Monday, January 31, 2011

Bastard

224.2lbs. Yes, an increase yet again. By now the pattern is a common one. Lower, lower, lower, lower, higher, high, lower, lower lower lower. It's just how this stuff works and I am happy with it so far.

Saw a few friends over the weekend and I tell you it just seems harder to get together these days. So much crap seems to pass from one week to the next. You get so lost between your job and friends you tend to forget that so much can happen within a day or week. It's incredibly important to have time with your friends. Good friends are your sounding boards, your bellwethers, your best critics; they never hold back and will tell you exactly what you think.

Now I have a friend named Tammy who is wonderfully cynical about certain things and will call "shenanigans!" when something does not seem to ring true. Now Saturday I proceeded to launch poetic, evangelical style, on how wonderful this health regimen I am on truly is and how body hacking was fun and interesting. I hate when I do this, I truly do. When I find something exciting or interesting, I get loud, very loud. I annoy myself. I could have had a wonderful career in selling Sham-Wows if highly absorbent cloths made me squirm with delight. As I talked wildly (perhaps my lingering cold and the glass of bourbon enhanced the effect) for 15 minutes on GLUT-4 , what a scam the HCG diet is, how vitamin D is excellent for testosterone production in men, fruit is bad for you - specifically juice and eating like a pig everyday can make you lose weight if you only eat the bad stuff once a week, I heard Tammy's questioning voice - rightfully so. All the links to info in this paragraph are just for her when she reads this and you too, if you want more information.

Tammy always has great questions. All of my friends are fantastically intelligent, I do not say this to shine their apples. I always, always take their opinions with the highest regard. My wife is my best friend and I always take what she says as gospel as well. The key to looking halfway intelligent is to always have friends smarter than you. Tammy's first statement made me pause, "Hell, I don't need extra vitamin D, I live in Arizona where there is sun year round!" Well, of course she is right. But it is the form of vitamin D that is important and what is bio available on any given day. It's odd but we need more as we get older and though UV light will trigger production, it takes quite a bit of exposure to get to levels that might prevent loss of bone density and increase testosterone production. It has some cancer preventing elements but can also cause problems when levels are extremely high. There is a trade off here in Arizona for vitamin D through natural light and an increase of skin cancer from other factors. It made me think that if UV was enough to trigger the levels of vitamin D in men's body to produce more testosterone, the men here should be studly sex demons with ripped bodies. Taking a visual survey, I can tell that this is not true. At the time I had no answer but Tammy made me do my research. I love my friends for that.

Tammy also questioned fruit being evil. I totally get this as well. Fruit is incredibly vitamin rich. Fruit has better sugars than your run of the mill sucrose (regular old sugar). I have had this notion of fruit being vital parts of pyramids, quadrangles and tetrahedrons produced by the Federal Government over the last 4 or 5 decades. Fruit! It's all natural! It comes from the earth! Well, so does anthrax and asbestos. I like fruit, don't get me wrong. It's the way it is metabolized in the blood stream which is the issue. Fruit is particularly good for women looking to increase estrogen and iron.

Fruit, generally, increases iron absorption in the blood stream. This can be beneficial to women but catastrophic for men. We, as men, have no mechanism to clean out excess iron in our blood stream. I have another friend who really has a problem clearing iron in his body, fruit is a huge no-no and he has to donate blood on a regular basis so he won't die. As women become menopausal they lose this mechanism, as well. Excess iron leads to heart attacks and strokes. As for fructose being better, yes it is, but if you do not metabolize it all (it's hard to do when you drink more than a 8 ounce glass of it) within a certain time period it will turn into fat just like any other sugar. A majority of the fruit juice on the market even has sugar added. Even the American Diabetes Association suggest you be very careful about your fruit intake. A lot of the same vitamins and minerals in fruit can be found in vegetables and meats and other sources without the high sugar content. Sugar and starches are the only things that will cause fat storage on the body. I have learned far more about human physiology over the past four weeks than I ever cared to know. It's all about balance but not the crazy balance the media and government push at us through outdated research.

Now there was no way I was going to torture Tammy with the last two paragraphs of information on a casual night. It goes back to the preaching thing that I was doing. As I got farther along I couldn't stand myself any longer. I had already pulled out The Tim Ferriss book (the boys at the party marveled over the 15 minute female orgasm and how to increase your vertical leap) while we were talking. I just felt bad about it all. The book has far more information than I could convey and it wasn't really all about the book anyway. As an aside, I do plan on doing more stuff from the book as we go along. I have just played with the dietary stuff and there is far more to it. I kind of like the idea of body hacking and if the next 5 weeks work as well as the previous three then it will be nice to to see what else I can do. The whole idea of the book is decidedly not about being the new Atkins but how to get the greatest effects out of doing the least possible. I like that because when it comes to stuff like this I am naturally very lazy. I also loathe diets, I honestly think they are stupid and ineffective.

Before I forget, my friend Lee asked a pertinent question that night as well, "Have you quit drinking diet drinks?" Lee has always had his suspicions about diet drinks and man did I love them. I drank gallons of them on certain days and would eat or drink little else. So why wasn't I losing weight? Diet drinks aren't. They have an opposite effect on your body than the one desired. They make you store fat because they kill the healthy flora in your digestive system that helps you to break down food into vital nutrients. Drink enough and you are starving yourself of the vitamins that you would normally get by eating. I do sometimes have a can of diet coke but I also make sure I have a forkful of sauerkraut or Greek yogurt to replenish what the diet soda has killed off. Weird but true. Everything has its price.

See why I love my friends?!? They ask such pertinent questions and they also endure my craziness even when I play unflattering songs about Bruce Springsteen at 1am. For the record, I love Bruce and Tammy is right about another thing, to have no Eagles on vinyl is shameful.

So now I am 44 years old and I have set so many goals for myself this year. One goal I need to start working diligently towards is getting published. I have one book 2/3rds finished and another one that comes in bits and pieces. If I spent half the time on that writing instead of this blog, I'd be finished by now. If anyone wants to read the work in progress, just drop me a line. Christy has read most of the first one and I really owe her to get cracking on it. I left the main character in a rather perilous position and she has been waiting two years to see what happens next.

'The more you know you know you don't know shit, 'The Whiz Man' will never fit you like 'The Whiz Kid' did"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Social Disease

219.2. Eh, I'll take it. I had been putting off taking any over the counter medication for my cold and then last night I broke down and gave in. Before I say this, again correlation does not equal causation. But I had my suspicions that the medication would interrupt my nightly catabolic process which helps to trim fat off the body while you sleep. I am not unique, everyone loses most of their adipose (fat) weight when they sleep. Your body, if fed properly, will use your fat to keep itself running while you are cutting z's. You could stay on a treadmill or elliptical for hours and still not get close to what your body will do on its own while you are dreaming of standing in sun god robes while on a pyramid with a thousand naked women screaming at you while throwing little pickles at you. It's medical fact. It doesn't mean you should be constantly sleeping though, well, unless you want to really throw off your metabolism.

Today is my birthday and I have been up since 6am or so. I really really did not sleep as well as I should have last night. One should never be awake enough to realize the late NBA game they watched on ESPN was now repeating 4 hours later at 3am because they left the TV on. But I wanted to be up early anyway and make sure my wife fulfilled one of my birthday requests to go do something fun for herself. You see, our friend Tammy had asked her to go hit the garage sales this morning - early. Now Christy rarely does things for herself but she does do everything for me and the kids. She just doesn't take time away to just be Christy and not be Christy "the devoted wife" or Christy "the caring mom" for a moment. So I got up with her early this morning, made her breakfast and coffee and patted her butt on out the door. Birthday wish fulfilled.

I really couldn't quite go back to bed so I watched a movie that I thought was going to be incredibly horrible but wound up being fairly good despite the title. I love post apocalyptica and Neon City filled the bill. It was basically Mad Max in the snow and had Michael Ironside as the hero. There were quite a few genuinely interesting concepts and good action scenes that you don't quite expect to see in a movie where Vanity is one of the stars. Heck, it even has a Steve Guttenberg knockoff as a serial killer. The writer was smart enough to set the movie far enough in the future that, even thought it was made in 1991, it still seemed plausible unlike other films of this genre (I am looking at you John Carpenter and James Cameron). What more could you ask for?

Again binge day is upon us. I ate my regular ginormous breakfast and then decided that it might be fun to have the Hershey's bar that my work gave me for my birthday. Um no. I had one small piece and that was enough for me. It sort of grossed me out. I do have some other goals for today, I have a few projects I want to finish up and later I plan to be plastered. No, I am not thinking of creating a life mask or a full body casting. Let me put it differently: I want to be bombed, blitzed, blotto and/or faced. Well, not entirely but I do want to get some drinking on and just cut loose while torturing people with my now extensive vinyl collection and ridiculous amounts of knowledge about pop music. "Really? You have never heard of Nektar? Yes, they are obscure as hell but you are going to love them - trust me!" If you hear me saying anything like that, run!

