Atkins Induction Day 3 – I Don’t Exercise – Or Do I?

On Wednesday I received my weekly email report from my Fitbit – a little device about the size of a clothes pin that tracks exercise by monitoring your steps, the flights of stairs that you climb, and general overall motion to try to put a number to your daily activity. Then, when in close proximity to its base station, it phones home with the latest numbers and tallies the day’s totals. It also syncs with my calorie-tracking app to gauge this against the number of calories eaten.

But I don’t ‘exercise’. I don’t power walk, swim, bike, snorkel, bungee-jump, spin, jog, Jazzercize or limbo – or any other activity that might even resemble an act that requires gym equipment, sweat pants, or sneakers strategically chosen for the precise exercise activity they are designed for.

My motto is: whenever I get the urge to exercise I lie down until the feeling passes. Usually with a good book.

This usually gets a laugh, followed by a head shake. But it’s also the fact, Jack: I do not have any form of activity that would require me to visit a sporting goods store or a gym.

This is supposed to be a no-no on a diet. You can’t lose weight without exercise…can you?

I have. I can. I will this time as well.

I’ve proven over and over that exercise isn’t necessary for weight loss. I will not say that this is optimally healthy, but I do seem to hear from my exercising friends about their ‘sports injury’, months of physical therapy, and as I age, the hip and knee replacements.

So exercise isn’t entirely healthy itself.

Now, when I start my diet the thought of exercise never occurs to me – I focus on the food intake and perhaps a bunch of other things, but not exercise. This isn’t a recommendation – heck – I don’t even recommend anyone read this blog. I’ve done little to promote it, write haphazardly, and frequently document my dieting facepalms interspersed with poorly researched nutritional navel-gazing spiced with banal comments about my day.

But you are here reading this and I’m here writing, so I’ll continue with my point.

That Fitbit gizmo sends me a week’s worth of tracking in an email – which is about my only interaction with the device other than throwing it in my pocket every day. Take a look:

lcc exercise

This is only a part of what it tracks. It has the ability to track the soundness of your sleep – but I sleep like a baby – so I don’t bother with that.

What it DOES tell me is interesting, though: despite my dedicated avoidance of formal exercise of any sort, I apparently walk over 20 miles per week, climb over 50 flights of stairs and roughly burn 2,600 calories a day while avoiding it.

All that little stuff that I do while avoiding exercising – doing dishes, putting out the trash, running up and down the stairs in the morning before leaving because I invariably forget something, walking in to work and fetching coffee at irregular intervals from the coffee maker – adds up.

So perhaps ‘exercise’ as some formal ritual that gets performed each day using specially designed equipment, clothing, and perhaps a gym membership isn’t necessary to get exercise. Perhaps you are already exercising and don’t know it.

Maybe you, too, can just get by with the exercise that occurs as you live your life while you focus on your diet.

That’s why I use my Fitbit – to remind me of this.

Speaking of diet, after destroying my ketosis with carbs the other day, I once again attempted to follow the straight and narrow. The day at work was somewhat quieter than the previous one, but I was still busy from a little after 8am to 6pm. I brought in hot dogs from the BBQ over the weekend and had 3 of then, naked, all by themselves, throughout the day along with a yogurt. I also had cream in my coffee.

In the evening at home I threw some chicken thighs on the grill along with my last pork burger and ate maybe 4 ounces of the thighs with tablespoons of sour cream and the pork burger with a slice of low carb bread and some low carb ketchup.

I also had maybe 3 ounces of hard dried sausage smuggled back from the Caribbean  We bought it on vacation from a friendly gentleman in a Panama hat from Provence who flew to the store there to hawk his farm’s sausage and enjoy the weather, no doubt. Delicious stuff. My wife came back late and had some of the chicken thigh along with other eats and I sat with her and talked. I did avoid mindless eating at this point except for a few green olives and a few pieces of pickled garlic which I hesitated on because I might reek of garlic today. Oh, well. It supposedly keeps vampires away – maybe it is effective on coworkers as well.

There were some of Brad’s Vegan Kale Chips as well. We have plenty. There was a sale of this ridiculously expensive stuff – 1/2 off – and my wife bought a case – saving another 10%. I like it, though it is a bit high in carbs.

