Eating for Awesome

How to eat without guilt

A couple years ago I was obese. Then I began exercising like a madman and I lost a lot of weight.

When you lose a lot of weight, you go through distinct phases. In the first phase your body raises twofold objections:

  • hey, dude, I’m out of shape
  • hey, dude, I’m burdened with all this extra fat

(I don’t know why my body talks like a surf bum.)

This phase ends when the balance between improved conditioning and weightloss reduces the calorie burn-rate so much that weight plateaus.

At this point it becomes apparent that you can’t out walk (or out run) overeating. Then I started eating less.

I had lost about 45 pounds and wanted to lose an even 60 by my 60th birthday. This phase was marked by renouncing the devil and carbohydrates. (I really miss pizza and baked potatoes.) This worked until I noticed my hair was falling out.

Oops, not getting enough protein.

I started logging everything I ate in an application called My Fitness Pal. It is surprising where those carbs sneak into your diet. I began monitoring these components of my diet:

  • protein
  • fiber
  • vitamins A, C, and D
  • calcium,
  • potassium and magnesium (after I started getting muscle twitches and spasms)

I hit nutrition targets by taking a handful of supplements each morning then obsessively studying nutrition labels. (e.g. Fiber One Original cereal has the most fiber grams per calorie and gelatin has the most protein grams per calorie.)

At the height of this insanity I created a spreadsheet wherein I ranked the protein grams per calorie of 28 different foodstuffs. I need to do another one of those for dietary fiber, and a third for potassium.

This helped me get down 102 pounds below where I was when I started. And my hair quit falling out and the muscle twitches are mostly gone. I didn’t feel hungry all the time and I’ve managed to maintain this weight for over a year and a half.

Would it be nice to get back the three hours that I spend exercising per day and then tuck into the buffet at Vitales’ Pizza? Yup.

But it is far more awesome being thin and fit.

Steve Poling

Masters degrees in math and computer science. Poet in several computer languages. I write stories about Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft, steampunk, and SF.

Grand Rapids, Michigan