Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Weight Loss Secret – Fiber

May 23, 2009

A while back I made some discoveries in my diet that helped immenselyto control my appetite. Still working on applying them all the time, but at least I know about it. I will let you in on my little secret. I still have the days where I find myself in the kitchen eating item after item. It used to be getting up from the couch or whatever other sedentary non-activity I was doing. But I am now finding it happens more when I work out more. I basically use up a lot of muscle glycogen and then my body wants to replace it. No problem really as long as I eat the right foods. Therein lies the problem. Here is an excerpt from a blog I wrote a while back but did not post for some reason.

I have been struggling with the calorie counting for 11 weeks or so now. OK, struggle is not the right word, it has been very successful, but it is a battle to do better. My goal was initially to eat 1800 a day and it didn’t happen, I was still successful at 2200 calories daily but it takes longer that way to lose weight. I have been getting it down close to 2000 on average for a few weeks now. This last week I intentionally added some fiber to my diet and the meals are not only making me full, I sometimes feel stuffed. These days where it happens I am eating less than 1800 calories and I have the feeling of being stuffed! I can hardly believe it.

The discovery was that fiber keep you feeling full. And it is even better if it is the bulky stuff like a cup of carrots, as opposed to something that sounds goofy but many people do, like eating a granola bar that wasn’t all that great for you but is laced with several grams of chickory root that was dried and ground up and added to the bar. Yeah this is what a fiber one bar is, only 140 calories and 10 grams of soluable fiber. Soluable means two things, to those with even a little high school chemistry it means that it will dissolve in water. But the real way soluable fiber is classified that way is that it ferments in the gut. Thats right, you can hear it talking back later. Eat a fiber one bar in the morning and evening for a couple days if you need to win any contests.

Now it is recommended to eat several times after a hard workout at short intervals.  The first item is a liquid recovery drink followed by small meals at two hour intervals. Ideally these would be chosen for their nutritional value and they would involve fruits and vegetables and protien and even some good fats. My problem, is they are trips to the cupboard for a snack not a meal. I eat cheese crackers with a glass of milk. Then I am back later for ritz slimed with peanut butter and another glass of milk. Then that weight watchers popsicle for 140 calories calls me out. Then that wasn’t really a meal so I prepare a small sandwhich to go with it.

The thing is I am supposed to eat meals at these intervals when I work out long and hard. The last two Saturdays I did quite a bit. 1.2 mile swim, a 16 mile bike and a 3 mile run here for 1500 calories. Or a half marathon and a 1050 yard swim for 2100 calories. It takes over 2 hours and I get very hungry. I need to skip the dense caloric foods that come prepackaged for quick eating and take the time to eat more like I do during the week.

I eat breakfast during the week, then pack up a snack for the morning, lunch, and a snack for the afternoon. By the time I am out the door for work I know exactly how many calories I will have eaten before I sit down to my dinner, barring unforseen circumstances of course. Things like donuts using Jedi mind tricks to make me scoop them up off the plate when idiots bring them in to work thinking they are being nice. I usually avoid them cause they are not around, but sometimes I am weak. Who the hell needs to eat a 400-500 calorie deep fried pastry slathered with superfine ground sucrose mixed with a liquid and flavors like maple? Maybe I should cut the donut into sixths and take one bite. One 60 calorie bite that is still not worth it. Or better yet take a donut, take a bit, and toss the blasted thing in the trash. That will be what I try the next time, it gets rid of one more donut from the pile so they are gone faster, I get a little taste, and I still only eat 60 calories. I will head out like I am refilling my coffee so no one sees me and gets offended.

On Saturday I have no concept of planning. The only thing I do lately is make sure I get the recoverey drink. And then plan to eat 3 times after each of the next 2 hour periods. I shall plan all the meals the next few times. One of the items should be a soup that has lots of fiber. Another should include veggies, and another should include a piece of fruit. Here is the plan:

  1. after workout: revovery drink (Endurox R4) 270 calories
  2. 1 hour later or when hungry: 1/2 c plain yogurt, 1/2 c fruit, stevia sweetener, with added fiber (T ground flax) and 1/4 c of a crunchy cereal.  200 calories
  3. 2 hours later: 8 ritz crackers, 3 slices lunch ham, 1 slice cheese, 1/2 c baby carrots, 1/2 c raw brocolli. 300 calories
  4. 2 hours later: large bowl of lentil and sausage soup with veggies. This recipe is one of our family favorites and we use turkey sausage now. 200 calories.