While we talked I lovingly fondled an apple she had bought but avoided eating it – too healthy perhaps. If it was a sack of cookies, however, I might have been a goner.

I ended the day with a chocolate-covered marshmallow – my only ‘giving in’ and hit the sack not particularly hungry.

My tallies for the day were:

  • Calories: 1,532 – a little low for me, but certainly not in some zone of starvation.
  • Fat: 109 (65%) – Too low for me. More fat!
  • Net Carbs: 25g  – Not bad compared to yesterday. I didn’t bother to count the chocolate marshmallow because I’m lazy, but a quick check right now tells me it was about 7 grams of carbs and 40 calories – I’ll live.
  • Protein: 99g – Right about where I want to be.

My weight this morning inched down to 209.6 and the blood glucose is 117, even with the metformin last night I took with my vitamin. It’s not a terrible number but not a great one either – but I can live with it.

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Can Restricting Calories Cause Us To Gain Weight?

This comment that I made on my own post for stewed pork bellies keeps going through my mind:

What if your body during overfeeding in certain circumstances might actually reduce the surface area of your intestines, decreasing absorption of calories. Conversely, what if cutting back on calories increases your ability to extract every last calorie out of food?

This would mean that every calorie-counting diet will end in disaster as you teach your body to grab every calorie it can. It’s a race to the bottom, with calorie restriction to lose weight resulting in having to cut back MORE until you can’t take it, quit your diet and go back to how you used to eat, but being you’ve got yourself a high-efficiency gut now, your weight balloons.

There is only a little research that fuels this speculation of mine, but it would explain a lot about why traditional diets don’t work – wouldn’t it?

To expand on this a bit more, my source is my friend and frequent commenter, Dave Brown. He left the following comment, with sources cited, on the website of the British Medical Journal:

Almost to a man, the world’s top nutrition and obesity authorities believe that weight control necessitates a balance between caloric intake and energy expenditure. We’re told that because fat contains more than twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbohydrate, eating too much fat is a major factor in the obesity epidemic. Another half truth.

Sifting through weight control literature, one encounters occasional evidence that the body does not absorb every calorie that finds its way into the stomach. The digestive system is basically a chambered tube with an entrance and an exit. Just as a wood stove does not transfer all energy released through combustion to the environment being heated, the transfer of digested energy molecules is considerably less than 100 percent efficient. Researchers report overall calorie excretion rates ranging from 20 to 60 percent and fat excretion rates ranging from 2 to 42 percent. The soluble fiber fraction in the food is largely responsible for the percentage of calories that exit with the fecal material.

Another important consideration is the fact that, physiologically, the body constantly remodels itself internally to accommodate the quality, quantity  and timing of food intake. For example, the size of the stomach and the surface area of the small intestine tend to increase with food restriction and decrease with increased fat consumption, thus changing the absorption efficiency of the digestive system.

Clearly, there is much to be learned about how the digestive system responds to different mixes of fiber, macronutrients, and micronutrients. Calorie excretion deserves some attention.

The particular point here I find intriguing is:

 the size of the stomach and the surface area of the small intestine tend to increase with food restriction and decrease with increased fat consumption, thus changing the absorption efficiency of the digestive system

Wow. If that is true, then my speculation above – that cutting calories can make you fatter – might be correct, and would mean that restricting calories for weight loss might be self-defeating and everything we think we know about losing weight is wrong.

I’m reflecting on this after an AWFUL week of dieting. I have typically eaten high fat during the day, the routine being heavy cream in my coffee, 3 ounces of extremely fatty pork belly in a soup of pure fat which I consume instead of discard, and if I’m still hungry, I might have a bit of mayonnaise, or some cream cheese wrapped in a slice of ham just to make it easier to eat.

At home, however, the diet goes out the window. I’ve had large bowls of pasta, my daughter’s made-from-scratch cake, brioche, a Fillet-O-Fish sandwich, and a number of decidedly NOT low carb fare – and my calorie count is 3,300 calories over what my Loseit! app, a calorie-counting app that buys in to the standard ‘calories in, calories out’ , says would be required for me to lose 0.5 pounds per week – and there is 2 more days in the week to go.

But I’m down to 205.2 from the beginning of the week where I was 212.

