April 07, 2010
March 31, 2010
My plan is to finish this week with the same split, then switch routines next week. The intention will be to preserve muscle while I do some serious cutting of calories. I haven't seriously tracked my calories, though I have been trying to make sure I get between 150 and 200g of protein a day, which is remarkably easy to do when you eat 2lb of meat. I've tried to keep carbohydrates to less than 30g a day, and I do quite well at that. Other than that, though, I've paid zero attention to calories.
It's worth noting that I've paid no attention to calories since starting this process, and that worked for the first 30lb. Near as I can figure based on my usual intake, I'm consuming somewhere between 2200 and 3000 kilocalories a day. 2200 is probably okay, but my 3000 kc days (which, unsurprisingly, correlate strongly with the days I lift) might be slowing me down. Caloric restriction, though, is hard. Your mind resists it, your body resists it. There is some evidence suggesting that it's easier to do on a low carbohydrate diet than it would be on a standard one, but I'm not looking forward to it. I may go with intermittent fasting as a way to cut calories instead, taking 3 days a week off from eating, which is a lot less crazy than it sounds. That would allow me to eat comfortably on lifting days, and "rest" on non-lifting days. It'll take some experimentation to determine which method of restriction will work better for me.
March 24, 2010
*Monday "Chest": pectorals, serratus, anterior and lateral deltoids, triceps.
Wednesday "Back": latissimus, trapezius, posterior deltoid, biceps, brachialis
Friday "Leg": quadriceps, biceps femoris (hamstring), soleus and gastrocnemius
March 17, 2010
Last week: 140.79 lb
This week: 143.67 lb
Net change: 2.88 lb
Which seems like -- and is -- a very big muscle gain for one week. Every real-number measurement's got error bars around it, though, even if you don't know what they are. If last week's measurement was a little low and this week's is a little high, that might be enough.
I like the trend, though, and the trend looks real.
March 10, 2010
Last week: 140.79 lb
This week: 141.57 lb
Net change: 0.78 lb
So I've gained about 3/4 of a pound of muscle and lost an equal amount of body fat. My pants feel pretty loose these days even on my tightest belt hole, so it's progress, even if it wouldn't show up on a normal, weight-only scale. I've been lifting heavily and regularly, and eating plenty of protein, so an increase in muscle is welcome and expected.
Also, I've added a few things back into the diet. I'm eating vegetables again, some nuts, and very low-sugar fruits (i.e. blueberries), along with small amounts of dairy (mostly full-fat Greek yogurt). Primarily, I worried about micronutrient deficiences, and I wanted a bit more variety. I'm still not touching any grain-based food whatsoever, no starches of any kind. Basically, Neanderthin with a little bit of dairy.
March 03, 2010
195 lb, 27.8% fat according to the health-o-meter. I'll buy that I've lost a pound, but the fat % change is in the noise, and I don't have a clue what the ± for that measure is. The Mrs tells me that it depends strongly on how hydrated you are, and if you aren't consistently hydrated measure-to-measure, the body fat measure will be less reliable. My hydration % is nearly always about 51, but I honestly haven't paid that close of attention to it, and I really don't want to track another number.
Waist measurement to be added to this post tomorrow. Book post coming soon.
Update 3-4-2010: Waist measurement of 36" the following day. I've been eating cheese here and there, and I suspect it's slowing me down through inflammation or water retention (salty stuff, cheese). I'll take it back off the menu as soon as I finish the block of cheddar I have left. I'm considering adding vegetables, nuts, and possibly small amounts of low-sugar fruits (e.g. blueberries) back to the menu, but that won't be for a little while yet.
February 24, 2010
It's not awesome, but I'll take it. I was seriously worried this was going to be a stall week.
February 17, 2010
The question is how to treat those numbers. Do I assume a linear variation, where the home scale gives what the gym's scale would -2.4%? Since I only have two data points, even though they were at least some time apart, a linear approximation is all I can really do. So, without further data, I'll have to shoot for about 11.7% body fat on the home scale, which still means I need to lose just over 32 more lb in the absence of any muscle gains.
In case the reader thinks I might be putting too much emphasis on numbers, well, you might be right. I'm human though, and as prone to cognitive bias as anyone, and raw data is the only objective thing I can track that will help keep me (almost) fully honest with myself. I have to know if what I'm doing is actually working or if I just feel like it is.
February 10, 2010
Rest Pulse: 74 "high normal", it was 42 when I was 20.
Blood pressure: 136/87 "Prehypertensive"
VO2 Max: 33.6 "Low"
Bicep Strength: 61 lb. "Fair"
Flexibility (Sit and Reach): 14.1 inches "Average"
Body Fat % (Electrical impedence testing): 30.5 on the border of "High" and "Very High"
All of which means I'm an older man with a younger guy's driver's license, by some much fuzzier notion of "biological age". Now, I've had "high-normal" blood pressure every time I've had it checked while overweight. Assuming the 29 lb I've dropped so far was maybe 10lb of water and 19 lb of fat, that means my initial body fat percentage was ~35% at the start of this adventure. It also means I have lean body mass of of ~136, based on my weight at the gym of 196 (two meals, a bunch of iced tea, and a pair of shoes might explain the difference with the home scale, that and no two scales are the same).
