week record twice in 2009, and once each in 2003 and 2005.

I know that this run I'm having can't last forever, but I expect it to last at least a few more months. Why am I so confident? Things have changed. I wrote a long, long post a few days ago about why but decided to break it up into a few bits so it wasn't so long. The next post will explain what's going on.

I have joined a challenge. I am notoriously bad with online challenges, usually giving up within a few weeks or so. I think that this is the first online weight loss challenge where blogs are involved.

The one exception to being flakey when it comes to online weight loss challenges is an online website which is usually related to social bookmarking. A subgroup was created for losing weight, and at the start of the year, 495 people weighed in and entered their weight on the provided spreadsheet. Weigh-ins are twice a month, and by now, only about 60 people have had a loss each weigh-in. I'm one of them.

The challenge I've joined is called Summer Lovin'. Ignoring the fact that we're in autumn here, it sounds a good idea. Post your goals each week, as well as your weight. It is run by Alexia at dimple snatcher blog I was half a week late, but was accepted anyway. Nearly 20 people have joined.

So I have to make goals for the next 7 1/2 weeks. I decided to keep things relatively simple at the start, so my current goals (I might add a few more as time goes on) are:
  • Perfect eating.
  • Start, and continue exercising, every day
A few definitions. "Perfect eating" means I get a nice green mark in my chart to be explained next post. I get the chance to say "my eating yesterday was perfect, exactly as I'd planned". The longest I've done recently is 9 days in row.

Exercise. At least a 15 minute walk. Maybe a swim, if I'm not working that day. Hopefully I keep up with my goals, and continue to lose weight, but maybe a bit faster.

These goals start tomorrow.

Friday, 15 April 2011

A walk up the hill

A while back I decided that I'd have a walk up the local hill as a weight loss reward three times, roughly at the start of losing weight, halfway, then almost at goal. On Wednesday I decided to walk up again the second time. This post is the first time, that was in January last year. The walk is about 4-5 hours from the bottom of the hill to the top and back again. I had to wait until the weather was good (I would have preferred the day I was halfway but it was raining then), and I'd slept reasonably well to give myself enough stamina to walk the distance.

Time for some photos:

What the walking track usually looks like:

Panorama from the top:

Above the clouds (actually sea mist but clouds sounds better):

The walk down was as uneventful as the walk up, until I decided that I'd take a different track as a short cut. That led me down a different route in a different direction, so I had to scramble through brush to get to the normal route down. That added about half an hour. The difference between the lowest and highest points was about 500 metres. Two days later, my legs are still sort. However, the last time I did this walk my thighs were sore from rubbing against each other, I have pleasure in saying that this time they aren't sore at all.

I've said in the past of this blog of my addiction to caffeine. It's quite a problem, if I indulge in it, I get quite tired the next day, plus of course it's addictive and frankly, not worth having. Not with all the side effects it gives me. That's why, at the summit on Wednesday I drank my last caffeinated drink. I'm aiming for at least 2 years without it (I did that 12 years ago). Let's see how I go with that. Inevitably, I'll experience cravings. What did I do 12 years ago? Whenever I had the thought "just one can of Coke won't hurt", I bought a small bar of chocolate. That obviously causes problems for losing weight, but I'm thinking that I'll have cravings like that no more than once a week at the start.

Monday, 11 April 2011


I have pleasure in announcing that I'm halfway in my weight-loss journey. 14kg down, 14kg to go. It feels so good to know that all I need to do is repeat what I've already done, and I'll be finished. Time for some photos:

When I was at 94kg:

No visible change at 80kg:

Double chin still there, fat in my cheeks still there.

Now looking at my body:

Noticeable changes, stomach smaller, collarbones more visible. Most of the fat which has left seems to have left my torso.

Side view:

Changes not so visible with the side on view.

Looking back at the photos I've taken when I was at my highest, I ask myself why I did that to my body. I think that the answer is complex, it was a case of being in an environment where I had easy access to junk food (Becky buys a large amount of junk food and keeps it lying around), plus I guess I didn't really care. Or at least care enough.

I'll post measurements in the next few days, and compare with those at my maximum.

It is time to talk about how long it's taken - 19 months. That's 750kj a day, just over 1 1/2 apples equivalent a day. One period when I gained, wasting about 6 months, and another period where I just maintained, without gaining or losing much, wasting another 5 months. The cause of the first delay was I went to a high carb diet after being on a low carb one, the other period - well I think I just had had enough, and wanted a break for a while.

There were LOTS of little gains, you know, a few hundred grams here, a few kilograms there. Over and over again. The sort referred to in my Piha holiday challenge that I've got going until the end of June. If I hadn't had any gains I would have reached halfway in about 145 days, not 587. That's four times as long! I don't expect perfection but it would have been nice to not have so many little, and not so little changes of direction, over and over again (about 30 bumps roughly).

Enough of the negative talk. I have changed my eating style substantially, and in the last 44 days I have yet to have a single 'bump'. More on that later.

Half done, half to go!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The pool has reopened, exercise begins

When the earthquake occurred, all of the pools in my city were shut. Some suffered damage, some didn't. The local one, only ten minutes drive from my home didn't seem to suffer any real damage fortunately. It reopened yesterday. It's good to get back into exercise. In the last six weeks, the only exercise I managed was a 5km walk, and 3 minutes of running. Even though I considered myself reasonably fit through swimming, I was only able to run for about 3 minutes before getting puffed. I'm not sure what's going on there, but, since I don't enjoy running, I'm unlikely to find out.

From now on, it's sort of a race. A race to goal. How much swimming can I do? The limiting factor is my energy, when I do a lot of exercise I get tired, and need a lie down afterwards (and often I have a sleep as well). Since I have less energy than most people my age, I'm not surprised by that. Before the earthquake when I was doing a reasonably high amount of exercise, I was rather tired all day, I'm not sure whether I want to swim to that extent again. My eating has improved substantially, so maybe I can cut back on the exercise.

I'm still losing weight. I've lost 650 grams in the last week, and the week before that, I lost 700 grams. Those are good numbers, higher than average for the losses I'm getting with no exercise. Because half of the pools in the city are still closed, and are likely to be for months, my local pool is open from 5am to 10pm, 2 hours more than usual. The pool was pretty empty yesterday, the first day it was reopened. I get the feeling that it's going to get a lot busier once people find out it's reopened.