Now this 1000 calorie blitzkrieg might sound like I am going overboard. But I tell you I just burned 1500 calories and only ate 1400 (breakfast of 400 plus 1000 recovery) and I am sitting at just about dinner time with a negative calorie balance for the day so far. If I am not just raving hungry I have accomplished my goal. Besides looking back over my calorie counts I notice on Saturdays I have been doing better since I started doing a recovery drink alone, so this is the easy first step to a successful workout and not eating too much later. But I still do poorly when I eat unheathy snacks by the time I get to dinner I still have big hunger cravings. Granola bars, cheese-n-crackers, cheesy-crackers sandwiches, and those darn weight watchers cookies-n-cream popsicles, and the skinny cow ice cream sandwiches are the typical things that find their weigh into my belly. (yeah I spelled it wrong on purpose).

There was one saturday where I ate 300 calories for breakfast, 200 in gel and sport drink during the 1700 calories workout (1.2 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 3.2 mile run). Then went on to have 550 calories for lunch, 600 calories in afternoon snacks, and found myself with such an urge to eat that I ate 1400 calories around what should have been dinner time in snacks that consisted of: girl scout cookies, ice cream sandwhiches,crackers n peanut butter, popcorn, and cereal. Good thing the day ended there.

 I really do think fiber, by way of eating it in naturally low calorie high bulk foods is the key to not being hungry and eating too much. I will leave you with a little more from that blog entry that never got posted where I was dicussing what I learned from eating fiber.

 I am skipping an afternoon snack here and there not because of will power but because I don’t feel hungry. I can really pack away the calories when we go out and eat for example at Red Robin Burger a couple of months ago I had the banzai burger (1000 calories) with steak fries (hundreds more) and then a tase of the kid’s milkshakes and birthday sunday for a total of 1500 calories in one meal. Granted I was full, and a little uncomfortable, but it is the same feeling I had the other evening when I ate about 600 calories of lentil and sausage soup which had about 18-20 grams of fiber in the one serving (lentils are amazing). And get this, less than half of the calories came from the soup, the crackers and milk were more calories. I did not even consider a late night snack and ended the day on 1760 calories stuffed and wanting no more. Every other time I ate 1760 calories or less (11 times about once a week) the following day I ate (2145, 2420, 2320, 2460, 2570, 2000, 2620, 2260, 1935, 2165, 1950) which is an average of 2260 and this time I ate 1920 the lowest followed by another day that was better than my goal of 2000. (It is cool to have the spreadsheet of data for comparisons like this.) And this second day the heaviest workout day of my workouts at 2300 yards swam in 64 minutes and 4.7 miles run in 44 and a half minutes. That is 1380 calories burned and still I sit here without hunger writing this, full for the day on 1850 calories. This fiber stuff is magic I tell you.

Progress Report

November 25, 2008

I swam my best time yet for 500 meters last Saturday. As you may rememebr my current goal I am shooting for is 10 minutes. The pesky little thing was just out of my reach at 10:16. Now I know of two things I can do to get 15 seconds off my time. One is to swim first thing, not after I do 50 minutes of cardio, but that is a scheduling conflict that is not worth losing the 50 minute workout to gain 15 seconds in time. The second thing is to wear the speedo trunks to reduce drag. The triathlon instructor has told me a few times right from the begining I need to do this. Well I bought a pair that are 36 inch waist cause that was all they had on sale, 38 would have fit correctly but they were out. I can get them on and they basically fit because I am in between 36 and 38 right now, but I don’t think the 15 seconds is worth looking like a sausage dog (this lovely little number accentuates belly fat like nothing else can). So Unless I just get good enough to do it in 9:30 and then slow it down to 10:00 from the circumstances I won’t be fast enough to claim I can do it, or I can just lose more weight until the suit fits. I am excited about getting so close though. My last try was 10:50 three weeks ago, so I will be there sometime in December.

I have weighed in below 195 three days so far. Not in a row and not today, but this is how my progress comes. I still haven’t hit 194. My goal was to reach 193 by December 1 so it is in reach if I do well this week. I have been finding it easier to eat less even on the weekends. Which is a real good sign for this lifestyle change thing. Isn’t it funny how we determine what we weight? The way I do it can be described like this: my “current weight” is the lowest of the previous 3 to 5 days during the time of day that I weigh the least, that is after I wake up and go to the bathroom. If I am particularly close to a number I really want to weigh, such as the scale throws up a 200.2, then toss out the number and begin a quick routine to lose more weight. I could try to brush my teeth and spit frequently eggin it on with that burning-mouthwatering sensation mouthwash has. I could, time permitting, go back to bed for half an hour with all the blankets on to sweat out that 0.2, or give it a minute or two and attempt to to the bathroom again. After all rituals are complete I am then ready for the official morning weigh in. Which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Oh, and one final word from the wise, don’t jump on the scale with all your clothes on after dinner unless you were looking for some dissapointment in your evening. It won’t even be close to your “current weight”.

