Thursday, May 10, 2007

And I'm goin hungry: An Update on a Fat Bastard

So, I'm trying an experiment.

Since September 11th 2006 I have been trying several different diet and exercise techniques in detail; but the consistent element has been a significant reduction in caloric intake.

When I started this, I had managed to work myself up to 425... and I think I may have peaked as high as 440 (I jsut didnt have a scale that could meausre it at the time); a full 175lbs above the very fit weight I had maintained from the age of 13 through 22.

Well, 22 was a long time and a few major injuries back; plus a lot of laziness and overeating.

So, on September 11th, I set myself a goal. I want to be below 285lbs and below 13% bodyfat by April 27th 2008 (my birthday).

Anyway, between September and March, I had managed to get down from 425 to 357, but I crept back up over 370 over the past couple months.

I achieved this weight loss by reducing my caloric intake to between the maintenance intake, and 25% below the maintenance intake required to meet my desired weight (285lbs at 11calories per pound is about 3200 calories, times .75 equals about 2400 calories a day); and by recording both everything I ate and drank; and my weight every day.

This method works very well, but it's a lot of effort; and honestly it takes a lot of joy out of eating and cooking and the like.

Unfortunately my scale broke (not from my weight... a couple of hair thin wires broke from their solder joints... I'll be repairing it sometime soon I just haven't got around to it), and I didn't weigh myself for a while. Also, for the month of April, I tried a different experiment; not tracking my intake at all, just choosing reasonable moderate meals when I chose. It worked out for me energy and well being wise, but my weight did creep up a bit (of course I had also been sick, and didn't exercise much in that time).

Anyway, I'm trying something different this month; inspired by Ogs recent gastric bypass. I am trying to limit my intake to the absolute minimum I can without triggering famine response in my body. I'm doing this by drastically limiting my food intake before dinner, and then eating a normal dinner.

Just an example, my intake for today was as follows:

1. Breakfast - 110 calories - 24oz coffee, 2 tblsp half and half, 1 tblsp sugar
2. Lunch - 340 calories - 20oz iced latte
3. Dinner - 700 calories - 6oz pot roast sandwich on a sourdough roll, and a pickle
4. Dessert - 270 calories - 20oz can of pineapples

So, that's a total of 1420 calories for today. A man of my size burns 4070-4180 calories a day just sitting up and breathing.. and I had a half hour of vigorous physical exercise today, probably another 400 calories. Lets call it 4500 calories.

3500 calories is approximately 1lb of human fat.

So, presuming I consume a similar amount daily, I should be losing about 3/4 pound a day. Realistically, I don't think that's going to happen; I think 3-4lbs a week is much more realistic. Also my water retention tends to fluctuate wildly with changes in diet so actual direct weight measurements are going to be pretty iffy (plus I still haven't fixed the scale.

It's funny; because what I'm really doing is reversing the trend that put those last 70 lbs on me anyway. For a few years I was stable at 345-365lbs; but I typically only ate one large meal a day. When I met Mel, I started eating breakfast and lunch on a frequent basis; and thats also when I started gaining weight again. The funny thing is, I didnt really increase my overall caloric intake much... I jsut thing I was bruning a bit more when I was running on empty 3/4 of the day...

... which of course every nutritionist will tell you is awful and they'll recommend lots of little meals throughout the day... well that doesn't work for me at all. It's just not natural to me.

Again, I'm not going to use any record keeping here; because I don't think that keeping a record of everything I eat forever is the easiest most sustainable lifestyle choice. Basically I'm looking for ways to self regulate that work as well as the record keeping I was doing (which lost me 68 lbs in 6 months).

My idea is to try this out until the NoR meetup the first weekend of June; then see where I am... and then totally bust this all to hell at the NoR barbecue.

I can say this, I've been on this a week, and I can already see significant loss of bloat on my face; without any dehydration issues; or problems with focus or energy.

But... it's a bit odd being hungry most of the time. It takes some adjustment.

When I was doing the record keeping I was generally eating 2600-2800 calories per day, having no problem staying under that; and I wsan't every really particulalry hungry because of the reduction. Now, I wake up a little hungry, my morning coffee suppresses that appetite (if I'm REALLY hungry may have a little bit of toast or an english muffin). Then I get pretty hungry again the the mid afternoon, which my mid afternoon coffee takes care of (sometimes I'm eating little oatmeal wafers from Ikea with it as well. They're 20 calories a piece and I have 4 or 5 of them). Finally, by the time dinner rolls around (I usually start cooking around 7)I'm pretty damned hungry.

I don't particularly like being hungry. I have some unpleasant past associations with significant persistent hunger.

but... it's working.

So, let's see what the results are after a month. Then maybe I'll continue it, with a little more food during the day added in.