Today I reached my 1/3 point. I’ve officially lost 50 pounds since starting this life style change back in the beginning of April. That’s almost 20 weeks to lose what amounts to a giant bag of dog food hanging on my bones.
This also marks the beginning of my second week doing this blog. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people here and I hope their endeavors go as well as mine has. I like hearing about people in similar situations and how they’re tackling their demons.
I started this blog not as motivation for me to stay the course, but as a testimony to let other people know that what I’m doing isn’t really a struggle. I am not sick, hungry, exhausted or about to blow up from clogged arteries. My triglycerides and HDL have almost completely normalized from a year ago, when my doctor kinda gave me a worried look. My wheat belly is gone – my visceral fat in my gut is no longer the biggest kid on the block. I can suck my stomach in now. Check out those ribs.
When I tell people I’m on a low carb diet, they shutter. “Oh, Atkins…” they say and nod like they’re talking to a poor sucker. No, it isn’t Atkins, or Keto, or Paleo, or Clean, or the Mediterranean, or the cha-cha. I’m simply eating healthy real food, I tell them. I’ve cut out things that I think are bad for me, such as sugar, corn, processed grains, and starchy foods. They nod. Then I tell them I eat three eggs and four strips of bacon a day and they lose their minds again. I had to convince my own mother that I wasn’t going to keel over from a heart attack. I’ve heard term “clogged arteries” more times in the last five months than I care to. I try to explain (as I have before) that my cholesterol is fine, that plague build up on artery walls is due to inflammation of the tissue, the cholesterol is just there to repair it but gets stuck. The inflammation is caused by the metabolic imbalance caused by overdoing the carb… Then I become exhausted. I tell them about the books and the websites just to avoid explaining to them about how lipid transport works or what adiposity is. Then they look at me and nod again. “So what flavor is that Kool-Aid?” their eyes say.
I think I’ve stated this before, but I’ll reiterate. Someone else’s idea weight for me, based on my height 6’2″, is 172 pounds. I really don’t care if I get there. I just want to enjoy whatever time I have left on this planet as “not fat”. I definitely don’t want to go back to my starting weight of 316. I want to do better than my current weight of 266. At some point, in the distant future, I want to try to get stupidly cut like Bruce Lee just to giggle in front of the mirror, but for my goal, “not fat” is what I’m shooting for. I estimate it might take another five months to lose another fifty pounds, but even if it took longer, I’ll be okay with it. The important thing is that I now know what it takes to get and remain “not fat”. No more yo-yo diets. No more killing myself with over exercising. No more starving myself. And more importantly, no more hating myself when I fail playing by their rules. I’m not struggling with this at all.
I’ll make another spiffy self-congratulatory graphic for myself when I lose 100 pounds. Because I will.
While I’m not worrying about the pounds I may or may not lose day to day, I do find that keeping track of the weight occasionally keeps me informed if anything is going wrong. I don’t use it as a gauge. Our weight varies hour to hour, day to day – based on multitudes of factors – such as water retention, activity level, digestion of a meal, what’s in our bowels, etc. I didn’t start an exercise routine until about a month and a half ago. Muscle growth does all sorts of wacky things to a weight total.
About two or three weeks into my diet, I started to use the Nintendo Wii and the Wii Balance Board to record my weight. The second day, I didn’t have the board level and it recorded a whooping 14 pound loss. I was elated. I bragged about it on Facebook and Twitter. I thought, This diet is awesome! But the next day, sad truth came into light. I realized that the board has to be on level ground. I had one foot of it on a rug, causing the extreme difference. I had only lost two pounds. I had two other scales in the house and made sure the calibration on the Wii board was correct. I also realized that I would go crazy if I weighed myself more than twice a week (I now weigh myself once a week – if I’m curious). It didn’t matter what my weight was because I had so much confidence in my diet. As long as I wasn’t gaining more than 3-4 pounds a week, it didn’t matter. I am expecting drops and plateaus, that happens. I’m not giving myself a time table, because why pressure myself? The weight will come off.
And the weight is coming off.
I use an android app on my Kindle Fire called KeepTrack by Zagalaga. I copy the weight data from my Wii just and KeepTrack allows me to back that data up. It’s not extremely pretty. But it does its job, and data entry is painless.
The idea weight for my height and gender is 172. I think this is unrealistic. I think standards and BMIs are bogus, just like counting calories. I just want to be healthy and stay clear of metabolic syndrome and all its diseases. I also want to look somewhat decent naked or go into any store and have my size pants. I don’t think I’m asking a lot. And judging by that line graph – I think it’s obtainable.
This originally appeared on my tumblr account, but thought I might as well post it here for better visibility.
