Day 3: Stuff Happens

The last couple of posts have been about food and philosophy and really cool discoveries in software and the power of hidden cardio. I’d planned to write this one about fruit, from the midnight pleasures of a dried white fig, simultaneously chewy, sweet and subtly crunchy, to the cool smoothness of perfectly ripe, unbruised avocado slices on top of a colby/jack quesadilla in the still-too-hot early morning. Those are the kinds of things that make this lifestyle change fun. They keep me going with eagerness into something new and positive, something that will make my life better.

That was the plan. The reality is that stuff happens.  Here’s how that intended post  started out:

If yesterday was a celebration of roast pork, today’s theme will be fruit. I was up a lot later after I posted last night, and about 1 AM I found myself with the munchies and facing a deficit of better than 500 calories even after that bag of popcorn. Der Roomie had eliminated the temptation of the last pint of gelato earlier in the evening, so that wasn’t an issue. I did want sweets, though, and we had dried white figs and dates in the house. I do love dates, but in the sweaty semidark of a long, thirsty night here in Sacramento, even the thought of a big, gooey medjool made my mouth feel stickier than it already was. Figs, though, are a whole other matter. The combination of chewy sweet and the subtle crunch of a thousand tiny seeds was perfect with yet another glass of water, and at 50 calories each, I was satisfied well before I ran out of room in my food diary.

Except, since it was after midnight and I’d wrapped up the previous day’s diary, the entry ended up on today’s snack list. Still, I thought I had plenty of the daily allotment left. But I didn’t. Between the heat, hunger and my own angst, I’ve been snacking on more of those awesome, comforting figs and a pile of triscuits, so dinner looks like it will be a light soup laden with veggies and chunks of pork with a salad, because I’ll be darned if I’m going to do anything to make myself sweat and breathe hard more than I have to today. I drank more than a gallon of water yesterday keeping myself hydrated, and I’m on my way to doing the same today. With a little luck and determination, I’m good at least until midnight.

Then Bryan brought me a Philly cheese steak sandwich from Jersey Mike’s, which sent me scrambling for the MFP database because it’s cheesesteak.  That warm, drippy tangle of onions, mushrooms and thin sliced beef in molten white cheese had me within an inch of saying to hell with it and scarfing the whole thing.  Instead, I had a quarter then while it was fresh, which was good, though I’d eaten some roast about an hour before.  I had a half just now for dinner, and I have to say I like it better reheated.  It’s sloppier.  I also like sliding nine calories under the day’s limit like an evader in world chase tag, but midnight starts a new day, and that last quarter sandwich is doomed.

Unless stuff happens in the meantime.

Day Two

So far so good.  Really, really good.  My roommate and I dined last night on slices of a pork sirloin roasted on a bed of rosemary branches and sprigs of thyme cut from the plants in the planter garden beside our front door.  He — my roommate — had a game to attend in the evening, so I cooked it up in the afternoon with the air conditioner doing double duty against the outside heat and the heat of the oven, so we could both enjoy it before he left.  I admit it was not the best timing from an energy conservation standpoint, but we had lovely meat that was was hot and juicy when we wanted it, and we’ll probably finish it up sometime tomorrow or Monday.

I ate all I wanted of the roast without going over my calorie limit, too, thanks to both the high limit and the heat.  With afternoon temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I’m drinking water and unsweetened tea constantly to keep hydrated, and I find I am a little nauseous from the time I get up in the morning until I’ve had my first pint of water and a few crackers to settle my stomach.  Fortunately, the early morning isn’t intolerable, so that’s when I get most of my physical work done for the day.

Thanks to a friend who told me about MyFitnessPal early this morning, I’ve been able to track that physical work as cardio in addition to the walking I was able to get in running around with laundry and picking up the mail.  I pegged doing a load of laundry at the lowest level of moderate task because, even though I sweat and breathe hard doing it, I didn’t think the process of hauling laundry to the wash room and back was much in terms of exercise, but the breakdown of the activity showed that at my weight roughly 20 minutes of actively picking up clothes, carting them to the laundry room, loading the machine and all that burned 95 calories, which was most of my cardio goal for today.  In cooler conditions I can do more trips back and forth to the laundry room before wearing out, and the burn rate will gradually drop as the weight comes off, but I am mightily impressed with myself.

According to MyFitnessPal, I shouldn’t net more than 1,790 calories per day to hit the one-pound-a-week goal.  The net calories, though, are what I eat minus how much I burn in exercise, so today’s net goal is 1,928 calories, of which I’ve eaten just over 1,000.  It’s getting dark, and I’m at last hungry again, so I’ll nuke some popcorn later to kick the carbs up.  That seems to be where I’m lacking the most.

I hope you’re enjoying my nattering.  I haven’t figured out how to set up the comments box yet, but I’m hoping to get it sorted in the morning.  For now, thanks for coming by!

Day One


Two eggs scrambled in a tablespoon of butter (because fuck margarine and ‘spreads’) with salsa and green onions, doused in shredded colby/jack and sitting on a slice of bread:  459 calories.  Not bad for the favorite meal of my day in an 1800-calorie plan to lose a pound a week for A Long Time, as my neurologist put it.

I like my neurologist.  He’s quick-working, has a desk nearly as messy as mine, and he talks to me like another intelligent human.  He’s also run EEGs and reviewed the scans of my surprisingly unscarred brain.  I don’t have epilepsy, which is a great weight off my mind, if not my torso, but the fat on my neck and torso — he was kind enough to say ‘weight’ — makes breathing hard, including when I sleep.  We discussed the unpleasant prospect of limited bariatric surgery and agreed on my having a serious go at permanent weight loss the old-fashioned way, one pound a week for a period best described as A Long Time.  I go to see him in a month, with a broad survey of results in six months.

For me, calories work best.  I can track calories. I can log them and point at patterns in the data as they develop.  They also open an obvious gateway to mindfulness, which is vital if I am going to do this over the long term.  I know from past experience that I’ll eat almost anything foodlike if there is a container of it at hand, but I also know the first bites are the best, and there is a point at which more is repugnant, even if I do continue to eat.  The challenge is to to pay food the attention it deserves, enjoy what I eat, and acknowledge and avoid what tastes nasty to me, even if it costs some money and perhaps embarrassment to do so. If I stick to that, the rest will be fairly easy.