A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Status Report: 4.1 lbs. lost, 28.8 lbs. total

There are some people who are very in touch with their own bodies.  They know what’s going on with themselves, they can accurately gauge when something is wrong, when things are good, what they need and what they can do without.  When it comes to their health and how they’re feeling – they know themselves well.

I am not one of those people.

I can’t trust a single thing I feel because I have anxiety problems which generate a veritable merry-go-round of histrionics, false symptoms and side effects.  This is particularly problematic right now.

They took blood at the clinic last week to make sure I’m remaining healthy on the calorie restricted diet, and this week I was told that my liver levels were “high” and that I had to be tested again.  This resulted immediately after with my blood pressure testing “high” because I had become instantly convinced that grim death was imminent.

They suspect that the high level has something to do with my birth control pills, but since my levels were apparently normal a month ago before I began the program I don’t quite know what to think.  The person who has presented the best explanation is my sister, the Vet Technician.  Years ago she owned a very fat cat she had rescued from life as a lab animal stuck in a small cage 24/7.  After moving in with her, Caspar (the aforementioned fat cat), was able to move around and play and eat a much healthier diet.  As a result he began to lose weight.  As he lost weight and his body had to metabolize its own body fat – his liver levels went high.  Basically he had a fatty liver as a result of consuming… well… himself.

It makes a lot of sense.  As usual, I’d be nowhere good without the aid of a pretty amazing family.

So… yeah.  Unfortunately at the time I couldn’t really enjoy the fact that I lost four pounds this week.  But I did, I’m four pounds closer to my goal.  13.4 pounds total after one full month on the new program, and 28.8 lbs. lost from my personal all-time high.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Weight Loss Math

In my health education class they taught me about the mathematics behind weight loss.  It works like this:

If you multiply your current body weight by 10 (if you’re a woman) or 11 (if you’re a man) you will come up with the daily total of calories needed to maintain your current body weight.  If you consume more than that number, your body will store the excess and your weight will rise.  If you consume less, you will build up a deficit of calories and your weight will drop.

There are, on average, 3,500 calories worth of stored energy in a pound of body fat – so each time your deficit of calories passes the 3,500 calorie mark you should lose a pound of weight.

On my current diet and exercise regimen I run an average calorie deficit of around 2,000 calories per day – which means I should be steadily losing roughly three to four pounds per seven day period.

However, I’ve noticed that when I total my actual numbers the math does not quite add up correctly.  I’ve kept a precise count of my calorie deficit since day one on the program, and my grand total since then is 40,315 calories or 11.5 pounds of excess body fat used as energy.

As of my weigh in last night, I have only lost 9.3 lbs.  The answer for this discrepancy is that the additional weight is all water – so at any given time I’m so hydrated that over two pounds of me is thoroughly water saturated cellular matter.

That may be the case.  It's possible that as I continue the gap between my actual weight loss and where the numbers say I should be is going to close.  But based on my own observations I also wonder if there isn’t a lot more going on here than simple math.

Example one: The other day I sat at lunch watching someone consume three very large pieces of fried chicken in one sitting.  One fried chicken breast has around 300 calories and 17 grams of fat, so we’re looking at a 900 calorie lunch with 51 total grams of fat (about as many calories as I consume in a whole day, and about seven times as much fat).  This person regularly consumes such foods.  This person is also skinny, and from what I can tell has never been overweight a day in their life.  I admit, it was difficult to smell fried chicken while I ate my lunch of protein powder, water and ice without being very, very, very jealous.  Why do they get to eat like that and be thin too?  If I ate 900 calories lunches the paramedics would soon be hauling me out of the side of my house via forklift.

Another example: I know a person who must constantly fight to keep their weight from dropping and complains about how much they have to eat to stay in a healthy range.  They hate food, it’s a burden.  On a given day I’ll see this individual eat cinnamon apple raisin toast with real butter for breakfast and a sandwich with mayo, lunchmeat and a decent sized helping of chips for lunch.  Even before starting my current program, I would be sitting next to this slender person as I ate a lunch consisting of a big bowl full of raw, cut vegetables (no dressing) and an Amy’s Organic vegetarian entrĂ©e for a calorie total of around 300-400.  And I have always outweighed them by at least a hundred and thirty pounds.

Lastly, my husband.  Since I live with him I’ve got a pretty good handle on his diet.  The other night he ate dinner twice.  I’m not sure what the first one was but the second was a pork roll sandwich with mashed potatoes on the side.  He will often get a snack attack at 11PM and eat three microwave soft pretzels or a full plate of tortilla chips slathered over with melted cheese before going to bed.  He has never denied himself a single bite of food he wanted once in his entire life.  He has also never been overweight a day in his life.

My point is that calories in vs. calories out may not be enough of an explanation for obesity.  Bodies work and metabolize differently and we cannot all be fit into the same narrowly defined box for how we are going to respond to caloric intake and storage.

I need to say something to the people like me out there (and there are plenty of us): no, it’s not fair.  Not fair at all.  Fairness has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

But it is the way it is.

If you (or I) want to be thin we must eat and live differently than certain skinny people who yes, do get to eat what they please when they please.  We don’t.  It sucks, but suck it up because life goes on.  There are way worse medical afflictions to have to endure.

I think it's time to admit to the hard facts here instead of trying to convince ourselves that our bodies are identical machines that can be expected to run the same way under the same circumstances.  That opinion is part of what leads to the pervasive belief that the overweight are just weaker or more gluttonous than other people when I think the reality is that it's truly much harder for some to be thin on account of numerous variables.  The evidence that I and countless others have seen with our own eyes and lived on a daily basis does not seem to completely fit with the science.  My own metabolism appears to be running slower than it should be given my calorie intake and workout regimen, and I have the numbers to back that up.  It is doing this despite daily exercise that includes both cardio and weight training to help stimulate it.

That truth is unfair and hard, but I find freely owning up to it is comforting somehow.  Be angry, be jealous if you need to, then ditch it and just get back to work.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Status Report: 3.2 lbs. lost, 25 lbs. total

This week I'm down another 3.2, for a total of 9.3 on the new program and 25 since my personal all time high.

It's really only feeling difficult when I have to see and smell foods I cannot have, and although that happens frequently I've gotten good at removing myself from the area.  The sense of being unsatisfied after eating has pretty much faded out as my stomach has shrunk down a little bit.

Although I'm slightly behind the curve on where I should be (according to a chart they gave me at the clinic a woman my size should be at a 12 lb. loss three weeks in and 16 at the end of the first month) I still feel like I'm doing pretty good.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Status Report: 3.5 lbs. lost, 22 lbs. total

This was my second full week on the program and about three and a half pounds came off in the last eight days.  I followed my program to the letter, consumed no more than 965 calories per day, and worked out for a half hour minimum each day.

I have resolved myself to the fact that the big, impressive jump start weight loss isn’t going to happen for me.

My total loss so far on the new program is six pounds (giving me a healthy three per week average) and I’m down twenty-two from my personal all-time high.

People keep telling me I look different, although I have difficulty seeing how that’s possible since six pounds is basically nothing on a body my size.  However, as Ted told me tonight, I need to just smile and say, “thank you” when this happens even though I believe people are seeing what they want to see.

One nice thing – if you look at my weight loss ticker at the lower right you can see that I now have less than one hundred pounds to lose before I meet my goal.  It’s still a very long road ahead, and it’s obvious that I’m going to have to fight, claw and sweat for each and every ounce that comes off, but I’ll get there.