Category Archives: Setting Goals

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?

Wednesday, Deciding what to do and when to do it


I’m not going to eat between meals and I’m not going to take seconds AND I’m going to walk at least 3 miles, take my fiber supplement & drink two liters of water.

Getting this blog going again has been a wildly successful experience – at least so far.  I’ve gone from just idly thinking about things I should do to actually doing them.  Yesterday I was busy from 6am when I got up to do the post until 11pm when I realized I was crazy to keep editing webpages and should go to bed.

It seems like there is an endless amount of stuff to do. And I feel really good about all the stuff I got done yesterday.

But, the day was a failure in a way:  I didn’t manage to fit in my walk. And I didn’t fit in time to check in here (I suspect a connection between those facts.) Maybe it’s not a big deal that life pushed my personal goals out of the way — just once.  But, it IS a big deal if I let that happen too often.


The thing is, walking 3+ miles doesn’t HAVE to mean slicing a whole hour out of your day.  It can be done (if you walk briskly) by walking 3 times for 15 minutes each time.

And THAT’s how I’m going to do it today.  3 Walks/15 minutes.

How about you?

Saturday – Drawing a Line in the Sand

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.

[ Here's what I was talking about yesterday, for me Saturday's are weird.  And always weird in the different ways.  Maybe it's because I stayed up so late unwinding from the excitement of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies - or maybe it's because I'm just lazy but, I slept REALLY late today. ]

Drawing a Line in the Sand

I want to take today to say that a week ago I was feeling a mental edginess that always means that I’m on the wrong track.  I’d been feeling it for a while but, last Saturday it felt a little more urgent.  Like something was saying LISTEN to me — I’m not going to keep bugging you forever.

And I know THAT warning was serious.  Because there have been times in my life where I let the moment pass and the next thing I know, a decade has passed. That warning was real — As a 10+ years diabetic in my mid-fifties, I don’t HAVE a decade to play around.

Today feels totally different. Rather than letting that moment drift past me I renovated this blog.  I spent time considering how it should look – What it should be able to do – it (the underlying code) should work. I actually dreamt about it.

And I invited my friends to share it with me. Together we’ve talked and walked and counseled and consoled.  We’re already making progress!

Oh — and that mental edginess? It’s totally gone.

Thank you for coming – for sharing your situations and goals . . . for drawing a line in the sand with me.

The Interconnectedness of All Things (Ghost-Mall Walking, Day 5)

So I walked my 3.85 miles

It sounds a little dramatic sitting there in the heading but, it’s really just one piece to my routine.  And it may surprise you to learn that it isn’t the exercise aspect (calories burned :: ~400) that makes it important. No.

The important thing (for me) with mall walking is:

  1. The time to meditate on what I’m doing.
    • What is important?
    • What are my goals?
    • Am I keeping my back upright as I walk?
  2. What will I write about this afternoon?
  3. What do my parents need today?
  4. When will I do the laundry
  5. What will we have for dinner?
  6. etc.

Walking is the glue of my life.  If I’m not walking, I’m probably not thinking very clearly. I’m less likely to get stuff done (like laundry.) And WAAAY too likely to lie around on the couch (just today) reading.

So it’s not necessarily the walking

Is it?

Friday, milestones and Challenges

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

New Commitment, Day three

Friday is a special day – For a lot of us, it’s both the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend. And for me, even though I’m retired from a regular job, my week is structured in that traditional way. I have a Monday-Friday routine with responsibilities that take me out of the house and weekends that don’t.

Thus the title, Milestones and Challenges . . .

While we’re focusing on each day individually it’s important reward ourselves at regular intervals — why not Friday? With Friday, we can check off another week toward our goal — at the point in the week where we’ve probably (thanks to the power of routine) been pretty successful.

The reward doesn’t have to be tangible. I just like to think about another-week-done and that I did pretty well. It’s the calm before the storm of the weekend.

And weekends for me are challenging:

Whatever plans I’ve got (laundry, shopping, reading, cleaning, meeting, watching) — things never seem to work out as I imagine. Also, there are WAY too many opportunities for me to wander into the kitchen and poke around until I find something I don’t need to eat.  Sometimes I don’t even realize I’ve done it.

(shaking my head)

I guess that’s my challenge: Think about what I’m doing this weekend.

What’s your challenge this weekend?  And are you at a milestone?