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New Happy Shiny Weight Loss Success – Week 2 of 14

Posted Jun 03 2012 7:20am

Day 8 of 105. Sunday, May 27, 2012. Weight: 207.8

Weird. I had just finished last week’s post and then tidied the books and papers scattered about. A book was open – The Obesity Myth by James Campos – and I was about to close it when I saw a passage I had marked:

The last American diet – the one diet that would actually “work” – is that (anti)diet that would grasp the almost Zen-like character of this truth: If weight is not an issue, then weight will not be an issue. If you want to achieve a healthy weight, stop wanting to lose weight and start wanting those things – an active life, good food, and the calm enjoyment of both – that, unlike weight loss, are unalloyed goods in and of themselves. If you can manage to do this, you may well lose weight in the process; but far more important, you will get to the place where the weight you lose has been lost precisely because you no longer care, at some deep level of self-acceptance, whether you’ve lost weight or not.

It would seem to be an almost direct restating of what I wrote last week – only mine had concrete steps I applied to it.

I need to discuss this book more in the future. Aside from one pointless chapter on the author’s psychobabble description of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, it was a profound read.

Being Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I packed up the kids for a long car trip to Mitsuwa, which ended up its own post so I won’t blather on about it here.

I had an Atkins Shake for breakfast and didn’t get anything but did have some leftover pork from the noodle dishes my wife and kids got.

I had a second Atkins shake on the way home.

We didn’t get home till 7:30, when I had some of the Kimchi we bought at the store. Kimchi is Korean pickled cabbage. Good stuff. While my wife cooked a chicken pot pie recipe she found, I ate leftovers. There was a portion of Kilebasa I finished up, an aging avocado with a little Caesar dressing, and some fresh organic strawberries I shared with the wife and kids. I also had some Dark chocolate – Trader Joe’s. A bit higher in carbs than my Lindt dark chocolate, but that’s OK.

Day 9 of 105. Monday, May 28, 2012. Weight: 206.4

I have to come clean: I love when my Fitbit sucks up to me:

I thought I was too jaded for this sort of thing – but I like it. It motivates me. I find myself walking back and forth instead of standing still. Taking extra trips in the grocery store, circling back for forgotten items. Parking further away than I already did. It’s the damn Fitbit and that 10,000-step number. I want it.

It was a really hot day. I got the wife to take a walk with me before it really got warm, then went home to do some garage cleaning, then a trip to the mall as my wife wanted a bread machine. She is on a rather serious kick to know what’s in her food, and while a bread machine is not exactly what a guy on a low carb diet wants around the house, I support her in her desire to explore healthier ways of eating.

Speaking of eating, I didn’t eat until perhaps 1pm when I had some chicken wings sautéed in butter with mushrooms and rosemary that she had made the night before. This was quite good – and low carb as well, so yay me.

There was also home-made chicken pot pie lying about and a had a few forkfuls of that – wonderful stuff.

Then it was back to the hot garage with the wife to ask each other that deep philosophical question over and over as we cleaned: why did we buy this?

Having tired of my tour of duty in the garage, I attempted to ‘season’ the bread machine. I read in an Amazon review that it was a bit smelly on first use, so let it run through a cycle empty to burn off the excess industrial oils and sealants. I put this in the garage and let it run.

It also was a great day for the grill so I took a number of aged zucchini, skinned and sliced them, and tossed them in olive oil and Cajun spices from Whole Foods. I also had 2 cucumbers hidden in the bunch. Can you grill cucumbers?

We’ll find out.

Of course on Memorial Day the grill runs out of propane, so I put them in the oven instead.

Thirty minutes later, I had the answer to: can you grill a cucumber? Maybe not. They were bitter, and didn’t go with the Cajun spices like their zucchini cousins did. Lesson learned.

My wife wanted to make more ice cream in the evening, so I helped her make green tea ice cream and chocolate ice cream. She put in way too little sugar in the green tea ice cream, which was fine with me. The kids liked it with sugar on top – I had some without. Not bad.

It ended up a pick-on-this-and-that evening, so I had some Trader Joe’s Thai Mixed nuts with Chili and Lime. Awesome and hot. I also gnoshed 2 or 3 pita chips, and eventually had a piece of the great chicken pot pie my wife made.

I finished up with maybe 3-1/2 ounces of that grass-fed Kerry Cheese with a slice of bread, and it was off to bed.

Day 10 of 105. Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Weight: 207.4

Did I mention the Zen Yoga book and DVD yet? No? Maybe because I’m a little unsure about it.

