Calories in, calories out

I just wanted to put on paper (so to speak 🙂 some thoughts on CI/CO.  If you’ve read GCBC none of this will be new.

Some people in the dietary sphere like to insist that “it’s all about the calories”, or words to that effect.  Gary Taubes argues that it has to do with how you metabolize different kinds of foods, and that it’s not only about the calories.  His critics tend to argue back about the 2nd law of thermodynamics and how if you expend more than you consume, you’ll lose weight, QED.

So I’d like to present some edge cases that prove that whether and how your body metabolizes what you consume is important.
Can you eat U238?  No.  Lots of energy there, though.
Can you eat crude oil?  No.  Lots of energy there, though.
Can you drink gasoline?  No.  Lots of energy there.
So it’s apparent that your body can digest certain things and can’t digest other things. So why is it so hard for some people to grasp that your body digests different things differently?  While it may not be all about the insulin, it’s a lot about the insulin.

Weight / fitness status, 5/8/12

Today is Tuesday; I’m a day late, alas.

Week 6.  Net loss so far, 5.8 lbs, up 0.5 lbs from last week.
My starting weight 3/26 was 189.6
My current weight is 183.8.  (Yesterday, Monday, was 184.)
My goal weight is 175
My plan is to lose 1 lb per week
My calorie budget is 1,716
My goal date is July 10, 2012
My original date was July 8, 2012
Sort-of IF’d last Tuesday: coffee for breakfast, 3 oz cheese for lunch, 2.5 oz nuts as a snack, then dinner.  Pigged out last Wednesday; ~2k calories over budget just for that day.  IF’d last Thursday: coffee for breakfast, no lunch, then dinner.
IF’ing today: coffee for breakfast, no lunch, then dinner.  Well, that’s the plan, anyway.  🙂

Weight / fitness status, 4/30/12

Week 5.  Net loss so far, 6.1 lbs, down 1.7 from last week.
My starting weight 3/26 was 189.6
My current weight is 181.5 (except this scale reads 2lbs low compared to my regular one, so really 183.5 or so).  Hit 182 (adjusted) yesterday morning; up 1.5 lbs since then.
My goal weight is 175
My plan is to lose 1 lb per week
My calorie budget is 1,700  (except LoseIt thinks I weigh 2 lbs less than I do)
My goal date is June 16, 2012 (ditto)
My original date was July 8, 2012
Sort-of IF’d last Friday: coffee for breakfast, and 3 oz cheese for lunch, then regular dinner.

Weight / fitness status, 4/23/12

Week 4.  Net loss so far, 4.4 lbs, down 2.2 from last week.

My starting weight 3/26 was 189.6
My current weight is 185.2
My goal weight is 175
My plan is to lose 1 lb per week
My calorie budget is 1,725
My goal date is July 5, 2012
My original date was July 8, 2012
It seems to take a long time, but, you know, at this rate, at the end of May I’ll be at 180, then at the end of June I’ll be almost to my goal.  “Slow and steady wins the race.”  🙂
Tangent: Googling the above quote finds that it’s from Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare.  Another interesting Aesop quote that gets less air time: “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”  🙂

First fast update: the morning after

Woke up ~3am with, of all things, ankle pain.  Cramp?  Dunno.  May’ve been fast-related, maybe not.  (Definitely wasn’t hydration related; I’m positive I was sufficiently hydrated!  🙂  Probably was fast-related, though, as I don’t recall ever having this happen before.  If I do this again, and wake up with leg pain again, I’ll think about vitamins while fasting.

Aside from that, no worries so far.  I’m not, like, ravenously hungry or anything.  I’m enjoying my coffee with cream on a (very) empty stomach.  🙂

Confessions of a neophyte faster

Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.  😉

Mark Sisson inspired me to try fasting today.  I had dinner last night ~9pm (it’s now ~24 hours later), and all I’ve had since then was 3 cups of coffee with cream.
It’s gone fairly well.  I’ve been “low carb” (more or less) for over two years, and my wife and I frequently skip breakfast (semi-consciously following something similar to Sisson’s “Eat WHEN” protocol: Eat When Hunger Ensues Naturally), so my body is, I believe, fairly accustomed to living on its own energy store (i.e. fat :).  We don’t have a name for our “protocol”, we just say “when you’re hungry, eat; when you’re not … don’t.”
My biggest problem is the “don’t think of an elephant” problem: I’m fasting, and I know I’m fasting, so it’s hard to not think about food.  But, as near as I can tell, that’s the primary reason food is on my brain, not, as one might otherwise expect, actual hunger.  🙂  And if I am hungry, well, who’d’ve guessed.
I did something that might not normally be advised for a first-time faster, and went to the grocery store on the way home from work.  I did so deliberately, however, with a specific target in mind: I’m almost out of tea at work.  So I got some more, and also some heavy cream for my coffee tomorrow, since work only stocks “Coffee Mate”.
My last meal was at Hamburger Hamlet; among other things, I had a cheeseburger with bacon, which I ate open faced, i.e. sans bun.  That cheeseburger, from Hamburger Hamlet, mind you, was noticeably less good than the cheeseburger I had last weekend at Laishley’s Crab House, a seafood joint.  ಠ_ಠ
My wife and I came up with the idea of logging water in LoseIt as a flag that I’m fasting, as opposed to just not logging.  She’s very smart.  <3  Having actually done it, it occurred to me to just create a custom food, so I did that too / instead.  🙂


Mark Sisson wrote a nice series on fasting.  Part 5 is here with links to parts 1-4.

I’m planning to try it this week, skipping food (except coffee! 🙂 Tuesday or Thursday or both.

Weight / fitness status, 4/16/12

My third week back on LoseIt.  Could not weigh in this morning.  Net loss so far is 2.2 pounds.
My starting weight 3/26 was 189.6
My current weight (yesterday) 4/15 was 187.4
My goal weight is 175
My plan is to lose 1 lb per week
My calorie budget is 1,739
My goal date is July 13, 2012
My original date was July 8, 2012

LoseIt! weight loss plan

When I started LoseIt in late February 2010, I set my plan at 1 lb/wk.  After a while, I don’t remember how long, I noticed I wasn’t losing 1 lb/wk.  So I added in (or maybe subtracted out) an extra caloric deficit of 200 calories.  As I recall, after a while, that still didn’t do it, so I added another 150 calorie deficit (for a total of 350/day off LoseIt’s recommendation).  And then my weight loss was fairly steady.  (Again: recalling 1-2 years later.  And of course there are many other factors in weight loss, like activity level and carb consumption.)

My point being, all other stuff aside, when your budget is 850 cal/day below the assumed maintenance level for your age, sex, and height, that gives you a lot of wiggle room to go “over budget” and still be on a negative track overall.
I admit, in some ways this is kind of like setting your clock ahead so you won’t be late, a practice I consider silly.  But on the other hand, that’s not really what I’m describing.  I wasn’t losing as fast as predicted, so I removed more calories from my budget, and then I was.  But I’m also conscious of that fact, and it allows me to stress less when I go 5,477 over budget for the week, like last week, because that’s still 473 under my theoretical maintenance level.