Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

DietHacking

Posted by Jim Leonard on May 6, 2009

“You have an unhealthy relationship with food,” Jason remarked, somewhat casually, after witnessing the satisfaction I got from eating a particularly crisp batch of crinkle-cut french fries.  And he was right.  But, just like an addict, I have everything under control.  No, really, I do.

As John Walker hammers home 2^37 times in The Hacker’s Diet, weight loss is incredibly easy.  Just consume less energy than your body requires to function, and your body will take what it needs from your fat stores.  It really is that easy — it’s staying on track that’s the tough part.  The longer I stay on Weight Watchers, the more weight I lose (down to 213 — only 2 more pounds to my 10% goal), but I’ve had to resort to some mental hacking to keep things interesting.

For one thing, the Weight Watchers “points” values are a slightly skewed calculation of (calories/50)=number of “points”.  The actual formula, which somehow inexplicably got patented, is this:

weight-watchers-points-form

In the above, r represents fiber.  So up to 4 grams of dietary fiber are subtracted from the calculation.  What does this mean?  It means that you can essentially stuff your gaping maw with Fiber One cereal every hour of the day and, unless your stomach is the size of a large pumpkin, will never hit your points for the day.

More fun can be had by skipping a meal — yes, exactly what they tell you not to do.  I find that I can have a single yogurt for breakfast, then a lean lunch of grilled chicken and steamed veggies, and then I can eat pretty much whatever the hell I want for dinner.  This is not recommended and certainly not the most healthy way to diet.  It is, however, the most fun.  By front-loading all of my points toward a single meal, I get to revisit my young adulthood by making the trek to the best burger/dog joint in the entire world:  Superdawg.  Unhealthy front-loading means I get to enjoy a Supercheesie with a chocolate malt and still be under my points for the day:

Supercheesie and Chocolate Malt

Remember kids, it’s not a true Supercheesie unless the relish is NEON GREEN:

Inside a Supercheesie

In addition to being one of the worst ways you can eat, front-loading is also the hardest to stay focused on.  I find that if I’m hungry — not a “I need food to live” hungry, but rather an “I’m anxious and want to calm myself down with food” hungry — I can just chug diet cokes until that feeling goes away.  No, I’m not a role model.

“You have an unhealthy relationship with food.” Yeah, well, I have no other vices. Maybe if I take up drinking, smoking, or drugs, I’ll stop coveting guilty-pleasure-food.

Posted in Lifehacks, Weight Loss | 7 Comments »

The Incredibly Shrinking Trixter

Posted by Jim Leonard on March 26, 2009

I am finally reducing my volume and mass, and all it took was a combination of several events that converged into a resonance cascade of motivation.  Let’s examine three big events in three small paragraphs.

One of my demoscene friends, RaD Man, went from being 30+ pounds overweight to running 10K races every weekend in about one year.  I know he got a new job in that time, and also got a Wii Fit, but his personal motivation isn’t really important:  He did it, and he looks fantastic.  He also recently got hit by a drunk driver while he was running — then got up and ran alongside the still-moving car, pounding on the door, until the lady stopped and police could arrive.  The twisted moral I take from that story:  Don’t get in shape so that you look good for the ladies; get in shape so you can survive getting hit by a fucking car.  (BTW, it’s looking like he didn’t break anything, thank goodness.)  While I don’t plan on getting hit by a car any time soon, it is an eye-opening reminder of why your health is usually the most important thing you should spend time on.

2009 is the year of my 20-year high school reunion.  I still carry emotional/mental/social baggage from high school.  Not all of the baggage is bad; a small portion of it is positive and wonderful.  But I still want to go to the reunion to gain some closure to that period in my life.  While it is unrealistic to think I can look younger than I am, I want to at least look recognizable.