Well I have to go and pick up some architectural glass and various other items to complete my projects around the house. I have hardwood shutters to put in, a continuous glass quarter wall to finish and a present to open. The thing is huge and heavy and I have no clue what it is! It's driving me insane! If I don't get to open it soon I WILL start drinking early.

Here is a picture the girls took this morning.



I am a genuine example of a social disease.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt

219.2lbs. I am sub 220, yay for me. I am also sick, boo immunity system. So this will be a bit short. I am feeling a better as the day goes on. I think it is that 48 hour cold that has been going around here. My coherent thinking isn't exactly the best right now. So I guess if the pattern remains the way it is, I should be in the 218's as I hoped. My head is swimming with odd thoughts.

The whole unrest in Egypt has me wondering what is going to happen next. It has me freaked out a little bit. The foreign press was reporting weeks ago, after Tunisia, that this would occur and there might be a domino effect in play that could destabilize the Middle East even more than it already is. Already Yemen is experiencing unrest as well. An extrapolation of current events into future events is frightening. Ugh.

All that being said, with my head feeling like a basketball and my waistline looking less like one, I am going to pick up my girls from school and hurry to snuggle in bed with my sweetheart and try not to think of Egypt.

Egypt




Thursday, January 27, 2011

Someday We'll Know

220.2lbs. I think I might just make it sub 220 this week. Ya think? We do have lots of sugary crap around the house, you know, I could just decide to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Naw. I am now thinking that somewhere around 218lbs would be nifty.

I have been changing things up a bit as I get used to what works and what doesn't. I don't think I was eating nearly enough protein even though I had already increased the amount once already. A few more grams of lean protein in the morning has made a huge difference and has produced more consistent results. Also, I have diminished the amounts I eat progressively throughout the day; lunch is smaller than breakfast and dinner is smaller than lunch. It works a lot better this way and goes back to what I said previously about natural eating patterns.

Now to switch gears. Someone asked if I spent a lot of time writing these entries. Well, I do and I don't. I think on any given day it takes about 45 minutes and that is meted out during the day. I might take 5 minutes here and there and eventually it all adds up. Some of that 45 minutes is thinking about what I'll write and a good part of my idle brain cycles are used thinking of what song will fit into what I have chosen to write about. Sometimes, the song will inspire the post. That is a fairly rare occurrence. Today's song and what has been on my mind lately sort of came to me at the same time.

I was having a conversation last night with my son about history and how it is never written in stone because of the things we learn later on. Sometimes these things we learn just get pushed aside in the history books. For some folks, history is history and whatever we learn afterward doesn't seem to matter. Salacious rumor will often take hold before fact, it's the American way. For example, J Edgar Hoover was not a cross dresser but he more than likely was gay. It was a bit of slander from one former enemy and it just flew through the press like wildfire to become unfounded common knowledge.

Now when I was my son's age, I was morally outraged by the story of the Rosenbergs. After reading E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel, I was fit to be tied. Even the New York Times as recently as 2009 said, "The Rosenbergs case still haunts American history, reminding us of the injustice that can be done when a nation gets caught up in hysteria." Well, it would be interesting if the "Old Gray Lady" would actually fact check itself better. In another article from the New York Times in the same year about authors who combed through KGB documents, we have this: "In 2008, the only surviving defendant, Morton Sobell, acknowledged that he was a Soviet spy and implicated Julius Rosenberg in industrial and military, but not atomic, espionage." But even this is an equivocation written by a man whose previous work made a case in the 50's for the Rosenbergs being railroaded as a justification for McCarthyism. He does a lot of back pedaling and his stretches of logic conflict with the hard cold facts, mainly because he does not couch them in a temporal context.

Here is a more explanatory reading of the KGB documents that implicated the Rosenbergs explicitly in the 90's: "This mass of documentation shows that Julius Rosenberg began his espionage career before the German invasion of the Soviet Union (a time when Hitler and Stalin were allies) and that he continued for years after the end of World War II, when the Soviet Union's only potential opponent was the United States. This evidence also reveals that Julius was a more active atomic spy than the FBI, prosecutors, or his most ardent opponents ever suspected. The risks and sacrifices he took for the USSR surprised even hardened KGB officers. During a two-year period, from 1946 to 1948, when security concerns had caused the KGB to cut off communication, Rosenberg kept his ring together, stockpiled classified information in the hope that the KGB would get back in touch, and provided financial support to his agents."

Now granted a death sentence is pretty extreme but it becomes quite clear that they weren't the saints I had been led most of my life to believe. I have been led to believe in a lot of things and so have you. Why do I even bring anything up about history at all? Well, in a way it is the same scrutiny I apply to everything. I am a natural skeptic and ridiculous pragmatist. I will tell you if I didn't see results from my current diet regimen, I would have dropped it after a week. It's as simple as that and like I said before, results are results. Facts are facts and numbers (if not manipulated) never lie.

The HCG diet is one I look upon with incredible scrutiny. I know someone who has achieved great results from being on it. Here is how the magic is supposed to work: Women, when pregnant, have an increase of a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. Very few studies have been done about HCG until recently. The first study (oh I am so stretching when I call it that) that kicked all of this off was done by an endocrinologist who noted that, HCG in conjunction with an extremely low calorie diet, caused subjects to lose more fat than lean muscle.

Now here is the sin of the science. Correlation does not equal causation. Supposedly, and a lot of this was manufactured pseudo science after the fact, HCG will curb hunger. It's not what Simeon's study concluded at all but I have seen that bandied about like crazy. The truth of the matter is that it is the diet that makes you lose weight not the HCG. HCG has actually been studied for decades both in the form of injection (a much more expensive option that my friend chose) and orally and has been shown to have no effect whatsoever on weight loss.

For those of you who don't know, the HCG diet consists of only 500 calories a day max. It is also what is in the diet. My friend had outrageous bouts of hunger the first few weeks (so much for the "fact" that HCG stops hunger). Now I have done calorie restriction before and it just doesn't work and I also might have thrown my metabolism out of whack by doing so. It's the type of calories you eat that is more important. Now if you follow the HCG diet alone without the supplement, I promise you that you will be hungry as hell the first few weeks but drop weight like crazy. It will also be harder to gain those pounds back if you stick with it for quite awhile before dropping off the wagon.

So how does that work? Won't your metabolic rate drop like a lead balloon? It's like I said, it's what is in the diet that makes all of it possible. The main components of the diet are: high protein, low carbs, low fat. The high protein helps to maintain muscle mass and has a "burning" effect on the fat. You'll still lose a lot of muscle due to the caloric restriction but the fat/muscle loss ratio can be desirable for a lot of people. But the whole diet is ridiculously convoluted and kills off breakfast completely. Here is an example of an HCG breakfast/lunch vs my regimen:

Breakfast
HCG:
  • Coffee or Green Tea
Mine:
  • Three strips turkey bacon
  • 2 Whole Eggs with 3 egg whites
  • Protein Shake (if I feel like it)
  • Green Tea or Coffee

Lunch:
HCG
  • 100 grams of lean protein weighed (all visible fat and skin must be removed)
  • 1 piece of Melba Toast
  • An apple or orange
  • small amount of vegetables
Mine:
  • A turkey kielbasa (or as much of any protein I want, I really like pot roast)
  • As much spinach or any green veggie I want (spinach with a nice balsamic vinaigrette is the shee-ut yo)
  • Half a can or more of black beans or whatever legume or lentil I want

As I sit here right now I am polishing off a piece of turkey breast the size of my fist. It's quite yummy, I assure you. So why doesn't someone on a 500 calorie diet drop their metabolic rate? It's all about set points. Your body naturally has a set point for weight and it will adjust down over time to more efficiently use what is going into it. With little carbs, your body will redirect the calories where they are needed the most and eventually forgo the starvation effect. Your body is getting what it needs so why does it want to store fat? If you fall off of HCG you will regain the pounds eventually but it will take you awhile before you steer the car into the ditch.

Another thing I find interesting with HCG is that it uses highly caffeinated beverages to get you out of your natural waking catabolic state. I will have to read more to see if this is possible by caffeine alone. It was a lot like how I used to start my morning by chugging a couple of Rock Stars on the way to work. I think there might be a "kick start" thing in play there but I want to read more research before I say anything definitive.

One more thing before we get back to history and off the subject of diets. I have a friend named Joe whose sister is a dietitian. Let me tell you, Joe was ripped. It always seemed to amaze me how much the man could pack in at a meal. I would restrict what I ate and Joe would just eat like a death row inmate a few hours before the electric chair. Joe was muscular and I was bucking for a modeling job as the Pillsbury dough man (ooohooo). I have been thinking about him and those days so long ago and I now realize what it was he was eating. Joe would fill a plate the size of a hubcap with sausage and beans and green vegetables. It dawned in me recently that this was exactly what I was doing now! Even when we would hit Pancho's (the local all you can eat Mexican buffet) he would make some pretty good choices. At Pancho's there is a little flag pole on your table and when you raise the flag the waitress comes by and takes your order for anything more you would like. I swear I thought the thing would catch on fire from the friction when I ate there with Joe. I think they have his picture above the cash register.

