Monthly Archives: February 2009
Apologies to my usual crew, this is ostensibly an obsessive collectors blog and not a self-help site, but this has caught my interest lately so I shall hold forth on matters non-edged.
I hit a new weight goal today (168 lbs, I am 5’10”), and have been having pretty good luck over the last 2 years maintaining a BMI under 25. This is significant, as I have been bumping a 30 BMI for many years in my late 20’s early 30’s. As I near 40 now, I had to take a step back and wonder… “why?” Why have I been having an easier time lately keeping my weight down?
What I will tell you is only relevant ME. It also both confirms and flies in the face of many popular weight loss/exercise tropes. YMMV, to use ancient iParlance.
Even when fat, I have always liked to exercise. I picked up weight lifting in college and never really stopped. Recently I expounded on my appreciation for P90X, which was one of the hardest regimens I have even done (and I did it twice, 180 days.) I also likely got more “fit” from P90X then I have ever been in my life.
And yet, P90X is not a weight loss plan. Actually I maintained / gained a bit of weight (EQUAL amounts of muscle and fat according to my scale and BFM.) I followed the “eat several small meals a day” and ~2100 calories. Also, due to my work/travel/laziness I could not “do” 1.5 hours of exercise six days a week as a life-long plan. 45 min a day is possible. 30 min a day is easy.
Now I find myself working out a little less, eating a lot less, and yet getting more “ripped” in the process. (ripped meaning more visible musculature definition)
Here are my startling and yet mundane revelations:
* Fullness/satiety whispers
* Hunger yells
* I have to do some exercise
* I do not need to be OCD and eat a set amount of calories every day
* I do not need to eat every X hours in small portions
So to summarize the last points first, I found that writing down everything I ate was a nice awareness exercise, I did it for years, yet it lead me to try and squeeze in 1800 or 2000 calories every day. I found myself “bankrolling calories” so at the end of the day I could have a couple beers or a dessert. My body doesn’t like to work that way. Some days I only need 1200. And some days I might eat 3000. Forcing myself to eat every 2 or 3 hours may have merits, but it does not really fit my lifestyle and I did not seem to “BURN MORE” or “BOOST MY METABOLISM” by doing so.
Now, as for the “magic” secret for me, the first two points:
Fullness whispers. This is nothing new. “Listen to your body” they tell you. I thought I did, but the reality is that fullness is a very small and quiet feeling (*except on thanksgiving!) and you have to focus. My advice is to eat a small meal and then stop. You’ll know if it’s enough. Chances are, it is. Listen for that quiet “that’s probably enough” signal.
Hunger yells. For me, this means there is no shame and it is actually agreeable to get “really hungry” once or more a day. Getting hungry does not mean “peckish” (which may be boredom or emotional) nor does it mean getting weak from lack of nutrition. (I don’t skip my 3 main meals, but my spacing of them may be variable.)
Today I awoke at 7am, had 2 cups of coffee, and worked out.
* Breakfast (10am) after my workout. late, I know, and not advised per usual nutritionists
* Lunch (noon) early based on my breakfast, but it worked for me
* Dinner (7pm) pretty big lag there, but waited until I was really hungry instead of forcing a meal at 5pm
* snack (10pm) also usually not advised, but this was small like 100 kcal.
Well this has been quite the rambling monograph, but I wanted to share my experience. For me the scale doesn’t lie, and I also don’t need to ABSTAIN from my favorite foods as much by following this whisper/yell awareness. Surely I am eating less of my favorites, but I still get to have them.