One year ago, my friend Jason Scott took a moment to take a candid picture of me at a very happy moment in my life.  I had just arrived to Block Party 2008, and was very happy and excited to be there; I called Melissa to let her know that I had arrived safely and talk about how great the next few days were going to be.  Jason is a good photographer, and he had his digital SLR with him.  Here’s what he took:

Heavy Jim at Block Party 2008

By all measures, this should be a picture I cherish.  In reality, I am saddened and depressed every time I look at it.  I didn’t recognize this person, and even today I’m not sure I do.  I know that sounds melodramatic and stupid; I can see that even as I write the words!  But you have to understand that, until I saw that picture, my internal body image was that of me right out of college, fit and decent-looking.  It was a bit of a shock to realize that, yes, I was 60 pounds overweight, and my neck fat protruded farther than my chin.

The day I saw that picture (about a month after the event), I stopped gaining weight.  In December, I joined Weight Watchers.  Today, 3.5 months later, I have lost 20 pounds and continue to lose about one pound a week.  Assuming this rate continues, I will be under 190 pounds by the time my high school reunion rolls around, and I can live with that.

Posted in Lifehacks, Weight Loss | 6 Comments »

Showing promise

Posted by Jim Leonard on July 15, 2008

Today was Fitness Score day on the Precor treadmill, and it surprised me:

  • Fitness Score: 30 (Change: +6, Cumulative change: +6, Medium fitness starts at 35)
  • Weight: 238 lbs (Change: 0, Cumulative change: 0)
  • Body Fat: 27% (Change: -1%, Cumulative change: -1%)

After only one week of walking on the treadmill at 3mph (medium walking speed) on the “hills” setting (incline raises and lowers) for an average of 25 minutes a day, already I see great improvement.  Not to my weight — I’m not completely concerned about that — but my fitness score shot way up and I lost a percentage of my weight in body fat.

I don’t want to get too optimistic yet, though.  According to the treadmill, I still technically died a few days ago.

Posted in Weight Loss | 3 Comments »

Demographics and horses

Posted by Jim Leonard on July 8, 2008

The MindCandy crew released the Volume 1 featurette Demographics: Behind the Scene to the public with a Creative Commons license this weekend. Enjoy, and spread the word.

I was in charge of processing, encoding, and uploading the video, and not coincidentally there is a lot of footage of me in the featurette, which I had to look at while processing. That footage was shot in 2002; almost exactly six years later I found myself staring at 31-yr-old me and wondering what god I must have pissed off to get so much neck fat since then. Also in the footage, at the end, is an outtake where Jeremy had me walk on a treadmill for no reason whatsoever. (I bought a nice Precor M9.25i with Internet Bubble Stock money back in 1998.)

Seeing it in the footage, I was reminded that it has a Fitness Test mode to be used with a heart monitor (I have one) and I realized that in the decade I’ve owned it I’ve never once tried the fitness test! So I dragged it out in front of the TV and took the test. I also decided to weigh myself and take a body fat percentage just so I can say that I’ve measured my baseline this year. Let’s see where 37-yr-old Trixter is at:

  • Fitness Score: 24 (Low Fitness — Medium Fitness starts at 35!)
  • Weight: 238 lbs
  • Body Fat: 28%

According to the fitness test and the above measurements, I died a few months ago. So I’m going to run on the thing every day, breaking a sweat, and will take the fitness test every week to see if I’m improving. Must… get… back up on the horse!

Or collapse and die. If the weblog entries stop, call for help!

Posted in Demoscene, Weight Loss | 6 Comments »

Utterly random observations

Posted by Jim Leonard on June 23, 2008

I had to kill a mouse this morning before leaving for work; our young male cat catches things outside and brings them inside, and must have forgotten to deal with this one.  It was a young, small mouse, and it was really fast; I did my best to try to trap him such that I could grab his tail and remove him while still alive, but after almost losing him several times I just had to end it quickly to prevent him from entering the bowels of the house.  I am still saddened by this hours later, and I wonder why.  We kill insects and plants daily, sometimes without knowing it; this doesn’t trouble me, but killing a mammal does?  We have the largest cattle rendering industry in the world and yet I am bothered by killing a mouse.  What a screwy society.