When I was in the Japanese book store the other day, they had a tiny section of books in english, but with a Japanese flavor. Since giving up on the weights, I’ve been looking for something whole body, something that can be called exercise, but bring new flexibility and suppleness with it. There was a book called Zen Yoga and I liked it’s layout. The book mentioned it was a combination of yoga and Tai Chi, which I also liked. I didn’t like the $20 price, so I bought it used on Amazon in the store and saved a few bucks. I also found the guy had a ‘daily routine’ video so I bought that used as well.

It’s the equivalent of buying the gym clothes in preparation of joining a gym. A nice gesture, backed by cold, hard, cash, but it means nothing until that first morning when I put it on the TV and actually do it.

Being a guy, and a rather graceless one at that, Yoga is something I’ve toyed with in the past, found intriguing, yet always felt ridiculous doing. Leave it to Men’s Health to ‘man it up’ for me :

Closer to physiology class than a Trekkie convention, yoga is a bona fide science. Yes, some instructors talk of prana (the life force), display Hindu or Buddhist deities, or lead classes in brief chanting. Don’t let this stuff spook you; just consider it something to focus on, rather than, say, the sirens outside or your neighbor’s nice legs. Concentrate on the techniques you’re learning, especially matching your movements to your breathing. “Focusing on the physical aspects of yoga is where you start,” Baptiste says. “The rest is yours for the taking but entirely optional.”

They never fail at the ability to perpetuate stereotypes of men to men. I suppose, like women’s magazines, this serves to help people without a strong identity to glom on to the gender archetype. A guy’s guy, who likes sports, drinks beer, has a way with the ladies, and takes yoga classes because some coach on some sports team recommends it – though our archetypical man needs to be advised not to stare at a fellow student’s pretty legs, or be distracted by traffic noises, or be scared away by mystical nonsense.

In the end, our archetypical man sounds a bit like a Golden retriever – somewhat trainable if given time and patience.

I find it funny the article is being written by a woman – who apparently believes the stereotype, writes to it, and is probably successful doing it.

Anyway, that’s the future. The now is getting back to an austere daily routine at work and avoiding the temptations of noshing when about the house on a long weekend.

I did OK for the most part. I brought my greek yogurt and had that in the am, followed by a can of tuna in the PM. My tuna species is skipjack – not the bluefin found with the increased radiation levels .  Feeling a bit hungry in the afternoon, I grabbed an Atkins shake. It didn’t seem enough on this day, apparently, as I was having food fantasies on the way home, dreaming of McDonald’s, pizza, and stopping at the supermarket for the cheap and seductive ‘Shop Rite Wide Bologna’, which I can trick myself into thinking is low carb (not really) and sets off overeating. I love it, but it’s a food of little quality that sets me off, and needs to go on the ‘avoid’ list.

I did manage to avoid temptation on the way home and instead indulged with what ended up being 4 organic hot dogs – 2 on a bun, as well as my super-duper Belgian butter with some pork rinds.

I was more or less OK in the calorie department at that point, and fell asleep reading. My wife woke me to bring the kid, who had fallen asleep on the couch, up to bed, and while downstairs, had some milk and a small cup of brown rice with some soy sauce.

Day 11 of 105. Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Weight: 206.2

A daruma sits on my desk and stares me down with blank eyes as I write. From the little insert that came with the guy I bought on my trip to Mitsuwa:

The red daruma is a popular figure in Japan found in almost every home and business. At the beginning of the year or at the start of a new venture or journey, people buy a new daurma and make a wish or set a goal. They color one eye and can only color in the other when the wish is fulfilled or the goal is achieved. The round shape of the doll keeps it from falling over. If knocked down, it will pop back up adding to the notion that perseverance is key!

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe that this paper mache figure has any magic powers – I admire it for its charm as well as it’s applicability as a device to bring focus, a mental reminder of your unachieved goal, the one you are working toward.

I think both eyes will remain unfilled for a while. I want to clearly clarify what I want my goal or goals to be. They’re not just to fit into a pair of pants. I am aiming for something deeper, something bigger. Weight loss would be part of it, but it is more about the notion of ‘practice’ as I discussed in my last post. Of living a life that is a practice that works toward an ideal, and where ‘success’ isn’t a daily scoring of numbers as much as the practice itself.

It’s not that practice makes perfect, but that practice IS perfect – at least that’s where my head is now.

It’s not Western thinking, where there are winners and losers – and it’s not the empty gesture of ‘social promotion’ where every kid gets an award so as not to harm their fragile egos – but then we ruin them, allowing them to crumple like a cheap suit when the going gets even a little rough.

