Goal #1 Achieved
Monday, February 12, 2018
Well - after a long time struggling I've finally achieved the first goal weight I'm striving for. Yeah - I got close a couple of years ago (about 165.6 or so) but I never quite achieved this specific weight.
And even after I brought myself down to around 165 a couple of years ago I bounced back and then hovered around somewhere between 172 and 181 (I hit that around October 2016 and realized that I was losing all the hard work I had put in over the years to bring my weight down from a high of 212).
How did I do it? Well - since 2011 I've been doing a variety of things to lose weight. I remember it distinctively since it was in February of 2011 that I weighed myself one morning on a whim and was shocked to see myself weighing 212 lbs (about 96 kg). I decided then and there to do something about it. That "something" turned out to be from two directions: diet and exercise. I started to run (a little bit at a time) and I cut meat out of my diet (in my younger days I was a vegetarian and I recall that I was in the best shape of my life at that time - yeah...that was 20 some odd years earlier and I was also bike racing and riding around 200 miles a week...but, I digress). I figured that if I watched what I ate and worked out the pounds would just fall off (the old "calorie in/calorie out" argument). For the most part it worked. Over the course of the next year or so I slowly lost weight. I was ecstatic.
As I ran further and further I kept seeing my weight drop until I had reached the 180s and then the 170s. I was determined to get down to 165 (my weight back when I was bike racing in college). Eventually I got close but I could never keep my weight steady. I would slowly rise back up to the 170s (usually settling around 175 or so) and then down to the low 170s/upper 160s. Also, I couldn't seem to get my percent body fat down to around 15% which is where I wanted it to be.
A few years ago I decided to become vegan (not necessarily because I thought it would enable me to lose the rest of the weight but because I felt that it was the right thing to do - I didn't want to contribute to the continuation of factory farming and animal suffering). Overall that helped a little but still I couldn't push my weight down and my body fat percentage stayed pretty much where it was - sometimes rising to around 20% - 21%. It was discouraging to say the least. Here I am, a late 40s man and I just couldn't seem to break that final barrier.
About 7 weeks ago I started to read a book called "The Case Against Sugar" by Gary Taubes. Reading this book made me more curious about the amount of hidden sugar that I was eating in the foods I had in the house (even the vegan foods). I also followed up this book by reading two others: "Year of No Sugar" by Eve Schaub and "Fat Chance" by Dr. Robert Lustig. It was Dr. Lustig's book that really opened my eyes. I wasn't able to lose the rest of the weight I wanted to lose because I was still eating too much sugar. Sure I had reduced my calorie intake below what I was burning but Dr. Lustig's work showed me that the whole notion of "calorie in/calorie out" was not really true. Because I was taking in too much sugar (even though I was keeping my calorie intake below my calculated level per SparkPeople and the other app I was using - LoseIt) and it was getting converted to fat. So, at the beginning of this year I took refined sugar out of my diet plus I reduced my carbohydrate intake as well. Within two week I started to see results - I dropped a couple of pounds and my fat percentage dropped as well.
In addition to cutting out refined sugar and curtailing carbs I also discovered the concept of intermittent fasting. I have always heard that periodic fasting had benefits but I hadn't really looked into it more. One of my daughters had mentioned it in passing to me and I started to look into it in more detail. For the past 4 weeks I have been following an intermitted fasting schedule of eating from 10AM - 6PM and then eating nothing for the next 16 hours. This does two things for me - it disciplines me not to snack late at night and it causes my body to use the glycogen stored in the liver as a source of glucose.
Between these two changes I have seen my weight drop from 172 to 165 and my percent body fat (as measured by my scale which does it by passing a small electrical current through my feet as measuring the change in the current as a percent body fat since electricity passes through fat differently than through muscle - to be honest it's not *that* accurate - certainly not as accurate as a buoyancy test) drop from 21% to 17.7%. As I continue following this new regimen I will post more information.