Monday, March 01, 2004

The Second Month

Let's begin this month's analysis with the chart:

As you can see, the inclusion of a trend line is a valuable asset with regard to psychological effects during weight loss. Using just the weight does not provide enough information to determine if there needs to be a caloric adjustment on a day to day basis. However, looking at the trend, it becomes clear that the diet is effective, regardless of the day-to-day weight fluctuations.

A couple of other notes regarding the graph: the caloric daily deficit is correct, but is an average across the entire month. Many times, it was higher, but I increased my caloric values from 1500 to 1700 per day half way through the month after I realized that I would overshoot my weight loss goal, since it is recommended that caloric intake is increased by about 200 per week. Since then, I have noticed that my loss rate has decreased, likely because the caloric intake to maintain 231 is more than it is to maintain 206.5. At any rate, I expect to be close to completion somewhere in the middle of April.

I had a question regarding the Y-Axis on the right of the graph. Amusingly, I had not even noticed it and had to take a look at the Excel sheet I am using to figure out what it represents. Simply, it is the "ladder rung" of the exercise program suggested by this diet. This month, as I really didn't exercise at all, there is no use for it. However, the dashed line in January indicates that I was a ladder rung 1 and never really advanced with it. I suppose this is a good indicator that exercise is not necessarily required for weight loss.

People have made comments to me regarding my statements about the ease of my diet. Apparently, this frustrates some people, and I can understand why. What is important to remember is that I started with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 31, which is classified as "Obese" (I am now at 29, which is just "overweight.") It always seemed to me that it would be relatively easy for someone who was extremely obese to lose weight faster than someone who was only five to ten pounds overweight, since it takes a much higher amount of calories to maintain the extreme weight. I was never extremely obese, but I had enough extra weight that it made it easy and quick to lose a bunch of it. But, I think it will remain fairly easy to stick to my diet for another reason, too.

The Legend of Zelda series of games for the various Nintendo platforms are all very similar. You go around, looking for pieces of the Triforce and fight with bunches of creatures along the way. There are always several dungeons, at the end of which is always a main "boss" creature to fight. The boss is unable to be hurt normally, except by a trick, which is normally related to the new weapon you found in that dungeon. Once you figure out the trick, the boss goes from being impossible to beat to fairly easy. This is how I feel about my weight loss; now that I know the trick and have the right weapons, it has gone from something that seemed impossible to something which is inevitable.

Inevitable and noticeable, my clothes are starting to look too baggy and I am almost out of holes on my belt. At some point I will need to get new pants, but I don't want to buy them only to replace them with smaller ones in a month.

There are some other things which are noticeable, too. Kendra has commented that the muscles in my legs are very well defined now and that my face looks thinner. I have noticed that my tolerance and duration for sitting on hard surfaces has decreased (ahem.)

Some funny side effects that I hadn't considered include the amount of food needed to feel full. When dining at a restaurant, now I feel completely stuffed at the completion of just my entree, instead of having an appetizer, an entree, salad bar and dessert. Something that is kind of irritating is that now I am cold much more often, since there is less insulation, but also because my metabolism is likely a bit slower, too.