It’s all about competition, but it’s only with oneself. Where the score is noted, but secondary. Where the winning, if it exists at all, is in the trying more than the succeeding, and where the journey is more important than the destination because, in reality destinations are endpoints, conclusions. Nothing happens there. It’s the journey that’s where the action is.

[Cue sound of sitar music, then loud record scratch sound, then silence]

Oh…wait, you say this is a food blog? What’s all this other BS!?! Oh, yeah – forgive me.

Anywho…the blood glucose is a tad bit high this AM – 116 – probably because of brown rice before bed – especially without some fat to slow absorption. The 2 potato rolls also seem particularly good at getting the BG up. Potato rolls more so than your ordinary bread. I ate these more out of laziness than anything: I have grass-fed beef in the fridge just waiting to become burgers on the grill, but felt a little run down – perhaps that hangover we ALL get after a long weekend, regardless of whether we drink or not.

I suppose that along with the aforementioned Shop Rite Wide Bologna, potato rolls should also be added to my ‘Not to Do’ list. As part of my not-to-do list I also have tapering off on the OCD-like use of Altoid Smalls, and reducing the amount of coffee I drink to something more reasonable. I’ve begun on the Altoids – I only use them in the car and in work now.

The coffee? That will need to come later.

The thing about a practice is that the practice is in the driver’s seat – you can only guide it, and so far this week the focus of the practice seems to be eating austere during the day, the continuation of the walking, and reduction of Altoids. I have eaten well in the evenings, maybe more than I like, but there’s been less of a ‘blowout’ mindset.

The example – today, was the austere yogurt and oysters during the day. Home was a wide variety of things, even a bit of pasta, but their was more of a control over it. There’s more work to be done here, surely, but it’s taken on a different tone, at least so far.

My wife and I cooked, and it became a bit of a feast. I had 2 grass-fed burgers with Dubliner cheese, an Italian sausage off the grill, half of a soft-shelled crab, a bit of leftover Chinese takeout (chicken and green beans), and a lobster tail. I also had a tiny bit of pita chips and 3.5 squares of the Lindt dark chocolate – the one I allow.

Day 12 of 105. Thursday, May 31, 2012. Weight: 206.8

Going into the weekend, it seems this week had been good so far in instituting the food austerity during the day and a big cutback on the Altoids. The goal is to maintain this through the weekend if some event doesn’t come along worthy of upsetting it. An OK example might be an impromptu BBQ with friends. A not OK example is eating 10 Lindt Chocolate Truffles in a row standing in the kitchen alone. I’ve been indulging, but the indulgences have not been the wild swings - that’s what I am targeting this time around. I want the scale and the intake to show a boring consistency. Scales are prone to doing what they want to do at times, but the intake should be the easier of the 2 to bring into line.

Unfortunately, the day was not one conducive to the calm work that is required of practice. My day at work was like a fraternity hazing without the alcohol – one unexpected, unpleasant surprise after another. I had my yogurt and my oysters, but damn! – I wanted to rush out to the pizza place, buy a number of slices and chow down, letting the dopamine rush of food give me a temporary respite from the day crashing about me.

But I didn’t. The feeling passed. The day didn’t get any better – in fact it got worse, but I held it together. I even stopped at the supermarket on the way home to pick up stuff for the rest of the family and avoided temptation – even a low carb one.

On the way home my boss called me and told me of another thing that happen after I left. We talked about it and decided on a plan of action for the next day, and we said goodbye, with him telling me ‘have a beer’.

I told him I’d have some grass-fed burgers instead – and I did. Two leftover burgers from the night before, with some cheese and reduced sugar ketchup. Relatively austere. Then I stopped.

More bad news: I got my yoga video. Now I have no excuses NOT to do it. Wait…don’t I need some special clothes? Isn’t there some excuse that I can give myself and even half-believe?

Then, the final blow: my wife walks in with 2 hot baguettes – which is what she usually does on a Thursday evening.

For all the trials of the day, I did not succumb and eat half a loaf – I had a reasonable-sized piece – what any normal person might consider normal – maybe 2 inches of the loaf. I did have plenty of butter – but I don’t concern myself too much about butter – at least at the moment. I had more butter with some pork rinds, and went to bed.

Day 13 of 105. Friday, June 1, 2012. Weight: 204.4

I start the month at 204.4. My blood glucose is 95 - what it was a decade ago. I have my yoga video. I walk every day. I’m slowly building healthy routines in my life, bit-by-bit. All wonderful things. To repeat again more for myself than anyone else: don’t focus on the weight loss now – focus on the routines. Bring healthy routines into your life, in a healthy and gentle fashion. Don’t ‘force’ anything. That doesn’t negate effort. Gentle and firm, slow and steady.

