Tag Archives: diet

Low-carb diet, after 6+ months

I am still eating a very-low-carb diet.  (The one I'm following is LCHF, very similar to Paleo.  Look back a few entries in my LJ for more info about the diet itself.)  So far, it is an awesome life-change for me and I am actually enjoying it.  Compared to other "points" or "calorie restriction" diets, it has been much easier to follow and stay on.  I have been losing about 2-3 pounds a week when I'm paying close attention, and staying about the same when I become lazy or cheat more than 1 day per week.. but it seems quite sustainable.

Perhaps it's too early to write the story of my success.  Honestly, I am still in the middle of the voyage of discovery.  But I wanted to take some notes for myself about how I'm feeling about it right now, because I feel like I'm reaching a turning point.  For one thing, I am able to eat much much less, and get away with it, almost effortlessly, and I think that is important to the long-term plan.

After spending the first month or so just getting used to what foods to buy and eat, and a month or so just getting into the habits and learning the skills I need, there followed about 6 months keeping up the new regime, give or take a couple vacations.  The pattern for those 6 months has been this: seek out fats and eat them, being careful to get enough so that I won't get hungry.

The theory has been that I'm training my body to consume fats, and therefore when I do choose to eat less, my body can easily tap into my own "strategic energy reserves" mostly located around my middle.  The theory was, that over time I would eat less food overall, and not go hungry.  But, I guess until right now I was a bit shy about actually testing the theory.  I was keeping busy with finding the fat sources and making sure to eat enough of it because I was afraid of what would happen if I started to eat less.

But, now in the last week or so, I am actually eating less, and it's been fine.  I'm still a little shy about testing it too much because I don't want to make myself hungry, then risk ditching the diet because I'm discouraged.  Early indications are good, however.  A couple times I have just skipped breakfast and lunch, and almost unbelievably, the theory works!  Strategic energy reserves are getting burned, almost without me noticing.  If I eat much less (even as low as 1/3 of my daily average), I still don't seem to notice any actual feelings of hunger.  This is what I expected, but still it's weird.

The old low-fat diet advice says "a calorie is a calorie" and implies that carbs are better than fats, because you can eat more of them — a pound of sugar or starch has less than half the calories of a pound of fat.  I don't believe that calorie counting is the key, nor even a useful skill, but I do believe that calories figure in one way or another.  At least that part the scientists have right.  What I now believe is that "low carb" is not a magic spell that makes calories not matter, but "low carb" certainly makes it *easier* to consume less and still be satisfied.  I now believe that LCHF by itself is not a complete solution, just like limiting calories by itself is not a complete solution, but that both of them together can form a winning combination.

In other words, I have been using mayonnaise as a crutch, and I don't think I need to do that anymore.  Making sure I get enough food doesn't need to be the primary concern anymore.  I need to take the next step–which is to find out how low I can actually go before actually feeling hungry, which I don't recall feeling at all in the last 8 months.  I have totally changed *what* I'm eating without much change to *how much* I'm eating — now it's time to learn where the edges are in a different direction.

Animal-based diets harmful to humans and the environment

While visiting my mom, I saw a video extolling the virtues of a plant-based diet versus an animal-based diet. The video was not the greatest in terms of production values, (i.e. most of the film was shots of someone talking, or stills with voice-overs) but it certainly got the point across.

Most of the content was stuff that I already knew, but which I’ve been somewhat comfortable with ignoring. For example…

Typical day on WeightWatchers

So far I have been paying attention to portion sizes, and not trying to cut down quantities, really, but cutting out a few small things here and there (like candy, pretty much entirely.

According to the suggested POINTS goal, I’m doing well and coming in under the suggested amount. One day was well under the daily (41 points), and the other day was over the daily amount, but uses less than 1/7th of the weekly overflow (35 extra/week).

Here are two typical days of POINTS values.
2 Typical days of WW points

Exercise and food

First day of exercising in the morning. Nothing too exciting… this morning’s workout took roughly 10 minutes and consisted of: 3 stretches, 4 mini-crunches, 5 leg lifts, 3 mini-push-ups, jogging in place for 160(x2) steps, and 7 jumping jacks.

This was “Level 2” on the fitness scale (see previous post for link to _The Hacker’s Diet_ chapter: “What, Me Exercise?”). It was pretty easy to complete, but I spent the next half-hour coughing up something from my chest, so I’m perfectly willing to follow Walker’s advice and stay at this “level” for a week before turning it up a notch.

The only exercise that was a bit awkward was what he called “Leg Lifts (Introductory)” – lying on your stomach, lift your head and left leg, smoothly lower both, then lift your head and right leg and lower. It’s not uncomfortable enough to make me stop doing them, though.

Food: Yesterday I tracked what I ate on WW, not trying to modify my eating but just tracking. Even with McDonald’s breakfast it came out to 38.5 POINTS! out of a possible 41. So, either something is really wrong with my POINTS!! total or else I’m doing mostly OK and just need to moderate my portion sizes a bit. (I love it how it’s always POINTS in the WW material, like they think they have a servicemark on the word. :)

Health check-in

It’s January, and I’m a little late for “resolutions”, but I’d like to go through part of the exercise anyway. That is, I want to take the opportunity to examine myself and decide what I would like to change about myself. Whether I follow through and end up in a better place next year is not yet certain, but at least I’ll have a record.
My weight and general fitness

Return of the pickles

2 jars cucumbers, carrots and onions

Slice produce and cram into jars. About when they are half-full is when you want to slip the fresh dill into the sides with a butter knife or something. This time I sliced the onion across the midsection (so each slice has like 10 concentric rings) but left the slices in slice form rather than popping out the individual rings. These take up less space when crammed in the jar and you can cram in more food.

Usually a single-batch recipe is enough brine to cover the produce crammed into a 1-liter jar. A double-batch of brine solution is enough for 2 1L jars. The 2X version consisted of: Continue reading

Ice Cream Social – Today!

As mentioned before, Miche and I are hosting an Ice Cream Social here at our place today between 2pm and 6pm. If you are in the area, please feel free to come by. Drop in any time in that range, stay as short or as long as you want. Directions are here: click me.

(Posting this for folks on my friends list who I believe I have actually met in person at least once.  If you are reading this, you’re invited!)

I have made the following:
Strawberry: Cream, milk, diced strawberries, sugar, splenda, vanilla extract
Peach: Cream, milk, frozen peaches, sugar, peach preserves
Melon sorbet: Honeydew melon, sugar, lemon juice, peach schnapps
Supervanilla: Cream, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, vanilla extract
Banana:  Cream, milk, sugar, bananas, vanilla extract
Frozen Yogurt:  Yoplait strawberry yogurt

We have various toppings as well.