Skip to main content

A little less conversation, a little more action

Thanks to everyone for the feedback over the weekend. jojo, sandra, lilsis, anonymous and everyone were able to zero in on my big nasty character flaw in this matter: planning everything to death, yet doing nothing concrete to solve the problem.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step -- but more often than not, I'm too busy fussing with my shoelaces and checking the weather.

I know well enough that worrying about a problem does nothing to solve it. Taking action does. It's good to learn enough so one can be reasonably sure that one is taking the right action, but sometimes doing *anything* useful is better than bogging oneself down with endless refinements of the perfect plan.

In the vernacular of my adopted homeland -- "get 'er done!" .... alternatively, "just giv'er!"

So, this weekend, I ramped up the enthusiasm by reading The Hacker's Diet.

Nothing revolutionary here in the theory -- in fact, it's a step backward from some of the more recent, medical-based diet books I've read in the past year or two. The author works on a very simple calories in-calories out model. Too many calories in -- you gain weight. Too few -- you lose weight. Assume that one pound of fat equals 3500 calories, and with a bit of math, you can figure out how many calories +/- per day you need to get to a given goal.

Where this plan catches my interest is in the self-correcting measurement and feedback system.

Daily weigh-ins plugged into a spreadsheet are calculated into a rolling weighted average -- a trend. The math shows, based on the trend, how many calories you're over or under. If you're gaining a pound a week, you can see instantly that you're eating 500 calories too much per day. So, to stabilize weight, eat less or burn 500 more to bring that to zero. To lose a pound a week, cut and/or burn 500 calories a day from the daily balance. It takes a ton of the guesswork out of the food.

The weighted rolling average smoothes out the inevitable daily ups and downs of water weight to give an accurate trending, taking most of the emotional sting out of the daily weigh-in. It becomes just data -- not a daily triumph or failure. The trend is what counts. Within a fairly short time, the trend will show if the diet and exercise are winning or losing. And by how much!

It's a canary in the fat-guy coal mine, too. If, after reaching the stable goal weight, the trend goes up, it's easy to see that an extra 200 calories a day might be the issue. Cut 400 to get back to the goal weight and resume living.

So! At this point, I'm still all talk, right? You wanna reach through the internet's tubes and pipes, grab me by the collar and shake me 'til I smarten up!? I don't blame you!

Actions being undertaken right frickin' now, immediately, pronto, stat:
  • Log sheets and a pen are now in the bathroom for daily weigh-ins & exercise notes.
  • I'm set up at the Hacker's Diet Online, which does all the math for me and eliminates the need for me to learn MS Excel ... it'd be a nice skill to have, but jeez, do I need another excuse?
  • Calculated my daily lunch calories -- that is, everything I bring to work with me, which is all the food I'll be eating between waking up and going home for dinner. First draft of math puts it at 710, but I'm going to round up to 800 in case I packed more than a single 1/3-cup serving of almonds.
  • Eliminated the muffin. Amanda was graciously baking healthyish muffins as a harm-reduction strategy to wean me from my daily cinnamon bun fixation. I've cut the buns down from daily to about once every two to three weeks, so I might as well cut the muffin now.
  • Muffin is essentially replaced by carrot and celery sticks. I prepared these in advance, so no excuses about not having them done.
  • Water water water water lots of water. I'm a diet-drink apologist, but I can buy into the notion that my body will be producing noxious byproducts as it breaks fat down into energy, and I'd rather have that out of me than in me. Also, it'll fill me up.
  • Eating to the point of satisfaction, not fullness. I tend to eat until I'm "ugh" full, not "mmm" satisfied. I've begun eating 'til I'm no longer hungry as opposed to eating until I'm decidedly stuffed ... this could be a tricky one.
  • Continue with the exercise, and then some: walking home 25-30 minutes each day is a good start. I'm embracing the truth that exercising to lose weight isn't the key. I should be exercising because it's generally good for my body. Even a full-out hour of exercise will only burn a few hundred calories; I should be able to cut more than that by food choices. The exercise will make my body better in ways beyond fat loss. There's more on the short-term horizon, but today's about today.
  • Embrace the discomfort: there's no getting around it. Losing fat is essentially a matter of sustained, controlled, gradual starvation. It's not going to be pleasant. That doesn't mean it has to be torture and endless hunger, but it's not going to a be a quick and easy fix. Accepting that is a key to getting on with it