Now going back to the conversation I was having with my boy. I just want to engender a greater sense of discovery in him; a sense of discovery beyond the detritus of the internet and video games. Video games particularly provide a false sense of discovery in kids because they don't stop to reason that what they find inside a video game has been all laid out by groups of 30 year old men and everything they find has been found by millions before them. So I try to impress upon my son why it is important to explore things mentally. You can get lost but the journey is more than worth it.

Two things, out of the many I have discovered this week, have floored me. I was reading about Horatio Alger, that famed author and creator of the "rags to riches" fiction genre. From my high school and college education, I know that he wrote about boys who would find fame and fortune despite impossible odds. He was a much celebrated author and has many scholarships in his name across this great country today. What I didn't know was that Mr. Alger was a pedophile, self admittedly. I guess the old saying stays true: you write about what you love (ewwww!).

The second thing that pegged my curiosity was the Taj Mahal. I had always heard that it was truly a monument to eternal love. Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor of India, being grief stricken, built a fantastic mausoleum for his wife after she died during child birth. It took years to create and has been called a wonder of the world; it's even a UNESCO World Heritage site. That wife must have been one helluva a woman. Well... not eactly.

You see, Mumtaz Mahal (the wife in question) was a fervent Muslim jihadist who had whole villages of "infidels" (Christians, Hindus and other non believers) slaughtered during her reign of terror in the 1600's. The Taj Mahal is also designed to be a mosque with 4 minarets, for Islamic calls to prayer, accenting the corners of the grounds (those are those huge spires you see on either side when you see pictures of it). It is also why there is a crescent moon adorning the top. The Shah himself continued to destroy a large number of Hindu temples after his wife's death. Up until the British Raj, anyone who entered the Taj Mahal, who was not a muslim, would be punished with a quick execution. Ironically, modern day jihadists threatened to blow up the Taj Mahal as recently as 2006.

Yes, the Taj Mahal is a wonderful example of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture but think about this: would we be exalting a great work of architecture created by Hitler for Eva Braun? Probably not. There is a great deal of evidence that the whole love story angle is completely false. Again, like the J. Edgar Hoover rumors, the whole story of its origin is based on bad archaeology and myths perpetrated by others. A great post on some of the buildings true origins can be found here. What we see as the Taj Mahal today is not nearly as complete as it was in the past thanks to the looting of British soldiers. This situation did not help the world of archaeology much.

Oh the song, I almost forgot. The song is by a group called The New Radicals. Basically, the group consisted of Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois. Yes, if you were old enough to remember, it's the same child actress Danielle Brisebois from "All in the Family". I just learned that today. The main songwriter Gregg Alexander now writes and does song "fixes" for other artists. The song below has been covered by everyone from Hall and Oates ad Todd Rundgren to Mandy Moore. Joni Mitchell thought he was a genius. Having heard the album the song comes from, I concur. Strange, odd, thought provoking and challenging, it was one of the best of the 90's.




Oh and the chart.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vanity Kills

221.6lbs. Sub 220 sure looks attainable now. Perhaps 218 might be in range by Saturday's weigh in. I am already noticing small physical changes. I am seeing certain parts of my abs dimple in here and there. Pro tip for guys: you will never ever see a six pack in your life if you are simply depending on exercise, cut the fat - get the abs. It's as simple as that.

My friend and I had wondered at some point how another friend of ours had achieved a six pack without any exercise. There was a factor we discounted: he was on drugs, specifically meth. That's not exactly what I would call a good health plan. Despite the fact that you get a ripped body, you also have to worry about those pesky little things like heart failure, losing your teeth and looking like a corpse eventually. I highly suspect that most of Hollywood is on some form of illegal stimulant. The surgical reconstruction of nasal passages must be a booming business in La La Land.

It makes me wonder how many people died for their own vanity, taking the easy way out. The body is a wonderous machine that gets out of whack. It's like the alignment on your car, you hit one too many speed bumps going at a high rate of speed then, suddenly, your vehicle wants to swerve left into a drainage ditch and kill you. I would do minor corrections to my health as I got older and then get lazy and have to muscle the vehicle to the side of the ride to avoid a head on with a semi.

At one point, boys and girls, I was a gym rat. 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the evening but I never ate right. I would lose weight slowly and feel like crap most of the time. I did build muscle mass which accounts for some of the slow weight loss. My lowest weight was 205 and I looked pretty good but would have looked much better without 15 lbs of fat on me that I liked to call "muscle". The key to it all is to lose weight, maintain your present muscle mass as much as possible and then build up if necessary. As a teenager I can tell you I didn't have much muscle mass. I had a weight set I used quite a bit but I might as well have been waving my arms around like a monkey. By the time I moved on from my teens I was already veering the car into a bridge abutment. By my late 20's I was almost in Chris Farley territory, God rest his soul.

But I have to say that my current regimen is fairly easy (without taking the easy way out) and I don't have to snort and support the economies of Peru or Colombia. The parts that aren't easy? Remembering the supplements. I have little pill cases for all of them and some of them, if not all of them, can be substituted with food. Now, it's kind of hard to find a garlic clove laying around my desk. Mental note to self: hide garlic cloves around the office. But I have added some L-Carnitine (in combo with Alpha Lipoic Acid) to the diet. Some notable effects can be found here. (Yes the article is all sciencey but I am sure you can take it. ) L-Carnitine is sort of hard to find in foods in the quantities I want, so I am supplementing.

What's difficult is remembering to bring my little pills into work with me during all the madness of getting the girls to school. There lies the rub. I think I have become more anal in week three and it frustrates me greatly when I don't have my supplements at the ready. Well, problem solved, I went and bought duplicate bottles to put in my desk. Still, being religious about 4 supplement doses a day can be tedious, well worth it but tedious nonetheless. I'll put it up with it like I put up with my week of beans being my magical fruit.

Speaking of beans, once my body started getting regulated, beans have had no effect on the Phoenix area's observance of the EPA's Clean Air Act since. I find this interesting though you may not. I also find it interesting how efficiently my body uses food now. If I feel hungry in the evening I grab a tablespoon or two of peanut butter and I feel sated. My former self would tell you that a jar makes a nice snack. Seeing that 2 tablespoons is something closing in on 300-400 calories, I would not say that is the best advice. I don't even want to calculate the caloric equivalent of a jar of the stuff.

In unrelated news, I got my hair cut finally. I took one of my girls along with me until the other one finished her school activities. She now knows what a real barbershop looks like: a magazine table bereft of Us or People or Redbook, four large chairs with heavy chrome and steel accenting them and men clipping away in white smocks with scissors the size of garden sheers and clippers. I asked for the barber to cut my hair a certain way and of course got it cut the way he thought best. I am not sure if this was due to the language barrier (Russian barbers are everywhere in Phoenix) or an act of kindness to keep me from being a dork. I love old style barbershops, there is an unwritten man code that governs them. Chit chat is for your hairdresser, short questions and grunts are for your barber. He did pay me a nice compliment with a very thick slavic accent, "Sir, you have very nice hair, very nice hair. How old are you?" I replied, "Almost 43." That's it, that was the sum total of our conversation after sitting down in the chair. All in all, it was a great experience. It was like "Take Your Daughter to Work" day except with hair.

Latest and greatest:



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Signs

224.0lbs. Not bad, not bad, considering it is a 2.6lb loss in 24 hours. Once again my marathon running abilities have made another appearance in the blog. Here is a nifty little chart showing my progress:



You can start to see a saw tooth pattern emerge from binges. Neat! As you can tell we are about to climb aboard the ScienceMobile! Woosh!

Okay, so I said I have been conducting two experiments. The first one is rather simple, I have not cut my hair since my wedding 6 months ago. It is rather long now (past my shoulders) and it is the longest it has ever been. I have noticed that there is a certain degree of prejudice you have to endure having long hair. I have been called "hippie" more than once and I just get a odd type of stare when I walk into my girl's school. People definitely treat you differently. On the other side of the spectrum, there is a certain level of social acceptance as well from people who don't care how long your hair is, I suspect that I look less like "the man" so I should be "cool".

Anyway, I was hoping to keep growing my hair long enough to donate it to Locks of Love. I thought it would be a good way of mixing my hair growing with some altruism but alas I am not sure if I will ever meet the requirements. It's just not long enough and I am getting demands from the feminine members of my clan to cut it. I gave the girls a task of finding me a new haircut and they did but it will be a cold day in Hell before I look like Ryan Seacrest. Soon my days of being a dark haired younger Albert Einstein look alike will be over.

The second experiment was inadvertent: a table saw bit about 1/4 of an inch into my finger. Pro tip: do not try to adjust elements of a table saw close to the blade while the blade is still spinning. So I have this nasty cut/chop into the tip of my middle finger, it basically ate a good deal of the meat behind the nail. The stupid thing bled everywhere. But like the other male patriarchs of my family I marched on and finished the wall shelf insert I was building and went to show the wife. "Looky honey! Can you help me with this?"