I’m not recommending anyone do this – this was not intentional on my part, nor do I necessarily think this is a healthy thing to do. I wanted to avoid the pasta and the cake and all the other stuff that one is not supposed to eat on a low carb diet. I don’t think they are good for my health and would like to avoid them.

Some days were close to 4,000 calories. I’ve also had days where my carb count was over 300 grams.

But I ate it and still lost weight.

So what is going on here?!? Now, to be totally honest, 205 is a set point weight for me. I am probably stuck here if I don’t get a handle on my carb intake – but it seems that I can pretty much eat what I want in the evening and stay here – 60 pounds lower than I was a decade ago – if I am good during the day – and that day consists of 800 to 1,000 calories with 80% of them coming from animal fat and dairy fat.

As my ability to set goals and keep them seems to be pretty piss-poor as of late, this experiment wasn’t intentional – and I have no idea what the next week will hold. If the recent past portends the future, I’ll set goals and screw them up, so whether or not this accidental experiment continues is anybody’s guess.

Interesting, though – isn’t it?

Jillian Michaels Would Never Do a Low Carb Diet on ‘The Biggest Loser’

I have been doing a ketogenic Atkins-style low carb diet since September 10, and have been in induction for about 25 days straight.

How boring.

Jillian Michaels would ‘never’ get a gig doing a TV show about my diet: I don’t look uncomfortable,  I am not dying of hunger, I’m not exercising, I eat til I’m full. There’s no emotion, no drama to it – no one needs to scream into my face: “This is for your own good!”

It’s about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Despite the lack of excitement, of hunger, of straining, of drama, I have lost about 10 pounds – I am currently 193.6. The week before I had started this I was 207 and had gone down to 203, so I think it is safe to assume I lost all my water weight prior to my experiment and the 10 pounds I’ve lost since then are mostly fat.

That’s about 2-3/4 pounds per week – a little too much weight loss, really. You should only lose about 2 pounds per week. Perhaps I should eat more. Or maybe I’m getting too much exercise – I did mow the lawn today…

At this point, all of the goodies in the house that surround me hold little interest – I don’t even notice them anymore. There’s no struggle, no willpower required.

With all the extra time I have not exercising and not struggling, I like to lie in bed and read a book.

How boring.

If you are looking for an exciting diet, one where you will struggle and strain, heroically resist near constant hunger and temptation, exercise until exhausted,  challenge yourself physically and emotionally, and perhaps question whether your life is even worth living,  I recommend a low-calorie diet with plenty of exercise.

It might also prove entertaining for TV watchers and provide a steady income for Jillian Michaels – ‘America’s Toughest Trainer’.

You can check out her awesome site – and her $4.99 per month ‘no gimmick’ diet plan of ‘self, science, and sweat’ here.

Me? I think I’ll pass. I like my diets boring.

13 Simple Rules To Lose Weight and Be Happy Doing It

There’s so much advice on weight loss – where to begin?!?

May I be so bold as to say begin here?

You want some simple rules that will peel off the weight? Based on real-world experience from a not-too-bright person who doesn’t really exercise, doesn’t have all that much willpower, and loses weight? A guy who has been at it for 9 years and has kept off 65 pounds most of that time? Here you go:

  1. Write down everything you eat. Practice keeping a journal. The definition of ‘practice’ is that you will fail a lot, but you keep at it and get better  – like playing the piano. Make your journal as simple or as detailed as you like. Experiment. Journaling raises awareness
  2. Ride the motivation wave. When motivation is high – go with the flow. When it isn’t – relax. It’s like sailing: when the wind doesn’t blow, wait patiently and enjoy the view.
  3. Don’t be in a rush.
  4. If you are unhappy on your diet, mix it up. People lose weight on low carb diets AND low-calorie diets. It’s not illegal to switch back and forth. I won’t tell
  5. Practice not snacking.
  6. Don’t drink your calories if you can help it. Make this a practice as well.
  7. Practice the reducing of processed foods in your diet as much as possible. Avoid as many chemicals and additives as you can
  8. Stay away from weight-loss supplements – they’re expensive, possibly dangerous, and will NOT lead to long-term, sustainable weight loss
  9. If you have a lot of weight to lose, consider going on a diet first, take off some weight, then exercise. Anyone who tells you that you can’t lose weight without exercising is simply wrong.
  10. Unplanned cheats should NEVER upset you. In the long-term, they don’t matter. Just get back on the horse tomorrow
  11. If you lose weight then plateau, think of it as a place to rest. To throttle back, to recuperate before the next leg of your journey
  12. Don’t do anything to yourself that smacks of emotional abuse or physical abuse. Your health and well-being can’t be measured by a number on a scale.
  13. Realize that weight loss might make you happier but it won’t make you happy. If you pin all your hopes on weight loss making you happy, you’re in for a letdown when you reach your target. Happiness is being at peace with yourself now – not in some future place. It doesn’t mean you don’t strive for things, or don’t work hard, or even fail occasionally. If you count your blessings and fight the good fight every day, you’re in a good place.