I am still listening to David Kessler’s The End of Overeating . While the first section dragged – way too much use of the words ‘rat’, ‘dopamine’, ‘opiate’ tended to blur it all into gobbledegook and obscured his point, which could be summed up as: sugar, salt, and fat in foods can stimulate pleasure centers in the brain and make us eat too much, the second section is about the food industry and their using this to make their food irresistible, was far more gripping for me.

It would be easier if their were actual villans in all this, but really, their isn’t. Most of you have a job – right? How many of you know as a kid ‘I’m gonna grow up to be an accountant?’ We tend to find our careers because of talent, opportunity, and dumb luck, and keep them for all 3 of those as well as hard work.

If you go to work as a chemist for a baker, and he asks you what can be done to increase sales, and maybe prevent the flour from going rancid before he bakes it, you’re doing your job to suggest he add some sugar and salt to the dough, or get a particular type of refined flour that resists going rancid. People like and buy the product. The bakery makes money. You feed your family. Other people at the bakery make money and buy houses and cars and feed their families – capitalism.

Chemists, who like everybody else have college loans to pay off and families to feed, discover concoctions that make foods ‘a supernormal stimuli’ or realize making a food be a ‘layered experience’ with a complex assortment of sweet, fat, salt, crunch, softness, aroma, and a dozen other aspects increase the desirability of food.

Isn’t that what we want? Cheap tasty food? Don’t we do the exact same thing when we make our own recipes – mix yummy stuff together to make it more yummy – and if we got the ingredients at half-price – all the better?

I make this point as a some senator senator attempts to more closely regulate supplements and New York Mayor Bloomberg tries to ban big sodas. I am for both of these notions – but I don’t support either. Getting our US government involved can only fuck things up. Even when they do something right, it’s usually for the wrong reasons, or by accident.

The point of the digression is that we need to stop looking for someone outside ourselves to fix things. In a blog about low carb dieting, that means accepting our world is filled with food industry people trying to make us eat their food – and it’s up to us to politely decline their requests of us.

Even kids can do this – did you see the grade-school blogger who would post her crappy school lunch on her blog every day – and it went viral and the school actually started serving better food ?

Yes – they tricked you into eating their food – and designed it so that you would train yourself to eat it every day – and you got fat.

Now you get it.

Now you train yourself NOT to eat it. It won’t be easy – but that’s what it is.

In the book, Dr. Kessler interviews the creator of Cinnabon . The original recipe came from a family recipe. She expressed doubts that, if offered to take her small business nationwide now instead of 25 years ago, she would have. She’s concerned about childhood obesity personally, and suffered from eating disorders herself. She saw Cinnabon as a ‘once in a great while treat’ – not something you eat 3 times a week.

But you don’t start a national chain and tell people not to eat too much of it. The last thing her backers would want is for it to be an occasional thing. That’s not how it works.

is not exactly the best book for audio – I find myself wanting to underline stuff. I need to go back and listen again to parts. It’s an uneven book, slow at times, but focused on the psychology of overeating in conjunction with the enhancements done to food to make it irresistible. How we create a conditioned response that makes us eat when we aren’t hungry, and how we can control this. It’s worth a look.

Anywho…another miserable day at work. I didn’t expect much – and it didn’t disappoint. I had the pizza urges again – and I welcomed them: the more I have these urges and resist them, the stronger my practice. I ate my yogurt – a large tub so it was close to 16 oz. of the stuff – and the urge passed.

I had the afternoon oysters, avoided the supermarket and McDonald’s temptations on the way home, and once home, had some stir-fried cabbage – about a cup. The wife and kids were out, so I read a bit and fell asleep.

When they came home, they woke me up and we all hung out in the kitchen for a late impromptu dinner. I had nearly 1,100 calories in this one meal – some of the leftover French bread with lots of that Belgian salted butter made up the majority of those calories – some of the Lindt dark chocolate – the one I allow myself because it’s low carb – was another 230 calories.

Day 14 of 105. Saturday, June 2, 2012. Weight: 202.4

Note: a drop in weight like today’s I believe will *always* be followed by a small gain – even if I ate nothing. It’s the kind of progress that’s a trap if you get too enamored by it. Again: it’s the practice – not the scale that drives this experiment.

At the end of the second week, I’m way ahead of the game – but here, as always is where the tough part starts – on two fronts.

The weekend – a time where a fridge is a few steps away, and a weight of 202.4, which invariably has meant a sudden upswing before – at least for the last couple of years.

I had weighed myself last night and was 202.2 – that was before eating. I toyed with the idea of not eating in the evening, but that is pathological – I’m not trying to starve myself for the scale – and not part of my practice. So I didn’t.