I have been doing a little fiber research and I can vouch for the fact that it keeps you feeling full. There is a problem with it though. I make a tray of bran muffins, loaded up with 5 grams of fiber each. That is good, but when they are sitting out and can see them they get wolfed down more often than they should. This leads to a feeling of being full but at the cost of eating too many of these muffins. It’s not really the calories that hurt, it is the fact that I should have eaten an apple or some carrots. I will make the next batch and wrap them up individually as soon as they cool off so they can just be for the midmeal snack during the week that they were intended. I still have to make a modification to the recipe. I am trying to get more soluble fiber rather than the insoluble that is just roughage. Many of the beneficial effects of fiber seem to be from the soluble type so loading up a plate full of ground tree bark, uh… wheat bran,  just doesn’t help as much as one would like. There is a limit to how much one can cram into a muffin and still make it flavorful. Once I get my recipe perfected I will post it with nutritional info. I will be shooting for 1/3 of the fiber needed in a day, that is almost 7 grams, and half of that being soluble, as well as packing this into a muffin that is only 100 or so calories. This will be a tall order but I am pretty close with my first attempt.

I spend a little time each week, as you can tell, doing research on stuff. Lately I have been thinking about what a realistic goal is for my next year in terms of races. There is a half-iron man triathlon in my home town in August. Should I go for it with the plan of just finishing? I will do the “required” Olympic earlier in the year. Is this too much? What about running only. I already am going to do a 12k race, should I add some 10k’s to warm up, and a half marathon to work towards the next years half iron if not this years? Oh the possibilities are endless. I have not sufficiently answered my questions by asking my coach. (He just says no to the half iron on the principle of one level per year. That is Sprint this year, Olympic next and then the half iron in 2010 if I am still inclined.) I am stubborn and have been considering what it would take. I first listed races that are required. They are the same sprint triathlon I did last year to measure my improvement, the 12k run which is just a huge local event, and an Olympic triathlon that I have told my cousin I would do with him this year in his home town. Close to making the list is another Olympic tri that is near a town we will be driving by as we return from our vacation in the summer.  Another close one is a half marathon in a nearby town that is coupled with a real marathon which is very popular in the area. So that becomes a requirement if I plan to do the half iron. I can’t let my first run of 13.1 miles be after a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike ride now can I?

Wow, how the mind dreams big. I am almost convinced that I want to compete in a sporting event that will take more than 5 hours for me. Am I insane?

So I looked at a few training schedules for running a half marathon to see if I was insane, but it probably is not even up for debate. One 16 week version has you run twice a week for 30-50 minutes and then a long run on the weekend. The long run starts at the length I am already hitting in the 50 minute workouts (4-5 miles) and works up to 11 a few weeks before the race. So to alter my schedule for a half marathon I need to add a weekend long run instead of my treadmill 4 miles. It is supposed to be a slower pace so I am certainly confident I could do this no problem adding the miles. I wouldn’t be doing more than 6 miles until half way into the program which I could go out and do right now. So I know this is possible for me. Then I looked at training schedules for doing a half iron tri. I am swimming more now than I need to at the peak. The programs peak at 5000 yards a week. I did 6600 two weeks ago, and have average over 5500 for the last 8 weeks. So I can reduce my swim time. The running is not going to be more intense than training for a half marathon, I just need to adjust my workouts as above. This is a very small change. In theory I need to do some core strength training as well. But this can be added in easily with a minimal workout twice a week. The big change will be biking. I have been doing it once a week or less, and since half the time in the race is spent on the bike I am very much lacking. The plan has a person hit the bike 3 times a week, twice is a short ride with a run brick. These start at 20 minutes bike and 5 run and work up to 45 minutes bike 20 minute run at the end of the peak phase. Then the long ride on the weekend that starts at 45 minutes and goes to 2 hours by the end of the peak. I get my indoor trainer soon and will start hitting the bike more often. I am in good enough shape now to start these 16 week programs other than maybe the bike, but I have almost 30 weeks to be ready for running and 40 weeks before the half iron triathlon. I can gain a base level in the next three months that will have me ready to take these challenges head on providing I can take the time to workout and still want to follow through with the insanity. So I will have to wait on the decision and consider it more since there is still plenty of time. Come March I will make my final decisions. I will see if I can take the increase in workout time over the next few weeks once I add in some more bike time. I will be adding a Tuesday morning weight training session in too, probably not until next week though as my back is a little sore to hit it tomorrow.

