Gas station without pumps

2015 January 31

Weight-loss progress report

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:18
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In 2015 New Year’s resolution , I said that I want to lose 10–15 pounds by June 2015. I recognized that New Year’s resolutions rarely last, but that making a public commitment helps people stick with their resolutions.

I’ve been slowly putting on weight for decades (about 1 lb/year since I was 20 years old). I started out very skinny, so the first 20 years probably were getting me to a healthier weight, but I retained my skinny-guy eating habits even as my metabolism slowed with age and I overshot my ideal weight.

When I made my New Year’s resolution, I recognized that successful weight loss requires a change of habits:

Given that I’m unlikely to sustain an increased exercise regime for long enough to lose much weight, it seems like my best bet will be to try to regulate my diet.  …

I’ll try to cut back on some of the high-calorie foods (like cheese and ice cream) and increase my intake of bulky low-calorie foods (like vegetables).  Changing habits that I developed when I was a skinny person is going to be hard, but I’m hopeful that I can reset the weight homeostasis back to what it was a decade ago, and that within six months new dietary habits will be sufficiently established to be able to maintain the weight without struggle.

What I ended up doing was allowing myself to eat any amount of food for lunch, but only raw fruits and vegetables, which have a fairly low calorie density, filling me up without fattening me.  I’ve been generally eating a couple of carrots worth of carrot sticks, a few stalks of celery, some red cabbage or jicama, and an apple for lunch. I’ve stopped eating the tacos from the taco truck (which I miss) and stopped eating snacks from the vending machine (which were never that good anyway).

My evening meal is not restricted by type of food—my wife and I have pretty much been on a “Mediterranean diet” for years, so we didn’t see any reason to change the balance of foods we ate for dinner. Instead, I’ve been trying to control how much I eat by eating slower and stopping before I’m completely stuffed. To keep from feeling deprived of treats, I still allow myself a small amount of chocolate a day (25g of dark chocolate—half of a small Trader Joe’s bar) and occasionally have a mug of hot cocoa (made with non-fat milk, sugar, and Droste cocoa powder).

My exercise levels have remained unchanged, consisting almost entirely of bicycle commuting and weekly bike shopping trips (averaging 4.76 miles/day this month—slightly higher than my long-term average of 3.83 miles/day, but normal for the school term). The intensity of my bicycling depends mainly on how far behind schedule I’m running on my way into work, which is a random variable that is pretty much independent of whether I’m trying to lose weight.

So, one month in, how am I doing?  Let’s look at a plot of my weight over the last few years:

My long-term trend over the past 40 years has been a fairly steady pound per year gain, but last year my rate of increase went up.  The diet is bringing my weight down fairly fast.

My long-term trend over the past 40 years has been a fairly steady pound per year gain, but last year my rate of increase went up. The diet is bringing my weight down fairly fast.

I’m back in the ballpark of what I weighed in 2011, and my rate of weight loss (1.24 lbs/week) is in the 1–2 lbs/week range that CDC recommends for diets that result in a lower stable weight (rather than rebounding).  At the current rate, I need to stay on the diet for another 8 weeks, then switch to a maintenance diet to hold a constant weight.  Of course, it is quite likely that at some point before then my weight will stop decreasing, as my dedication to the weight-loss diet wanes, but things are going well so far.

 

10 Comments »

  1. Thanks for posting on this subject! I, too, was an “eat anything and everything” thin person in my younger days, but have suffered slow weight gain over the decades. I am still in the normal range, but the rate of gain has escalated and it’s time to put on the skids. You’ve given me some ideas and maybe I can try something like this myself.
    Good luck. If there is such a thing as a transfer of positive energy, I am sending it to you. In any case, you can get a psychological boost from adding me to your list of cheerleaders out there in the universe.
    Sally

    Comment by Sally — 2015 January 31 @ 11:38 | Reply

    • Thanks. Since I currently have a bad cold (along with just about all my students), a psychological boost is definitely needed to get through the five senior thesis drafts I need to mark up this weekend.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2015 January 31 @ 11:52 | Reply

  2. Thumbs up from the frozen tundra, as well! This sounds like a great meal plan. And wishing you a quick recovery from the cold.

    Comment by xykademiqz — 2015 February 2 @ 20:59 | Reply

  3. Nice work. I also was an eat anything and lose weight type until about age 40. I have leveled off at about 185 lbs. I would rather be at 175 but that would mean giving up micro-brew beer. Not something I am ready to do yet. Winter is my bad time. I am a warm weather person so I hate running or biking in the winter. I ran a half-marathon at 100 degrees and loved it. When summer hits and the trails open to mountain biking I lose some of the waist but the weight stays pretty much the same. To lose the waist completely I need to do more road work. Long sustained rides. I tried that with mountain trails, 50 miles in a day, but the recovery consisted of beer and pizza. Opps.

    Comment by gflint — 2015 February 3 @ 08:25 | Reply

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