Summer Project: Weight Loss Limbo

All right, time for the the beginning of my summer projects collection.  First up, it’s more like a perpetual project rather than just a summer project, but because I was derailed during the semester, I’m picking it up in earnest again.  This, my friends, is the Weight Loss Limbo.

I won’t say I’ve struggled with my weight for years.  It’s not true.  I haven’t been struggling at all.  I’ve been unhappy every time I find out I gained another pound.  It’s been building for years now.  I resisted buying new clothes, or buying clothes I’ve wanted “because I’ll lose the weight”.  I was living in a state of limbo.  I wasn’t losing weight, but I wasn’t facing it either.

Recently, I hit a whopping weight that I don’t want to disclose at this time.  Needless to say, it’s the heaviest I’ve ever been in my entire life.  And I said “It’s summer.  There’s no good excuse for this.”  So I’m climbing back onto the bandwagon.  Read more about my plan below.

First,  a few notes.  I am not doing a fad diet.  They’re never sustainable in the long-term.  I realize that this means I may not lose the weight as quickly, but that’s an exchange I’m willing to make.  Obviously, something in the way I’ve been eating the last few years has not been correct; I need to fix it.  Also, I don’t believe in low-fat, low-carb, or miracle supplements.   I am a Buddhist, so I believe in balance.  And I believe in real food, as much as possible.  Processed foods are convenient, but they haven’t been around long enough for me to think of them as what humans are supposed to eat.

Ok, so here’s the plan.  I’m going to be following the Zone Diet.  The Zone Diet is a moderate diet that focuses on eating enough protein to sustain your body, and eating a nice balance of protein, carbs, and fats.  It encourages healthy food choices over processed food choices.  It also uses an easy “block” idea to give you an idea of how much to consume.  You can check out the website, but I think there’s a lot of marketing for unnecessary stuff over there, so I recommend instead the book Mastering the Zone.  It has all the formulas for computing the number of blocks you need, and how many grams of each thing constitutes a block.  Much more useful.

I’m a small person (height wise) and so regardless of my activity level, the book says I should be eating about 10 or 11 blocks of protein a day.  The way the diet works means that I’m also eating 10 blocks each of carbs and fats a day.  Now, to give you an idea of what a block is, 1 egg is a block of protein, 1/2 a slice of bread is one block of carb, and 5 olives is a block of fat.  There are many lists out there, this is my main one: Crossfit List.  The block numbers are for people who do Crossfit, which I’m not doing at the moment, but the block measurements are good, and they have some starting recipe ideas.  I like the Zone because to me, it is not as OCD as counting calories, and it doesn’t make me feel like I have to stop eating everything I love.  If I make a bad choice, then I’m only one snack or meal away from being back on, I don’t have to feel like I ruined the whole day.  For someone as easily guilt-trippable as me, that’s a relief.

So, for the next 6-7 months, I will be eating 10 blocks a day.  I’m allowing myself 1 block of carb as a dessert about every other night.  (It is summer, after all.)  I am allowed to eat anything I want, as long as it fits the Zone principles.  I will not be actively trying to add an exercise regimen to this.  Body composition and weight is more about diet than about how much you work out, and I know I haven’t been making the best food choices.   My goal is to get down to 125 by my birthday in January.  It may not happen, but I can reevaluate where I need to go from there.

Updates will be much farther apart, because losing weight takes time.  Probably about once a month or so.  Look for them in the new Weight Loss Limbo category.