So we'll call this day one. Day one of many. Get-rich-quick schemes don't work, and neither do get-skinny-quick schemes. I'm having to let go of faulty ideas: that I can get thin without substantially changing what I eat; that I can just wing it without measuring anything; that I can rely on others to make decisions for me; that the problem isn't really that bad.

If I were a diabetic, I'd feel no shame in measuring my blood sugar every day and adjusting my food accordingly.

I'm not ashamed of wearing glasses -- I can't willpower my way to better sight, so I resort to lenses to correct my vision.

Likewise, I can acknowledge that the perfect appetite-control/portion-assessment mechanism that some people are born with is missing or broken in me. There's no shame in turning to technology to measure my calories and inform me of exactly where I'm going off track.

Onward and downward, peeps!


    Let me try this comment again !!!
    I like this site listed above.
    I'm afraid I cannot agree with the hackers attitude about the whole exercise is overrated bit. Muscle burns more calories, period. It increases your metabolic rate. Incorporate it slowly (and lest I wag my finger!) DO take it seriously!!!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Gordon turns four and has questions

Gordon wanted to know where mommy went.

Not what happened to her body, but where SHE went.

We celebrated his fourth birthday this weekend with three gatherings. One at our house with his little friends. One at nana and grampa's house. One in Stratford with the Simpson clan.

The big party for the kids was a success. I'd never planned such an event. Thank goodness for the Internet, where I found a Martha Stewart article that laid out the basics. And thank goodness for Party City, which had a ton of Transformers party stuff ready to buy. I wasn't feeling well, but managed to pull it off. Thanks to sister Shannon and SIL Amy for being the Designated Adults who helped in wrangling and last-minute logistics. G thought the whole event was kind of loud, but he really enjoyed it. And I feel like a winner for making it happen -- some of the other parents even chimed in that they now know what goes into a kid's party, since they were as clueless as me! Great!

Great time at nana&#…

Things get much worse as tumours spread fast

Things crawl in the darkness
That imagination spins
Needles at your nerve ends
Crawl like spiders on your skin

Pounding in your temples
And a surge of adrenaline
Every muscle tense —
To fence
The enemy within - Rush, "The Enemy Within"
We don't know how or why, if there is a how or a why, but Amanda's cancer has woken up and is on the move, double-time. Things have become much worse in the time since the last update.

At that point, the docs had found a couple of spots on her ribs that were causing her pain. They zapped it with radiation to give her some relief.

Since then, things have progressed quickly.

Just after the hospital stay when they were trying to get Amanda's pain under control, docs found more bone metastases in her sacrum (large, triangular bone at the base of the spine) and iliac crest (the big wing-like bone on the pelvis where they harvest bone marrow). More radiation. This time, the radiation hasn't knocked the pain down.
Then she had headac…

The sweet smell of success (the opposite of that)

Let me lock in the system at warp 2 Push it into systematic overdrive - U know what 2 do - Ween, "Poop Ship Destroyer"
Pardon the juvenile humour off the top, but this journey has been so unreal that I can't help but fall back on laughing in the absence of appropriate things to say.

Amanda's headed for another big surgery this week.

Quick recap of how we got here: She went into hospital in late January to have her ovarian cancer tumours taken out. That surgery ended up taking a foot-long chunk of her colon, so they spliced what was left to her nature-given outlet. Well, that blew apart and she went for emergency colostomy surgery. THAT didn't work, either, as illustrated by our guiding light with the scalpel hand and the silver tongue, Dr. Sugimoto:

The business end of the remaining colon sloughed its way back into her insides and strictured itself off, creating a cul-de-sac with no escape for poop nor gas. They put her on TPN (full nutrition by IV) but let her …