food & nutrition.

Fuel. Calories are burned by movement or converted to thoughts that drive momentum through the trails.

food (noun)

feed feet me

these eats.

1 day 14 hours ago

I seem to have lost 20 pounds. If anyone finds it, please just keep it or throw it away. I don't want it back.

For multiple days in a row my morning weigh in has landed at or below my goal weight, so...

 my "confident to report" status is currently, happily, joyfully at… 20 down, 0 to go, and 7 days until my training starts.

Yeah, you're reading that right. Success has been found in twenty missing pounds.

Am I done?

Well, objectively yes. I've crossed the finish line and the race has been won. Hard fought. Two months of carefully planning every morsel of food that I eat and ramping up my running distance to accompany it. Objectively, if someone asked me how it all went, I'm going to say I did it. I lost it. I met and slightly surpassed my goal.

But am I done?

On the other hand, I have a few days left until Easter. My super-goal (the one in my head that I never mentioned here) was actually to lose 21.5 pounds. Why 21.5? A couple reasons. First, it gives me a little rebound buffer, which is something that I'm going to need to watch, track and guard against for the next month or so. But second, twenty-one point five is exactly ten percent of two hundred and fifteen, which was my official starting weight. So, to end this whole thing next week by saying I lost ten percent of my body weight... I'm a maths nerd, what can I say?

But really, am I done?

I'm going to have a minor cheat day today. Nothing crazy. Not a heaping hot fudge Sunday to finish of a bucket of fried chicken sort of cheat day. But I've got lunch plans and I'm going to eat semi-healthy but off-tracker. Second, since it's spring break we're going out to a movie tonight and I'll be damned if I skip the popcorn. So. A couple little things... and then back to it for just one more week.

And then?

Then training begins and the rebound-prevention plan begins and the spring and summer start to roll in and...

I did this whole thing to build a healthier starting point for a summer of marathon training. I knew I could not even entertain the idea of being in a "I'm on a diet" mindset while I was simultaneously training for and epic distance race like a marathon. No way. I would literally injure myself nutritionally. So, as I ramp up my distances towards twenty-plus klick runs, burning an extra two thousand calories in a morning run, I need to start consuming that to match.

I also want to start converting that calorie intake to muscle-first. I'm planning to start incorporating weight training into my general training plan. Lifting. Leg work. Upper body. Core! If I start to add weight again, I would prefer to guide it into the lean muscle mass category and not the flabby gut category.

So, I'm not done. This was the first step in an eight month training and rebuilding my entire fitness situation plan. And it seemed to have worked. Twenty pounds down. A couple more (and one last check in on this page) to go. And a lot of klicks to run before this is all over.

1 week 3 days ago

My graph, the chart I've created from all the data of my daily weigh-ins, is a scatterplot of a few dozen blue dots spread across nearly two months of tracking with a neatly sloping blue trendline down and towards my goal, that graph has error bars.

I write here and report numbers I'm confident that I've achieved, so when I write something like..

my "confident to report" status at… 17 down, 3 to go, and 16 days until my training starts...

...then that usually means that I've exceeded that goal for a few days in a row and the numbers on the aforementioned graph are all being plotted firmly below that horizontal axis line on the regular.

The point I'm trying to make, is that the data point I plotted this morning was (a) lower than my "17 down" number and (b) had error bars on it. Those error bars are now dipping below my final goal weight.

Or, in other words, within a statistical margin of error, literally, I'm getting ready to land this thing successfully: seats upright, table trays to their locked position, and time to gear down, folks, we're coming in for our final approach procedures.

And I have over two weeks left until my training starts (which is when the "diet" actually ends) so there is a very likely scenario where we not only land but drive this plane right to the front door of the hotel for some extra points.

And it's starting to show, to be honest.

My wardrobe is temporarily doubled because all the too-tight clothes fit again and my larger, formerly-just-right gear is baggy but doesn't look too out of place with my late-winter, early-spring gear. Summer will be a different matter.

A jacket I bought about six years ago and then promptly "outgrew" during one of my stressful phases, fits almost perfectly now.

The metaphorical cat is out of the bag, and people have made comments about "looking thinner" and "your face is skinnier" even just this past weekend.

And I've been feeling a lot lighter on my feet was I go out and break through some of my milestone training distances as I work on my pre-season training build up to training-proper.

There have been as many false starts over the years as there are years, but 2023 seems (knock on wood!) to have been a good year... so far.

Now, I just don't want to crash this plane with a mere two weeks to go. Focus!

2 weeks 4 days ago

If I had ever considered myself a thin guy, I wouldn't be writing blog posts about dieting would I?

I come from thick people.

Growing up, we would be encouraged to "get our money's worth" at all-you-can-eat buffets.

Extended family gatherings were eating contests crowned by rites of passages around how many plates of food the guys could eat.

My aunts would walk around and pat the bellies of their husbands and then turn to their nephews ask how "their family gut" was coming along.

I could go on.

By the time I finished high school, my five foot eleven frame was comfortably sitting around the 190 pound mark. By the time I'd finished university, my weight was a number that started with a 2.

I've alluded to my first diet in previous posts, but in 2013 I decided (for various reasons) to get into better shape. It was tied to vanity, of course, but also I'd been running and wanted to tackle the marathon (for the first time) and knew I couldn't do it with my weight in the 200s.

So I dropped about 25lbs and for a couple years I hung back at about 190. Not thin, but solid. And I hung out there long enough to do crazy things like replace my wardrobe and resize my wedding band and get comfortable being a guy who was under 200lbs for a while.

Life intervened. I've alluded to this progression, too. A pound a year for a few years, then a couple big pushes due to job change, stress, and the infamous covid-15 weight gain. Then a knee injury topped me out over this past Christmas to the point I was like "enough is enough" and have been working through the last month and a half to drop some of that weight again.

This series is called twenty-pounds Canadian, partially in reference to a joke from a sitcom I heard where, dig it, a British guy was hinting for a tip ("maybe if you could stand to lose five pounds") while the American took it as a slight at his weight... and partially to the literal "Canadian guy looking to lose 20 pounds..." even though we weigh everything here in kilograms.

I was trying to get back into the 190s, and specifically a modest target of 195lbs for Easter... when my marathon training-proper will begin.

And so it brings me great excitement to write here that for the last two days I've seen a number on the scale that starts with a one instead of a two...

...which amazingly puts my "confident to report" status at… 15 down, 5 to go, and 24 days until my training starts.

I'm sitting here this morning, getting ready for work, fitting into clothes I haven't worn in a few years because they sat funny and tugged in awkward ways, and pondering that I might be close to nailing this thing as a success story.

I mean, I still have multiple weeks to go, and a couple little hurdles to overcome, but part of me wants to pat myself on the back and say... this, even this, seventy-five percent of the way to my goal is rock solid progress. Because it is. And those numbers, as arbitrary and relatively mediocre as they are, are little milestones of progress for me towards the first step in completing this damn marathon in October: not bringing the buffet with me to the finish line.

3 weeks 2 days ago

Data is a guy on a diet's best friend.

If you'd have asked me on Saturday morning how I was feeling about this whole thing I would have glowered at you, let out a big sigh, and told you that I'd finally plateaued.


Let's look at some of how I think I understand this all works (noting that I'm neither a doctor nor even a nutritionist.)

See, the body loves stasis. The body does not want to change. The body craves stability in weight. The body cannot think for itself, but all sorts of systems and feedback loops and balancing mechanism have evolved over the millions of years of human development to make wild fluctuations in our bodies unlikely. Your body gets to where it is slowly, and then moves away from where it is ... also, slowly.

And so when you are actively trying to break through that statis, to move the needle on your weight down (or maybe up) your body is going to resist your efforts. And not only that, but because of how some of that biochemistry works, your body is going to glide easily through a fuzzy zone around where it's comfortable and give you the illusion of rapid progress, when in reality things are moving a lot slower than they really are.

Simply, that first five percent of your body weight, or so, is going to feel like it's melting off easy-peasy. For me, that first ten pounds was like melting butter off a hot cob of corn. There are a lot of biochemical reasons for this, but I think it mostly revolves around the idea of short term energy storage and long term energy storage, and that longer term stuff being (a) what you're trying to burn off for weight loss, and (b) being the stubborn weight that's going to take longer. That butter is the short term stuff... and water weight and on and on and on.

Did I mention that I'm not a doctor? I'm just cobbling together my own personal thoughts on this and you should talk to a doctor or a nutritionist and get real medical advice if you're serious about weight loss.

So, on Saturday it seemed like the easy-peasy phase had finally arrived and the numbers were not dropping (or even rising a bit) or wait... no, they're back down again... oh, wait again!

It felt like I'd plateaued. It felt like the data on my weight loss was a horizontal line.

And yeah, that two-plus pounds a week I'd achieved back in early February had slowed because... of right now my status is… 12 down, 8 to go, and 29 days until my training starts.

That's only one pound less than last week at this time, right?

Well, like I wrote above, data is a guy on a diet's best friend. I finally did what I should have done a couple weeks ago and I got nerdy: I made a spreadsheet. And you know what happens when you put numbers into columns beside dates and then plot that out on a scatter chart with an actual computed trend line? I'll tell you. You start to see that the trend line is cutting a nice path right down towards (and even past) your goal, and what you thought was a plateau was, yes, a little bit of slowing but still inside the error bars of that trendline and, oh wait... things are actually still going pretty well.

Oh, plateau? It could happen tomorrow, but looking at the data it hasn't yet.

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