One last final note to my totally random chain of dissimilar topics is that fact that I hit the 70,000 calories burned tomorrow. My original goal of 240,000 is looking about right as far as reaching my weight goals. So I am at the 30% mark. I am amazed how fast they are adding up. I am going to have to schedule in some rest weeks soon so I don’t over do it. This week would be a good one but for the fact I set some goals that I can’t slacken up and still make them. We shall see who wins… the brain that wants to meet the goals or the one that knows I should rest for a bit.

Diet and Workout Results – 6 Weeks

October 24, 2008

OK so two days and it really six weeks, but I felt like sharing now. So Here is a chart that shows my daily calories deficit in both food and workouts. The food is based on my need to eat about 2600 to maintain my weight without considering the workouts, from left to right this number changed from 2610 to 2585 because of the weight loss. So the days you see the food dip below the zero line, this means I ate that much more than 2600 calories. Two of the four days were during workout days and I was just ravenously hungry, the workouts put me back up. There were only two days where I wound up negative.


If anyone is going to try this method of tracking to lose weight loss, then I have a few things I have found to share with you.

Notice the height of the red bars on the first week. They are short. These were days when my goal was just to do some workouts. I was swimming 600 to 1000 yards and was totally beat from the effort. I was doing the workouts, and logging the 40 minutes or so per swim bike or run, but I was not able to keep them going non-stop all out, it wasn’t really a run it was a jog/walk/jog/walk. None the less the calories were being burned and I was getting more fit. I was able to keep the eating down, and this first week was the best week on that front. This is a good way to start the program, and it would be best to do this, even starting out much lower. Remember I had been going at my triathlon training for about 12 weeks using the south beach diet before this chart started. So I worked up to this point of fitness by getting ready and competing in a sprint triathlon (500 meter swim, 11.7 mile bike, 3.7 mile run). If I had it to do again, I would not train on a low carb diet. There were days I felt like I had put in 110% and was going at 80% of my best speed. The body just needs more food when you workout more.

So as we start to see week two red bars getting bigger we also see the yellow ones getting smaller. This might seem like an accident or a failure to control my willpower at the table, but it is fuel for working out. It is hard to do these long (45-60 minute) high effort workouts 6 times a week, with a nice 85 minute workout on Saturday with a swim back-to-back with a treadmill. The body needs food to do this and then do it again the next day. The way I am able to do it is by eating 6 times a day. I have the regular 3 meals and three snacks after each meal. After 6 weeks I am finding that what works best to control my appetite is to eat about 400-500 calories for breakfast, 120-150 for a morning snack, 500 or so for lunch, with another 120-150 snack in the afternoon, then a dinner of 500, with a nighttime snack of 200-300 calories. Now this is just the average, I get cravings due to a varying workout schedule and just go for it. At first I felt guilty, but then I noticed if I ate 1000 calories for lunch after a run, I would tend not to want the afternoon snack or if I did then the dinner might be light. If you are working for a goal that is below what you need to maintain weight, and over each week are averaging below it then you will be better off to listen to those cravings as long as they are simply to eat. If you don’t take care of them you will suffer from lower energy levels and or a more costly binge later.

I think the willpower should not be used to stop from eating, it should be used to stop from eating the crap and instead eat something healthy. If my appetite is not huge and I am getting a meal ready, then I have some leeway to pick something based only on calories total. I can eat the foods that are more taboo because I am currently in control and will not keep going. I am not all that hungry and get 500 calories, maybe I eat a corn dog (microwaved=280 cals) and a french onion soup (costco style=210 cals) then a cup of lettuce with a few spritzes of that 1 calorie per spray salad dressing and a quart of water. However, if I am feeling like I can eat a horse, then I must eat healthy because I will be back for more if I don’t stuff my gut. I get 2 cups of lettuce, 1/2 c cucumbers, 1/2 c carrots, and 2 T of good salad dressing for about 150 calories total, then I add a whole wheat pita for 180 calories that is stuffed with 100 calories of lean ham and some cooked veggies with salsa and possibly some shredded no-fat plastic, I mean cheese. If that won’t quite do it then a cup of steamed brocolli will. It is difficult for me to stuff down the food sometimes, but if I am still hungry I will eat more, that is where the willpower helps. Eat that brocolli!

