Monday, August 04, 2008

30x40: Week of 7/28/08 Progress

IT'S BEEN A MONTH SINCE I began tracking my food intake and exercise, and I can see some course corrections are necessary. I can't emphasize more strongly how useful it's been to examine, for four solid weeks, just what I've been eating. I have a better sense of what works now. This will help me overcome what some stock traders refer to euphimistically as retracement.

Last week's average caloric intake was a bit closer to the 2200 calories I'd originally pegged as my daily weekday intake. I'd had trouble eating enough to meet this goal while still splitting protein, carbs, and far into the percentages I'd chosen. Carbs usually were the macronutrient in which I ran over my limit. In most cases they were from complex carbs like whole-grain bread, brown rice, or cereal. Still, I wanted to keep my protein up (at 40% of total calories) to keep feeding my muscles.

I'd been recording what I ate on weekends, but not in fine caloric detail. Many of my earlier meals would be much like the ones I ate during the week, but I assumed that at least one meal on Saturday would be eaten at a restaurant. Sunday dinner would have no restriction whatsoever.

This weekend was a hefty one. I was lucky enough to be invited to my friend Bill's for a cookout, in celebration of our mutual friend Rich, and his family, being present in New Jersey. Rich did a stretch in Iraq two years ago, and still returns for missions that require his expertise. While there, his first and second children were born. I'd never actually met them, as they live in Virginia. So the chance to see all of them, plus Rich's siblings and mother, was something I couldn't miss. And with them came a tide of picnic-style food. In addition to this, on Sunday my mother busted out an old classic: bracciole. Though I started each day with whole-grain cereal and visited the gym, I still gained back a little more fat than I would've liked.

With data like I've generated the past four weeks, comes the ability to calibrate. It looks like I was losing more weight eating 1800–1900 calories per day than I was when I reached 2000–2200, and it's clear that I need to restrict myself more on weekends. Amid yesterday's foodfest, I also bought a bag of Whole Foods jellybeans, which I found, not unlike fast food, I can no longer eat in bulk without regretting it.

So I've cut back on all servings. The five to six meals across the day are working well, but I need to reduce the caloric count and add vegetables to increase satisfaction on the late-day meals. I bought frozen fruit for my smoothies, but distributed the contents of the two bags across six servings, instead of five. I cut bananas in half and froze them to chop the morning sugar intake I'd ordinarily get from a whole one. I bought Ezekiel sprouted bread, which is still high in fiber but has fewer simple carbs, and which gets high marks for energy efficiency from a far more fit friend of mine. And when I make my next dinner of broccoli, tuna fish, and whole wheat penne, out go the penne. As for the brown rice with the chili, even at a single serving, it's turning out to be way more than I want to eat just before going to sleep.

I left my goals the same over the past week, with the exception of the weight goal, which I took down a half-pound to 225.5. This I exceeded on Saturday by measuring up at 223.5, but I think a bit of that was from muscle loss. This I blame on poor sleep. Last week was spotty. Work was a factor. For as long as I've been a desk jockey, if I don't like what I'm doing at work, if I don't want to go in, I stay up late. I read, fuck around on the Net, play a computer game, nothing all that productive. It's a terrible habit, and last week it cost me. If it keeps up, I'll just get rid of the goddamn nightstand where, historically, books and a desk light have provided a temptation.

This week's current weight goal is 224.5, which will probably take a couple of days to reach given the fat I put on over this weekend. I've got clear evidence that 1900 calories works a little better. If I need to measure as much of Saturday's intake as I can, so be it, I can start doing that too. Might be good to eat a bit more just to trick the body into getting off of what it perceives to be starvation (though the bigger Sunday dinners can have that effect too).

I've got a revised set of goals up for this week:
  • 8 hours sleep/night
  • 8/5: Waist measure [forgot to do it this a.m.]
  • More veggies in afternoon and with dinner
  • Portion control: 1900 calories, 40/40/30 nutrients [protein/carbs/fat]
  • Solid gym attendance
The larger meals on Sunday nights have fouled up this and last Monday's gym days, so I may rescramble the gym schedule to replace weight training on Mondays with cardio, for which I can get to the gym later. I'll see how this gym-week goes. Progress was made last week, so maybe I retain more muscle than I suspect.

What makes me paranoid is that it's usually after a month that something intervenes and derails my forward motion. I'm relying on the documented success at the gym, and my records of what foods will give me the right results — 4.5 pounds last month, or 15% of my goal of 30 by age 40 — to push past this speedbump. I really have no choice but to succeed. The alternatives end poorly.

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