CalvinDude Masthead
Another ObservationEntropy in the Cards

Losing Weight

Posted: September 19, 2016 (11:03 AM) by CalvinDude
I've been thinking. I know, it happens about three times a year. But still, I've been thinking and since I mentioned in a blog post recently that I've lost over fifty pounds from my max weight that I would talk a bit about my weight loss. The first thing I want to mention, though, is that I think that "losing weight" is a really bad term. That makes it sound like you misplaced it. "Where did that weight go? It was here just a minute ago. Where, oh where, did I put it?" So I think it's more accurate to describe it as "getting rid of weight." But I don't get to invent the rules of English.

Oh well. Just to give a few of the details, at my largest I wore 44" waist pants and was up to 338 lbs. This was back in 2010. Today, I'm wearing 38" pants which are lose enough on me that I could probably wear 36s without discomfort, although it might not look that great to others. I also weighed in this morning at 281.

My goal is to become disappointed! Yeah, I'll go unrealistic but will be happy with anything that approaches it. So, basically, I want to be around a 32" waist and around 200 when I'm done.

So, how am I losing weight right now? I'm glad you asked, self! I'm basically doing two things. More exercise and less food. I know, who would have thought that combination could work? But, seriously now, it's really not that easy.

First of all, when I work out I tend to work out. I push myself as hard as I can. In the past, I would run up to two hours on elliptical machines, for example. Now, however, not so much. These days, I work out in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (except when I'm not feeling well). This means that I have a limit on how long I can go since I have to get to work. Thus, I now can only do a maximum of 20 minutes of cardio if I do any lifting. I won't be pushing it further than that, and yes, limiting my workout has actually helped. There is a point of not just diminishing returns, but actually going backwards in a workout if you push it too long.

Secondly, diet probably is a good 90% of the issue. I am eating less, yes, and I am eating healthier too (thanks to Skarlet's awesome cooking). But one of the techniques that I think has had the best results for me is that I'm basically doing intermittent fasting (IF).

What is IF? Well, it might be useful to start off with what IF is not. It is not starving yourself. You are eating the same number of calories every day (unless you're doing a full 24 hour fast, which I have not been doing). Basically, IF is just about timing. You want to eat all of your calories within an 8-hour window (or some people lower it to 6-hours or even 4-hours). The rest of the day, you're fasting.

Now, this is actually easier than you might think. If you get 8 hours of sleep during the night, then you could do this by just not eating for four hours before you go to sleep and not eating again for four hours after you get up. So, say you sleep from 10pm - 6. This means you stop eating at 6 PM, and then you eat again at 10 AM. And from 10 AM to 6 PM, you eat your full day's worth of calories.

The benefit for this is that you will burn off most of the carbs in your system before you start eating again, which can put you into ketosis (the same state the Atkins diet is designed to get you into). That does also mean that if you're going to do this and you're a diabetic, then you must talk with your doctor first! Diabetics can actually slip into ketoacidosis, which can be fatal.

For me, I actually have not really been too strict with the 8-hour window. I usually have a 10-hour window, mostly because mealtimes can get rather unpredictable with a toddler running around the house. I'd probably do better if I pushed it to 8-hours, but for now I am still making gains in my health so I'm not overly concerned yet. I'll probably push it further when I plateau.

One of the big questions I would assume people would ask (mainly because it was one that I had on my mind before I started) is: Aren't you going to get hungry if you're fasting? How can you wait that long without food and not feel exhausted? This is partly why I recommend putting the extra hours around your sleep time. If you're getting a full night's sleep, then that's already half of your fasting time and you're unconscious for it. As for the rest, when you do fast for around 12 hours or so, you actually start to increase energy.

And that makes sense when you think about it. Imagine you are hunting for your meals and you hadn't eaten for a while. If your body had no way to give you that burst of energy, then you'd not be able to hunt your food any longer and you'd starve because your food would get away. So, God's built into our bodies the ability to get that energy boost so we can keep going even when our body is "out of fuel". Fast long enough (like several days) and yeah, you'll lose energy; but IF is designed to get you to that energy burst and then get you food during that burst.

And for me, at least, that also answers the question about hunger, since I've found that if I have lots of energy I don't feel hungry. Your mileage may vary though. Either way, it was tough to start but after about 4 or 5 days then I was fine with it.

Again, it's not for everyone--especially if you're diabetic, in which case you need to ensure your medications are balanced and you're doing everything with your doctor's care. But if you're looking to be healthier, then give it a shot. IF helps with blood sugar levels, burning off carbs, energy through the day, and ultimately helps you lose weight.

For an interesting video on it, check this out:

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Another ObservationEntropy in the Cards
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