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Roy Janik

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the year of restraint [Apr. 25th, 2003|12:27 pm]
Roy Janik
Ordinarily I wouldn't talk about my weight issues on livejournal, but I find myself in a unique position. Not only is there no one I'm dating right now, but there's not even someone I've got a huge crush on. Oh sure, there are some likely candidates, but I'm not currently obsessing over them.

Right, so it should be no great shock to anyone that I'm a little overweight. I'm not as fat as I used to be (in good ole Alabama), thanks to losing 30 pounds a few years ago. It's taken some time, but my weight has finally crept back up again to unacceptable levels.

I think all in all I tend to wear my weight well. I've got a rather large, stocky frame, and extra weight just sort of fills that out. And I've managed to end up in wonderful, loving relationships (TM), even when I weighed more than I do now. But still, for better or for worse, I am constantly conscious of my weight. It severely impairs my ability to communicate and interact naturally with most everyone.

And so, I've decided to do something about it. Having re-read the Hacker's Diet, I've decided to take a no-nonsense approach to losing weight. The basic premise is that if you want to lose weight, you've got to take in less calories than you burn. If your calorie deficit reaches 3500, you've lost a pound.

So, a relatively sane way of losing weight is to shoot for losing 1 pound a week. This means that your calorie deficit should be 500 every day. Using a handy chart, I've determined that my body burns anywhere from 2000 to 2500 calories a day. Having as I do a pretty sedentary lifestyle, I'm going to err on the side of caution and start with the assumption that I burn 2000. So right now I should shoot for 1500 calories a day in order to lose a pound a week.

But where am I starting at, and what's my goal?
Well, a week ago I weighed in at a disturbing 206.5. By the way, I bought a new scale, so that's a reasonably accurate figure.

As for what I *should weigh*, that's a little trickier. Using another chart, I see that a healthy range might be anywhere from 151 to 180, depending on whether I have a medium or large frame (still not sure on that). I think the only way to tell is to lose weight until it feels right. So I'll set my goal low, to 155. Which means that I want to lose about 50 pounds, ultimately. Even 20 pounds, though, will make a world of difference.

So there's a handy weight loss calculator tool for the Palm Pilot, and plugging in the numbers says that at 1 pound a week, it’ll take (surprise) about a year to get 50 pounds off.

Now I'm a bit impatient, and a tad obsessive, so I'd like to have more impressive results than that. So if we double the calorie deficit, we half the time. So that's what I'm doing, initially... That means my daily goal is to consume around 1000 calories, and I should be done losing weight around mid October.

There are a couple of problems with this, that I'm sure you already thought of. One is that if you cut your calories too severely, your metabolism will slow down to compensate, and you won't lose quickly anyhow. There's some controversy on how big of a concern that is, but my personal experience tells me that it's not that big of a factor for me. The last time I lost weight, it was at a rate of something like 3.5 pounds a week, and I was basically consuming as little as possible (Randall's sushi and veggie subs, primarily). Second, there's a theory that if you cut your calories a lot, your body will just burn muscle instead of fat. Again, we'll see, but again my experience says otherwise.

The largest, and probably most valid concern is that if a person changes their eating habits too drastically, they'll never be able to keep the weight off when they're done, since they'll revert to their old habits. This is where the charts come in.

One of the coolest/most useful bits of "The Hacker's Diet" is the use of charts. Basically, your body takes in and expels a great deal of water each day. The amounts fluctuate all the time. The important thing to note is that this water weight variance greatly dwarfs the comparatively miniscule changes in your fat levels. So when you weigh yourself and notice that you've lost 2 pounds since yesterday, it's really effectively meaningless. The only way to get an accurate representation of what your weight is doing is to compute its trend over time.

So the tools (in Excel or for the Palm) do just that. You input your weight every day, and it makes a pretty little graph that shows the trend your weight is following. Your actual weight measurements are plotted above or below the line and act to pull the trend up or down. Like so (click on the image for the explanation). :

Note that this is not my chart, but just an example. So this serves two purposes. First, it's an extremely useful way to monitor how your diet plan is going. As long as the trend is falling, you're losing weight. The really cool thing is that once you've plotted enough data, you can go back and adjust your assumptions. So let's say that I continue to take in 1000 calories a day, but I find that I'm losing weight quicker than 2 pounds a week. This means that my body burns more than 2000 calories a day. Not only that, but I can figure out exactly how much more, and increase my calorie intake accordingly.