Now this is not the first time I have done horrible disfiguring things to my body, so I am quite aware that I have a pretty good pain threshold. I once put a razor sharp carpenters knife through my finger near the last knuckle while building an ornate fence, I hit bone thankfully. I shouted an expletive, walked inside and cleaned out the wound in the sink. I reached for the first thing I could find to cover it, masking tape, and finished the job. I also once snapped my big toe in half and put it back together with duck tape and a Popsicle stick - true story.

Well as you get older, the amazing recuperative powers you had when you were younger just start leaving you. For men, the principle reason is testosterone. Now there have been a few conflicting studies on this but I have found, through my inadvertent experiment, that by increasing natural testosterone in the body (good for weight loss and muscle growth in men) you can enhance the healing effect (Tim Ferriss touches briefly on this in his book). In short, you can decrease your healing time by eating certain foods in combination. I made the cut on Sunday and today the wound has almost healed and closed. It still is a bit tender but soon it will be gone. I only wish I cut get my hands on some powdered pig bladder for next time. Kids take your Cod Liver Oil! Away with the ScienceMobile! Wooosh!

So if you gotten this far then you must help me choose a haircut because I refuse to look like:

a) one of the Jonas Brothers
b) Michael Buble'
c) Justin Beiber
d) a hobbitt.




Monday, January 24, 2011

I Am Superman

226.6 lbs. If you have been reading long enough, you know how this works. Here is a short recap: I eat lots of protein, fat, beans, veggies during the week and Saturday I go crazy, go nuts, on bad bad bad food. Sunday means I am bloated and Monday still shows the residual effects, scale wise. I did take one single pic of Saturday's gluttony, it was donuts. Mmmm donuts.

To kind of give you an idea of what binge day entails, here is a rundown of almost everything I ate:

  • 4 eggs with 8 ounces of chorizo (it's what I normally eat for breakfast most days)
  • 4 Donuts
  • Bacon wrapped shrimp (lost count)
  • Fried shrimp (lost count)
  • A sushi roll
  • A plate of teriyaki chicken
  • 4 egg rolls
  • 2 tea cakes (mocha cream)
  • A plate of sweet and sour Chicken
  • 2 large pot stickers
  • A quarter of a pumpkin cheesecake pie
  • Lots of diet Dr. Pepper
I also added a new twist, cinnamon. Cinnamon is a wonderful blood sugar (glucose) regulator. It tends to smooth out spikes and evens out the effect of sugar intake. I can tell you that, as simple as it sounds, it works. I didn't feel nearly as many highs and lows and intestinal craziness I had during the last binge day. Here is a an odd little tidbit: after all of this my body fat content went down. Soon I will start posting those BF% numbers as well. If I had the disposable income, I would invest in a Bod Pod session, it's more accurate but I am not JP Morgan (mainly because he is dead). We will look at BF% at the end of each week beginning this week. BF% will be much more important as we head further down the river into the heart of darkness. I hear a nice fellow named Colonel Kurtz lives there.

I feel thinner today, not in a psychological sense. Ever run your hand down your belly and it just feels smaller? My belly has been rubbed more than Buddha's lately. Allowing my hand to run down my belly was like hitting a under shelf on a sheer cliff face. If my hand were a cliff climber he would have certainly plunged to his death, there was very little impeding his demise. It's a bit different now. Far from complaining about my rotundity in the past, I have to be thankful it was not as hard as an over inflated inner tube. You see, if I had one of those tight round bellies, I would have to combat the fact that fat had surrounded my organs and pushed my abdominal wall out. The thought of my organs being all squished up by fat and stretching the muscular bands of my pelvic girdle scares me a bit; it's physical precursor of eventual heart disease and other maladies. So thank God for such tender mercies.

There are also other signals that perhaps the fat and muscle are trading places even while I lose weight, all my tight muscle shirts are no longer tight. Now don't make me explain why an obese man in his 40's thinks it's perfectly okay to run around in shirts with an "athletic cut", I just do. I love the small tight graphic t-shirts. More specifically, I like the small tight music or superhero t-shirts. I wore my "Green Lantern" shirt yesterday and the thing draped on me. I know I have made this point about clothes before but this one blew my mind a bit. I even asked Christy if we had done something special with the laundry lately. Like there is some setting on the drier that says "Make This Shit Huge".

After putting on the shirt I also noticed something odd, the arms were still fairly tight though the middle section had grown bigger somehow. I started to imagine little gnomes were coming into my room and changing out my clothes at night just to mess with me. No, I was not high. Also in the arm-ish area were these big ripples that people sometimes refer to as triceps. I am not sure why people refer to parts of their body as some sort of horned dinosaur, but there they were. The glaciers of fat had receded and there was muscle underneath, imagine that. I would have preferred that the glacier receded to expose some sort of cool alien earth base (yes, I have seen too much Science Fiction, why do you ask?) but I'll take what I can get.

Channeling my inner Jeane Dixon, I am going to say (and hope) that I will be counting pounds in sub-20's this week. Anything sub 220 will be a success and anything else will be absolute failure. If I fail, I have to sit and go the opposite way and be the world's fattest man for my next experiment. I hear there is more money in it.

I almost forgot, I am running a couple of other experiments simultaneously. One on purpose, one on accident. We'll discuss these tomorrow. Ciao baby!




"I am Superman and I know what's happening!"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cloudbusting

223.0lbs. You know I couldn't have really been more on the mark if I tried. I weighed myself several times in fact; I didn't believe it. Even writing for a blog, I still have journalistic integrity. I do believe, without much scientific data to support it, that believing that you can achieve something is just as important as the physical steps you take to achieve something. On occasion, I think it is the most critical step. No one set out for Everest thinking, "Yeah, eh maybe I can pull this one off."

It used to be a very important concept in American society, thinking positively. Norman Vincent Peale made a career out of being a proponent of such thought long before New Age-ism and our introduction to Eastern mysticism came along. My belief is that a lot of the later concepts are peppered with hokum and downright deceptions that a critical mind can easily tear apart. John, Paul, George and Ringo loved Eastern mysticism and all left disappointed except for George. Ascetics are rarely what they claim to be. All the yogis in the ashrams with their stilted aphorisms soon became a relic of the 70's and everyone moved on. In the 80's we had Ramtha and channeling and now that is all gone as well. Norman Vincent Peale, however still resonates today much as he did during The Great Depression, the 40's, the 50's, the 60's, the 70's, the 80's, the 90's and today. Good advice never goes out of style.

Did you know that our English word "fake" is a derivative of the word "fakir", a Hindu holy man? It was quite common and still is to find fakirs claiming incredible feats. One that was still prevalent into the 80's was one where you were told that by meditating you would be able to levitate. You would watch rich folks in Oregon hopping on their asses like a bunch of disabled frogs. We so deeply want to believe in something more powerful outside ourselves that we disregard the power that is contained inside ourselves. That's not a swipe against religion or new ageism or any other belief structure you might have. Normal Vincent Peale was a deeply religious man but saw that we could effect change with changing our mindset.

Another man, Wilhelm Reich, had pretty much the same idea but with some odd additions like Orgone energy. Read up on it, it's a bit of new ageism mixed with bad science but no more bad science than the magnetic bracelets that get rolled out every ten years or so. He also believed in being able to control the weather by cloudbusting, behind this notion were some fairly sound scientific ideas. Unlike all the hucksters today who push magnets and magic pillows all over the airwaves today, he was imprisoned by our government for a number of years without trial and subsequently died. The whole affair is incredibly sordid and sad. A good overview of his life from his son's perspective in the music video below. Something to chew on for a Saturday. Added bonus, Donald Sutherland.

"I just know that something good is going to happen, I don't know when. But just maybe saying it could, could even make even make it happen"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Feel Good Inc.

224.0lbs. Meh. Like a kid at Christmas whose sole take is a bag of socks, I am a little disappointed. Now it's really strange because .8lbs in one day is nothing to scoff at but it won't keep me out of the upper wrestling brackets yet either. I am looking forward to the last weigh in for the week tomorrow then it is party time. A true gauge of my progress would be how I feel and, brothers and sisters, I feel good.

I can't say I have felt this good physically in awhile. It's amazing what just 8lbs will do to you physically. I wore my normal clothes to work because it is casual day and it's like I am swimming in them. Suddenly I am Lily Tomlin in "The Incredible Shrinking Woman". I have boundless energy today. I hope I don't crash soon because I have a lot of work to do tonight around the house. There must be some threshold I have hit, weight wise, because I am pinging off the walls and my nose is cold. I never get cold during the day and right now I am freezing. Weird stuff.

By the way, I had some wonderful suggestions (and some weird ones) on Facebook that I might or might not use for my binge. I will probably be excluding mainlining Alfredo and the "special" brownies but you never know. I do know I will try to take pictures of it all (I know I said that last time, sheesh).




Louis: Looking good, Billy Ray! Billy Ray: Feeling good, Louis!



Feel Good Inc.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

All You Can Eat - Part Deux


224.8lbs. Not fantastic but not bad either. I kind of know why the numbers aren't lower. I forgot to eat and then I ate late which is not exactly the best option. Buddhist monks avoid solid food after noon for a reason. I like to eat and I was also very hungry. My offending late meal? Cottage cheese. On the most part, it is good for you but it does have a lot of salt. Eating late also doesn't give the body enough time to digest. Metabolically you are at the low point of your energy cycle for the day. It doesn't matter what you eat, it's going to get ya.

