What Weight Loss Looks Like

Please forgive a post perhaps more rambling than most – I just noticed I haven’t written in a while and thought it unseemly to make the site appear abandoned.

You might think that I was abducted – or gave up on low carb and went on Jenny Craig.

Or said ‘to hell with this’, bought the Ho-Hos, the Scooter Pies, and the Frozen White Castle hamburgers and was hard at work packing on the pounds.

None of the above.

I see a lot of good low carb blogs that have ‘gone dark’ – no more updates. I always wonder if it’s because they fell off the wagon and are ashamed to post this fact.

Shameless as I am, I’ve kept blogging as I gained maybe 40 lbs back out of my 80 lb. loss – and now I’m blogging as I work to make the weight creep down again.

I’ve been busy at work, so I’ve not been thinking about the blog. During this time I’ve been losing weight, albeit slowly, which I will take as I’m doing it with a very casual approach. That might be tough to explain because it’s seemingly contradictory. Watching closely what I eat, trying to eat a lot of vegetables, eating small portions, and weighing myself daily does not sound ‘casual’ – I know, but it feels like a more relaxed process than ever before. I attribute it to the nicotine lozenges and their ability to change my relationship with food.

The nicotine lozenges, which for me have a very powerful ability to switch off hunger like flipping a switch, provide me a great assist in changing habits:

  • I can ‘turn off’ a craving when I’ve recently eaten and shouldn’t be hungry
  • I can stop eating in situations where I would tend to overeat

These are wondrous tools to have, because they assist me in changing my habits without all this inner agony of ruminating over some tasty tidbit in the fridge. The goodies don’t call to me like before. This allows me to build new habits, and what is happening over time is the habits are being reinforced through daily adherence and becoming self-sustaining. This means I’ve become used to eating smaller portions of high-quality food, don’t feel deprived, and have been doing this for enough time that I find at times I don’t need the nicotine to sustain the habit. It sort of reveals to me that the problem wasn’t ‘hunger’ or ‘habit’, but a complex relationship between the two that I threw a monkey wrench into by disrupting my normal patterns of hunger. This tool, along with careful attention to my body’s signals, has allowed for some considerable changes I’ve never been able to achieve before. One change is the ability to incorporate carbs into my diet occasionally.

Say what?!?

Yep. Candy, cake, cookies, muffins, etc. While this slows weight loss, it also allows me to live a more normal life. So last night, my wife and I went to a nice restaurant and they put out a plate of fresh-baked, hot bread with some gourmet butters. I had some, but not too much. I was able to enjoy the moment and enjoy the bread because my fear that the carbs in the bread would set my appetite to overdrive was gone – I knew that if that occurred, I could pretty reliably turn it off with a nicotine lozenge.

Eating the bread with my wife also caters to the ritual of eating. Going to a restaurant with someone – and them not eating – can be a real downer experience – as my poor wife knows all too well.

Eating many times is meant to be a shared experience – and better appetite control allows me to share in more of it.

So I probably had maybe 20-30 garms of carbs. As my total food for the day was a chilled seafood platter for dinner  and a salad for lunch, I can still say I ate low carb – just not zero carb.

It’s nice to not have to demonize certain foods. The nicotine has allowed me to have small portions of high carbs and control it. It allows me to better enjoy life – which really is the point of anything we do – including the effort to lose weight.

My Weight Loss Chart

Here’s a chart that I use to keep track of my progress – this is what weight loss looks like for me this time around:

On March first, I started this in earnest. Some time in April I started with the nicotine.

You’ll notice that I didn’t really lose anything until May. At that point, it begins to nicely descend.

The blue diagonal behind the chart was my plotted course – what I was shooting for. I’m not even close, but I’ll take it.

The black line is a trend line that evens out the ridges in the data – it’s pointing in the right direction.

The most interesting thing is the very rhythmic wave pattern in the weight as the loss progresses. Notice a very regular pattern starting in May – it was completely irregular before then.

I think there’s something about these waves. You can be misled by patterns sometimes, and conjure up things that aren’t there. That’s why we can see faces in the clouds and the man in the Moon.

But heres I’m wondering if there isn’t something to going down a few pounds, then going up, then going down a little bit more, then going up a little bit less – something that is working to my advantage.

Analogies can be as misleading as patterns, so I toss this out keeping that in mind: I keep thinking about how you might fatigue a piece of metal by bending it back and forth, over and over until it finally breaks.

Is some similar mechanism work with a weight setpoint? Can you ‘fatigue’ it by working it back and forth? To put it another way: can you get past a stall in weight loss by eating a lot, gaining a few pounds, then taking it off the next day?

I’m not saying this is true, but it sorta fits both the data and my behavior.

Let’s see if this continues.

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3 thoughts on “What Weight Loss Looks Like

  1. Hi! Just found your blog today. I really like what I see here! I’ll subscribe so I can keep up to date.

    I understand what you mean about lc blogs dropping off the map. I’ve been a low-carb blogger for years. While my blog hasn’t gone dark, there have been times when I’ve been too busy to post. And I don’t talk about my weight loss so much anymore, because quite frankly, there hasn’t been much to talk about. I’m either not losing or I’m struggling. Sometimes I vent about it. Sometimes I analyze myself. Sometimes I just say “oh well” and move on. But I’m not giving up and don’t intend to. So I figure as long as I’m still trying, I have a reason to blog. I wish many other bloggers felt that way too. We need all the encouragement we can get from each other.

  2. One thing that really helps me is I don’t buy cakes, cookies and other carby treats. So when I do find myself craving for something, I go hunting and only find nuts and end up having a piece of cheese and a cold cut. It definitely helps not to have BAD foods in the house!

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