Saturday, April 19, 2008

Notice of Closure...And Success

After some reflection, I realized that I was beginning to repeat old advice in the text sections of the entries. This repetitiveness has convinced me that I really have nothing new to add. So, there seems to be little point in me continuing this blog. From now on, I'm dieting quietly.

If you want the experience of me going through the earlier diet, you can "relive" it from Day 1, or from "Day Zero" when I announced the plan that I would follow.

I realize that I had announced that I would be doing a with-and-without test of the Plateau Buster, but there seems little point in it now. Perhaps such a test is best left to professional dieticians, or other people more focused on the goal. The small E-book I wrote is still up, and it's fairly self-explanatory.

In closing, I would like to thank any readers who stopped by. I do not intend to delete this blog, as a certain update is indicated. It'll come, perhaps, around March.

UPDATE (March 8): I hit a snag that lasted more than two weeks previous to this part. As luck would have it, I got on a "weight treadmill" almost two months after I resumed the latest diet installment. For the last seventeen or so days, my weight (unclothed) has fluctuated between 210 and 215 lbs.

This could be chalked up to me going off the diet with regularity one night per week (sometimes twice per week), but any added food has been counterbalanced by a lot of added exercise - specifically, snow shovelling. It's been a heavy winter for the snow.

Most likely, my body has become acclimatized to the 1000 calorie/day norm by slowing my metabolism. I would like to think that this treadmilling is a result of me finally straddling the "overweight" and "normal" categories, but I suspect that others have been on this treadmill themselves while still overweight, or even obese.

When even the Plateau Buster doesn't fool the body anymore, the only fallback strategy seems to be the nip-and-tuck. If sustained dieting has pulled down body energy use, then a sustained holiday from the diet will (presumably) bring it up again. Undoubtedly, this will result in regaining some weight, but there seems no other option if metabolism confounds. So, that will be the next test, which may yield a useful tip for chronic treadmill-weight dieters: whether or not the nip-and-tuck technique (two months on, three weeks off) will get the regular weight losses back.

So, to test this, I'm pulling myself off until the beginning of April and then going back on. I hope this nip-and-tuck will enable me to reach that 200 pounds - for me, the midrange of normal.

Final Update: As of April 19th, 6 PM, I stepped on the scale, unclothed, and weighed in at exactly 200 pounds. I've made it.

As it turns out, going on an extended diet holiday proved to be just the trick. I shot up to 215 pounds, for about a five-pound gain, but stayed roughly there until April began. Evidently, my appetite was crimped even when I could eat what I wanted. When April began, I started off at the same 215 pounds.

Yes, it was a metabolism speed-up that kicked in. When I went back on the diet, which included judicious uses of the Plateau Buster, my weight only dawdled at the same 210-pound block point. 205 was a little more of a challenge, but I started sailing through it as of a couple of days previously. April 19 marks the end of it, making for a loss rate slightly greater than that featured in the free E-book I wrote.

Evidently, dehabituation through a diet holiday works. My body had been so good at calorie-burning efficiency, it's actually debatable whether I would have reached 200 pounds by Apr. 19th without that diet holiday. Regardless, I found that it's easier to stick to a diet that's working, so the faster rate gave me extra psychological wherewithal to stick to the final installment.

Before I sign off, I want to make one important point. I lost 15 pounds in 20 days even though I took myself off the diet each Sunday (and not just for a social meal, either.) I also had a "hunger attack" on Wednesday the 16th. Despite this lack of rigor, I still ended up reaching my goal of losing 15 additional pounds, in somewhat less time than I thought it would take. The point I'm trying to make is that one day's eating frenzy does not a ruined diet make. The trick is to make the dieting normal, and diet breaks or diet holidays the exception. The only way to do this is to shrug off the previous eat fest and see a return to diet mode as a return to habit. Obviously, this works best if you hold off from any diet break, or diet holiday, until you've habituated yourself to the calorie restriction. I suggested, and still suggest, three weeks without any kind of break in order to establish the pattern. Then, they will seem like exception-making rather than up-giving (sorry.)

Related to this point is a fallback one. If a diet becomes too much, try as much as you can to limit your daily food intake to weight-maintenance calorie level. This'll roughly hold your weight to your gain, enabling you to mark time until you have the psychological whereithal to diet again.

I don't know where I'll be, weight-wise, in the future. I undertook this diet primarily for the challenge, to see if I could get off weight I put on last year and more. (I'm more than twenty pounds lighter than I've been in years: my regular pants are all loose-fitting now, and my old belt is now too big for me.) This weight is around normal for someone of my height and build. If I chose to make a quest for the "body beautiful," I could probably lose another 15-20 pounds.

