Anvil or Hammer

On Diet

Posted in Rant by Mike on February 18, 2007

I’ve been meaning to do a general diet rant for some time now but haven’t gotten around to it. I feel like I have something to say about dieting, mostly from the standpoint of failure. First a bit about success. When I think of my handful of successes at weightloss, diet has never been a factor. When I wrestled and again when I was in the army, I ate like a champ and a chump. I followed a diet regimine that no ripped out stud would recognize. It is what is often called the “see-food diet”, you see it, you eat it. I recall being in a highschool with a vending machine for some sports drink that has since gone off the market and I forget the name of but it was essential Hawiian Punch with fizz.I would drink three or more of these a day. This is when I went from 185lbs to 140 in a couple years. More of the same in the Army, they fed us well, yet I dropped weight like it was on fire.

Some people talke about eating more making you thermogenic and all there. There is something to that. The problem is that just eating more isn’t enough, in fact, it makes you gain. You have to eat more (no starvation reaction) and exercise more, a lot more. Suddenly you are burning more calories than ever and your body thinks it has ample food and is making no effort to hang onto calories. At least that is how it seems for me.

I’ve had some minor successes with two-a-days. Once in a while I work up the motivation for a few months to get up in the morning and jog a couple miles and then lift on a reasonable schedule in the evenings. I don’ dump the pounds but it is effective. Usually I can level off and sustain that for a while after I stop having the motivation to get up in the morning but it always goes back up.

Lately I have found that I don’t have the time in my day to devote to multiple workouts. More than that, I spend about 12 hours out of my 19 hour day in front f a computer, work, school, side projects, this blog and my own education take time. So I have been struggling to control my diet. In all honesty I am having some success. It comes slowly and is frustrating at times. I am prone to making the same mistakes periodically but as long as I am consisten my weight goes down.

I am surprised by some of the mistakes I am prone to making. I have discovered three key things I have to consider everytime I want to eat. I tend to eat when I “could” eat not when I need to eat. Basically if I ‘m not full, I have a habit to interprate that as hungry. I can be an emotional eater. I like to eat, it feels good, there are chemical rewards going on, this tends to make me want to go back for seconds to try and find that again. Sushi really does this to me, I have found, although the seconds are never as good as the first and I often tend to regret it causing a negative reward. It’s addictive behavior. Last, I have horrible portion control. I think this is really the top two combined but it is a fault unto itself as well. For me it is just as easy to eat two of something as one.

To address these issues I have been packing my food each day. I pack two snacks and a lunch. lunch almost always includes a spincah salad and then a portion of leftovers. I usually use almonds for one snack and yogurt for another. I’m thinking of replacing the yogurt with protein powder worked into a little pudding. It wouldn’t be many more calories but would provide protein that I think I am deficient in.  It seems to work as long as I stick to it and as long as I maintain my dicipline at home as well. It’s very easy to give into the desire to get a frozen pizza and eat half of it. Pizza can be okay but you have to stop at two slices.

I don’t think I will be able to persue real weightloss until I put lifting second behind cardio.  that’s gonna be real hard, I don’t know if/when/how  I will do it but I’m gonna try to make it more of a showcase this summer, I hope. Then the real challenge is keeping it off when I go back to focusing on weightlifting. It seems like a prescription to yoyo dieting to me.


7 Responses to 'On Diet'

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  1. Stew said,


    If I wrote a rant on dieting, it would be almost the exact same. I work in front of a computer hours and hours daily, so I forget about eating sometimes, especially if there are many things on the go. I’m embarking on the morning cardio (first this year) tomorrow morning. As far as motivation goes, I’m not as motivated as I used to be, but I’m hoping to rekindle the fire.

    I’m not sure as to what your issues have been with your body (overweight, underweight) but I have also been overweight. Growing up I was always the fat kid, until in high school I started to adopt healthy eating habits and an exercise routine. I was a walking fitness commercial for a while. My lowest weight being around 170 pounds. However, as my interests progressed into weight lifting and my healthy eating subsided a bit, I continue to eat much more than most people. At least I’m smart enough to make good food choices, high in meats and proteins.