George Carlin died today.  This is unrelated to the above discussion, I assure you.

I have reached an epiphany regarding weight loss:  I think it’s truly time to start losing weight when the distance of your belly from your waist exceeds the length of your junk.  (Applicable to men only, of course — I have no idea what the corresponding metric would be for women.)

Despite the above ruminations, I am not depressed.  Just introspective.

Posted in Sociology, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | 2 Comments »

Step 1: Detox

Posted by Jim Leonard on January 1, 2008

As I wrote before in 12-step program, I’m going to try to change my lifestyle to become more healthy and fit. While weight loss will inevitably ensue, it is not the focus of this change. I’ve yo-yo’d between a high and low of 30 pounds in the last four years, and it’s starting to wear me down. Half the days of the week I walk around in general malaise. Time to change.

Every step will take a month, because some smart person ran some smart study that found it takes about 20 days to establish a new habit. I’m going to attempt one habit at a time. Nice and slow.

The month of January is step 1: Detox. By “detox”, I really mean “stop eating pure shit”. With the exception of carbonated drinks (don’t worry, that’s a later step), I’m going to try to stay away from food that was prepared or treated with chemicals; I’m going to only eat food that I either prepare myself, or that I can watch being prepared (ie. a sandwich). I know this may paint me as some sort of organic “whole foods” vegan nutcase, but it’s not that at all; I’m still going to eat burgers and the like but this time I’m going to make them myself out of raw ingredients so that I can maximize my food-to-chemicals ratio. No more chips, candy bars, or cookies; no more frozen meals or appetizers (which I sometimes inhale as meals). This also means most fast food is out, which means I must bid adieu to my good friends McDonald’s and Taco Bell. We’ve had good times, but I’m afraid the love is gone. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Lack of snacks are going to be tough, but luckily I have my old popcorn tricks to tide me over. And pop, for now.

Posted in Weight Loss | 6 Comments »

12-Step Program

Posted by Jim Leonard on December 19, 2007

While previous attempts at losing weight and feeling better have been successful, I fall squarely into the 90% of the population who eventually give up (I prefer the term “losing interest”) and gain it all back. So I’ve decided to take things easy and make small, gradual changes meant to help me feel better. While weight loss will probably follow, it’s not the main goal. I have some severe life changes coming up in the next 18 months of my life and I want to be physically able to handle them. Mental ability will follow.

Every new month will bring about a change. “New month resolutions”, if you will. Should be fun.

Posted in Lifehacks, Weight Loss | 2 Comments »

Week #5

Posted by Jim Leonard on January 31, 2007

What the hell:

  • weight: 233 lbs
  • body fat percentage: 29.0 %
  • health index: WTF fatty

These results anger me. I cheated slightly on Saturday and Sunday but there’s no way that, over the course of a week, I somehow ingested 7000 extra calories over my break-even intake. I did not gain two pounds in a single week. So, either my previous measurement was wrong, or this one is (although I did it three times and took the average). Hmph.

Posted in Weight Loss | 6 Comments »

Week #4

Posted by Jim Leonard on January 25, 2007

An odd improvement:

  • weight: 231 lbs
  • body fat percentage: 29.0 %
  • health index: Slightly less fat

Weight went down, BFP went up.  Odd.  Probably because I took my measurements in the morning instead of the evening.  Note to self:  Be more consistent.

Posted in Weight Loss | Leave a Comment »

Week #3

Posted by Jim Leonard on January 16, 2007

A mild improvement:

  • weight: 233 lbs
  • body fat percentage: 27.0 %
  • health index: fatty boom boom

Mel thinks my body is hoarding everything in some sort of survival mode because, up until a few days ago, I’ve been limiting myself to 1200 calories a day.  A few days ago is when I learned 1200 a day for a male was unrealistic (I achieved it without a hunger problem, but it was affecting my mood adversely) so I’m up to 1500 calories now.

Posted in Weight Loss | Leave a Comment »

 
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