We Westerners have sort of flip flopped how we really should eat. We eat very little breakfast, eat a larger lunch and eat a massive dinner. My suspicion is that we eat naturally in accordance with what our brain wants, not necessarily what our bodies want. Kids are pretty good about breakfast early on because they seem to be more in touch with their bodies. As we grow older in Western society, we reverse that slowly. It is such an "innocence lost" scenario. I used to watch my youngest daughter's eating habits and she would graze or eat very little, for a period of time, and then she would eat everything within the distance of her arms like it was a hot dog eating competition.

Both Christy and I have noticed that both our girls will eat to stay awake. They are tired and they just want to get more energy to stay up later. Why don't we apply that logic to ourselves? I am not sure. I think we do the same thing but we have normalized it for ourselves. I know Christy will fall off into lala land in the morning if she doesn't eat within a few hours of waking. Her blood sugar goes into the basement. The same thing happens with the girls at night. Your brain craves sugar to operate. No sugar and the brain is going to shut everything down for awhile until it gets its way, body be damned. The only way to correct this is to schedule your meals and feed the brain before it tells all of its cells to kick off early or take a union smoke break.

Food is a drug and as soon as you come to terms with that, the better you will be. It can be beneficial. It can be harmful. It can be debilitating. It can be exhilirating. But I don't think the government should regulate it. Just as I think they shouldn't regulate normal drugs. If you need someone to stand between you and your food then it takes all responsibility out of your hands. I am sure the government has good intentions when they want to ban salt, trans fats, sugar content etc. but Hell is paved with good intentions. Looking at our governments track record, I pretty much believe they are building a damned superhighway.

So now that we all can see that food is a drug.... I could go on with more and more and more examples but I don't want to bore you to tears. Anyway, I am going to be doing the equivalent of a debaucherous drug filled binge again. My foodie binge is Saturday and I have already called on my Facebook friends to help. Oh the visions of pies and Reese's cups are dancing through my skull. I am looking forward to this one because man, I really want sugar. It has been a rough week brain wise and I am craving it like, well, a zombie craves brains. Binge with me if you like and post some foodie pics if you like.


All you can eat!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Loving The Alien

This morning's number: 225.2lbs. Again, my running of imaginary marathons has suited me well (see previous post). I really want to hit that 223 number I have talked about by the end of the week so I better start eating more. Yes, that's right, more. Why? It all has to do with what I eat during the day and stoking my metabolic fire a bit. I am going to push up my protein intake tomorrow morning and we'll all see what happens at the Friday morning number weigh in.

Now for a change of pace, I would like to tell you how to gain weight. It's really easy, eat more fruits, some types of grains and some select vegetables. There you go. Now off with you and your skinny ass. What? You don't believe me? Now c'mon have I ever truly lied to you on purpose on a Wednesday before? Okay it looks like I am going to have to prove it, off to the ScienceMobile! Whoosh!

I can understand your skepticism, I truly can. We were told by our parents, television and school teachers to eat our fruits and vegetables and our grains, weren't we? I can hear the warbly voice of a school science film in my head saying, "To grow strong and healthy, it is important that young people eat their fruits and vegetables. Oh and little Billy, don't forget your bread! Ha ha ha." Well it is mostly crap. Seriously.

If you have ever done any Middle School, High School or Junior High sports where weight can be a factor, you have probably went through the old "starve and crap" routine or "eat until your sick" routine. Basically, to drop weight you starve yourself and hope you can crap your way down the weight ladder so you don't get pummeled by someone in a higher weight class or you try to bulk up by eating to have enough mass to compete in your weight class. It makes a huge difference where you sit weight wise. If you want to get bigger there are some tricks like eating wheat germ. This is actually good if you are working out since wheat germ is better than whole wheat by weight and contains fiber and protein along with the carbs. It will bulk you up muscularly but if you are sedentary it will help pack on more pounds. To speed up the process of weight gain eat lots of corn, potatoes (any tuber really), fruit, rice and white bread products. As you balloon into your new sumo status, just write me a letter of thanks.

If you want to see what effect a diet of fruits and vegetables (fruits mainly) have on a population look no further than our friends the Samoans. No not the Girl Scout cookie, that's a Samoa and the recipe can be found here. The only truly fit and athletic looking Samoans I know of are in the NFL (like I have known a plethora of Samoans, racist much?). Now this is a vast generalization (though confirmed statistically) but folks from Samoa are almost always morbidly obese. They are among the most obese people in the world as a matter of fact. The primary components of their diet? Fruit and fruit juice and fruit soup (poi) and fruit sandwiches and fruit steak and fruit cake and tubers. Fruit.

"Hey, but doesn't fruit have the magical sugar fructose that takes longer to digest and don't they also have vitamins and stuff like that?" Why yes they do little Billy. But just because something takes longer to digest, doesn't mean it won't go to your belly, butt or thighs eventually. A sugar is a sugar is a sugar. As for tubers? Well starch, what most of a tuber is made of, turns into sugar and it loves to attach itself to your fat stores like a fat kid loves cake. Think about that before you think mashed potatoes or those sweet potato fries are healthier options than the steak or salad. Oh and corn is a whole grain by definition but don't get all twitterpated about gorging yourself on polenta or cornbread anytime soon. Corn has lots of natural sweetness which means sugar. There is a reason the Nebraska Cornhusker mascot looks like he needs to eat less corn on the cob and stay away from the corn syrup. Away we go in the ScienceMobile! Whoosh! Thus ends the science portion of today's blog entry.

I think we all have been brought up or told to believe the strangest things about our diets in America. We believe the oddest things, we embrace the alien over common sense.

I remember talking to a friend of mine, who is a dietitian, and we discussed low carb diets. It just seemed sort of the antithesis of everything I had been taught and told. She told me that low carb diets with a few minor tweaks are how we were suppose to actually be eating but we seem to stretch the advice we are given. Sure, eat your fruit but don't do it everyday and certainly don't consume them like Simba the Dancing Elephant. Besides, fruit can be very bad for men. It increases iron absorption and could lead to serious medical problems later on or almost immediately. Women if you want more estrogen then fruit is your friend in low doses, men eh not so much. You know you also can get all of the same nutrients from vegetables if you like.

I was thinking if I reached my end goal about two months from now, I will buy myself a snazzy tight fitting three/four button swinging London style suit and take the wife somewhere nice. That is my evil plan, to terrorize the great city of Phoenix as a stylish skinny person with my beautiful wife.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

She Blinded Me With Science!

227.0lbs, see? I told ya. Hopefully, by Saturday morning's weigh in I will be 223lbs. It's a goal I think is achievable. It's something that a lot of existing nutritional science views as unhealthy because it should be almost impossible unless you are starving yourself. Low calorie dieting plus exercise is what gets results! Eat less, exercise more! It doesn't work that way and never has, many scientific studies have shown this to be critically wrong. Even if you throw some of your own numbers in a spreadsheet and work the numbers for yourself, you can see how wrong it is. Think about it this way, a pound of fat is about 3500 calories. By conventional wisdom, if we take my Sunday numbers and substract today's weight - Tuesday, I should have burned at least (7lbs X 3500) 24,500 calories without consuming a single calorie! I looked at an online calculator for running and found out if I ran a marathon at my Sunday weight I would have only burned 4610 calories. If I were to eat normally, I would only have burned 2610. So according to the calorie in/calorie out theory, I somehow squeezed in almost 6 marathons in the past two days without eating. Heck I did eat and I ate well, so that means I ran just shy of 10 marathons. I need to take the day off now, my legs are suddenly tired from all the exercise I didn't do.

Let's move on to more science. I know.... snore. But if you don't eat your meat you can't have any pudding reader!

I just finished reading a pdf about the flaws in something called The China Study. Basically, the gist is this: scientist takes data from a large study and interpolates non related data from a second study and interprets the data to show evidential support for a vegan diet. The problem? None of the underlying data truly supported the theory he put forth. It was a blatant skewing of data to support his (wait for it) vegan activism. There is actually nothing wrong with veganism or vegetarianism in my mind. I truly think it can be a great lifestyle but saying it cures cancer and reverses heart disease is quite different. As Tim Ferriss noted, the statistical data in the study also showed that hand rolled cigarettes had the same effect as well. Does this mean that everyone should start rolling their own like some sort of suburban cowboy or ironic hipster? No. There are other factors in the study that were just thrown out or plain disregarded. It's not like this sort of thing doesn't happen very often, it happens all the time. Perhaps the scientist's conclusions were true but the study did not prove that and his activism certainly puts his credibility in jeopardy.

Now don't get me wrong, I am a huge science fan. It's just that the media and scientists themselves try to paint broad pictures with few qualifying details and lots of scary imagery. It reminds me of a teenager's notebook art: Godzilla is going to eat a car but for some reason there is no sky or ground, just a few random rectangles that are smooshed together to look like buildings. Take for example, the global warming debate. If all prognostications are true, then the sea levels will rise , temperatures will increase and the environment will change.

