Posts Tagged diet

Reading Recession

I’m a fairly avid reader. It started before gradeschool, took a break for much of elementary school and then returned with a passion at the start of high school. Fiction is pretty much all I read, and it’s predominately SciFi or Fantasy, with some Mystery/Thriller thrown in.

For nearly a decade now, I’ve been reading eBooks in addition to physBooks. I always have at least one of each that I am in the process of reading. The physBooks generally take me much longer to get through as I primarly read them in the bathroom while the eBooks get read in many other situations since they’re always at hand.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed that I’m making very little progress with either type. A glance at my aNobii profile (also in my sidebar) shows that I’ve been reading the current eBook since May 14th and the current physBook since April 5th. And I’ve got quite a bit left to read on each of them. To be fair, I’ve actually set the eBook aside for a little while while I read a short story, but that shouldn’t really have taken very long and I’ve yet to complete it after a few weeks.

The truth is that other factors have dramatically reduced the amount of time I spend reading. For the eBooks, the two biggest factors are Twitter and my new Bluetooth headphones. When I’m not catching up on Twitter (or tweeting), I’m often listening to a podcast or watching a movie on my iPhone. The “watching a movie” distraction also happened for a month or two when I first got the iPhone, and probably the iPod before that, so that may be a short-lived distraction. I suppose the same could be true for Twitter; time will tell.

For the physBooks it comes down to one simple factor: my current diet has dramatically reduced my available time for reading. I’ll let the implication of that statement stand on its own.

On the other hand, there is another factor that I suppose could be the real root cause, at least for the eBooks. I’m simply not that into either of the books I’m currently reading. I’m more than halfway through each of them and with most books I read that would mean that my reading would accellerate as I was drawn more and more into the stories. I’m not the kind of reader that abandons books easily — perhaps that’s a mistake?

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Caloric Math

I’ve heard that you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily when you’re dieting due to weight fluctuations. I’ve never subscribed to that theory as I figure that as long as I weigh myself first thing in the morning (well, second thing) then the results should be fairly consistent.

But the truth of the matter is that even budgeting for two pounds a week of weight loss, I don’t lose weight every day — even when I meet my calorie goal for that day. I suspect that the biggest reason for this is the slowing of my dietary process when my caloric intake is reduced. Still, some days confuse me. Yesterday, for example, I basically met my calorie goal (slightly over the “lose two pounds per week” amount, but still plenty below the “maintain” amount) and yet I gained 1.2 pounds.

Here’s how my day went, calorically:

If you can’t see the image for whatever reason, the gist of it is that I was 41 calories over a 1458 calorie budget, but plenty below the theoretical “gain weight” number (not pictured). Admittedly, this wasn’t my healthiest day of eating, and I neglected the evening run I had planned when I chose to have the Frosty. Still, I was surprised to weigh over a pound heavier this morning. Plus, this was all after having been 166 calories below my goal on Monday and not losing any weight (gaining a fifth of a pound, actually).

Oh, and today isn’t looking too promising either, unless I manage to squeeze a run or bike ride in before pool tonight. At least I’ve made great progress over the last few weeks. Perhaps it’s just time for another plateu.

I do have a side question. The scale I use is one of those that has metal plates for your feet so that it can use a small current to measure your body fat. *That* number was actually down quite a bit this morning. I haven’t yet determined exactly what short-term changes in body fat represent, but I think it must have to do with how hydrated I am. It was 22.5% yesterday and 21.8% today. This number is also substantially lower at night than it is the next morning.

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Helpful Calorie Information – Red Robin, Quiznos and Wendy’s

I just want to highlight a set of blog entries I found at Counting Calories where the interactive nutrition information from a few chain restaurant web sites have been compiled into lists so that they can be more easily perused to find good choices.

Red Robin

Quiznos

Wendy’s

The Red Robin data is particularly useful to me as the original web site uses Flash and therefore doesn’t work on the iPhone.

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Minisize Me?

[Note: I’m not ready to write the update for Day 3 of the Santa Fe trip, so instead I’m posting this that I wrote earlier. Tomorrow is Macro Monday, so I’ll try to get the Santa Fe post up for Tuesday.]

Thanks to my fast food diet, I’ve been eating at McDonald’s more often lately. At first, I was getting value priced, but relatively low calorie items like the 390-calorie McDouble. More recently, however, I’ve been having healthier (albeit much more expensive) items like the 420-calorie Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich (370 without, the mayo, which is how I get it) or the 260-calorie Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken with Newman’s Own® Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette (dressing calories already included there).

I’m actually much more satisfied with these chicken choices than the burger. Sure, the burger has its appeal, but it’s just gone too fast. The Chicken sandwich is quite a bit larger as is the salad. Admittedly, the salad isn’t really enough substance for a full meal, but it works out great if I I’ve gone over my calorie budget (or plan to later).

I haven’t had them yet, but there are also some nice low-calorie dessert choices as well. They only real struggle I have is with breakfast. I’m not a McMuffin fan, so that pretty much leaves the Sausage Burrito as the only real sub-400-calorie choice. Now, it’s tasty enough, but it’s higher in fat than I would like. Of course, I don’t *have* to eat breakfast at McDonald’s, but then, that misses point of this post — which is:

I bet I could eat exclusively at McDonald’s for a month, lose weight and have my state of health improve (cholesterol, etc.). A reverse of Morgan Spurlock’s experiment or a response to Subway’s Jared. Do you think McDonald’s would sponsor me?

The biggest down-side would be the inevitable loss of dining companions as everyone else grew completely tired of McDonald’s, or simply refused to go in the first place.

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The Power of Guilt

I’ve been doing pretty well on my diet lately (down another three pounds since my previous update) , but I still haven’t gotten back into the grove of exercising. However, I splurged at lunch today at my favorite burger place, which led to me finally going for a run during my daughter’s soccer practice.

Sure, it was only 25 minutes (and only 2 miles), but it’s a start. I’m hopeful that it will be the start of a trend. Plus, I’m really planning to start back up on the Wii Fit tomorrow morning.

I’ll be going off diet for the trip to TequilaCon next weekend, so the more I accomplish before then, the better. Which is a much improved attitude over how I would normally feel, “might as well just wait ’til after the trip!” of course, there’s always another excuse available around the corner.

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Diet Progress

It’s been about four weeks since I blogged about my Fast Food Diet, and while I’ve done a pretty good job following it most of the time, I certainly didn’t during the cruise.

In the week from the day of that post (which was not actually the beginning of the diet, but that’s OK) to my last weigh-in before the cruise I lost a couple of pounds. But, of course, I was up about five pounds over the week of the cruise. Since then, I’ve managed to lose about six-and-a-half pounds. So I’m only down four pounds in four weeks.

Given that I haven’t used the Wii Fit since before the cruise, haven’t run at all in months, and have hardly biked this year, I feel like I’m doing pretty well. Plus, I’m actually down about ten pounds since Mardi Gras, which was pretty much my high point.

I really need to get back into the groove of exercising. Maybe tomorrow. Or Monday. Or….

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Fast Food Diet

OK, two ostensibly weight-loss related posts in a row. But the previous one was just humor whereas this one is at least a bit serious. About five years ago, a friend and I lost a good amount of weight by, for the most part, simply tracking the calories that we ate. Obviously, we had to actually reduce the calories as well, but tracking them made that very easy. Notably, I also switched from regular to diet soda at that time. I went from a high of maybe as high as 240 down to about 170.

The thing about tracking calories is that it makes you want to eat meals where you know what the calories are. Conveniently, almost all fast food chains publish the caloric content of their foods. Therefore, I found that I would actually eat more fast food rather than less while on this diet. Of course, in many cases this was in lieu of equally unhealthy comfort food from other, non-fast-food chains like Chili’s (I love Chili’s).

Well, in the intervening five years I had slowly gained about 25 pounds back (which isn’t too bad, I think), and I’ve decided it’s time to get serious again. I used to track calories with a couple of different programs for Palm, but not that I’ve moved to the iPhone I needed a new program. I’ve settled on the free app, Lose It!.

The database doesn’t seem quite as extensive as I’d like, but the interface is pretty nice. I’ve created custom foods and recipes (collections of foods) and you can reuse previous meals. One feature I’d like would be to create hierarchies of custom foods — this was something that I wanted in the Palm apps as well.

One big difference between now and then is that now I am addicted to breakfast tacos. Thus, instead of a breakfast of < 200 calories, I end up with a breakfast of 300-500 calories. I've considered giving this up, but it's one of the highlights of my day so I've decided to make sacrifices elsewhere. Sometimes, like yesterday, that ends up being that I skip dinner and go to bed hungry. Actually, going to bed a bit hungry was a hallmark of my diet the previous time and is usually a good indicator that I'm going to weigh less the next day.

One thing that using calorie tracking as a diet definitely drives home is that the reason to exercise is less directly about losing weight and much more about allowing you to eat more. 🙂 Which reminds me, I really need to start riding my bike to work again. Tomorrow should be a good day for that, I think. Oops, I have an 8am meeting, so perhaps not….

I wonder what's for lunch today. Whataburger? Jack-in-the-Box? Or maybe it's a Chili's day after all. Breakfast was 428 calories out of my 1554 budget for today, so I need to try to keep lunch fairly small.

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