Even if I bob back up, though, going through this experience has given me the confidence that I can lose weight again, because I have. That success can't be taken away from any accomplished dieter, no matter how much weight he or she subsequently gains. The fat may come back, but the experience stays.

(Besides, it might come in handy if a doctor reads me the riot act someday.)


If you don't mind a final self-plug of the free diet book, the download link to "How I Lost 40 Pounds In 60 Days" can be found here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fourth Day: What To Do When Leftovers Arrive

On the last run, I discussed what to do when social outings require a temporary deviation from the diet plan. I recently faced a special one - a going-away dinner - and I followed the procedure I set out beforehand for "cheating:" casting it as a temporary respite from a diet, one that will supply good memories to tide me over when the going gets especially lean. In its place, nostalgia works - which explains why "forceum" plans often don't.

This time 'round, though, I faced a greater challenge: I got some leftovers which I had to get rid of in some way.

I say "leftovers," as opposed to gifts of food, because that's what they were: a kind of hand-me-down package of food. Since I have qualms about getting rid of a whole load of food outright, I decided to eat it as speedily as possible. This decision, plus the dinner beforehand, put me up several pounds.

I can say to the weight-obsessed that such respites are little more than setbacks. A sense of overall perspective is needed: since a serious diet is going to take a month minimum, and possibly a couple or a few months, prolongation of it by a week or less isn't going to do that much harm. Perspective leads to robustness; lack of perspective may mean an underlying lack of staying power. "Efficiency-centred" often entails a certain brittleness.

Perspective also drains self-absorption. Someone who doesn't share my sense of mission in this regard may decide that I'm simply hungry, or that I'm starving myself disproportionately to my need to lose weight. Looking starved, no matter what weight you are, does tend to invite charity from people who really care for you.

This point being noted, though, I have come up with a procedure to limit a deviancy from becoming a new rule. In a word, it's sequestration. That's why I tend to polish off any extras I receive as soon as I can - to get them out of the way. I admit that this approach does tread towards Bulimia Land, but it seems the best way to make the diet the norm, and heavy eating the exception. That way, my sense of the norm, and my habits, are inclined towards weight loss.

As far as receiving extra food is concerned, this procedure is the one I'm following:

a) Work any received low-calorie items into the diet, if they do in fact fit.
b) Those that don't, eat as soon as practicable unless you have no qualms about throwing them out.
c) Don't mix your diet food with the "extras" - keep them apart.
d) Some items don't make up much of a meal by themselves, or in combination with the others you're received. For these, it is tempting to go to the grocery store for extra ingredients to make "real meals" from what you've got. This is the slippery slope that's likely to make you an ex-dieter. Why? Because ingredients almost never balance out. So one trip turns into two, which turns into three, which turns into a regular habit. (Consider also that it shows that you really needed the food that you received, which makes for a happy giver who'll be encouraged to give you more of the same.) If you have to eat like a wolf for a time, so be it. Doing so will make it less jarring to go back to the diet plan.
e) For the eat-a-rama, it may be best to down the high-calorie items first and the lower-calorie items later. This practice leads you back to low-cal food, and makes the climb back up to the diet plan less abrupt.

Another point: the more you go off the diet only to get back on, and stay on, the more practice you have cutting down your food, and the more acclimatized you become to cutting back. There's little wrong with yo-yoing as long as the overall net change is downwards.

Weight as of approx. 6 PM today: 247 pounds - a five pound, if temporary, setback.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Third Day: More About "No Exercise"

The supposed benefit-point of exercising while on a diet is that it burns more calories, thus enabling weight to be shed faster. Like all plausible ideas, though, there is a hidden catch. I've been experiencing what it is recently.

The more fitness-centred you are, the more "in the body" you are. This is a plus for a physical person, but not so much of one for a dieter. When you eat, you get up and you grab the food. When you're physically oriented, you tend to snap into action when you've made a decision or choice. To the extent that exercise makes you more physical, the more inclined you are to get up and physically follow through on your desires...

...including the desire to snag an extra snack. "Go-go-go" to the fridge, to put it one way.

Those people who think that exercise is a necessary component to a diet should ask themselves why there are so many ex-athletes around with protruding bellies, for the male variety.

Weight as of approx. 6 PM today: 242 pounds.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Second Day: Restlessness

Last night, I bumped into a side effect when trying to get to sleep. I've set up a diet plan that doesn't require exercise, but during this second run-through I'm finding myself getting restless. I would like to believe that I'm abnormal with respect to this need for activity.

More normal is, of course, tiredness. Try as I might, I can't find any way around that part of it.