- Read “Fat Chance” or watch the video to understand what is going on here. Also read Gary Taubes “Why We Get Fat” and “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. Don’t blame yourself! There are dark forces conspiring against you! Really.
- Get two 1 quart water bottles. Get a source of filtered water (I use 5 gallon cooler bottles, easy to recycle and only costs me $6 a bottle). In order for the fiber to work, you must stay hydrated.
- Get a food processor, a decent vegetable peeler, a quality paring knife, and measuring cups. These will be your tools – wash them immediately after use so you will alway have access to them.
- Get a box of ziploc snack bags and sandwich bags. This is how you will keep portionable food like nuts and cereal.
- Get small bowls, no larger than 2 cups. I use pyrex glass bowls because they’re easy to wash, have a good lid, and last forever. Keep them washed.
- Eat the following whenever you feel like, and avoid feeling hungry:
- Non-starchy vegetables – the greener or more colorful the better. Stay away from corn. Steamed or raw. Hope you like carrots. Broccoli is a staple; so are green beans. Avoid canned, the veggies are overcooked and too much sodium is added.
- Fruit – whatever you want. Blueberries, strawberries, and other berries recommended. An orange every other day is okay.
- Nuts. Portion yourself, but almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are good as a snack and as a salad topper. Portion out into ziploc bags. (note: sea salt is okay, you need some salt to stay regular)
- Brown rice. Portion this to under a cup, but have at least 2-3 times a week. Wild rice okay, too.
- Steel cut oats (or Irish oats) or grain mix cereal with >3 of sugar and <5 of fiber. No instant oatmeal. Berries or apples in this is awesome.
- Fiber One cereal. Find it when it is on sale and buy as many boxes as you can. Measure out one cup portions and put them in ziploc bags.
- Fish. Salmon is the best. Tilapia makes a good cheap dinner. Cans of tuna for lunch.
- Meat. Any kind. Skin and fat.
- Milk and cheeses, including string cheese. Easy though, I had to cut out the cheese snacking.
- Eggs. Yolk and all. I have three each morning with lots of bacon.
7. Make Pico de Gallo:
- Dice 1 tomato (seeded), 1 onion, lots of Cilantro, and a few cloves of garlic together (food processor makes this fast and easy). Add the juice of half a lime (this preserves it).
- Put in a storage bowl with a lid.
- One batch should last you for about a week. Use this in omelets, rice, and as a topping for meats and salads. With a little mayo, it makes a awesome tuna salad.
- Reduce the onions and add peppers and more tomato and you have a decent salsa.
8. Make Hummus:
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 can of Chickpeas drained (15 oz) (organic low sodium) (reserve about 1/2 cup liquid)
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 3 tablespoons of Tahini
- Some paprika
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon of Red Pepper flakes
- Dump into food processor chopper. Add chickpea liquid to get desired consistency.
- This goes good with carrot sticks and other vegetables. Hummus is your dipping friend.
9. Use Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil for salad dressings and as a meat tenderizer. Also, spices and fresh herbs are your friend.
10. What to avoid:
- Anything with processed flour. Breads, unless you can find one with >3 sugar and <5 fiber and no processed flour. This also includes fried things with breading on them. I’ve cut out breads entirely.
- White rice
- Potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay on occasion)
- Sauces and condiments with sugar in them. Goodbye barbecue, ketchup, and steak sauce.
- Salt and high sodium foods.
- Sugar and all it’s hidden names. This includes honey, HFCS, and “natural” sweeteners.
- Artificial sweeteners. Your liver treats it like sugar.
- Fruit juice. It’s sugar, too – without the benefit of the fruit’s fiber. Eat the fruit instead.
- Sausage, lunch meats, and hot-dogs. Seriously, too much sodium, nitrates, and mystery meat.
- Soda – even the diet stuff. Trust me, you’ll be too busy trying to get 2 liters of water in you. You can have some coffee, or even better, milk or herbal tea – all still do not count towards your 2 liters of water requirement.
- Processed foods. Even the stuff that says it’s good for you. This includes yoghurt, most cereals, salad dressings.
11. Exercise. Walk, play the Wii fit, do sit-ups. Remember that exercise isn’t burning the fat – it’s boosting your metabolism and strengthens bones and muscles, which keep you healthy. If you don’t feel like exercising – DON’T. Nothing is more discouraging than attempting to do some routine and failing because you have no energy. You will lose weight without exercising. You will eventually get energy from the diet to exercise.
12. Don’t count calories and don’t weigh yourself. Calories aren’t important if you’re eating natural food. Your body and your newly fixed metabolism will handle it. The pounds will come off. This isn’t a temporary diet, this should be how you eat for the rest of your life – don’t discourage yourself with a scale.
13. Try not to eat anything 4 hours before bed and get at least 6-8 hours sleep.
Good luck and feel free to ask questions.