A 45-year-old fat man trying to find his inner skinny dude.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Food Porn

Is it eating more or the little rotating staircase that kicks my ass?  Either way, I'm down a bit.  Yesterday was a BIG day.  HUGE.  In terms of eating, anyway.  I would not call it a binge, because it was not driven by emotion.  Rather, I just gave myself a day away from the obsession.  Pizza with my stepson figured into it.

Speaking of emotion, however, because I often do.  This has been a pretty challenging week.  The biggest deal to me is that one of my dogs--the first dog I ever had as an adult, in fact--has bladder cancer.  He's a goner.  He's on chemo pills which are supposed to stop the progress of the disease.  The vet says that will buy him four to six months of good quality of life.  (Reading between the lines, I assume this means the pills will not actually arrest the disease process.)

This is the kind of situation that would historically throw me off the rails.  What I've found, though, is that I have mostly not been interested in eating when I've been upset about this dog.  In fact, there have been instances in which I could barely bring myself to eat because I was sad about him.  I consider this the zen miracle. 

I guess that my  eating habits have really become habits.  Friday, someone brought doughnuts into the office.  I like to go look.  I consider looking at the goodies food porn.  But Friday I was in a state--overtired, overwrought--and I thought, fuck it.  So I went to look, with every intention of taking at least one doughnut back to my desk.  But I was unmoved.  Nothing there looked that good.  Don't get me wrong--they were fine-looking doughnuts.  I just didn't care.  Apparently, the porn quality to them was plenty satisfying for me.

So there it is--movement of a sort.  I can be sad without eating.  Who knew?  I hope that it will apply in all areas of my life at some point--stress, boredom, whatever.  Maybe it already does.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eating a lot

Here's what I find, periodically, when I don't track my food regularly.  I can eat a lot.  Years ago, my doctor, who was also my friend, told me she found it very hard to eat 2000 calories a day.  She was a little tiny woman.  I told her in all seriousness, I could do that at lunch.  Dinner for sure.  She was amazed.

Three years ago, when I started Weight Watchers and lost the first 50 or 55 pounds, I realized I had been eating a lot.  I also realized that when eating good food, I was rarely seriously hungry.  Some hunger, sure, before meals, but not starving.  (I actually like feeling hungry.  It makes me feel as though I'm eating appropriately.) 

When I don't track, I end up eating a lot.  But I don't want to.  I see "diet articles"  and ads for diet plans or products talking about how much you can eat if you only eat xyz.  It's true that you get more volume if you stay away from heavily processed food.  Two hundred calories of chicken takes up more space than two hundred calories of candy. 

But I don't want to eat a lot.  The Weight Watcher meetings I most disliked were the ones in which people talked about recipes and figured out how to eat lots of food at the lowest possible point level.  Some people need that.  I rarely did, if ever.  I just want to eat normal amounts (I know, I know--what's normal?) and be happy with it.  If I listen to my stomach, I know that I don't have to eat tons.  That's because I don't get that hungry.  I feel compelled to eat the most when I'm overtired or agitated.  (For example, last night, when my dog was at the vet overnight, I ate a lot (and I didn't beat myself up over it.)  He seems to be fine. :))  I don't want to feel like that.  I want to eat when I'm hungry until I'm not.  That's it.

Another promise I see a lot is that you can lose weight without hunger.  This might be true, but not from taking a pill or eating a magic something-or-other.  In my experience, as I eat less, I become used to less, and I don't suffer.

What's the point?  When people focus on eating a lot even when trying to lose weight, I think their focus is misplaced.  It's not about the food.  It's about why you're using the food the way you do (like using it to deal with the stress of a sick pet).  I've seen blog posts from people who say they're binging and can't stop.  That amazes me.  If you're in the middle of a binge, stop.  Pay attention to what's bugging you. 

Food is fuel.  Eat what you need.

Without hunger.
Look how much you can eat.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just strange

So, I was complaining about the scale last time.  The other night, I went to bed at 330.2.  That's the highest in a long time.  I lose at night (it's all water).  This morning, after breakfast, the gym, and a post-workout greek yogurt, I was at 321.2.  So strange.  So so strange.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What to do

Ok, I'm in maintenance.  Sort of.  I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do.  I'm eating plenty (like the fat2fit guys say to do), and I've been working out pretty regularly.  But this week, as of today, I'm up.  On October 23 I was at 323. On November 27, I was at 319.2.  Last week, 322.4. Today, 326.8.

As I write this, I realize that it's not a huge swing.  At the margins, when you're this fat, six or seven pounds doesn't mean much, size-wise.  It would be a much bigger deal if I'd gone from 219 to 226.  (A man can dream.)  Even then, not horrible.  But there is no way I have had 14,000 extra calories in a week.

I've changed up my workouts this week, too.  I've been working out more, and I finally got away from the elliptical and the bike.  Now, I can do the elliptical for an hour at a good pace.  I'll get bored before I get tired.  So I got on the miniature staircase that is the new Stairmaster.  Ten minutes the first two times.  Fifteen yesterday.  That thing kicks my ass.  I will keep doing it along with the elliptical.

I think my legs are bigger after a few times of this.  I'm either retaining some water or I've built some muscle.  The former is probably more likely.  Everything I've heard and read says you can't build muscle when you're also losing fat.  I don't care so much about building muscle.  I want to retain what I have, though.

Anyway, this is very frustrating.  When I step back, I realize that my clothes fit, and I am moving well.  I don't want to do this in an unhealthy way.  But damn.  Tony (theantijared, at right) lost 200 pounds in a year.  He looks great (though he works out more than I would).  And Sean (Daily Diary at right) is down almost 300 pounds in two years.  Maybe I shouldn't compare myself, but I'm big enough that the weight should come off.

I've been trying to find articles about a body's adjustment after a 10% loss, which is what I've done (twice!), but I haven't seen anything.  I think it would be helpful if I found something that said after you drop 35 pounds, the body needs six months to regroup.  If that happens, I'll let you know.

Time for coffee.

Friday, January 7, 2011



If I read the article linked above correctly, one isn't fat due to sloth and overeating.  Rather, the body knows what it should look like and makes you eat and sit and gain (or not, as the case may be).

I'm not sure how I feel about that.  On one hand, I'm like anyone else.  I want to hear, "It's not your fault!  It's the genes!"  Certainly there is a genetic component.  But not everyone in my family is hugely fat (though most are nicely marbled).  If you look at Refuse to Regain (at the right), you'll see that one of the writers believes that hormones encourage overeating.  You only thought it was emotional agitation.

I guess I'd love it if it were not my fault.  I don't think I'll get there.  I'm an American from the midwest.  We pretty much believe in personal responsibility.  This kind of thinking can, I have no doubt, lead to self-loathing.  Which can lead to overeating (of the non-hormonal variety).

As a practical matter, though, I don't think I care if it's chicken-egg or egg-chicken.  Bottom line:  I don't want to be fat.  I'm doing what I think I should be doing.  It's slow going.  Lately, it's been really frustrating.  But I want to do this correctly, intelligently.  Someone asked me the other day, what's the rush?  Only that after forty years, I'm sick of being fat.  That's the rush.  Time is like land.  They're not making any more of it.

This is an addendum about the writer profiled in the article above:

Here's a lecture by the guy: