Thursday, November 1, 2012

The "Free Lunch" Weight Loss Plan v.017

Click to enlarge.

If you had asked me how it was going on the 17th, I would have said I was roughly on track to repeat last October's weight loss success.

That's not the way it worked out though. I managed to give myself two blisters on my feet (new hiking shoes and pushing my luck with a 6 mile walk) on the 15th. It doesn't end there though. Several days later I caught a head cold that pretty much shut me down entirely for the next 10 days (3 bottles of NyQuil). You can certainly see the effect in the chart. Feed a cold, starve a fever.

Click to enlarge.

The good news is that even when sick (with blisters on both feet no less), I still managed to climb the extra 20 flights per day. The habit is permanent. There's not a doubt in my mind. When broken into 4 climbs of 5 flights of stairs each, they are trivial to do and fit well within a TV commercial break. I tend to do far more than the minimum of 20. This once again confirms to me that 20 makes a good minimum though. There were certainly many days in October that I did the bare minimum.

I'm directly on the long-term trend lines and I can't complain. I'm hopeful that I won't gain weight like I did last winter. I walked 9 miles over the previous 3 days. It rained every day. My new hiking shoes combined with actual hiking socks has made walking around in Puget Sound's fall weather a lot more enjoyable. I assume it will carry into winter as well. Hat tip to Mr. Slippery for suggesting the change in footwear.

I gave a gluten free diet a chance for the first 4 weeks of October. I saw some initial success in the first few days (placebo?), but there didn't seem to be any follow-through. I do not appear to be gluten sensitive and am therefore back to eating whatever I like. Hey, at least now I know.

On the one hand, I had hoped to see a huge improvement. No such luck. On the other hand, I enjoy many foods with gluten in them. For example, my girlfriend made pound cake a few days ago. That's really hard to pass up.

I think November is getting off to an excellent start. There's leftover Halloween candy but I don't really have much of a candy appetite. I ate about a dozen PayDay candy bars in October. What can I say? They're gluten free! I'm kind of burned out though, and that's a good thing more than likely.

The head cold gave me some cabin fever and I'm therefore looking forward to walking outside a lot more in the next few weeks. I might even try doing an actual hike soon. I'd like to try out the new shoes on something other than pavement. I just need to break them in a bit more first.

And lastly, I'm only a few pounds lighter than I was this time last year. However, I really do think some of it is increased muscle mass. My legs are in much better shape than they were last year. Put another way, perhaps I should have been measuring inches around the midsection instead of pounds on the bathroom scale. In any event, I am confident that the long-term weight trend is in the right direction.

I just keep plugging away each month. There's no hurry. It's a long-term change. All it took to get me started was baby steps. Literally.

See Also:
The "Free Lunch" Weight Loss Plan v.000


Mr Slippery said...

Glad to see the progress, but bummed about the blisters. I would make sure your hiking socks are wicking to keep moisture down, and that your shoes are snug with socks on, but not too tight. You might also consider pre-taping the spots that got blistered.

I've been pretty lucky so far and blister free. I really like my Merrell shoes and just got some waterproof boots today for winter.

Keep moving!

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,

Part of it is that the shoes are waterproof and the moisture doesn't really have anywhere it can go.

Putting baby powder on my feet seems to help. I've walked 9 miles in the last 3 days (broken up into 1.5 mile walks). My feet seem mostly okay. That said, the previous blisters are not entirely gone yet though so it isn't a fair test.

I think most of it is just that my shoes really needed to be broken in. They don't fit my feet perfectly (as no new shoe would) and it takes time for my both the shoes and my feet to adapt. The shoes are also much stiffer than the tennis shoes I normally wear. That means it will take longer for them to break in but most likely last much longer once that's done.

The shoes rub ever so slightly on the inside of my back heels. That seems to be the only real problem spot and I don't think it will be one for long.

I wouldn't expect to play a guitar for a few hours without my fingers bleeding unless I played every day. The same goes for my feet most likely.

shtove said...

Just go paleo and stop torturing yourself.

Troy said...

hah no update for me since I've been house-sitting for 2 weeks and away from a scale!

Away from all self-control, too!

Prolly gained 10lbs since I've been eating about 4X the calorie count of my regimen. Snacks, lunches at 12:00 at 2:00, popcorn with movies nightly (house has a $10,000 prosumer home theater system, LOL).

But the funny thing is I've done this on only $80 in food. I hit up Trader Joe's on the way in (house is rather secluded up in the hills) and am still eating like a king. Average meal cost is around $2.

