* Code to improve Google search: Frank's Weight Loss Blog: May 17, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

I haven't gotten away from keeping up with my food, but the scanned index card may be a thing of the past. First, it's a pain to scan the card each morning, especially on work days. Second, I recognize that my food choices are different and not the healthiest way to go. If posting those choices here would "shame" me into better choices, then it would serve a purpose to list my food items. It doesn't seem like posting my choices is making me change anything at all, so the only thing the scanned index cards do is highlight an eccentric part of my life. I'll skip that in the future.

On the dieting, my calorie count yesterday was right at 2,000 and I walked 6 miles in 3 outings of about 30-40 minutes each. Since my Friday eating wasn't really all that bad, it really seemed like the walking would take me back to at least the 218.5 mark. I'm getting the impression that my internal controls aren't happy about leaving the 220's and the area around 218-219 might be a plateau level for me.

While my exact scientific understanding might be a little shaky, I feel like my grasp of how weight loss works is fairly accurate, at least as it applies to my body. Like a computer, the internal workings of the human body can be very "smart" and very "dumb" at the same time. A computer isn't really smart at all. It simply follows instructions at a blinding speed so it can come up with solutions far faster than what the smartest human could do in their head or with pencil and paper. And when a computer spits out a $5,005,100 home electric bill instead of one for $500.51, it isn't dumb even though almost every adult would immediately see the error. A computer does what it is told and bad software leads to bad results.

The human body has its software that controls the vast majority of what we do. That's good. I wouldn't want to be thinking all day about when to do a heart beat, when to release the white blood cells, how to get enough oxygen to every single cell in the body, what fluids do I release to digest my food, etc. All of these functions are turned over to an internal control and our conscious mind is almost helpless to fiddle with the results. We can consciously stop breathing, but not for long. We might be able to lower our heart rate with chants of "serenity now", but we can't choose to stop our heart all together. Most things we can't control at all, as in we can't think away the creation of new cancer cells.

Our body weight is in a gray zone. We have control, just not full control of the situation. Our internal control comes up with a target weight based on a wide variety of factors. Some are things beyond our control now--body type, were we fat in our very early years, have we gotten this "obesity virus" that has been talked about recently, and our previous instructions we've given the body through our eating habits. That last one is important. My actions of eating more than I need for years boils down to me telling my internal controls that I need to be fatter. Fortunately for me, the body is very reluctant to heed these "get fatter" instructions or else I would be morbidly obese right now. Unfortunately, my body seems to be very reluctant to heed my "get slimmer" instructions as well.

The good news is that the body is far more willing to lose weight than it is to gain. That's logical. All this excess fat and carrying so much extra weight 24 hours a day is bad for the body so losing the weight is a good thing--unless it's because you are starving to death. That's a bad thing so the body will apply the brakes, get the lay of the land, slow things down, and try to figure out why a person who has been sending so many "get fatter" instructions has suddenly changed over to "get slimmer". Hey, all of us would be suspicious of any sudden 180 degree turn in someone and would want to proceed with caution until this new attitude was proven to be sincere.

So right now my internal controls are suspicious of my lower calories and increased walking. I haven't built up much trust and it seems like every bad day is taken as confirmation that I'm not really serious. Then I have to work hard to regain my previous level of trust. After a while, that level of trust might increase a little and the body will allow for a little more weight loss. Not too much all at once, but a little more trust and then we'll see how it goes before trusting a little bit more.

That's how it seems to work for me. When I was younger and more active, the process went faster and the drops were bigger. Now that I sit in a chair most of the day, my internal controls don't seem to feel any great need to rush the process. Besides, I've sent them A LOT of "get fatter" instructions over the years so I understand the reluctance to accept this new me. I just need to keep earning trust and not get upset if that trust doesn't come as fast as I'd like. If I do all of the right things and 4 months only brings 30 pounds of weight loss, then that's the way it will have to be. So far I've only been doing some of the right things so it shouldn't be a surprise that my pace isn't what I'd like. Doing the right things is something I control and that's what I need to focus on instead of how much weight I'm losing and how fast.

It is all so simple on paper. Why do we make it all so hard in reality?

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