Category Archives: Eat 4 Today – The Commitment

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?

Thursday and I don’t really care about my weight

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.

New Commitment, Day 2

Long time readers might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned weighing myself.  That’s because the scale is tucked under the guest bed and I don’t have immediate plans for taking it out.

One of the things I worried over during the months when Eat4Today was mostly dormant was the fact that if I’m not totally obsessed with my weight I gradually gain it back.  Here I am a person that has every portion size and associated calorie memorized and if I let my guard down for 5 minutes (OK — 5 months) I’ve gained 10 or more pounds!

What kind of a health-blogger (I thought) am I?  Well, I came back because I think I found my answer.

I’m a health-blogger who doesn’t want to die an early death from diabetes.  And it turns out that the things diabetics worry about are pretty much the same things that dieters worry about.  With the one difference being that instead of the (direct) goal being a new dress or bathing suit my goal is staying out of a coffin for as long as I can.

So, I might be dragging that scale out from under the bed.  But, for a month or so I’m going to experiment with seeing if I can focus on healthy eating, regular exercise and daily routines.  IF I do that then wouldn’t the result almost have to be a healthier me?

Carolyn said (in the comments yesterday) that she’s doing something similar – she’s not going to count calories.  And I think (I think) I’m going along with that too.  But, I think this issue really deserves it’s own post.  Which happily gives me something to think about on my walk today!!



June 12, 2008 — Just 4 Today

Just today, I’m not going to eat between meals and I’m not going to take seconds. And I’ll weigh myself and use Nutribase and the tools of The Hacker’s Diet to help me reach (and keep) my goals.

And Just 4 Today, I’ll drink my fiber twice (done once), drink 2 liters of water (I’ve drunk about 1/2 liter), walk 2 miles (which I did yesterday!), NOT eat between meals & NOT take seconds.

What are you going to do today?

Commitment by the Numbers

The first number is 165 — I haven’t gained or lost any weight to speak of for weeks. Every morning this number is one of the first things I see. And, in a sense, I’m getting sick of it. On the other hand, it’s not 170. That would make me much more than sick.

1,750 the next number — the number of calories in 1/2-pound. When I was gaining that 1/2-pound a week, this was the critical number. That or 250, the number of calories I was overeating every day.

And those are seriously puny numbers. Tiny, tiny mistakes that added up to 15 pounds over those 30 weeks when I wasn’t being quite as obsessive about my eating habits.

Hanging on

0 — not such a bad number, all things considered. Not great — but I see it as a reasonable compromise. And a reminder that this weight control thing is possible. I mean, zero pretty much proves I’m controlling something. Doesn’t it?

So today I had lunch. It was a tasty sandwich (with piles of romaine lettuce & tomatoes) and baby carrots (from Aldi — not woody in taste or texture) and you’d think it would be filling. But, I’m still starving. It shouldn’t be possible. But, I’m really (even after typing all this) really hungry.

After dithering around for a while, I went out to find a little something (maybe a roll?) to eat. But, as I walked up the street, I thought about the number of calories in a roll (not even a pastry) — and it could easily be a couple of hundred calories. It would certainly be over a hundred calories.

And I started thinking about the power of small numbers. And the cost of those tiny numbers. And whether I had lasting pleasure of any of those other snacks I had during the months when my weight was creeping up 1/2-pound a week.

I turned the corner — away from the bakery and the tempting shops.

And I kept walking.

Revising my commitment: What was I thinking?

For the first many months of this blog I wrote a daily meditation about My Committment. It was an effective way to keep my focus fresh. Because I had to find something fresh and relevant everyday. This is what I wrote on February 19th last year:

I was thinking about this chronic illness thing (for me, diabetes for other people, high blood pressure or high cholesterol — and don’t forget obesity and other weight issues) and how much thought and effort goes into their management. We’re dealing with diseases that don’t have a magic pill. We’ve got to spend at least a little time everyday thinking about our disease.

We’ve got to do it no matter how frantic our lives. And that’s why I invented The Commitment. The Commitment is a way to build the basic element of what I’ve got to do first (controlling what I’m eating) into my life in a way that it doesn’t take too much energy or focus away from all the other things I’m trying to do.

But, my kids are grown and not living at home (the middle boy moved out the month I started this). My fella has been doing The Commitment (well, actually — that’s just the way he’s always eaten)

So, I don’t really know how it would work with the hubbub of an active family. Does it work? How challenging is it?

I think I’ve lost something when I stopped forcing myself to flesh out My Commitment. Because I can hardly remember the last time I habitually tested my blood sugar. I’m plodding along as if there’s something magical about sticking to my plans.

Even though I know from experience it takes a lot of work and thought.

And I think the answer to my long-ago question is that The Commitment works, but it will always be a challenge. It won’t ever become automatic. And I can’t help thinking about the alternative to focusing on this commitment. Diabetes killed my uncle at age 62 which gives me about 10 years if I don’t stay focused.

What does your commitment mean to you?