I'd have a great life if I could get my housing costs sorted, LOL. And free health insurance. And car insurance. Those are my major life expenses now.

Which reminds me, I've had use of a Nissan Leaf, too for these two weeks.

Somewhat revolutionary to be able to tool around Santa Cruz without paying for gasoline. When I'm at home I've got to do the mental calculation of whether a 20 mile r/t is worth $4.45 or whatever in dino juice, but I can see the attraction of an EV set-up.

$25,000 cost net tax credits is certainly reasonable but the 40 mile range is a real bummer. Santa Cruz is nice but you're kinda stuck here since to go over the hill to Santa Clara valley or down to Monterey would require several hours recharge (at 240V) to get back.

When I bought my Miata 12 years ago I had an eye on eventually converting it to EV, given the very light weight of the body construction.

AllanF said...

I'm really surprised you didn't lose more weight cutting out wheat products. Well, I was really surprised until I saw that part about 12 candy bars.

Anyway, this is the most boring exponential curve ever. It took you a year and half to lose 15 lbs and it's going to take another two and a half to lose the next 10?

Hey, maybe we should start a pool, which comes first Fed ending QE or you breaking 200lbs? We could make it two-fer on hyperinflation by betting a million bucks! By the time the winner collects their $1M, it will have the purchasing power of a Baby Ruth.

So I got that going for me.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I don't feel tortured. I eat pretty much anything I want, lol.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Away from all self-control, too!

Life happens. ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...


Boring works for me. The goal was to do it for the rest of my life, much like Bernanke's goal perhaps. I'm in no particular hurry to hit sub-200. If I burn slightly more calories than I consume, then all I really need is patience.

As for the candy bars, they are mostly nuts. One every few days is no big deal. I will admit that the binding nougat is the best part though. ;)

I never switched to a gluten free diet because I wanted to lose more weight. I did it to see if I had a gluten sensitivity.

dearieme said...

Let me recommend something my daughter brought back from Istanbul: Nestle's bitter chocolate with pistachio. By gosh it's delicious, and so intense that all you eat at a time is two little squares.

AllanF said...

Hey Mark, your answer was a little more straight-up than I expected. I hope it's clear I was just trying to pull your leg a little.

Clearly the metric is the weight you _haven't_ gained, which IIRC is around one lb/yr for the average adult American. Also, there's the thermostat analogy whereby the body tries to maintain a set weight. Slowly losing weight as are is resetting the thermostat.

As for the wheat, I'm still surprised. I know you didn't cut it to lose weight, but I've seen so many reports of people shedding weight after cutting it out completely, I figured you'd be good for at least 10. It's in so many foods, practically speaking it's almost not worth the effort to keep constant calories once you've decided to cut it out. It just easier to be a touch hungry than find an equivalent replacement. Regards.

Stagflationary Mark said...


It's funny you should mention chocolate. My girlfriend made a small batch of chocolate fudge. We cut it up into very small servings and froze them. It lasted most of the summer. One tiny piece was amazingly satisfying.

In general, I think my most vulnerable periods are when I have a food craving and I don't actually eat the food I'm craving. It takes a lot of another food to actually satisfy it. I don't really know for sure, but eating a bit of chocolate when I have a chocolate craving seems to be a better plan than reaching for the peanut butter. Although peanut butter will eventually fill that desire, it could take a lot of it! ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...


I think I know why cutting wheat didn't have a noticable effect. Although I love spaghetti, I love rice and chicken more. It was easy for me to remove gluten from my diet. I don't think I was actually eating all that much gluten in the first place.

I'd guess I only eat pasta at most once a week. That's probably true of sandwiches as well. I also prefer corn-based cereals over ones with wheat.

Even soup was not an issue. My favorite (clam chowder) doesn't have any gluten, although I generally eat it with a few saltines. It was no great hardship to go without the crackers in October though. As mostly expected, cutting out several hundred calories of crackers spread over an entire month just didn't actually do all that much.

Cutting canned soda would also do very little. I drank a can last night. The previous can was probably a month ago. I very rarely crave soda.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Clearly the metric is the weight you _haven't_ gained, which IIRC is around one lb/yr for the average adult American.

Yeah, I think that is the best way to look at it. I think I gain about 3 lb/yr if nothing is done to counter it. In the past I'd yoyo diet/exercise once my weight reached some depressingly high threshold.

It reached that thresholdonce again in June of 2011. That's when I decided to try something different to permanently put a stop to it. So far, so good! :)