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diet update, september 2015

The last time I wrote about my diet was in May 2015. This is an update on it.

Yeah, I know this isn't music related, but some of you out there who follow me are interested in how the diet is coming along, so here's the report on it.

The last time I wrote about this, I was 157 pounds (~71kg). I now weigh 151 (~68.5kg.)

On a day-to-day basis, I'm anywhere between 148 and 153, depending on how much I eat and drink over the course of a day, and what I had the previous day. So to say I weigh 151 isn't super-accurate because I, just like anyone else, shift a few pounds periodically.

What I can say is that most of the time when I weigh my myself naked (I do that because that's the most accurate measurement,) I see 151 most of the time or a low 152.

Is 151 a proper weight for me?

The way I answer that is by giving you the figures from various "ideal weight" formulas that are out there, all of which can be found here.

For my age and height, the Robinson formula states I should weigh 152.3 lbs, the Miller formula states 151.9, the Devine formula states 155.9, and the Hamwi formula states 159.4.

In other words, according to two ideal weight formulas, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, weight-wise.

What's my BMI?

At the time I write this, the scale right now says I'm 151.4 pounds, which for my age and height is a Body Mass Index of 22.36, and that's well within the "normal" range.

However, I will say that the BMI is a bit weird because there are certain things about it I don't agree with. I believe the normal BMI range isn't realistic at all.

The BMI chart states for my gender, age and height, a normal weight range is between 125.3 and 169.3 pounds.

If I weighed 125.3 pounds, I would look like a sickly twig, no doubt about that. I think the absolute safest low weight I could manage would be 140 - and that's really pushing it.

At 169.3 pounds, which I was at one point, that's definitely fat for my gender/age/height.

The high-160s is too much and the mid-120s is definitely too little. Being in the low-150s feels right for me.

I don't "diet" anymore

I leveled out in the low-150s for my weight, which I'm more than comfortable with, and I don't diet anymore.

To most people "dieting" means "attempting to lose weight." I don't need to lose weight anymore, so I don't actively try to. However, I did completely change around the way I eat, and now, 7 months after I started my weight loss journey, I'm at a point where my changed ways of eating is a normal part of life.

It's probably true I eat more vegetables in a week than most people do in a year. It's also probably true I get more exercise in a week than most people do in a year. I do get on the treadmill, 6 days a week (I take Saturdays off,) and do 30 straight minutes of walking at a brisk pace, usually working up a good sweat each time.

It is totally normal for me to go through two 3-pound bags of gala apples in a week. You've probably heard the old saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Well, I eat about 4 apples a day. Sometimes more.

I also buy rice by the 5-pound bag. No, I don't go through 5 pounds of rice in a week (that would be insane,) but I do eat a lot of it. I also buy carrots by the 2-pound bag and routinely buy stalks of broccoli.

My first problem with weight loss

What I'm about to say will probably anger some people, but I'm going to say it anyway.

Every week, usually on Saturday, I eat an entire large cheese pizza.

Is that me putting back on the pounds? Yes, but not for the reason you think. It's not me falling off the wagon and getting fat again. It's me maintaining my weight, and doing so with junk calories once a week.

I am very knowledgeable about calories now, and I know that one large 14-inch pizza pie with cheese-only topping is about 2,000 calories or slightly more than that at 2,100.

Is pizza total filth food? Yep. But it's a cheap way to get fast calories. And after I eat that pizza, I eat nothing else for the whole day and only consume drinks such as water that have no calories in them.

According to calculators that tell you how many calories you're supposed to consume daily, if I was sedentary and did no exercise at all, maintaining my weight would require consuming 1,900kcal daily. But I'm not sedentary. Because I'm on the treadmill 6 days a week at 30 minutes each session, I actually should be consuming 2,200 to to 2,400kcal a day - again, according to what calculators state.

Yes, this means I can actually eat an entire large pizza and still have a calorie deficit. Sounds crazy, but it's true. This is why I can eat a pizza a week and not get fat.

Now of course, the rest of the week I'm eating large amounts of fruit, veg and grain. But because I'm disciplined enough to get on that treadmill 6 days a week and not stuff my face with junk for that period of time, I can pig out once a week and not pack on the pounds.

A problem I have with my weight loss is actually getting enough calories in over the course of a day. I eat and eat big. But when you eat a whole food diet most of the time, it's not exactly easy keeping those calories up.

Being successful with my weight loss actually created the new problem of battling against calorie deficits. It's a nice problem to have, but still, it can be annoying at times.

In other words, I now have the exact opposite problem that most people have when it comes to food. I'm not trying to avoid calories but rather have an issue with getting enough in to maintain where my weight is currently.

If you're thinking, "Why not just incorporate junk food in your diet along with the healthy stuff to keep the calories up?", that's a good question and I have a good answer for that.

