March 31, 2010


Since I'm looking to cut calories -- at least for awhile -- I figured it might be wise to calculate how many I need. According to the calculating tool at NutritionData, as a sedentary male that lifts weights vigorously for about 30 minutes a day (actually 60-70 minutes 3x a week, but that's as close as I could get with the tool), I need roughly 2925 kc/day to maintain my current weight.

Per week, that's: 2925 kc * 7 = 20475 kc

According to S.P.E.E.D. (to be reviewed soon, I'm still reading it), I need to create a deficit of roughly 20 to 40% below my maintenance quantity to shed additional pounds.  Since I haven't been losing lately, I suspect that I underestimated my normal intake in the prior post.  I'd wager that I've probably really averaged about 3000 kc/day for most of the past two months, higher on some days, lower on others.

For comparison's sake, a 20% reduction would give:
Daily: 2925 kc * 0.8 = 2340 kc
Weekly: 2340 kc * 7 = 16380 kc
Deficit per week:  20475 kc - 16380 kc = 4095 kc = 1.17 lb fat

And 40% would be:
Daily: 2925 kc * 0.6 = 1755 kc
Weekly: 1755 kc * 7 = 12285 kc
Deficit per week: 20475 kc - 12285 kc = 8190 kc = 2.34 lb fat

(the mathletes in the audience will note that the second deficit calculation is redundant, since all the values are simply doubled from the first, I include it for completeness)

Since I'd rather lose faster than slower (who wouldn't?) and I consider 2.34 lb a safe rate to lose at, the question becomes how best to maintain a roughly 1755 kc/day intake, and whether I could/should lump more calories into some days and none into others.  I'll have to experiment with both approaches and see which causes me less anguish.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 02:00 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Then again, maybe not

195 lb, 27.6% body fat today. I stuck to my plan not to exercise last week, and had only one serious dietary divergence (pizza on Wednesday night, I blame demonic possession). I'm lifting again this week, with the same pattern as the prior cycle, and even did some cardio yesterday. I'm considering trying something different for next week and those following. My prior 6-week cycle, I'd been trying merely to re-establish a foundation of strength, adding muscle if possible, and to rebuild the habit of gym-going. Considering the stall to my weight loss, it's probably time to reformulate, at least for this cycle.

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.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 07:22 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 24, 2010

Stop exercising, lose weight?

194 lb, 27% body fat today, so down 2 lb with body fat basically steady.  My waist measurement is down to 35".  This is my off week after 6 weeks at the gym doing a triple-split routine*.  My last workout was Friday, so this is about 5 days out from that.  I stopped losing weight the week I started working out regularly, so this is the first time I've actually gone down since then.  I built about 4 lb of muscle overall in those 6 weeks if my scale's body-fat measure is to be believed.

*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

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 12:40 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 17, 2010

Weight up, fat down

196 lb, 26.7% fat this morning, so I'm up a pound, but it looks like it was all muscle, at least per my scale.  Lean body mass, again:

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.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 07:19 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 10, 2010

Weight steady, fat down, again

195 lb, 27.4% body fat.  In terms of lean body mass:

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.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 08:52 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 09, 2010

Hey Leon, whatcha reading?

Finished this

a couple of weeks ago. Very solid introductory overview to complexity as an area of scientific inquiry unto itself. The chapter on computing with particles/cellular automata is worth the price of the book all on its own. This isn't a pop science book, either, there are plenty of equations and in-depth commentary on their application. Interestingly, the book is also something of a defense of complexity as a science, noting the strong-enough (even if not universal) correspondence between the patterns established by complex systems, and the commonality of both emergent behaviors and the manners in which they emerge. As noted by the author; to some extent, modern complexity study is the intellectual sibling to cybernetics, and has faced much of the same criticism.

Having studied cybernetics by other names (as it is practiced and taught these days, with names like "machine learning", "data mining", and "automated reasoning"), this book really helped bridge the gap for me between mechanistic local behaviors and complex unpredictable mass behavior, particularly the manner by which groups of things less complex than a toaster can be made to 'compute' when given the correct set of behavioral rules.

Highly recommended, a stimulating read.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 11:02 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 03, 2010

I doubt the accuracy of my instruments

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.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 02:13 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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