Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wednesday, the balancing act


So: imagining that my weight stays stable when I eat between 1400 and 1800 calories.  Then, if I eat less than 1400 calories (and/or exercise more) I lose weight. And also, if I eat more than 1800 calories (and/or exercise less) I gain weight.

And I do fine for a long time.  I stay within that range.  My average exercise keeps up with my calorie needs. All that.

But then comes the odd time.  Illness maybe.  Or stress-celebration related eating surges (say an extra 200 calories a day).

THEN (I’m just thinking) I learn that I was eating at the 1700-1800 end of my calorie range.  And when my eating surged (it pushed me right over my manageable range.  And for some weeks or months (I’m just THINKING) I’m eating 1800 -2000 calories a day.  For a while.

See how that works?  If I regularly ate at the BOTTOM of my range, 1400 -1500 calories a day then adding a couple hundred calories a day for a while wouldn’t hurt. … I WOULD have to cut back though — or I’d find myself exactly where I am.  Eventually.

The Hacker’s Diet is all about controlling that oscillation. Someone like me (whose instincts seem to be all off) has to monitor calorie use daily.  I HAVE to make those adjustments BEFORE I slide off the right side of this chart:

And that’s what I’m thinking about today. What’s going on with you?

Wednesday, Revisiting Oscillating Oscar

This post was originally published in February 2010. It will be the subject of my thoughts throughout the day:

Just 4 Today, I’m NOT going to eat between meals and I’m NOT going to take seconds. And I’ll walk at least 3 miles, take my fiber supplement and drink 2 liters of water.

For some reason I feel more like something the cat dragged in than anything else.  So I went back to my archives for inspiration (what else are they for?) and found this written in July 2006 – Weight Control: A Fierce Struggle:

I can see why this obesity thing is so hard to cure control. It seems like most days I struggle to stay on track — and my goal isn’t even that difficult. I’m just trying to cut back a few hundred calories a day. The problem is that a few hundred calories a day are so powerful. Eat a few hundred less and we can lose a pound a day. But absentmindedly eat a few hundred calories more and suddenly we’re gaining a pound a week.

I’m not there, but it’s a fierce struggle.

John Walker explains just why this commitment is such a fierce challenge for some of us (from a June 2006 post – Overweight Oscillating Oscar:

The post goes into more detail (and The Hacker’s Diet itself goes into a LOT more detail) but, the basic story is that Oscar’s weight wouldn’t fluctuate if his average calorie intake was at that center mark.

IF his average was there then after a day or so of over eating he could (easily) cut back a couple of hundred calories and – without ever actually gaining weight – get his average back in line (see Skinny Stable Sam).

But, (like me, I guess) Oscar regularly eats at the far right of the ideal range — the average is still OK ….. but:

Oscar has the very same feedback curve as Sam, but his is shifted a little to the right, toward eating too much. One day Sam eats slightly more than he needs, and the next day slightly less. But since feedback keeps him within the range his metabolism can adjust to, Sam’s weight stays the same. When Oscar eats slightly too much, though, he’s pushed immediately into the region where he packs on weight. The next day, like Sam, he may eat less but, since that’s within the flat part where metabolism compensates, he keeps all the weight he packs on whenever he eats a little too much


Reducing is miserable for Oscar. In order to lose weight, he must reduce what goes in far enough to get into the “Lose weight” area of the curve. But that means the ball on the feedback chart has to climb well into the “I’m hungry!” region and stay there for an extended time. (snip) What Oscar doesn’t realise is that his problem is simply poor feedback from the calories he needs to his appetite. If he got accurate feedback, as Sam does, he’d never eat too much, feel hungry, or be forced to endure hunger to take off extra weight. Oscar’s built-in eat watch is simply set 5 minutes too fast. Oscar needs to wear an accurate eat watch to put an end to his oscillations.

Since starting Eat4Today I’ve dramatically reduced my own oscillations.  The weight I lost in that early fight is still mostly off – I’ve gained some back (even a lot) but, it’s been four years since I started this blog and I’ve kept most of that weight off.

On this march toward better health, I’ve got – we all have – a range of goals.  It’s not all about our weight.  But, the weight thing is a big issue (for me at least) and I’d like to think that sometime in the future I could go a year (or more) without gaining weight AND without having to think too much about it.

It’s just a thought. What do you think?

Tuesday, Catching up

It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve worked on this blog…. Worked on the things this blog represents too. And I don’t know about you but for me it wasn’t the smartest move in the world to walk away from it.

In the past year, I’ve continued knitting, had bronchitis about 15 times. Came right up to the edge of being diagnosed with asthma (but not,) and in the course of getting my breathing under control lost control of my weight. Well, you win some and you lose some. I guess.

So, I’m here to tell you that today is a new day. A new commitment. I’m NOT going to let my weight drift up to those killer levels (well, maybe it has. I’m also not going to weigh myself today. Sue me.) I’m going to do those things that worked so well 6 years ago when I started this blog.

Just 4 Today:

I’m not going to eat between meals and
I’m not going to take seconds.

I’m going to wear my E4T charm bracelet. And I’m going to focus on how wonderful I’ll feel in just a couple of months if I stay on this course.

For me, weight control doesn’t come easy. I get complacent and think I can get away with eating this special little thing or that treat (just today) …. and it’s true — I COULD eat those things if it REALLY was ‘just today’ but, it never is. I start liking it. And then I can’t stop.

I think a big part of my problem today is because at some point last year I started adding 1/2 & 1/2 to my coffee in the morning. It sounds so innocent — almost everyone does it. But, I’ve ALWAYS drunk black coffee. And starting the day with something so delicious (in retrospect) knocked me off the good-health-trail. Every morning began with dessert! And it just kept on going. Little pieces of candy (do you know how many candy holidays there are these days?) … Last week, I even bought 2 bags of Candy to keep handy in the kitchen!! OMG. How stupid is that?

So. Yesterday, I drank my coffee black. And today, it’s black again.

And the effect is pretty obvious — I’m here again after all — I can see clearly now.

… This is katiebird reporting her progress.