The most important number here is body fat percentage. Blood pressure, VO2 Max, and resting heart rate will all go along with a reduction in body fat. Assuming no change to my LBM, 14% bodyfat (considered "healthy" for a male) would put me at about 160 lb, 20 lb. above the goal I set for myself (which would apparently require an unrealistic 3% body fat unless I gave up a lot of lean muscle). On the other hand, it's only 31 lb down from here. I've started lifting seriously again, having joined a gym, and I'm obviously eating plenty of protein, so it's possible if not probable that I'll put on some muscle in the coming weeks and months. This means my original goal is probably unrealistic, if not dangerous.
All of this taken together means I need a better goal. 140 lb would mean losing muscle, and muscle is youth, when you get right down to it. I'm keeping the category title for the sake of honesty and indexing, but I think changing the goal is reasonable. New goal: 14% body fat. I have an electrical impedance scale, but haven't been using it, preferring my spring-powered scale, so I'll see how it compares to the gym's value and include that value in my updates from now on. Ideally, I'd like to add as much LBM as possible, but adding muscle is hard work, and I'd be happy just to maintain it as I lose fat.
Also, I'm lazy, and used this site to do the latter calculation. I was pondering the problem of counting the days between a pair of dates and realized that it might make for a handy widget... and realized someone else had likely already done it. Bing confirmed it for me.
February 03, 2010
It is always best to keep in mind the great wisdom of the Solo:
January 27, 2010
Sunday, I was treated to a meal out at a nice Japanese restaurant, so I had some divergence for the salad and miso soup I was given. Unfortunately, the ribeye was served covered in a sweet sauce I really could have done without. I'm starting to really appreciate the subtle flavors of beef, and all I could taste was something that made me think of candy. It's entirely possible that there was relatively little sugar in the sauce, but in eliminating it from my regular diet, I've likely become overly sensitive to it. In any event, it doesn't appear to have slowed my weight loss. I'm going to try and make it through the next week with stricter adherence and see how that goes. I'm also going to have to be more careful at restaurants. "Just bring me the meat. Cook it -- a little -- put on a plate, do nothing else, and bring it to me."
January 20, 2010
January 13, 2010
Why experiment? Well, 2 lb of beef a day is somewhat expensive, minimally $4.50 a day if all I eat is ground chuck, $8-10 a day if I have my preferred steak for dinner (I basically don't eat lunch any more, I'm not hungry enough to bother). Further, if I can lose faster by eating 1 or 1.5 lb a day, while simultaneously saving some cash, I probably should. I'm concerned I may simply end up hungry a lot of the time, and part of what's made this so easy is that I haven't felt deprived at all. If I keep losing 2 lb/week, that's probably fine. Slightly less than I'd hoped to average, but I'll take it if it stays effortless.
*Side note, so long as I'm eating this way, I'm technically a hypercarnivore, which sounds cool enough to inspire a t-shirt.
January 06, 2010
I didn't weigh myself at all in the week between, but my belt notch fluctuated up and then back down. I don't know if I'm back on track soon enough to hit 190 by Jan 21, but since I have no more holiday celebrations to contend with, it's at least possible.
December 30, 2009
December 23, 2009
Also, in case I don't post again before then, Merry Christmas to all, Happy Christmas to the UK, Ireland, and Australia, and Joyeux Noel to France.
December 16, 2009
December 09, 2009
Sadly, I've also become fairly certain that aspartame is a no-no for me, which isn't a huge shock, but it's disappointing. It's not uncommon for an insulin response to accompany a sugarless sweetener, even if no actual carbohydrates are eaten. Supposedly, saccharine doesn't do this to most people, but it's still saccharine. No thanks. I'm not sure I want to bother seriously experimenting with sucralose/Splenda. I might try stevia extract, but it seems easier to just avoid sweet things altogether, since they mess with my palate and cause me to crave starches.
In any event, this puts me down 18 lb in 7 weeks. If I can lose another 2 lb by next weigh-in, I'll be slightly ahead of my goal of 10 lb per month, since 2 months proper will be Dec 21.
December 02, 2009
It's also possible that I've just done this too many times now (lost weight and then regained it), and my metabolism has become particularly resistant to changes in weight (up or down; I've never managed to go above 220 either, no matter how bad my diet has been, and I usually stop at 205 on the way down and get frustrated). The only cure for that is patience and consistency.
There are some other tricks I might employ, but I'm waiting to be sure those are absolutely necessary before using them to break the plateau.
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