This has happened before, of course, but let's not muddy our Godzilla picture with meaningless things like people running in terror or a more believable background. In addition to all the scary things, we will get more arable land for farming and food production and forests will expand, just as it did the last time this happened. As USA Today blared the headline Global Temperature Highest in 1000 years, one must also posit that almost 1000 years ago the temperatures were very similar to what they are today. The fact that global temperatures have remained flat the last decade or so doesn't seem to have received the same attention. Why? In the global arena it is bizarro world, money talks and bullshit does too.

I hope global warming is true because, otherwise, we are going to be in a very dire situation soon. I dread the exact opposite, temperatures falling. Even now we read headlines that Britain is on track to have the coldest winter in 1000 years (see how this works now?). You can't grow grain on a glacier and believe me that is a bad thing. Until polar bears start attacking the children, I will reserve my final judgment on the matter.

I was also reading a study recently how two large dust bowls have appeared in the last decade. Well one dust bowl that was cited has always been a dust bowl, it's in China, near the Gobi Desert. The Chinese forced it into being arable land then plowed the hell out of it. Sort of like we did to parts of Oklahoma in the 1880's through the 1930's. So are these dust bowls proof of global warming? I am not sure since the time period we had our dust bowl was during the coldest years of the last century. The issue, that one honest scientist points out, is that there are almost too many variables to take into account to get an accurate picture. Closing off the debate between folks who believe and those who have a healthy degree of skepticism, just kills me. Why close off a debate? Money.

Here is how science works now, at least the sensationalist type of science, you work up a fantastical hypothesis so you can acquire funding. The more sensational or dire your hypothesis is, the more money you get. Is this the fault of science? I think not. Do I think it is the fault of the fund providers? Most certainly. We are human and we all still have the wonderment that is inherent in being so. Would you rather fund a study that proves it is possible that giant mutant lizards might attack Tokyo any day now or one that shows that a decrease in global carbon dioxide might be harmful to larger forests? Personally, I would choose giant lizard. It's the same reason people subject themselves to bad movies. Our politicians, corporations and grant providers have a tendency to think the same way sometimes and everything has and always will be political. Even well researched studies with ironclad conclusions and plain fact are disregarded for what feels better.

We love sensationalism, we eat it up. This is not a uniquely American problem, it is a global one. Due to various sorts of brain washing from media sources and activists, more people believe in "The China Syndrome" (really awful science) than efficient clean nuclear power. It's sad really that the co-founder of Greenpeace sees a nuclear future while the organization he created gnashes their teeth and throws on their hairshirts every time they even hear the word "nuclear". Did you know a coal plant puts off more environmentally damaging radiation and carcinogens than a nuclear power plant ever will? Now you do.

Maybe you are thinking, well science is an absolute, it is immutable - maybe you don't. Science is ever changing and is not immune to the deficiencies of the human condition - most scientists know this, empiricism be damned. If you believed that everything science does is pure and unadulterated then you are just being foolish. Maybe you would like to have a cigarette; science proved it was healthy like, what, a hundred times or so? Avoid peanut butter, a study in the 70's showed it caused cancer in rats. Activist organizations, tobacco companies and the government have all dabbled in the sins of science. Don't even get me started on things like The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and Margaret Sanger (she actually proposed limiting immigration that was detrimental to "the race" - her words not mine, wonderful).

Am I some sort of science hating moron? No. I just believe that everything should be looked upon with some skepticism. I've seen people do it with religion all the time but rarely take a second glance at science. Heck, even look at the numbers in a study you've read recently for yourself if you have a chance, they are often published via the web. Even though I have seen studies everywhere on what I am now doing, I do keep my head cocked to one side. It must be my birth place that is at fault, Missouri. It is the "Show Me" state afterall.

A lot of my experimentation with body weight is coming from different sources though all are ketogenic in nature. One will tell you that sugar alcohols are the devil while others say, "Heck, go ahead they aren't REAL sugars." The former is more true, they might not be sugars but they act the same way only slower. Atkins pushes this stuff like nobody's business - it is in everything. Yeah, the stuff tastes fantastic but it will get you in the end. Maybe it is a form of sabotage to keep you doing Atkins until you die.

As much as we have been told to associate the fat we eat with the fat on our bodies, it is the hidden things like sugar that really get to you. Nowadays, even if you cook your own meals (without paying attention), it is unavoidable.

Here is a little experiment I would like you to try the next time you are grocery shopping. Look at the label of everything you buy. Search for words like malitol, sucrose, sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, turbinado, cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and fructose. Also look for sucralose and phenyalanine/phenylketoneurics (all of these effect blood sugar). What percentage of the food, sauces, etc, have these items in them? 20%, 40%, 90%? Do it and tell me what you find.

Here is experiment number two for you diet soda/tea drinkers. Eat as you regularly would throughout the day except skip the diet drinks you normally would have. Now at some point during the day, when you are least hungry, drink your diet drink. How do you feel within an hour or two?

Now for the advanced class: experiment number three. Make a good meal for yourself tomorrow morning. You can do this tonight before you got to bed if you like and put it in the fridge. Just make sure it has a large amount of protein, much larger than you normally would eat. Now eat that within at least 30 minutes of waking up, no excuses. How do you feel?

Experiment number four (the experiment that everyone has done without knowing it). This is going to be one you can do in your head right now. Do you use a microwave? Ever notice how it takes forever to cook something like a hunk of meat but it takes mere seconds to heat up something that has a lot of sugar in it? The cooking times are different and despite what the calorie chart tells us, the same caloric amounts of sugar and protein are not the same chemically or structurally.

Calories are a blessing and a curse. You could try eating your entire, supposed, daily caloric allotment in sugar alone and lose weight eventually. Why? You would be starving yourself of so many vital macro and micro nutrients that you would certainly lose weight. Also, there is an effect that Tim Ferriss hits upon in a bonus chapter where drinking the fructose or sugar laden water caloric equivalent of one of your normal meals will actually decrease appetite and make you lose weight (I would not recommend this unless you know what you are doing). Side note: The weight loss that happens while drinking sugar water has to do with lowering set points and your body's natural mechanism that associates smell with caloric intake, no caloric association - no calories. It's aptly named the Shangri La Diet. I am thinking I might try this after I reach my ultimate goal, just for experimentation sake. Heck, it has some pretty strong proponents and there is science beyond the diet to back it up.

Science!



Here is the before picture I promised. Why they allow me to work like this is anyone's guess.




And this is obligatory...


Monday, January 17, 2011

Don't Stop Me Now!

229lbs! Two.Hundred.Twenty.Nine.LBS. Yep, I have gained weight from my last weigh in and I am very happy about it. But what what what? You might say. I actually expected it to be worse.

Well this is how it works folks: when you ingest carbs and sugars in a quantity above and beyond what you normally would, you hold on to more water and other little nasty things. It takes longer than you think for your body to expel these things and readjust. At one point yesterday, before eating, I weighed myself just to see. My weight? 234lbs. I must be some sort of miracle worker.
5lbs in one day? Well a lot of that was water. Sometime yesterday evening I eliminated so much water I felt like Austin Powers waking up from suspended animation. I hate when this term is used so often now but honestly, it was epic.

I used to view the scale as a hinderance; never fully understanding what all the major fluctuations meant. I think most people who fall off of diets are in this same category as well. They have a momentary lapse in judgment and see the scale the day after and decide that they are so far gone it doesn't matter anymore. I wonder how many people would stick with a diet if they were forced to go back on the scale just a couple days after resuming their regimen instead of just throwing it all away after one bad measurement. I bet you if you told people they could just jump back on the proverbial wagon with few penalties, they probably would. But a great majority of diets are incredibly strict and you are admonished verbally and treated like a failure when you slip. Sure, there are grand words of over excited encouragment before you start ("You too can lose 20lbs!") but there are very few words about what happens when your human frailties show up and have a party. Sad really.

----------

So another day back on track. I am so freaking full - still. So much water, so much food. I really have no complaints except when I go all Quasimodo from not having enough potassium in my system. I really need to pick up some Morton "Lite Salt" or "Salt Balance" so I can up my intake of potassium and reduce some sodium levels at the same time. Why not wipe out some precursors for high blood pressure while I am upping my good cholesterol?

Today, I didn't feel like packing my lunch so I opted for Chipotle instead. I got a barbacoa bowl minus the rice and it was delicious. I like the routine of creating and packing a meal but I can always count on Chipotle or Baja Fresh as go to when I just don't want the hassle. It's yummy too.

I am going to experiment with some called thermal loading . In essence, you make your body colder than it normally would be and this actually increases the rate of fat loss that occurs. If you click in the link attached to thermal loading (you can click on any of the highlighted phrases and it will take you somewhere fun, I promise) you can read an article on the NASA scientist who rediscovered the concept. Yes, I said, rediscovered. As with most things I read lately, there is a bunch of rediscovery happening. Scientists have known for almost 60 years that cold exposure greatly increases weight loss except after they discovered the effect they looked at ways to actually stop this from happening to soldiers in the field and astronauts in the chilly frontier of space. I wonder if any of their fixes inadvertently made it into the public sector like most government funded science does, for better or worse.