And the REALLY cool part is that once my goal weight has been reached, all I have to do is continue to plot out this chart. Except now my goal is to keep the trend line as flat as possible. If my diet starts to change (say for instance, that we start grilling beer brauts all the time), the trend line will begin to creep upward. If it gets too high, I'll know that an adjustment needs to be made.

So beginning on the 17th, I started weighing myself, and taking in 1000 calories a day. Here's my chart as it stands today:

The red line is the trend line, and the purple diamonds are my actual recorded weights. Green lines are drawn to show you at a glance how much they're affecting the trend. The longer the line, the greater the change. Oh, and you see that little bump? That was Easter.

So here's the actual point of this extremely long entry. From now until the foreseeable future, you'll be able to see the progress of my plans by going here:


The stats that appear below the chart on that page will begin to reflect reality as more data is generated. I may not update the page every day, since I can view the charts immediately on the palm pilot. But I'll eventually remember. If it suddenly disappears, that probably means that there's someone I want to hide it from. :)

[User Picture]From: cindylou
2003-04-25 11:01 am (UTC)

Great for you, Roy. I know from personal experience how hard this is.

I have to read a lot of nutrition stuff for my job, so I am forced to think about these things a bunch.

I worry about the 1,000 calories a day. What about 1,500 with some moderate exercise thrown in? Light weights/walking/etc? Or maybe a gradual calorie cut down so that the big drop doesn't leave you feeling wiped out.

Also, I've noticed that you're into cooking. Would you like me to send you some back issues of Cooking Light? We've got lots of easy to follow, yummy recipes (I know I'm biased, but it's true!). We even have some beginning walking/running/swimming/weight plans. Lemme know.

Anyway, good luck with your endeavor. :)
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[User Picture]From: zinereem
2003-04-25 11:20 am (UTC)
I'm a little worried about the 1000 calories a day thing, too. But I'm not going to be stupid. If it's unbearable, I'll adjust my plan. I strongly suspect that I burn more than 2000 calories a day anyways, and if the data reflects that, I'll eat more.

I definitely plan to exercise regularly, but I don't trust myself enough to factor that into my calculations. I'm also going to start playing soccer in the summer.

And yeah, I'd love back issues of Cooking Light. Thanks so much. My address is:

Dinosaur Moonbase One
507 Sacramento Dr.
Austin, TX 78704

If you need me to pay for shipping or whatever, just let me know and I'll do it.
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[User Picture]From: cindylou
2003-04-28 09:29 am (UTC)

Issues on their way today, courtesy of your friends(tm) at AOL-Time Warner.

A few more things I thought of (hope I'm not butting in too much):

- I've found that a combo of protein and carbs really helps to keep me full for a long time. I mix a cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal with low-cal yogurt for breakfast and it usually does the job until a late lunch. Things like beans and rice or lean meat sammiches also do the trick. I have also been sticking to Lean Cuisines for lunch. They're not totally gross, and they are cheaper than when I was eating out everyday. I do this four times a week and then let myself eat out once for lunch. I haven't lost a ton of weight (I'm shooting for 10-15lbs by the end of the year), maybe about a pound a week, but I do let myself splurge a little too much on the weekends.

- I've heard--and this may well be an old wives' tale--that you can judge your body's frame by wrapping your thumb and middle finger around your wrist. If they overlap, it's a small frame; meet, a medium; and won't touch, a large. Though this indicates I have a small frame, so I'm not so sure about that.
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[User Picture]From: flajuie
2003-05-22 02:08 pm (UTC)


this means I am aupporting all 215 pounds on a small frame (6 feet tall). Yikes.
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[User Picture]From: cailin23
2003-04-25 11:24 am (UTC)
i'm cursed. whenever i start dating a boy he puts on weight. blame me.

i almost never look at my weight - i've always noticed that it fluctuates wildly throughout the day, so feeling badly about the number i see isn't reasonable, knowing it could have been several pounds less a few hours before. instead, i complain about the size of my stomach and its pudgy sides. numbers are meaningless if i don't feel small enough.
i actually wouldn't mind putting on a few pounds if it were in muscle. i'd love to have defined abs.
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[User Picture]From: zinereem
2003-04-25 01:12 pm (UTC)
I don't think I was exactly svelt before we started dating.

