How to lose 50 pounds in 3 months

It is the 19th of January and I have now lost just over 20kgs or just under 50 pounds since the 24th of October. I weighed over 124kg and now I weigh 103. That is two months and 26 days, or 87 days in total. 240g (1/2 lb) per day.

Over this period I went home for the Christmas and New Year’s break. It meant I had to contend with my mother’s enthusiasm for feeding me good food. I went to a wedding and many other lovely events that had nice, rich food.

So, how did I do it?

I dieted. With a bit of research I figured out it was easier to remove all fat and sugar from my diet than it was to do enough exercise to eat what I liked. Not that I ate too badly to begin with, but I did enjoy the odd pizza or burger binge.

Then I exercised. I started walking, now I am riding.

THE MATHS

The basic maths are something like this:

1. The basic daily metabolism or Basal Metabolism Rate (BMR) for an adult is about 2000Cal (8368kj). If you go to this nifty site at the University of Sydney it is a basic daily metabolism energy requirement calculator determined by sex, age, weight and height. When I started out at 124kg I had an energy requirement of 2516 Cal (10527 kJ) and now it is 2228 Cal (9322 kJ).

2. For each kilo of fat is around 39000kj. You also lose some lean muscle mass depending on what sort of exercise you do so it is slightly less than this. I use 8000Cal to make the maths easier.

3. The first couple of weeks of dieting I experimented with different meals. I don’t need huge variation. Mostly tuna and rocket/baby spinach wraps, then it became celery and tuna. Snacks were apples and then apples and raw sweet corn cob. The point is that I reduced my caloric intake to below 1000Cal per day. On a perfect diet day it was below 900Cal.

4. I would try to do at least 200-300Cal worth of exercise per day. This is the equivalent of an hour’s walk or 20 minutes on my stationary bike.

The maths basically work out. Needed 2500Cal for basic metabolism had a deficit of 1600Cal and would do 300Cal of exercise, so 1900Cal burned per day or a kilo of fat roughly every 4 days.

To help me figure all this out I have an application on my iPhone called iKeepFit.

THE DIET

The diet for me was an experiment in discipline and patience. I knew dieting all the time would be a total fail so I gave myself two meals off per week to be social. I started off eating what was obviously healthy food, and then began cutting elements out. The below are perfect diet days. I would’ve had about a dozen of these over the 87 days. Most other days were variations of the below. Some days (like Christmas Day!) were AWOL. Plus I had two meals off per week when I was normally eating out. I would often choose the fish option off the menu. A whole pan fired Barra is absolutely delicious!

1. First version.
In the context of an actual day of my early dieting, my diet to begin with was thus:
8x cups of black coffee 8kcals
mother energy drink 208kcals
Celery 6x stalks 62cals
Apples large raw 116cals
tuna in lite oil x2 466kcals
corn, raw, small 62kcals
spinach raw 2x cups 14kcals
corn wraps x6 389kcals
Total consumption 1325kcals

Base metabolic rate -2521kcals
Activity level desk job -504kcals
Exercise -429kcals

Net kilocalories -2129kcals
Weight/gained lost -304g

2. Second version.
I then started to refine the diet. A problem I had is that my digestive system was not agreeing with so much celery, so I introduced the yogurt for breakfast.
8x cups of black coffee 8kcals
Celery 12x stalks 124cals
Apples large raw 116cals
2x tuna in lite oil 466kcals
corn, raw, small 62kcals
Jalna Fat Free Berry yogurt 200g 156kcal
Total consumption 866kcal

Base metabolic rate -2269kcals
Activity level desk job -454kcals
Exercise -280kcals

Net kilocalories -2137kcals
Weight/gained lost -305g

3. Third version.
The third version is basically the same as above except I now add muesli to the yogurt and have kangaroo and spinach salads in the evening. The third version was required because I started to commute to work by bicycle three days a week, plus walking in the evenings and riding on the weekends, and was feeling a bit light-headed.
Spinach raw 120g 28kcals
kangaroo 250-500g 278-556kcals
Free & Fruity Monster Muesli roughly a cup, 100kcals

EXERCISE

I used to be super fit, about 2.5 years ago. I was going to the gym for two hours per day doing an hour of cardio and an hour of weights. It is all documented on my blog. I got my 2km ergo times down to the low 6:20’s, which should give you an idea of how fit I was. A buggered knee from my rugby days, now a buggered left shoulder from an incline bench press gone awry and crotchety ankles and joints from a decade and a half of heaps of junior sport means I need to do low impact exercise.

I realised that my previous extremely fit persona has helped me cope with doing exercise this time around. When you are super fit you rarely work at 100% intensity of your capacity (except for an ergo or something). Now I am about 80% capacity of fitness compared to then. So me working at 90% when riding for example is just over working at 70% of my previous level of fitness. The capacity for the work intensity may not be there but all the necessary techniques for working that hard still are. Here I mean things like controlling my breathing, doing stretches/prep, being comfortable with feeling the ‘burn’ in my lungs and legs, etc. A big part of this is the mental toughness not to have a breather or stop but to keep going. Already knowing that the level of exercise I am doing is 100% achievable makes it easy.

1. Walking.
I walk up to the local shops to purchase the evening meal and food for the next day. This would take an hour. Over Christmas and NYE period with plenty of time to kill I was doing a minimum of 2 hours walking per day, sometimes up to 3.5-4 hours. 220-800kcals.

2. Stationary bike riding.
I have a pretty good Life Fitness bike my brother bought off eBay for me for my birthday last year. I was doing anywhere between 20-40 minutes 2 out of 3 days. 220-500kcals.

3. Cycling.
I now have a pretty good mountain bike that my lady friend bought for me for Christmas. I have attacked riding with gusto. The previous few months of daily activity, especially the long walks over the holiday period prepared me for eventually commuting to work on my bike. My commute is 17.6km, so 35.2km per day, which is roughly 1200kcals each day. I also ride on the weekends for at least an hour or two. I am currently only riding to work for 3 days as I often need my car for work related meetings.

MENTAL
I am pretty hardcore when I do things. I put on weight when I am depressed, content to watch TV and play video games and basically don’t give a fuck what happens. Here are some things I have figured out:

1. Discipline.
As well as an experiment in weight loss, this has been an experiment in discipline. How much control do I have over my body? Over my desires? Over compulsions just to eat that biscuit? I can afford to be less disciplined now because of my bike riding regime, but in the beginning I would not vary from my diet. There was a strange satisfaction when every Friday my co-workers and I would go down to the local burger joint for Friday burgers. I would take my can of tuna and celery sticks. However, i would also have two meals off per week, plus I would often have some sort of variation to the diets. For example, I went through a week of trying protein bars as a supplement to my diet for my riding. They were too expensive however to eat all the time.

2. Enthusiasm.
I treated this process as a challenge and an experiment. I didn’t know what would happen. The basic maths seemed sound and I have been active enough in the past to already have a sense of how my body would react. I enjoy stepping onto the scales everyday and seeing my progress. The sense of satisfaction I feel because I have been disciplined enough to rise to the challenge makes me feel good and makes me feel like further weight loss and the required discipline is not only possible but achievable.

3. Mood.
I treat food as a drug and as a nutritional source. Sugar, caffiene and nicotine are mood enhancers for me. Plus I did not curb my alcohol intake at all, I often have a few very small glasses of red or a beer or two every few days. I will probably stop smoking shortly. I probably won’t give up coffee. Sugar was easy to cut out. The apple and corn cob contain enough natural sugar to enhance my mood during the work day. There is no point getting all cranky at work because you are starving yourself. Eat an apple or some other piece of fruit. The timing of my meals are designed to maximise and affirm my positive mood.
6:20am Yogurt and Muesli, Coffee
8:30am Coffee
9:30am Coffee
10:30am Apple, Coffee
12:00midday Celery and Tuna
1:00pm Coffee
3:30pm Corn Cob, Coffee
4:30pm Coffee
7:30-8:00pm Kangaroo and Spinach

4. Goals.
My first goal was 115kg. Then 110kgs for Christmas. Then 105kgs for my return to work after the Christmas break. Now it is to get down into double digits for my birthday coming up early February. Goals are important, but make them realistic. Again because of my previous experience I was confident in setting some pretty tough weight loss goals.

WHAT IS NEXT?
Next I am going to use my discipline developed as part of my weight loss regime to tackle my finances. I want to pay off my debts and save money to be able to buy a flat. It is going to require some different strategies. I am off to a good start because dieting and riding to work are already good steps for saving money!

When you hit your late twenties or early thirties it is time to take stock of your life and make changes, this is part of that process. You can make changes if you want to. So if you want to, make them.

Avatar, The Poem

Here is a little diddy we created during our respective lunch breaks. Shall write up a review in a few days when I have time.

Where thee be,
Faraway tree,
In a faraway land,
On faraway sand.

They live in you,
With skin of blue,
Running through trees,
Running and free.

Floating rocks,
And dragon flocks,
Wisdom does grow,
With plants that glow.

But families, friends
It could all end.
These connected lands,
These connected hands.

A great war of all,
Saw thee tree fall,
Falling, fallen, lost,
Losing home the cost.

Yet united we stand,
To defend this land,
Guns against paws,
Bombs against claws.

Love unifies all creatures,
All their differing features.
An old strength is born,
On the new light of dawn.

By Maarinke and I.

On being a fugitive from love

Ressentiment is a reassignment of the pain that accompanies a sense of one’s own inferiority/failure onto an external scapegoat. The ego creates the illusion of an enemy, a cause that can be “blamed” for one’s own inferiority/failure. Thus, one was thwarted not by a failure in oneself, but rather by an external “evil.”

There are a few different conceptions of ressentiment and its wikipedia page is pretty good at outlining the different definitions. As the above brief description explains, ressentiment is a projection onto the world of a painful relation of one’s self to one’s self. Most people have focused on the question of identity, of the distribution of ill will and the construction of the ‘external scapegoat’. Deleuze isolates three characteristics of Neitzsche’s ‘ressentiment’:

Deleuze interpreting Nietzsche’s conceptualization of ressentiment discusses three characteristics. First, there is the inability to admire, respect or love. Second, there is passivity. Third, there is the imputation of wrongs, the distribution of responsibilities and perpetual accusation. (Deleuze, 1983).

I have encountered ressentiment in myself a number of times and I have documented it here in different ways. Here are the top posts from my blog. There are many other instances on the topic, but not in such a sustained way. It shows that I have not really changed the way I understand ressentiment.

1. Singular Complementarity, June 17, 2005

In this post I discuss how falling in love is not a relation between two people, but the folding of two already infinitely folded zones of intensity/sensation. In the second half of the post I warn of a danger.

There is a gamble in the meeting-gesture. This, of course, is the danger.

There are folds that are so worn and habitualised they become creases that scar the surface and will never be sufficiently folded in any other way again. They are the dead areas of the surface and within such proximities there is only darkness. Even if such dark areas are already infinitely folded they operate as blunt surfaces or jaggard formations of folds. These surfaces can become weaponised gestures that are weilded when the soft comfort of complementary folding becomes the acrimony of the crease. Each gesture ceases to be a meeting and becomes an attack of weaponised surfaces. The brightness of midday is eclipised by the shadows that form at dusk. In the end, the surfaces can be so dark even the attacks become empty and instead it simply becomes the meeting of shadows. However, here and now nothing is final.

Joy can only be reclaimed by a gesture, a meeting that forms complementary folds at the speed of sensation. If all one ever brings are weaponised surfaces that are blunt and jaggard and which carry the expectation of an anxious folding to be wrought upon and by the Other so as to render a complementarity, then joy is short lived. Eventually all that is left is a blunt and jaggard surface.

Rather than the meeting of supple folds, a love born of ressentiment is born of complementary dead zones of intensity. People turn these hard jaggard surfaces of themselves to the world as a defence. The only antidote is more love and the strength and courage to envelope an other’s folds into the supple folds of your heart.

2. Now, letting go, July 5, 2005

This post was inspired by pretty epic breakup (got dumped in the US) and the song Mr Brightside by The Killers.

Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
‘Cause I’m Mr Brightside

The Killers track captures in a beautiful lyrical manner the required disposition for engaging with the world again after having one’s heart broken and allowing one’s self to refold the world into one’s self anew. I am currently listening to this track on repeat as a kind of hipster mantra for warding off feelings of ill will. In the post I use the analogy of the Adam and God ‘just touching’ image of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and offer a somewhat heretical reading. What if Adam was ‘letting go’ of God? Anyway. ‘Letting go’ is a process:

Sure, part of you dies, and it is gone forever, only to be resurrected in un/pleasant dreams. But there is a joy in ‘letting go’. There is. The world is refolded into one’s self. Instead of a short circuit of desire between your self and an other, the circuit opens up to the world. Another part of the world is born and that is what needs care. The eager to-come of Destiny that never does, for it is always becoming on the bright side of our souls. […]
The pain of letting go and the necessary disaffection that allows one’s self to let go of one’s past copy. We are always somewhere in between. Between two copies of ourselves. Letting go of you means letting go of my self. […]
To allow ourselves to refold the world into our selves again. This is what I now welcome and care for, like a wandering stranger whom I have chanced upon: the new stranger of my self in the world.

Wow, that last sentence is killer. I am a pretty good writer sometimes!

3. produce openings on the world October 27, 2007

I return to the common theme here of welcoming the world into myself, producing openings on the world. I draw on the famous symptomology of post-war US culture David Riesman of three ‘character’ types: tradition-directed, inner-directed, and other-directed. Riesman’s three character types are interesting because of their processual nature; they are not innate traits, but capacities of subjectivity evident only through interaction. I have large block quotes from the text to describe what these are, but the relevant bit is towards the bottom of the post, where I describe a woman of ressentiment:

Sometimes the clash between characters exists in a single person. How to produce openings on the world that aren’t filtered through the tortured, guilt-ridden ‘gyroscope’ of the ‘inner-directed’ character? It requires so much work and patience. Sometimes too much. Sometimes it is necessary to give up and accept the fact that being ‘inner-directed’ produces a resource of a sort of strength, which is entirely destructive, but which at least allows the person to exist in the world and continue struggling in impossible situations. When all recourse is exhausted then it is terribly sad especially when beautiful and intelligent people lock away the world from themselves and will never know what it means to be part of something much larger. It is terribly sad when someone becomes this character, and cannot face the world.

I do offer a description of a kind of feminist Ãœbermensch (for purely selfish reasons, because they are as sexy as fuck):

There is nothing sexier than a woman who knows her place in the world. This does not mean she subjugates herself to patriarchal norms. Rather she uses that knowledge to orientate herself in creative and life-affirming ways. Normally this requires an infrastructure of education or the grace of intuition.

4. she left the bit with the most toast crumbs, September 5, 2009

In this post I explore the more complex problem of producin new openings on the world so as to enable new foldings of the world to ‘take’ or ‘develop’

Anyway, the counter-intuitive point I have been trying to think through is the way the development of new intimacies can awaken both old and new estrangements. Folding new and exciting elements of the world into the composition of my subjectivity has somehow made me reassess my solitary existence as instead being one of loneliness. When you meet new people or rediscover old friendships you are not simply becoming intimate (at whatever degree from romantic to almost sibling-like and everything in between) you do not simply form a relation with a person as an object, but a person as a fold of the cosmos and folds of folds, whole universes of meaning.
All of this has happened over a matter of weeks and is a bit surreal, so I have come to a number of tentative, but nevertheless sufficient stop-gap conclusions.
1. The miasma of estranged intimacies and intimate estrangements I am currently experiencing is a powerful force. ‘Miasma’ in the sense of the ancient Greek ‘pharmakon’ (from which ‘pharmacy’ is derived), which can be both poison and medicine depending on the measure. Ethically I need to harness this force and use it to soberly affirm something good in the world. In this circumstance, the ‘good’ is mostly personal in character.
2. I need to be brave to affirm this force. I am brave, almost to the point of stupidity sometimes, so that is ok.
3. I need to learn to appreciate new estrangements and new intimacies whatever their composition, both the potential (that is, imagined future states of) disappointment and excitement are part of this. I am trying to do this through measures of active ‘letting go’ and ‘embracing’, rather than a paranoid-reactionary ’slipping by’ or ‘clingingness’.

There is a complexity to this process, one that requires care and, above all, patience, to let the other person or people fold the world in their own time.

5. letting go, embracing, the world

So most recently, how to ward off my own ressentiment:

I am pretty hardcore when it comes to enduring what life throws my way. It is easy when I feel contempt for most of the world and all the stupidities that it contains. I guess it is easier to think about what I won’t do.

I offer a list of axioms for warding off ressentiment, the full descriptions of each of these are in the blog post:

I won’t stop falling in love.
I won’t stop rolling the dice.
I won’t fret about not understanding.
I won’t stop inviting people into my world.
I won’t stop listening to special songs.
I won’t stop writing my poem.

What I have forgotten about ressentiment is the temporal dimension. There is a contradictory movement of dispising the present while being incapable of imagining the future or past, because any kind of temporal relation is derived from a projection of the present, ie ‘This painful present will continue” “This present is a repetition of the past, nothing changes.” This is why it is so hard to imagine a new opening on the world and a different way of relating to the world, because you become literally locked in time.

To break free of ressentiment means to break time itself; to go to war against all possible futures and all possible pasts that suck life out of itself.

letting go, embracing, the world

Summer: I woke up one morning and I just knew.
Tom: Knew what?
Summer: What I was never sure of with you.

It feels odd and somewhat appropriate that I am returning to this post about 500 Days of Summer to finally write something substantial and finish it. It was started on October 7, so over a month ago. Of course, as a case of life imitating art, my own non-relationship with M. ended.

This is where I had got to with the original post, but now this post serves as something else:

I recommend 500 Days of Summer for everyone who has been, is or intends to be in a relationship. I saw it last night with M. and we both agree that it is a fantastic movie. It has prompted me to think again about an essay of mine from a few years ago on the concept of post-romance romance and Paul Anderson’s third film Punch-Drunk Love. 500DOS is a much better example of post-romance romance than PDL. In fact, of all the postmodern romantic comedies of recent years, 500DOS is the best example of post-romance romance yet.

We had similar discussions to that of the main characters Tom and Summer. How she wasn’t sure, how she still felt something for her man-child ex who had broken her heart and, paradoxically, how she didn’t want to stuff this (ie our non-relationship relationship, similar to the Tom-Summer relationship) up. She told me many times she wasn’t ready, that she wished it hadn’t happened now, that maybe this was the last chance she had. I told her she was worthy of breaking my heart. She did.

What to do?

I am pretty hardcore when it comes to enduring what life throws my way. It is easy when I feel contempt for most of the world and all the stupidities that it contains. I guess it is easier to think about what I won’t do.

I won’t stop falling in love. I could never understand the whole too-bitter, too-tough, too-broken hearted thing about people when they get to a certain age and decide that love somehow hasn’t delivered the goods so they are going to discard love and the possibility of love. That is just weak, not tough. It is an easy solution to complex set of problems. The empty feeling I have in my stomach every now and then when I think about what has happened, what hasn’t happened and what could’ve been is the price I pay for the absolute affection afforded by love. I am satisfied with this pain. She was worthy of earning it. I fell in love.

I won’t stop rolling the dice. One of my favourite sayings is derived from the philosopher Gilles Deleuze: Roll the dice and up the ante. It is not enough to take chances. All of us take chances everyday. To take chances and up the stakes without regret is the only way to live a life worth living. I’ve got no time for meek and boring people who are mere functionaries in someone else’s life. Having agency for me doesn’t mean necessarily having control, but being able to engage with life’s opportunities without knowing what the outcome will be. I took risks with my affection even though I ascertained early on our relationship more than likely wouldn’t work, but I resisted the urge to end things.

I won’t fret about not understanding. I am pretty smart and have enough of a curious intellectual disposition to be able to at least grasp most of life’s curiosities. There are some things I’ll never understand, however. Like the way periods of absolute happiness immediately preceded annihilating sadness. I am grateful for the time we spent together. Many people never get to experience any of this.

I won’t stop inviting people into my world. A relationship isn’t just between two people but between two worlds that come together as a kind of synergy. I have an ethics of hospitality when it comes to sharing my world with others. I am lucky that I have lived alone for long enough that it allows me to cherish moments of solitude, which in turn allows me to properly value what it means to be with someone. Without my generosity I am nothing.

I won’t stop listening to special songs. Music, food, television shows, restaurants, cinemas, streets and fucking pubs all become incorporated into the biography of a relationship. I am lucky to have had enough failed relationships all while living in roughly the same area of Sydney that there is no singular determining geographical romantic biography for me. Our music, if that ever existed, once filled me with complete happiness, every song was a special song, a love song, but now they are all songs of heartbreak. I am OK with this. It bestows the songs a richness that the artists who created them could never give to them. It adds something beautiful to my world, which, although painful, would not have existed otherwise.

I won’t stop writing my poem. Sure it is about her, but it is my writing. It should be finished soon.

I feel better now. I think I have reassured myself of myself.