Failure is just a data point

Three weeks ago I decided that I REALLY needed to take off not only the 5 holiday pounds I gained but also at least 10 of the thirty I’ve been lugging around for the last six years or so. Ever optimistic, I decided to try the “don’t eat when you’re not hungry” diet.

Well, I’m not very good at it. I managed to lose the five, but it was very wobbly going, and in less than a week I managed to put about three of them back on. It’s probably a great long-term diet, and I expect it’s perfect for maintaining a healthy weight once you’ve arrived at one. But for now I have to admit that I’ve failed at it.

That’s just a data point. Back when I decided to lose weight I also decided that certain data points would require a change in strategy. Not losing the holiday five by late January was one of my pre-defined triggers, so as of today I’m low-carbing again.

A low-carb diet is really hard to maintain on a budget, but we’ve got a bit more money than we had the last time I tried this so it should be a bit easier. By default this diet cuts 95% of processed foods out of my meals, and I end up eating a lot more fresh vegetables (low-carb naysayers always come back to “what about vegetables,” and the answer is “shut up. I’m eating them.”) because they’re the perfect complement to the fish, chicken, beef, pork, and cheese that I’m subsisting on.

I also end up eating a lot of clear soup. Cheap, easy, filling, and you can drop all kinds of goodies in it for variety.

In the past my low-carb diets have been punctuated by carb-binges (usually fueled by an addiction to Nesquik.) I’ve kicked the Nesquik habit, and I think I have a handle on the “don’t eat when you’re not hungry” plan, so this time around when I think I just HAVE to have some carbs I’ll make sure I only have ’em when I’m hungry, and I don’t eat past “full.” This should allow me to do things like attend conventions and family vacations without stressing over the fact that the food is all starches and insufficiently tiny bits of dead beast.

14 thoughts on “Failure is just a data point”

  1. Could you define a “clear” soup for me? I just can’t wrap my head around exactly what you mean.

    Otherwise, from a person trying to lose WAY more weight than you and going through pretty much the same steps, but with more of the working out part, good luck!

    1. “Clear” soups, I believe, are basically the water-based soups, as opposed to the cream-based ones. Most broths fit into this category, and it is into these broths that you can add aforementioned “goodies.”

          1. Upon further (read “any whatsoever”) research, I’ve learned that my previous belief was wrong. Chowder is a soup that is thickened with flour or other sort of starch. I always enjoy learning new things. 🙂

          2. Weird. Most chowdahs that I’ve had haven’t had potatoes in them (except, of course, for that one time when I had potato chowdah).
            Wikipedia time!
            “Chowder is any of a variety of soups, enriched with salt pork fatback and thickened with flour, or more traditionally with crushed ship biscuit or saltine crackers, and milk. To some Americans, it means clam chowder, made with cream or milk in most places, or with tomato as “Manhattan clam chowder.” Corn chowder is a thick soup filled with whole corn (maize) kernels.”

  2. Good luck! Let me also suggest that you always have a protein with your carbs, thereby avoiding the sugar high and then lower low (which makes you want more carbs!). And drink lots of water instead of sodas. I wish you healthy eating… 🙂

  3. Good luck to you. I’m attempting to achieve similar results with a dramatically different approach. I will share however the one valuable piece of advice that I have received. “Regardless of the level of success you achieve with this diet, the Speedo is not and will not be an option.”

  4. Good luck! I too have failed at “only eat when you’re hungry” but I’m doing better at it. I’m thinking that after my next follow-up doctor visit I’ll go back to low-carbing it. Good diet.

  5. good luck

    According to the BMI oracles that every insurance company is consulting these days, I’m 50 pounds overweight. However, the last time I weighed my alleged “ideal weight” was when I was still in high school, doing soccer and swim team. And even with that I was ten pounds heavier than my alleged “ideal weight” by the time I graduated high school. One of many reasons I think BMI is a crock. I’m aiming to lose 30 pounds, which seems much more attainable than 50.

    Anywho, low-carbing can be made a lot cheaper by judicious planning of leftovers – for instance, my fave low-carb breakfast is a meaty frittata which can usually last 4 days (a quarter each day, each containing roughly 1 egg and 3 ounces of meat, plus some onions as onions make everything taste better.) it’s really easy to make, too. my dad, who’s also been doing the low-carb thing, tends to throw a huge amount of meat in his smoker every couple of weeks and then eat it until it’s gone. (had some of his beer-marinated chuck for lunch today – man, that was good! [tangential question: are LDS folk allowed to use alcoholic beverages in cooking?])

    1. Re: good luck

      Yeah, the BMI thing is weird. It’s seemingly impossible for shorter people to actually weigh their ideal weight, and then we tall people (I’m 6’4″, though the internet seems to have a larger proportion of people taller than that than the real world does (either that or they all lie about their height)) and I’m right at my ideal BMI, yet most people describe me as somewhat overweight.

      But my personal favourite diet is the “too lazy to go out and buy food” diet. When I run out of bread for peanut-butter-and-honey-and-cinnamon sandwiches, I start making glop with oats, peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon. When I run out of honey, I substitute maple syrup. When I run out of peanut butter, I order a pizza (Papa John’s is really nice, I’ve discovered, you can order online so you never have to talk to a real person except when they’re at your door, and their breadsticks-and-large-pizza dealie is an excellent amount of food for $15).

      It’s LIKE the ‘don’t eat when you’re not hungry’ diet, except if I subscribed to ‘don’t eat when you’re not hungry’ I’d only wind up eating once every few days, which I hear is unhealthy (like subsisting entirely on oat-and-peanut-butter glop isn’t).

      Of course, the diet that was actually EFFECTIVE? That would be the college diet, where there’s no food in the dorm, and to get food I have to either put shoes on and walk half a mile (which never really seems worth it) or go down two hallways and two flights of stairs to grab something from the vending machine. I don’t understand how people can gain weight in college. You go from having food in the same building as you to having food in a different building, how is that conducive to weight-gain?

      So, yeah, though lust will always be my clear winner, in the endless battle for second place, sloth comes out above gluttony, so laziness = weight loss. Make your sins work for you, not against you! They are each others’ enemies just as much as they are your enemies, and as we all know, the enemy of my enemy is my enemy’s enemy.

  6. If you haven’t done it yet, then BUY A PEDOMETER! And wear it, daily. Eating less (in whatever form) is only half of the procedure; the other half is increasing your activity level… because if you don’t, your metabolism will simply adapt to the lower intake.

    Increasing your activity level doesn’t have to include grueling workouts. Walking is almost as much of a boost to your metabolic rate as jogging/running, and it has the added advantage of not tearing up your knees (a concern in my case, since genetically that’s a weak spot). It doesn’t add that much to your time commitments, particularly if you can combine it with other necessary activities – I walk to and from work, to and from the grocery store, to most of my other “optional” activities… it adds up. The only drawback to getting your exercise this way is that you probably will wind up having to replace your shoes more often… but even that’s cheaper than, say, a membership at one of those exercise clubs.

    But for even making the resolution and the attempt, I say “Well done!” That puts you well ahead of the majority.

    1. Yeah, Howard and I both have pretty sedentary lifestyles, and seeing as how we’re both overweight, and seeing as how we live with 15 blocks of one another, you’d think we’d get together and play some sort of sports activity every once and a while.

      But, ho! You’d be wrong, because I loathe sports, and I think Howard does, too. The Wii is about as close as I’ll come. But then, that’s not an entirely bad solution: < -- this guy lost 9 pounds. (Albeit in 6 weeks... but it was just from playing video games, so that's not too shabby.)

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