Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Another Rubber Tree Plant

A few years ago, after shedding weight I'd gained from the punishing ten week Chow Tour my corporate overlords had sent me on, nearly killing me, I made it to my holy grail: fitting into high school-sized pants. I described how I did it in a flurry of postings (this is the best index, but this is awfully important).

But then a few injuries kept me out of the gym for months. And I'd shifted focus to recouping my trombone technique and career, which meant hanging out in bars and nightclubs and eating plenty of pizza and Sichuan food. What's more, age happened (last year may have been the hippest time in history to be 48, but at this point my fellow 49 year olds and I are aging like Phrygian Grey). Very, very slowly I've regained 25 lbs.

Call me Oprah.

So I'm starting again. I've accustomed my body to eating right (gentle persuasion's all that's necessary, because cravings are only your body trying to accommodate you), and, for nearly two weeks, I've eaten immaculately and worked out daily. And though I'm not weighing myself*, there's progress to report: my pants are a little loose.

* - two reasons: 1. short term weight change is mostly about water, and 2. weight is only a secondary effect of healthy lifestyle (i.e. I'm not working to weigh less, I'm working to eat better/less and to exercise more...letting weight take care of itself)

That's right. After ten days of meticulous austerity - of bad-ass sweaty workouts, prim little meals, and no hanging out with friends* - my pants are "a little" loose. That's it. But this time I know to expect glacialness.

* if the process is this slow with immaculate diet, imagine factoring in a few beers and restaurant meals!

I could try to go faster. I could dehydrate for dramatic, meaningless, and unhealthy short term effect. I could starve rather than ingest 1800 "clean" calories per day, which would mean I'd burn muscle, increasing my proportion of body fat. But, in the end, unless you're a teenager or possess the metabolism of a hummingbird, 1/2 to 1 pound of weight loss is really all you can expect from a meticulously disciplined week.

Losing weight's not difficult (I've explained the easiest, least sacrificial method in the above links). It just requires more commitment and patience than most people imagine. As I once wrote, losing weight costs $1000/pound


Peter C said...

Hey Jim
Try http://perfecthealthdiet.com
I've been doing it for a year and a half and it allows me to still be a Chowhound without killing myself with exercise or denying myself Sichuan food. The vegetable oils are bad though, so I try not to eat out as much as I used to.

Jim Leff said...

Peter, I don't doubt your success, but weight loss is a numbers game. Calories in vs calories out. And I know what my numbers are.

I eat deliciously, because my 1800 calories/day, although "clean" (as athletes describe their diet), are carefully selected and prepared.

But I can assure you I can't make the numbers work while eating out. I don't think many people can. If it works for you, that's great though.

Joshi said...

But Jim, what if received nutrition theory was wrong?

Here is a thought provoking article:


Jim Leff said...

As I explain in several of my previous writings on diet, there is a seldom explored segment of the population who regularly lose a substantial amount of weight on cue while maintaining great fitness. They've been doing this for decades, and have achieved exactly the level of control of this process that most of us futilely scramble for. They closely agree on how to go about weight loss, and there's enough of them that they have at this point accumulated an enormous trove of empirical data and know-how.

Body builders. They work by "bulking" and "cutting". And for them this whole touchy process is like a shrug. They've solved it. So while scientists struggle to explain it all, and authors come up with a succession of trendy diets, I look to THOSE guys.

And that's the basis of most of my writings. Though i I translate it for non-muscle heads (and find much more delicious ways to ingest my clean calories than all that' horrid cottage cheese and canned sardines).

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