Like I said, in an earlier post, there are some things our grandparents ineherently knew that we have discarded. Ever watch an old movie or TV show where the guy does simple exercises like pushups and situps after just waking up? Maybe I'm the only one but it was something I noted when I was younger watching way too many sitcoms. It just seemed like they were doing so little exercise but as I learn more, I can tell you that you don't need a lot. In fact, what some people do themselves is probably way more than they need.

I could continue my train of thought by extolling the virtues of cod liver oil but I won't. Wait, this is me we're talking about. Since I am not pregnant even though I appear to be ("I'm having a food baby!"), I have been taking some cod liver oil in addition to my other supplements. Cick the link and see why our grandparents thought this was a cure all. Now that it can be taken in gel cap form, there really are few excuses not to take it, well, unless you are eating a polar bear liver on a daily basis.

"That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit, I'm trav'ling at the speed of light"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

All You Can Eat

Thank you all for the suggestions on my binge eating part of the experiment. I so wanted to use Jen's suggestion of crab legs and butter but, alas, that is all perfectly legal on this diet. I might actually use it for a suggestion during the week. Variety is the spice of life.

My scale reading Saturday was 226.6. So the grand total for the week was 5.4 lbs, not too shabby. I didn't hit the scale this morning because of the whole binge factor. I have read many places that once you eat an excess of bad calories (after being somewhat calories restricted) your weight can balloon up anywhere between 5 and 20lbs because of all the extra salt and carbs. I just wanted to get back on track and get some energy back. I have learned to loathe binging.

First thing in the morning, Saturday, I ate breakfast as I normally would and had some diet soda. I have avoided diet soda, on the most part, the entire week because of the whole glycemic factor. Diet soda does you know favors with the extra salt and the fake sugar that makes your body react like you had actual sugar. After a few glasses of diet soda I began to miss my straight up green tea. My commitment to gluttony was really not going well until the diet soda kicked in.

In the morning, on a regular day, I rarely feel hungry. After having diet soda I suddenly felt, a mere hour and a half after eating, as if I could eat the entire menu of a McDonald's. Since Christy and I were out shopping for the good foods we would eat for the week, I took her up on her suggestion, Ajo Al's Pollo Con Queso. That dish is massive and I now felt like I had to hunger level to pull it off.

We got to Ajo Al's and they immediately told us it was Happy Hour and all appetizers were half off. Well, well then. We ordered some spicy bean dip and two orders of the lunch version of the Pollo Con Queso, the Poco Pollo Con Queso. I was practically salivating over the deep fried chimichanga filled with chicken and smothered in a spicy cream cheese sauce. The meal is massive, even the poco version. Christy and I were noticing that pretty much everything except the tortilla on the chimichanga, the corn chips and the rice on the plate were allowed items. After consuming half the chimichanga, put a fork in me, I was done. So much for committing one of the Seven Deadly Sins. We had enough leftovers to fill a shopping bag to the top. All I know is that our teenage son is suddenly gaining a lot of weight.

I couldn't really think of anything sugary I really wanted throughout the day. I was lost. I think the corn chips and the small amount of tortilla were zapping my energy. Carbs had suddenly become my personal Kryptonite. But like England during the blitz, I intended to soldier on in my attempt to corrupt myself.

The the idea that had been stewing the later part of the week came to fruition. Pizza! We had kids over for a sleepover, we needed food for all, I wanted to kill myself with carbs, it was a no brainer. I ate a lot of pizza. Ugh! I also crashed early. Ugh! Dirty Harry marathon - thwarted. Even Christy was feeling it, the woman slept like a rock. In bed, on a Saturday, 10pm.

I didn't really go crazy, go nuts Saturday. I did notice the horrible effects that carbs had on me and it is a wonder most of the nation is not in a stupor 90% of the time. Wait, maybe they are! It would explain a lot. I do know that I felt back to normal after having a nice breakfast this morning. Christy seems to be as well, I can hear her working on something in the background which is my cue to wrap this up. We have a whole new room to finish today and it is nice to feel back to, what now is, normal.

"Going to get on the microphone down at Wal Mart, talk about some shit that's been on my mind."

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Life of Surprises

So I stepped on the new nifty digital weighing device today and I was surprised to see 227.6 staring up at me. That's 1.4 lbs difference between today and yesterday. For purposes of full disclosure, I weigh myself several times in a very short period until I get a consistent number. I have noticed that, perhaps, the calibration takes a bit to kick in since I need to slide it out of the way every morning. I think honesty with the numbers and measurements of everything in your life, from your money to your waistline, is critically important. A great quote from the book The 4-Hour Body , is the following: what gets measured gets managed. If I don't have good consistent measurements, I can't possibly be a good consistent manager.

I am going to extrapolate some numbers from my pre-digital weight and the post digital weight (I have also tested both scales against each other to get a more accurate picture) and say that so far I have lost about 4.4lbs. I have probably lost a bit more but I would rather go with the lower number just as I like to go with my higher number when I weigh in. I might be cheating myself out of a pound or so but I feel much better for not having taken the variability of the numbers and skewing them for my own satisfaction.

4.4lbs is not too shabby for 4 days of dieting. I am averaging, at current pace, 1.1 lbs per day. I am well on target to reach my new ultimate goal of being 190lbs in two months. As I might have mentioned before, I am generally avoiding exercise through at least the end of next week. There is a purpose to this. First off, I want to make sure my body doesn't go into a catabolic state. In essence, I don't want my body to start packing on weight because I am: a) not getting as many calories and my body has not adjusted yet b) I will need to kick my metabolism up to a new level as I lose more weight. As soon as my body adjusts to the lower calorie count (though I am eating fairly well), I will start hitting it hard exercise wise. Once my body can efficiently use the good calories I am now feeding it, I can prevent that nasty little side effect of packing fat weight on instead of packing on lean muscle weight.

Knowing how this has worked before, I can honestly tell you that I expect to get diminishing returns past the two week mark because I will reach a certain set point. Carrying more weight than you should has benefits when it comes to weight loss, your body has to work harder to maintain and carry that weight - less weight, slower weight loss. Your body works even harder to maintain lean muscle though and that is where kicking up the metabolism comes into play. I'll be interested to see what happens next.

Looking to the future, tomorrow is binge day and I really haven't had a craving for much of anything. Well, okay that is not entirely true. We were talking at work about pizza and I would love to have one of the new Domino's pizzas tomorrow. Those things are to do die for. Outside of that food desire, I am lost. I still want the good things.

Sometimes just changing your mindset can bring on bigger changes in your life. That's why I am booking gigs as an underwear supermodel, male stripper or the new Old Spice guy starting today. I don't want the din of people knocking my door down to disturb our family life. You have to schedule out these things and manage your time wisely or else you will be overwhelmed. In terms of appearance, I would say I am feeling a bit better about it. Hey, French kids are not following me around and shouting, "Michelin! Michelin!". I think they are French because 'Michelin' certainly sounds French, I just haven't had time to throw it in the Google translator. At least, soon, I won't have my daughters saying things like: "Dad, I have to do a project on saving the whales, how exactly were you saved?" They have never really said that but they easily could have and I could have easily hung my head and replied, "I escaped from Sea World, sheesh!", to hide my shame. I do wish I had a blow hole on my back, how cool would that be? Hmmmm I am seeing a new experiment here.

Prefab Sprout - A Life of Surprises

Thursday, January 13, 2011

1-2-3-4

So I am now on Day 4 of "The Experiment". My body seems to be adjusting. Today, I have not killed any small animals with my gaseous emanations... so far. The U.S. Geological Service came by the house yesterday whining that my little eruptions were causing earthquake sensors to give off false readings. Whatever. If they would invest in better measuring equipment, like I have, I am quite sure they wouldn't have to come and and bother me or waste their precious time.

Before the USGS came by to hassle me, I purchased a digital scale for the whopping sum of $15. The thing is fantastic. It measures weight in .2 increments and I can actually see the readings without going through the myriad of stupidity I went through earlier in the week. So, what was the super duper accurate reading this morning? 229.0 lbs.

The scale has not been the only adjustment I have had to make this week. I also have had an avocado every other day since Tuesday. I just wasn't getting enough potassium and after a few hellacious cramps, I decided that, outside of supplements, avocados were my best bet. In addition, I cooked up some lentils last night for today's meal and I have not set off one earthquake sensor. Beans, beans the magical fruit, have been sent to the sidelines for a bit because I was not happy playing that popular game called "Did I Just Shit My Pants?" every single hour of the day. It's been nice not sounding like Satan's tuba today.

I have gone back and forth on boiled eggs. I keep thinking of Paul Newman and that infamous scene in Cool Hand Luke. Man that scene made me ill. Spinach might be traded out for something else soon because it is getting a little boring and the cheap balsamic vinegar I use to make it palatable just stinks up the office. All in all, I would say I have been happy with some of my diet choices.