The thrid week I learned a lesson. You can see the yellow bars dipping below 0, I ate 2900 calories or so on Wednesday. I swam on Tuesday morning (600 calories), ran for lunch (525 calories) and then rode my bike Wednesday (520 calories). I ate a big unhealthy dinner of 1500 calories. Red Robin Burger and Fries and a couple of pulls off the kid’s milkshake’s. Ouch. The thing was I had not conserved calories earlier during the day, cause I was so hungry from the efforts of the past 36 hours. That one meal canceled out all but 150 calories of my three workous. It was not worth it. That is one point of data that verifies my rule, only eat healthy if you are starved. If you eat out, kid’s birthday dinner or not, better choices are needed if the calories are not in the bank from the rest of the day. The same lesson is evidenced on Saturday, the birthday party. We had papa murphy’s take ‘n bake pizza. We got the de-light ones which are thin crust. They are large pizza’s with only 165 calories per slice if you hack it into 10 pieces. Well we did 8, so it was 205. The thin crust is easy to eat. I tried to control myself at dinner and managed to stop at 1180 calories which included a salad, water and the pizza. Then later that evening, still not satisfied, I got more and had another 765 calories. I swam and ran for a total of 950 calories earlier that day which is why I was so hungry. I also was holding back some earlier knowing we would be eating pizza that night. That made the craving too strong.

It’s not only birthday parties that mess me up, the wednesday of week 4, after a swim on tuesday (580 cals) and a run at lunch (620), I started grazing Wednesday late afternoon till dinner to the tune of 1100 calories and still had 300 more for dinner. Again, the non-filling not-so-good crap needs to be left for when I am not famished. Tuesdays workouts got wiped out in much less time: bowl of cereal – glass of juice – handful of peanuts – small peanut butter sandwich – glass of milk; one right after the other. All just a warm up for dinner.  

Now I will be the first to admit this tracking crap is a pain. I will also admit that as I am just putting it all down in a spreadsheet and carrying a notebook around for adding up when I am not near my computer on the weekends it is really getting to be much faster. I spend a total of 5 minutes a day tracking it now so there is really no good reason not to do it. Once you get the spreadsheet set up and ready to punch in the numbers it only takes minutes a day. If anyone wants the same spreadsheet I am using, just ask for it in the comments and I will email it to you blank and ready to go. The email address is hidden from anyone but me so no harm there. The whole point I guess is that if I had not tracked all this so close I would not have a clue the mistakes I was making that wiped out the entire week of exercising. Now I would still have lost weight to this point, as I did lose 12 pounds so far (201.6 woohoo), but I would not have had the data to see my mistakes and they would slow my progress down going forward. There is no way to make improvements if you don’t measure what it is you want to improve. Not with any certainty anyway.

If you ask a skinny person if they have ever binged, they will say yes. If you ask that skinny person if they have ever done so for a few days in a row they will say yes. So far we can cross of the word skinny. But, if you ask a skinny person if they knew what they needed to do to lose those couple of pounds they might have gained, they will say yes. They can listen to their body and know what is going on, build that calorie deficit and get back to their normal weight setpoint, just the same as a person that understands their budget and finances can save up to purchase a new TV, or even buy it on credit and get it paid off quickly. Now I would not be able to answer yes, or if I did it would be simply becuase I knew I could exert my will for a few days, knowing full well it would blow up after a while. Now that I am tracking all this stuff, I can say yes. I know exactly what I need to do. I have measured and looked at my mistakes and because I have everything for the last 6 weeks sitting there to review, I am able to learn what works and how my body handles food and exercise. One day I may be able to do it all by feel, but what harm is there in taking an extra 5-minutes for tracking and maybe an hour or two reflecting once a month on the lessons I need to learn.

It will make the next six weeks that much more potent, and I will reach my goals faster. For those that are curious, my weight drop on the chart above was from 213.6 to 201.6, I ate 19450 calories less than I needed to maintain my weight with no exercise, and worked out to the tune of 18240 calories. The total is 37690, which at 3500 calories per pound would be 10.8 pounds lost versus the actual loss of 12.0. The extra 1.2 pounds is probably from eating more just before the diet started. If I take out the first week and use the average weight of the last 5 days of the first week once that extra 2 pounds went missing, the numbers I calculated versus the weight I measured match exactly. There is a variance from day to day of as many as 2 pounds above or below the calculated number, but most of the time my actual weight is within 1 pound of the estimated weight.