That’s it. Short and sweet. Start your practice now.

Can a Low Carb Diet Sabotage Long-Term Weight Control Through Appetite Supression?

For most people, a low carb diet is not their first diet. We come to low carb after failure with isocaloric diets, where we starved while eating tiny portions that were supposedly ideal for our bodies, but not for our appetite. In between meals we watched the clock, counting the hours, minutes, and seconds until the next unfulfilling meal awaited. In between we sipped (or gulped) water, maybe ate carrot sticks or celery, and looked forward with a combination off desire and dread of the next low-calorie meal, hoping this one would fill us up, and usually disappointed that it didn’t.

We got used to hunger if we kept with it long enough. Hunger was just a part of dieting that couldn’t be avoided.

Then someone came along and told us about low carb – and the promise that you can lose weight and not be hungry. Hard to believe, but for many of us, that’s exactly what happened. Low carb diets – especially ketogenic ones, can kill an appetite dead.

It’s a dieter’s Shangra-La. Eat til full and lose weight. Months pass, and we change in two ways. First, the appetite suppression lessens simply because we begin to build a tolerance to it. I believe the power of Ketosis has the most impact on someone who has been high carb all their lives, but that appetite suppressant naturally lessens with time on the diet and the gradual reintroduction of carbs that is usually the natural progression of these diets.

The second change is we grow less tolerant of hunger. We’re less used to it, and as the ketogenic aspects of the diet lessen, through acclimation or through the gradual introduction of carbs, our lessened tolerance of hunger gets us in trouble as we eat greater quantities of low carb food, and the weight loss stops.

I’m wondering if building a ‘hunger practice’ into a low carb diet from the outset – periods where we practice being hungry for short periods of time – might prove beneficial as we progress to long-term weight loss and maintenance.

Just my own theory – does this resonate with any of you?

 

 

I Am A Product

I’ve mentioned in my posts over the past few weeks that I’ve been walking a whole lot more. I also do a lot of thinking as I do this. Unconscious thinking. Thinking where a complex thought just seems as if it was handed to me, and I am just here to take dictation.

These thoughts are not necessarily good ideas (note my ideas on nicotine as a weight loss device), and I don’t treat them as such by default. I usually need to test them out – kick the tires so-to-speak. Creative, fully formed ideas are not always good ones, and I try not to fall in love with my ideas because they’re mine, although it’s always a hazard.

As I was walking the other day, one of these fully formed ideas was handed to me. I went in and transcribed it. It was the following – written in about the time it take me to type.

You are a Product

You are a product, as mass-produced as the cattle that become your fast-food burgers. From before your birth, you, like that cattle, exist as a statistic, one that is expected to produce and consume from cradle to grave, and all that producing and consuming is intended to prolong your life to the full extent of others’ profitability and even in your death it is expected that they will turn a quick buck. Continue reading “I Am A Product”

Why Don’t We Keep This Low Carb Stuff to Ourselves?

In my ninth year doing this, I am more convinced than ever that eating copious amounts of saturated fats for nearly a decade has not only proved harmless to my health, but has prevented me from being 60 pounds heavier, diabetic, and having to be treated for GERD. It’s probably also prevented me from sky-high cholesterol and unmanageable high-blood pressure to boot.

I was so convinced of this that I maintain this blog to spread the good news about achievable weight loss and better health.

But is this a stupid thing to do? Continue reading “Why Don’t We Keep This Low Carb Stuff to Ourselves?”