2009-02-10

Pies are not a Hobby


It's been roughly a year since I started measuring how much I weigh, BMI, and so forth. I'm realising this because I needed to go get a new diary for writing stuff down. There are iPhone apps out there, but most are rubbish. Anyway, this day last year, I weighed 122.8 kg (BMI 37), this morning I weighed 105kg (BMI 33).

That's good, but not amazing, and is mostly down to how egregiousy shite my overal level of activity used to be. People have asked what I did, though, so here's a rough breakdown of stuff I've tried, what has or hasn't worked, etc.

Wii Fit

Step one, and something it was easy to get into, was Wii Fit. I was dubious of its non-gimmickry, but It helped me drop about 5kg in the pace of 4-6 weeks, which was quite good, but was probably mostly water. I think it mostly got me into measuring often, and tracking, which is key.

Exercise (Duh)


I'm fortunate enough to have a Gym I can use in work, which was good. Even if I manage to get 30 minutes in 3 times a week or so, it does make a difference. Muscle definition improved, overall shape changed, it was decent.

Do Not Put Down The Fork

The basic idea of weight loss through eating is that if you eat less, you're taking in fewer calories than you use up, and you lose that weight. That's true, in essence, but there's a level below which you aren't getting enough in, and your body goes a bit nuts and starts burning muscle and retaining water and fat. So starving yourself is actually worse than eating too much, in a way. I was lucky enough to have an instructor in the gym who actually did body composition analysis and recommended a calorific intake that was considerably more than I had thought (If I sit in a chair all day, I need 2700 calories, which is higher than average). Everyone's metabolism is different, so the RDA on most products might be assuming an RDA that's radically different from your own.

Read The Shit on Wrappers

Food wrapers are required by law to have nutritional information. Your average meal is 500-800 calories. A creme egg is 450 calories. That helps to motivate you if you're deciding to have a creme egg, really. Also, food packaging is allowed to contain a load of buzzwords ("organic", "all-natural", "low fat") that essentially mean nothing. Case in point, "whole grain" bread is the best, since it preserves the wheat germ, and is broken down and rendered less good-for-you by milling. So, "whole wheat", "wheat grain" and other permutations are less good for you, and can contain basically anything. So, don't agonise over wrappers, and don't agonise over calories. It's about what you're eating, not how much.

Measure Often

Some people recommend only weighing once a week, since overweighing might discourage or misinform. I went the other way, though. I measured weight, BMI, Fat Percentage, water percentage every morning, and just weight at night. A couple of things that I found out were that I lose 800g-1000g just by sleeping, and I can increase this amount by lowering the temperature in the room. It's possibly my body has to work harder to stay warm or something, but the temperature in the room did have an effect. I also found hat it was a good motivator. Having a large meal or eating too late would show up, and might take a few days to come off again. Only weighing weekly wouldn't give you that feedback. I got a scales that does BMI and other stuff via a small electrical current off ebay for about 20 quid, well worth it.

Chemical Help


I tried a couple of products, which I have varying levels of confidence in. Some were recommended by the gym, some from other sources.

First I tried was Promax, which is basically a meal replacement shake. Exercise basically causes muscle damage, and taking this after exercise is supposed to promote lean muscle growth, rather than your body going "omg something happened, pile on fat". It appeared to work a bit. I'd certainly done a comparable amount of exercise before, but this time I actually saw leg and arm muscle definition improve dramatically.

I also tried CLA1000, which didn't make a discernable difference. In layman's terms, it's supposed to help concentrate fatty deposits in places it's easy to burn them from. So, rather than body fat being stuck away in muscles and such, it encourages it to develop elsewhere. I didn't have a control period or see any discernible difference, so went off this after a month or so.

Last up was Thermobol, which is basically a metabolic enhancer. It's not all that complex, it's just a bunch of caffeine, taurine, hot peppers, orange peel, and other stuff that goes into your belly in convenient pill form, and makes your body go "Madre De Dios!" and increase burn rate. I went off it because it's probably not a good idea to be doing that for ages, but it did make a pretty noticeable difference. I don't drink coffee or have a significant other source of caffeine, so it also helped with the awake.

I'm pretty dubious of the chemical help in losing weight. I'm not going to be taking this stuff forever, so it's better that a weight management regime involves a lifestyle change that's not disruptive at all.

Losing weight and keeping it off needs to not be a pain in the hole, because if it is you'll get tired of it and put the weight back on. Right now I can remain constant with the lifestyle I'm at, and the main thing is I'm an awful lot fitter. I can tear up a couple of flights of stairs without being out of breath, and the Airsoft stuff I've been up to has gotten an awful lot easier. Also, I now have a big box of clothes at home that are too big for me, which is not a complaint I remember having before.

At the end of the day, I did this for me. It's good to be slightly more irresistible then I used to be, but it's also good to do stuff like increase my lifetime, overall level of fitness, ability to escape from predators, and so forth. I guess I'll check back in next year.

1 comment:

  1. I can increase this amount by lowering the temperature in the room. It's possibly my body has to work harder to stay warm or something, but the temperature in the room did have an effect.

    Just read this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/opinion/12sun3.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

    Dieticians are a couple of months behind your research.

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