A panoramic pic taken from the rail at the rear of the Ruby Princess last January 2015.

Suspect Information, Ideas, and Opinions - rarely updated and of dubious quality.

OK, here's the pomposity.

You didn't ask for it, so here it is...

How I lost more than 40 pounds in 15 weeks.

  • I followed a fad diet - For the first 6 days, I followed the cabbage soup diet. Strictly. It was a great way to kick-start things and break my sweet-tooth/starch-tooth. (By day 6, I was pretty sick of cabbage though.)
  • I calculated - 1 pound equals 3500 calories therefore to lose 2 pounds per week I needed to cut 1000 calories per day from my diet. Using the Interweb, I calculated how much a sedentary person my size needs for "maintenance" calories in a day, and from that deducted 1000 calories so I could achieve that magical 2lbs. of lost weight per week. Instead of eating again calories spent during exercise, I treated that as bonus weight loss.
  • I ate no "processed foods" - nothing with "enriched" in the title. Almost no breads, and certainly no white bread, cookies, chips, pastries or baked treats. Nothing with "high-fructose" in the ingredient list. Nothing with aspartame. As little white sugar as possible.   ...read more...
  • I ate very few simple carbs and grains - I treated starches as a garnish rather than a side-dish or a staple. That meant little to no potatoes or rice, etc. and no grains except for the occasional oatmeal. My hard-to-follow rule of thumb was: "if it's filling, don't eat it."
  • I ate no unsaturated fats - whether mono or poly. That means little olive oil, no canola oil, and certainly no margarine.
  • I added saturated fats back to my diet - Contrary to the conventional (and wrong) wisdom, I raised my daily percentage intake of saturated fat and protein at the expense of simple carbs - while still keeping within my calorie goals for each day. Stable, nutritive saturated fat is required for good health.
  • I now like my coffee like I like my women - ground up and in the freezer. No seriously, I started drinking my coffee black. Almost no calories and possibly some health benefits. Besides, it's easy to go overboard drink 5 medium regulars in a day while one or two black coffees is more than enough for me...
  • I virtually eliminated sauces - Instead I used lots of dry spices, mustard, and hot sauces with my food to make it more interesting. I eliminated ketchup, mayo and most other sauces because I feel they tend to have too much sugar and unhealthy, fattening oils, chemicals, etc.
  • I promised myself a reward - for when I achieved my goal (of losing 36.5 pounds by Labour Day.) I promised myself a gorge-fest at a local Chinese buffet restaurant. It was great to cash in on my goal but for hours afterwards I was pretty sick. Perhaps if there is ever a next time, I will not choose a food related goal!
  • I competed with a friend - A friend and I had a bet. Whomever lost the most weight as a percentage of their total starting weight in 6 months would have to treat the other to a decadent steak dinner. Now, I am very poor and the person I made the bet with happens to live in the culinary capital of Canada so I really couldn't afford to lose the bet. So, by thinking (often) about that bet, I was able to offset many painful moments during the three months of diet and exercise. Funny thing is that by the end of the three months I had realized so many ancillary gains from my lifestyle change that it wouldn't really have mattered to me if I lost the bet. The results would have been worth the cost. As it stands, I won. :-)
  • I took pictures - I took "before" pictures of myself in my underwear at 263 and 245, and 233. I wish I had also taken a picture right at the start - at 271.5 lbs. Also, I only took frontal pictures. I should have also taken profile shots as well as pics with my biceps flexed. Still, it was very encouraging to refer back to the pictures. My kids also got a kick out of them.
  • I exercised - A minimum of 1 hour of strenuous exercise per day - I employed variety to ensure that the exercise stayed strenuous. Among other things, I rode an elliptical and a treadmill and I rode my bike to work a lot. When colleagues began to notice my weight loss they would ask if it was because of the bike riding? No. It was because of the one hour of various and strenuous exercise per day. Weekdays and weekends. Rain or shine. The days I rode my bike were simply days I wasn't doing something else strenuous. No matter what I did for that hour, if I wasn't really spent by the end of it I considered it a wasted hour for that day. I should mention that despite my best intentions "every day" did turn out to mean "4 to 5 times per week." Also I started with just 20-30 minutes and worked my way up to one hour.
  • I did both cardio and weight-training - For a while I did just cardio, reasoning as many do that cardio is better for weight loss than lifting weights is. But my weight only really started dropping fast when I started weight training too. I think the reason is that an ounce of muscle burn calories for you all day and all night long. So the more muscle you have the faster you lose weight. I started out by fumbling around the weight room 3 times per week, but now I find it easier (and more rewarding) to do push ups and sit ups instead. Push ups and sit ups are a better all around body strengthening exercise anyway. And they don't require special equipment.

I weighed myself every day

  • I weighed myself every day - I weighed myself at the same time (right after my morning "administrations") and always wearing the same thing (a pair of underwear and a scowl.) And I recorded my weight daily using the Hacker's Diet online. Applying the 10-day-weighted-moving-average to my weight readings, I can more easily identify subtle weight trends caused by my food intake. This is especially important on the days where my weight goes up instead of down!
  • I took vitamins - I really wanted to do everything as naturally (read: cheaply) as possible, but I succumbed to the hype and settled on a "heart-healthy" daily regimen of garlic pills, co-enzyme Q-10, fish oil (DHA/DHT), magnesium, and an iron-free multi-vitamin (being a man, iron supplementation is not a good thing.) To this day I can't tell if the vitamins did anything for me aside from lighten my wallet (a lot) I've decided to skip them from now on and only go back on if I notice a deleterious effect. Still, I include the fact here in case they helped and I just don't know it. (postscript: I think they help. I'm going back on.)
  • I didn't eat too little - This is actually the second time in my life I've lost a lot of weight. The first time I cut too many calories from my diet; I really starved myself, especially at the beginning. I ended up becoming so tired I was going to bed at 7PM and would freeze my butt off when it was 21 degrees outside. I know now that cutting a thousand calories a day will cause me to inexorably lose weight at the rate of roughly 2 to 3 pounds per week. If I cut more I am in danger of going into "preservation mode" and, while I won't gain weight I certainly won't lose it efficiently - and who wants to diet any longer than they have to? Now (and this almost never happens) if I am getting towards the end of the day and I am short on calories, I will just eat a little more red meat or nuts, which tend to be higher in (good quality so that's a double-bonus) calories.

 

OK, here's the pomposity.

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Maybe read No Big Deal, a story I consider to be the very best thing I ever wrote.