It didn’t seem to hurt much, which leads back to the calorie bugaboo. It’s not calore-in-calorie out. You need calories to burn calories – to use their terms.

The big challenge is to maintain a consistency into the weekend. I have not had any true blowouts. I have also not deprived myself of carbs. I have also lost weight. All good so far, but it’s the next week that will be telling of my resolve.

My biggest criticism of the past week is not enough plants. I need more green stuff in my diet, and need to find a way to do so in the evening.

I also looked at the Zen Yoga video. I can’t find anything wrong with it to allow me to say I can’t try it. It isn’t particularly annoying in general, like some of these can be. The positions are not particularly hard, even. I have no excuse.


As to eats for the day, the weekend was more challenging. At the farmer’s market they had a stand making crepes out of local foods – I guess locavorism is popular around here. They also knew what they were doing – I had two bites of the strawberry rhubarb my one daughter had, and a bit of the other which had asparagus, ham and cheese. Both very good.

The core of my ‘practice’ is to be able to do this – and NOT have a blowout. For me to be able to achieve my goal, being able to have tastes of thing is central to the theme – of living in the real world. Yes – some things should be ‘nevers’ – but not this – and having the wisdom and calmness to decide these things correctly is all part of the plan.

A bit later to the grocery store and I stocked up on supplies for the next week – yogurt of course, and more organic hot dogs, which everyone seems to like and given the ingredients, aren’t bad for you. We also got some cooked bacon – I had some of that when we got home – along with a yogurt – my usual ‘break fast’.

A little later my wife had washed these tiny, squat peaches – strange-looking things, but tasty. I had one of these. I could have eaten more, and thoughts of food arose, but then they passed and I was fine for a good part of the afternoon. A bit later I did have more coffee and used some heavy cream but didn’t go apeshit.

Further along in the afternoon I cleaned up some sardines in mustard that were open in the fridge. I don’t think I’ll buy them anymore. They’re kinda bleah. I had these with pork rinds. I also had a half-dozen of the white turnips from the farmer’s market, so, in case you are wondering – yeah, I DID actually eat a vegetable this week.

In the evening one kid was out with friends having pizza and we just picked as my wife made her first loaf of bread with her new bread machine. I had been running the thing out in the garage for a week because someone on Amazon in a review said the thing reeked of chemicals the first few times you ran it – they were right. After running it a half-dozen times, it was allowed in the house, and while my wife had a few missteps, the first loaf of bread wasn’t half-bad – the crust was a bit thick, however.  My wife, who had spent the evening on bread machine blogs and forums said that she knew what needed to be done the next time.

My wife used all the best ingredients. I had been waiting for this and had left room for it. Yes – it was good. The crust needed work, but the bread itself was a hit.

My wife did note that the loaf she made by hand probably cost $5 in ingredients. She had been bitching about the cost of the high-quality organic bread in the store – it turns out that maybe it’s competitive.

We talk a lot about our values and what it important to us. How you spend your money defines your values. Your real values – not the ones you try to project to others. My car is a vehicle that takes me and my family where we need to go. It is not a status symbol, nor is it cool. It’s an 8-year-old minivan. It’s OK with me.

I value good food. I enjoy cooking and the art of cooking, not that I’m any good at it, of course. Of good ingredients and the great stuff I can get at the farmer’s market. I value feeding my family these things. As long as I am able, I would rather spend my money on good food than a new car.

This week you might have noticed that I didn’t put the numbers tally for calories, carbs, etc. for each day. That’s because I’m saving them for the end. I think they make more sense when put together – at least that’s the thought.

day Date Wt Loss Est Wt Act AM Wt Act PM Cals Total g Fat g Carb g Fiber Net Carb g Protein g Cals Burned Exercise
8 5/27/12 209.8 207.8 1843.0 251 134 84 42 42 75 -411
9 5/28/12 209.6 206.4 2281.0 371 144 144 19 125 102 -621
10 5/29/12 209.3 207.4 204.6 2330.0 388 138 117 7 110 140 -363
11 5/30/12 209.1 206.2 2285.0 382 120 116 9 107 155 -493
12 5/31/12 208.8 206.8 205.0 2005.0 307 140 52 2 50 117 297
13 6/1/12 208.5 204.4 202.4 1995.0 314 126 131 18 113 75 0
14 6/2/12 208.3 202.8 1908.0 272 139 66 18 48 85 -649

The calorie range is fairly consistent - that’s rare for me. The fats are also pretty consistent, while the carbs and protein are all over the map. Maybe this is what works for me. We’ll see.

To be continued…

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