Weight as of approx. 6 PM today: 243 pounds again.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

First Day: It's Easier The Second Time 'Round

Once again, I've felt the "empties" that come with the start of a diet. Having been through it once before, though, I had some idea of what was coming...which has made it easier. Also, the carrots, celery and cabbage pre-diet I've been through made coping with the fat-metabolism hunger easier.

There's something to be said for the people who try to diet, find that it's too hard for them at that point, and go back to their old ways for a time. The experience gained makes the second go-'round a little easier because the obstacles are clearer. When it comes down to it, unless a diet is medically necessary, there's no immediate need to shed the fat on the first go-round.

In fact, given that surgical and quasi-surgical help is now offered, there seems less reason to overdramatize. We do, afer all, live long lives.

Weight as of approx. 6 PM today: 243 pounds (in part due to fluid loss.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Back At It

It's now 2008; after some re-fattening up, I'm back on the diet track. Unfortunately, I didn't gain the amount of pounds that I wanted to play with this time 'round, so I'm going to limit my fooling around with the Plateau Buster to this one test: for the first four weeks of this phase of the diet, I'm not going to use it - plateau or not. For the next four weeks, I'm going to whenever I bump into a plateau. Instead of a sliding scale, I'm sticking to a straight 1,000 calories/day until my goal is reached. This eight-week straddle will determine whether or not the Plateau Buster speeds the weight-loss process up.

As far as the last five+ weeks are concerned, I spent them using what could be called the "inside straight" of dieting: eating as much as I want of three foods, all of which are low-calorie bulk foods: celery, cabbage and carrots. The plan is simple: eat as much as you can, whenever you want, of those foods. "Cheating," or deviation from this plan, is all-but mandatory for nutrition needs. The rationale behind it is to lose weight without enduring hunger pangs, as the stomach is kept full with low-calorie bulk food. Supposedly, this bulk-up makes for an easier diet.

Unforutunately for me (as well as for anyone else who has tried it, I suspect,) there are two types of "hungries." The first comes from an empty stomach, and is one which every dieter is familiar with. This type of hunger is avoided by the "CCC" diet. The trouble is, there's a second kind of hunger that does not go away with this kind of diet - the "hungries" that come with consuming a below-maintenance number of calories. This kind of hunger is essential to any diet, as it signals the body to metabolize some of its fat. I found that the disjoint between the lack of the first hunger and the presence of the second, instead of making me easier with the diet, instead made me feel querulous.

It is possible to lose weight with this diet, but only slowly. I "cheated" frequently while on it, including spells of outright backsliding. One of the lethal risks results from the much greater sugar hunger it engenders. Normally, I found, drinking a sugar-filled liquid made me queasy after a few swallows. Not while on this diet, though: shortly into it, I gulped down more than a cup of maple syrup (which I had to get rid of anyway or else mold would have gotten to it) without any quease that would indicate that enough sugar has gone down the gullet. In other words, my sugar hunger had increased dramatically. This side consequence meant that I had to abjure sugary foods as completely as I could. A sugar-laden diet would have taken away the safety-belt feature of this kind of diet: making cheating impracticable because of an already-filled stomach.

I did lose a few pounds while on it, although slowly: seven pounds over the course of four weeks. This kind of diet can work for someone who likes to lose weight slowly and doesn't mind putting up with the querulousness caused by the above-noted disjoint. It may suit a true endomorph well, and/or someone who's uncomfortable with rigid food restriction. At the price of feeling both full and hungry at the same time, of course.

It also may work as a prelude to a diet because of the resultant stomach fooling. One day, about two and a half weeks ago, I had to shovel a lot of snow. Because I had to get out there, I forgot to eat anything. By the time I remembered, it was dinner-time. Despite me going hungry all day, which I didn't notice for most of it, I only had room in my stomach for a regular-sized meal. Had I decided to start a more rigourous diet at that time, I might have found it easier to do so because my stomach was fooled into shrinking already.

Nevertheless, I have to confess that this approach, as a full diet in itself, isn't the one for me: I suppose I need a more structured approach. So, I'm back to the more rigid, fatburner method of eating five snack-sized meals a day, all of which total up to 1,000 calories. To start off, my weight as of about 6 PM today, unclothed, is noted just below. As is usual for this blog, I will be measuring myself in that state of undress for all of the measurements in order to whisk away the effect that different clothes have.

Weight as of approx. 6 PM today: 246 pounds.

Friday, August 31, 2007

FREE and Redistributable E-book

The E-book, found at this Site, is PDF format; it's entitled "How I Lost 40 Pounds In 60 Days." It's a short one: 16 pages, and the word count is more suitable for a pamphlet, so you can get through it quickly. You may even like the design of it.

(If you have trouble with the main link, you can also access it through this alternate link. There's also another alternate access link from another holder Site.)