Knowing that I can eat anything I want on Saturday, I have been trying to figure out what I would eat. My ever supportive wife, despite being rumbled out of bed by my loud ass, even asked me to think about it. To be honest, I have no clue. My cravings have become more and more fleeting. I am sure I will think of something but with the progress I seem to have made this week, scale be damned, I don't really want to go out and screw it up. The thing is, you are required to binge on your off day, there are no exceptions. There are numerous reasons for this that have to do with body chemistry and metabolism so I can't really skip it or take shortcuts by eating lots of healthy stuff.

Help me out, post some suggestions below or on the link I post to Facebook. What would you eat in one day if you could choose anything you wanted?



"Oh teenage hopes are alive at your door, left you with nothing, now they want some more"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cynical Days

Man, I started off the day in such a bad mindset. As Christy was getting ready for work, so I jumped on the scale shoved into the closet and man it didn't look like I lost any weight yesterday. Damn! I tried to muster up some sort of heat vision to burn a hole through the scale. I was a little hungry yesterday and I had told myself it was all worth the sacrifice and I would try and increase protein intake today to make up for it. Double damn! I stepped off the scale and before I could fling it across the room and out the window, I noticed it was off by a pound or so (it was not resetting to zero).

Oops! With the scale I have, it is always best to adjust it, it is also best practice to read the thing correctly. You see, I am not as good a carnival guesser as I had thought myself to be. I have been reading the scale wrong for three days now. I would see the 240 mark and visually work down from there towards the the next mark of 230lbs. Well that works fine if the next mark is 230lbs instead of the 220lbs it actually is. So I have to adjust my weigh ins minus 5lbs. So today, after stomping off and then realizing I hadn't uh evacuated uh parts of my body as of yet, I went back to the scale - 229lbs.

Now you think that instantly losing 5lbs off of my beginning weight instantly and subtracting another 2lbs would make me happy. Nope. I was bummed because geez my perception of the world seems really off lately. I read things two or three times and then they seem to rearrange themselves on the page when I get back to them. It's like the scale, I have had it for years and I haven't always made that mistake. Or have I? Cue deep foreboding mystery organ chord. When things mess with your perception of reality it can be a real pisser. It's happened at least 3 times in the past week. I must finally be getting old (no I'm not, you are!). No matter what I am going to buy a new scale, a digital one, with huge ass letters for my impending sunset years.

Sometimes, the oddest moments pull you through. My daughter was getting breakfast this morning and I asked her if there was anything I could make her before school. She was reaching for the refrigerator and then pulled back slightly. "What's up?", I asked.

She replied, "Could I have cottage cheese for breakfast?", half expecting I would say no.

A little too excitedly, I said, "Why yes! Of course you can! Need any help?"

The girl was floored and had no clue what I had written yesterday about breakfast in the old days. I explained to her that it was pretty common for people to have fresh fruit and cottage cheese for breakfast. She looked really skeptical about it all which really shows me how far we have led our kids astray in this country. When over sugared cardboard becomes a normal diet for most, like it has, it is no wonder childhood obesity levels keep rising each year. What to do?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Things You Think

My wife, Christy, has now gotten on the band wagon. Not that she is into the whole self experimentation thing, she just thought it might be time to eat better. She started off the morning with a hearty breakfast again because yesterday she had so much energy from doing so. This is not necessarily a good thing.

Christy is and always has been full of energy. Take yesterday, for instance, she was not feeling at all well in the morning even though she had decided to take the day off. Somewhere between the time I left the house and came home, she had made herself a good breakfast, rearranged two rooms of furniture and had painted a third room. Now you think she would be exhausted but she wasn't, she was chipper and sprightly and giggly. I now have a huge guilt complex about taking rest, any rest. Some days I would like to be able to shoot her with a tranquilizer gun and snuggle up with her past 8am but this does not make for a good marriage. Shooting one's spouse with heavy sedatives is generally frowned upon in most Western societies, though I hear it is perfectly legal in Saudi Arabia.

Late in the evening, we went to the grocery store and stocked up on all kinds of good eats. Christy seemed even more excited by the prospect of eating better, if that were humanly possible. It's so nice to be married to a bundle of sunshine, tranq gun be damned. Going through the supermarket was such a fun experience and we kept noting that eating well or properly was definitely more expensive than eating crap. Christy is also so helpful in kicking loose information inside my old brain archive. Words like 'glycemic' and 'thermogenic' keep coming out of my mouth; whole volumes pour out about ketogenesis and so forth. This all leads me to things I have been thinking lately about human diets.

I have become more observant of what people eat. I also think back a lot on what our grandparents ate. If you could afford it, way back when, you would have a breakfast steak. When was the last time you said to yourself, "I think I'll have a steak for breakfast!"? I am guessing, not recently. If you are a vegetarian, when was the last time you made yourself something like avocado and tomato or beans on a slice of toast with a side of cottage cheese? Thought so. Fifty years ago, those meals were not uncommon. Now we skip breakfast, most of the time, or eat complete garbage. Why? Because commercials, faulty medical science and bad government have coerced you to make bad choices.

Let's be honest, the food pyramid is a joke. If you follow what you have been told going back to the 70's, it's a wonder you are not morbidly obese and booking appearances on some pathetic Discovery Channel show by now. Granola or Muesli is very rarely good for you unless you really want to shell out some dough or make your own. Something that is labeled "Heart Healthy" is almost always assuredly not (companies pay for this designation based on outdated science). Think regular old yogurt is really really good for you? Think again. Almost all of the above are packed with sugar or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners (no matter what, they produce a glycemic response, just like eating the real thing).

I have known for some time that: calories in do not necessarily equal calories out, fat will never make you fat no matter what kind of fat it is, if a cereal package boasts whole grain go ahead and laugh your ass off.

A lot of medical science is bad. Why? It's the same reason I occasionally shake my fist while watching Mythbusters, a lot of assumptions are made beyond the science. For example, there was a study showing the low number of incidents of heart disease in French people despite a diet of saturated fats. This study even has a misnomer to go along with it: The French Paradox. Why is it a misnomer? There really is no paradox. Almost every study going back to the 70's has shown that fats are not the cause of heart disease (by itself), to the contrary they often prevent heart disease. Let that sink in for a minute.

Now what did the medical community gather from the years of research into the French diet? Lots of nifty chemicals, that's what, and the drug and supplement industry applauded heartily. "It's the red wine that is responsible for this seemingly unexplainable effect", they exclaimed. The alcohol industry applauded. They picked and gathered assumptions from the study and glanced over some fairly glaring numbers pointing to the obvious: the French eat less sugar and processed foods. Someone should be drawn and quartered for creating Snackwells and all the other myriad of processed crap that replaced fat with sugar.

Again, FAT does not make you FAT. It's biologically impossible. The hard truth is you uh, uh, get rid of a majority of it and the other parts that do get into your blood stream help with things like your hair, nails, skin etc. So in short we have been basically poisoning ourselves with sugar because the FDA says it is better for us. Don't even get me started on the stupidity of taking most lard based oils and fats out of restaurants (magnesium and zinc are in these products and they help regulate your metabolism and real fat just gets you fuller faster). The real reason McDonald's changed to vegetable oil was not for your health's sake, it was so they could get you to eat more food, a wise business decision. "Hey the government said veggie oil was better even though there is nothing to substantiate that claim and it doesn't have the same filling effect on your stomach like animal fats do, who are we to argue?"

The scientists went on and on, "It's the fish! Eat a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids!" In the book "The 4-Hour Body", Tim Ferriss reminds me once again, correlation is not the same thing as causation. So that's why I have been doing some of my own thinking on all of this. Recent studies show that Omega 3's (alone) have absolutely no effect on heart health and could actually cause inflammation. Almost every study that has stood up to scrutiny (and one that has been repeated over and over), point to the fact that sugars and overly processed foods are the culprit time and time again. You just don't hear about them as much nor do they become common knowledge as such. Who is going to profit from telling you to up your protein and fat content and lower the sugar content in what you eat?

My daughter firmly believed that anything that had fat was extremely bad for you. She had been told this by someone close to her, someone who should know better. Sadly, she was quite obese. It wore on her subconsciously. She had grown to believe that anything sugary was good and was obsessed with food, a lot. My girl never seemed to be sated and she would often eat as much as her much older brother, if not more. She felt she was entitled to that much food. When I adjusted her portions to what a young girl should be eating, I thought I was breaking her heart. When I made her eat something for breakfast, she would often balk at a certain point. But those two minor adjustments meant worlds of good for her. She started dropping weight and chose to do less sedentary activities. When you are grossly overweight, running around the neighborhood isn't really that much fun.


If you would like to get angrier about what you eat I would highly suggest reading "The 4-Hour Body". There are some very well supported points and documentation on how and why the health industry, government and a cavalcade of others are working against your better health. It's not a conspiracy book, mind you, he just lays out all the facts. If you dig deep enough, you won't need the book but it sure saves you a lot of time searching for the truth.


Today's weigh in: 235lbs (-1lb difference so far woooohoooo!).

Here is a little ditty to make you smile: