Discoveries due to dieting
I am enjoying at my weight-loss project, which will take me to my goal weight of 175 lbs (I’m 6′ tall) by December 23, according to my Diet Controller program (from App Store for Macbook, $5).
Earlier I mentioned how I had worked out for myself the well-known idea of eating only when you’re actually hungry: I had found that by delaying my meals until I really craved them—hunger-based eating rather than clock-based—I was above to eliminate late-night snacks: the evening meal itself was late enough that I didn’t feel hunger before going to bed. After doing this for a week or so, I can now tell whether I’m hungry or not. That is, I have relearned the feeling of hunger.
Last night 2 or 3 hours after dinner, I had a real hankering for a half-cup of the chicken salad I made, but by knowing what being hungry feels like, I could tell that the impulse to eat the chicken salad wasn’t coming from hunger but from wanting the taste, mouth-feel, and chewing: all centered in my mouth. Not real hunger, which is centered in the belly. So I’m had a (one-pint) cup of beef broth with hot sauce and a splash of sherry: tasty, warm, and fills the stomach. It was fully satisfying. (It’s interesting to see how corporations have exploited that mouth-feel hunger to push more calories into us. See this article on how junk-food companies manipulate your tongue.)
Broths are the dieter’s friend. Indeed, I would expect that some “health juice” brand like Odwalla to put out a line of tasty and healthful (and low-calorie) broths to heat and drink—Campbell’s consomme is not bad, but broths can be made in a wide variety (fish, various vegetable combinations, chicken, beef, and so on). Of course, they’re also easy to make at home, and I’ll be cooking my greens in more water to have the broth (aka pot liquor) as a between-meal beverage.
It’s also interesting to look at the weekly averages shown in the Calendar view of the program. You can specify what items the Calendar tracks—I track just weight and calories—and the Calendar is a month view that includes a column of weekly averages of those values. Friday’s calories are entered because I was planning my meals for tomorrow to check how the weekly average would turn out. Click screenshot to enlarge.
The weekly average weight provides the same benefit as weighing once a week, but is more accurate, being based on daily weighings. In glancing down it you see your week-to-week progress.
The calorie figures are shown in black if they are above the calorie goal and green if they are at or below calorie goal. The first two weeks the weekly average calorie figures were black, but without really trying, just basing my actions on the on-going feedback from the program, the third week’s average calories was green, and I can see that this week’s will be as well: I’m seeing progress in learning the limits.
The feedback really helps, much as a person learning to shoot free throws gets better because he gets good information from each shot, whether the shot is made or not, which helps in making the next shot better. It’s a learning thing.
The graph of the daily calorie deficits is also helpful, and looking at the figures over the past 20 days makes dieting feel more like a baseball series: winning or losing an individual game (in this case, whether the calorie count for the day is black (a loss) or green (a win)) is not that important. What is important is winning more games than you lose. It keeps the occasional bad day (Easter Sunday dinner, for example) in perspective: you’re going for the series, the long haul.
My focus is really the calorie deficit—what they call the calorie balance: calories burned minus calories consumed. Positive is good, negative is bad. When I put in my weight goal and the amount I was targeting to lose a week, Diet Controller computed my calorie target (based on my activity level: sedentary) and includes targets in its graphs, like this one:
As you can see, performance is gradually improving as I learn and adjust. Shaky beginning (the red zone is when the calorie deficit goes negative) but I’m starting to hit the diet-plan target more frequently.
I certainly can see that I use things I learned in my previous big effort, and the program’s tracking and charting data helps provide the feedback to improve performance. I can see that after I hit the target weight I will continue a while, aiming at a calorie deficit of zero each day, but focusing a lot on keeping the weekly averages good.