    “I don’t think I will be able to pursue real weightloss until I put lifting second behind cardio.” You said it right. But, it seems like I’m addicting to lifting, I can’t go too long without smelling the weight room or I’ll feel impotent.

    My goals have been ever-changing. Initially I wanted to get lean for the opposite sex. But, since I’ve left highschool the “lean” look is much less important. Keeping myself happy is whats truly important, and lifting does just that. Theres still many blanks I have to answer, until then, I’m going to lift and diet as best as I can. My blog is a bit of a sanctuary for me to just vent my thoughts and goals.

  2. Mike said,

    Good luck with the mornings, I have always found it hard. I had the most success when I had a running partner. Then I felt I had to be there.

  3. Tina Abelard said,

    You know, believe it or not, the best method that has worked for me to lose my weight is by sending in my photo to this online site that sends it back to me showing what I would look like after I finished my dieting – even though I know it’s pretty embarassingly cheesy, I must confess that it actually has worked!!! Especially when I feel like eating that extra piece of cake..!!!

  4. Mike said,

    It’s certainly a thought. I’m not sure, that might make me quit:-) some things don’t fix with weight loss. I suppose we all do some form of that when it comes to this kind of stuff. I mean we all set out with a goal and usually a visual reference as to what that means for each of us. I think your picture idea is a higher tech version of trying to get my waste circumference below 40″, now that I think about it. Good idea.
    Who was the service?

  5. Tina Abelard said,

    It’s called – I’ve tried a few, and so far, this one has seemed the most realistic for me… let me know your thoughts, and good luck!!! 🙂

  6. Scott Styles said,

    Losing weight is easy, it’s doing it in a way that will be sustainable over the long term that is hard. I know I wouldn’t be willing to do twice a day workouts indefinitely, so I wouldn’t bother with them. Once you’ve got 3-5 days with exercise in them during your week, I think it comes down to diet.

    For me, composing the bulk of my meals from high volume foods that make it difficult to consume a lot of calories is the most effective route to dropping weight. You’re never hungry and always eating. You can create versions of all your favorite foods too. This picture book is an excellent demonstration of the high volume options that are available:

    This site kind of has the same concept:

    I also know that there is no point in me trying to moderate junk food if I decide I’m going to eat it. If I’m having frozen pizza, I’m eating the whole frozen pizza. If I’m having ice cream, I’m eating the whole pint. That’s just the way I think. I’ll feel deprived and continue wanting the food otherwise.

    I also find reducing frequency of consumption much more effective than trying to limit portions. I do best buying the junk food I will eat at one sitting at the point in time I want to eat it. So if I want chips, I go buy the 99 cent bag of doritos. If I want pizza, I walk to the store and get a frozen pizza, or have enough pizza for a big meal delivered. Half the time my lazy, cheap nature gets the better of my hunger and I end up going to bed complaining that we have nothing good to eat in the house.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that behavior tends to be self reinforcing. If I go out for lunch, I want to go out for dinner. If I haven’t gone out to eat in a week, I’m not really that interested in going out to eat at all. It’s like the taste buds get trained.

  7. Mike said,

    That website is really interesting. Anyone who hasn’t should check it out:
    Good find there Scott. I think of all the things you said there, the last paragraph is one of the biggest ones I have seen. Junk food begets junk food. Which is part of why I try to not get too far off diet even when I’m letting myself go. If I eat a whole bunch of pizza, I feel deprived for a couple days before my body reacclimates with my diet. It’s very easy for it to spiral. I think that ties very closely to the emotional eating stuff I mentioned. It feels good so I attempt to do it again.
    I have tried the high volume foods thing, celery, water, broccoli. I like all that stuff but after a while of eating mostly that, I feel more hungry rather than less hungry. It’s not real hunger, like stomach pains, it’s mental hunger, it’s the desire to eat. That’s when the cravings come. So I try to moderate it. I try to fulfill my needs while controlling calories.
    I performed an experiment this morning. I took pictures of my food. I’m gonna post them. I’ll be interested to see what people think of my eating habits.

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