But yeah, the fluctuations are why I'm doing the graph thingy. Also making sure to weigh myself the same time every day.
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[User Picture]From: kitashiroi
2003-04-25 12:46 pm (UTC)


I swear by carrot juice. (It's just kind of expensive to drink everyday.) But it's really one of the healthiest things you can drink.
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[User Picture]From: zinereem
2003-04-25 01:10 pm (UTC)

Re: Carrots!

Yeah, I really like it, too. But not Good Flow. That stuff was nasty. Odwalla's where it's at.
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[User Picture]From: kitashiroi
2003-04-25 03:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Carrots!

No, go to Central Market and get the kind that's made fresh, and not pasteurized. It's better for you. Lots of enzymes. Yumm.
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[User Picture]From: moregankira
2003-04-25 12:59 pm (UTC)

Yay Roy!

Thank you Roy for sharing this with us. I actually think such posts make live journal more journal-like. You make the third (including myself) person that is trying to get in shape. Woo hoo! I personally think you look great as you are, and I REALLY hope you do eat more than 1000 calories a day cause thats just not healthy. *hug*

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[User Picture]From: zinereem
2003-04-25 01:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Yay Roy!

We'll see. I'm sure once my friend Mindy reads this she'll beat me up for shooting for 1000 calories a day anyhow. :) But like I said, if I feel shitty and worn out, I'll increase my intake.
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[User Picture]From: moregankira
2003-04-25 01:10 pm (UTC)

Re: Yay Roy!

Good. Just love you Roy.
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From: (Anonymous)
2003-04-26 10:00 am (UTC)

Your friend mindy

that's it, roy! you should run and hide, because you ass is going down! and hey! the running part will be good for you.
nah. i know you know that i know that you know how to be reasonable. and i see you enough to make sure you dont start turning colors or something because you did not eat enough. but i will be on your ass about it....wanna go work out today?

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[User Picture]From: zinereem
2003-04-26 12:12 pm (UTC)

Re: Your friend mindy

YES. Of course, I'm stranded at DM-1, so I need a ride. WA-WAAAAA.
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[User Picture]From: airelav
2003-04-25 08:36 pm (UTC)

very interesting

nice approach. best of luck.
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[User Picture]From: dameaux
2003-04-25 09:47 pm (UTC)

I'm going to be watching you like a hawk.

'Cause I know what it takes. But 1000 is probably too low. My recommended intake, even when completely sedentary, is 2250 - and I'm smaller than you are. But you are on the right track as far as method is concerned. BTW I'm trying to start running again, let me know if I should try to force you to.
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From: (Anonymous)
2003-04-25 11:48 pm (UTC)
Wow, you are surrounded by a lot of positive support. Anyhow, I swear by the Eight Week Healthy Body Campaign. They have pictures and everything. http://www.netfit.co.uk/eight-weeklatenight.html
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[User Picture]From: fiberboard
2003-04-27 01:30 am (UTC)

I was 142 lbs. today...

There was this one time, as I was doing my semi-regular weigh-in on the Winn Dixie scale, that I almost hit 150, so, um... that was alot... errr... Ok, I got nothing here. Good luck.

And do be careful about only 1000 calories / day. I've come to realize that sometimes my sedentary ass is nutritionally deficient without being conventionally hungry, and at these times my mood changes for the worse. So if things start seeming to suck, eat.
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[User Picture]From: iggy
2003-04-27 05:40 pm (UTC)

hmm ....

As a person who recently lost 75lbs ..Roy I definitely think you would be starving yourself at 1000 calories a day. Listen I don't know if you are interested but I have extra copies of my weight watchers books if you wanted I could send them to you in the mail...It's very easy to do..I mean look I lost 75lbs ..yes I have more to go but even when I was off for 4 months I only gained 5 lbs back!!

Let me know if you want them I will be happy to send you them...its so very very easy to do and I mean I eat out every single meal a day, because of my job!!

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