In my experience, the main problem with junk food isn't the fat nor the carbs but rather the sugar. I avoid sugar. Specifically, cane sugar or any other added-for-flavor sugar-like substance like high fructose corn syrup. Want to lose weight fast? Cut the cane sugar and HFCS out of your diet and watch the weight fly off. I'm not kidding. Remember, added sugar is everywhere. Candy, salad dressing, "fruit juice" (which is nothing more than a soft drink without the carbonation,) "canned fruit" (the syrup it's soaked in is loaded with sugar,) and loads of other food products - never mind all the carbonated soft drinks.

Try to find fast, easy calories in junk food without sugar in it that's not potato chips or cheese puffs. Not an easy task. You quickly find out how ubiquitous added sugar is when you actually start reading labels.

I will however tell you how to get junk calories easy that's not pizza or candy. Ramen noodles. Yes, really. Not healthy at all, obviously, but if you need calories that are cheap, fast and do not have sugar involved, Ramen is the answer at 380 calories per brick. Two bricks of that is a fast 760kcal.

Also, if you're wondering, "How do you get any sugar in your system?" Answer: Fruit and veg. All the fruit I eat contains natural sugar. One large 7.5oz apple typically contains 23g sugar, as in the kind Mother Nature put there. Vegetables also naturally contain sugar in them as well. I don't avoid natural sugar. I specifically avoid the cane and added-for-flavor garbage.

My second problem with weight loss

When you're fat, as I was, you get into this eating-for-the-sake-of-eating mode. Whether sitting at the computer, or sitting on the couch watching television, or driving around in the car or whatever, you feel the need to eat even though you're not hungry at all, so you do.

I broke out of that mode of eating. Completely. But that introduced a new problem.

Remembering to eat.

If you're thinking, "How could you forget to eat?", believe me, when you break the eating-because-you're-bored thing and retrain yourself to only eat when you're actually hungry, there will be times when remembering to eat will completely slip your mind.

I did have that happen to me a few times. The clock would read 5pm, and I'd think back on what I ate for the day so far, then panic when I realized I hadn't even consumed 1,000 calories. Oops. At that point I'd hit the kitchen and eat something, whether it was a few apples or preparing a big bowl of rice or beans (or both) or whatever I felt like having.

It's now rare that I forget to eat since I've increased my awareness to remember to eat when I'm supposed to. But yeah, there were times when I'd forget. Fortunately, it was only a handful of times and I know better now.

My third problem-yet-not-a-problem with weight loss

The third problem-yet-not-a-problem is that when I hit my target weight and leveled out where I am now, I started seeing bones stick out more. Not sickly bony or anything like that, but it was a concern of mine.

This freaked me out a little - until I started doing some research on the matter.

What I found out is that since I had been fat for so damned long, I honestly forgot what a normal human shape is supposed to look like. I did some image searches online, looking at various people, both for men and women who were at or close to my height, age and weight that were considered to be "fit" or "normal," and yep, they all had a little bony action going on.

Basically, when the fat goes away as mine did, bones just naturally stick out a little more. A normal human shape is obviously not supposed to be round all over, and to think otherwise is ridiculous.

Now when I say "bony," I don't mean stick-like. The best example I can give of this is the way my shoulders look now. I can actually see definition there, mainly in the collar bone, whereas before everything was round all over. Seeing definition is what that area is supposed to look like. I thought it bad at first, but it's not. When your shoulders aren't fat, you see more collar bone and that's totally normal.

Being thin does not automatically make you flab-free

On a final note before I close this way-too-long post out, something else happened with me that was interesting.

So I lost the weight. But I still had some flab. This confused the crap out of me, because how can someone go from 196 to 151 and still be flabby?

What happened is that after my weight leveled out in the low 150s, I of course continued to do my 6-day-a-week treadmill routine, continued to eat lots of fruit and veg (with pig-outs on Saturday.) Slowly, the flab went away. Not all, but most of it.

The reason the flab went away slowly is because the treadmill is the only exercise I do. If I had incorporated other cardio exercise into my routine such as sit-ups and crunches, I would have tightened up a lot faster.

Will I start incorporating other cardio into my daily exercise routine? Maybe. It has to be something I enjoy, because I really don't like sit-ups and crunches.

Well, at least the weight is off and I'm maintaining a weight in the low 150s. That's a victory. Maybe I'm not a chiseled alpha-male with six-pack abs, but I'm not overweight anymore and intend to stay that way.

Oh, and one very last thing. Don't take what I say as What You Must Do To Lose Weight. Seriously, don't. What I did to drop 45 pounds involved a whole lot of trial and error. Some things worked while other things didn't. It took me a few months before I figured out what worked for me. Repeat: For me. If you're fat now and trying to lose weight, you have to figure out on your own what works for you. I guarantee it will not be the same as the way I do things. What works for me is a whole food diet, cane/added sugar avoidance and light exercise 6 days a week. I'm not saying for one second that my way will work for you. Not at all. Your weight loss journey is something you will have to customize to what works for you, and it might take a while to figure it out. But you will eventually figure it out.

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