These posts are arranged chronologically, gathered up from all the various categories I put them in, and including some along the way that I forgot to stick in the right categories. Over to the right is a link to the whole shebang.
Beginning two months after I started losing weight (May 13, 2008), I felt brave enough to post about my experience more openly. The "gains" post is the beginning of that.
I began to exercise regularly before I began to lose weight
Total immersion 3/03/08 I weigh whether to use a weekly block of extra time to swim, or to go to a daily Mass. I pick the swimming.
Y not? 3/31/08 "If there's hope for me to become comfortable with any physical activity, I guess there's hope for anyone."
Synch and swim. 3/31/08 I am learning the skill of "sculling."
While I was losing weight
Finding the time to exercise: the love and marriage model. 5/14/08 (148 lbs)
My swim bag. 5/14/08 Part of getting regular exercise has been keeping my bag packed and ready to go.
Meat, less. 5/23/08 We decide as a family to eat less meat, but I'm worried because I like to eat low-carb.
(that's me on the far right, 5/31/08)
More on less meat. 6/13/08 Link to an article by one of my favorite cooking writers, with sensible, low-stress suggestions for eating better and more sustainably.
Swimming with structure. 6/20/08 My workout routine as a beginning lap swimmer.
Stepping lightly on the planet. 6/25/08 "I can tell you what you can do, one very simple thing, that will make a dent in your food-related carbon footprint that is equivalent to having all the food you eat grown and produced at your very doorstep."
The "gains" series that began the whole thing.
Gains. A multi-part post. 7/14/08
Gains, part 2. What's wrong with me. 7/14/08 (The root of my weight problem is that I have an irrational fear of getting hungry.)
Gains, part 3. Living with what's wrong with me. 7/16/08
Gains, part 4. Getting over the fear of hunger. 7/17/08
Gains, part 5. Learning to be hungry. 7/17/08
Gains, part 6. The future? 7/19/08
Monotonically decreasing. 7/22/08 Pictures of me at 160 pounds, 148 pounds, and two months into my weight loss (127 lbs).
Measurements. 7/22/08 What my measurements -- weight, height, etc. -- mean in terms of BMI-normal, overweight, and obese.
"These latest trials just happen to be the best data we have on the long-term effects of saturated fat in the diet, and the best data we have says that more saturated fat is better than less." 7/25/08 I eat a lot of saturated fat. It helps me lose weight.
Asking for trouble? 7/27/08 I buy a bread machine.
Hey, speaking of diets, here's one designed by an engineer. 7/27/08 The "No-S" diet.
Hungry? Not so much. 7/30/08 I'm beginning to notice feeling full at meals.
Regimen confusion. 7/31/08 One way to sabotage yourself is to keep more than one diet plan in mind at the same time.
Bedtime snack or no bedtime snack? 8/1/08 I'm pretty sure that I feel better when I wake up after a twelve hour fast than after a seven hour fast.
To prove I'm not starving. 8/1/08 What I ate the last time I tracked everything. You can see that I don't eat low-fat at all (65 grams of fat on this day, nearly half my calories), but also that I don't have a junk food problem, that I get plenty of protein and whole grains.
Still going. 8/22/08, 119 lbs. Metastable steady-state reactors produce a certain output, at a certain temperature and volume, for a given set of input parameters. I'm no different.
Tweaking. 8/23/08 I keep adjusting my eating patterns as I approach my goal. One recent choice: giving up bedtime snacks for good. But the head games!
Vanity. 8/25/08 As much as I'd like to say that I entered this journey with an attitude of spiritual sacrifice, I can't. It's been a very me-me-me focused few months.
Morning puzzle. 8/29/08 Why am I interested in these food items?
The puzzle, a hint. 8/30/08
Eight hundred and seventy-five calories. 8/30/08 The answer to my puzzle post. How am I going to eat that much more every day?
Hmm. 9/14/08 The graph shows I've been falling off the wagon. It felt good to cross into normal territory a while back, and my sense of urgency is definitely less. (118 lbs)
Eat, drink, and eat some more. 9/17/09. Mistakes teach you things. I learned something very important: Alcohol is not my friend when it comes to sticking to an eating plan.
Loss mode, also known as the Bearing Diet. 9/17/08 I try to distill my way of eating down to a few simple, objective rules.
Yeah, I think that's what I'll call it. 9/17/08 The Bearing Diet for Not Eating So Damn Much.
Some more clarification about how I came to those rules. 9/17/08
Division. 10/2/08. Scrambled eggs is one of those breakfasts where I marvel at my smaller way of eating. They never look right except in a sprawling pile. Which is why I use a scale.
Malnourished: a head game. 10/4/08 This is what gluttony always sounds like to me: I convince myself I really "need" to eat more. (In this case, a half-pound of green beans.)
My birthday present? 10/5/08 Dinner out.
Monday I did something I've never done before in my entire life. 10/8/08 I tried to get faster.
Serendipity. 10/16/08 Mark has been pushing me to expand my workout routine to include other things besides swimming.
Paradigm shift. 10/31/08 "So how was your swim?"
"No. I hate it. I get shin splints and my knees hurt." 11/3/08 I get on the treadmill for the first time and I go 1K in 26:33.
Volume. 11/07/08. Short review of The Volumetrics Eating Plan.
Weight maintenance. 11/8/08 The secret of the transition is to realize that there will be no transition. I would like to say that I can never go back. Instead, it's apparent that I am free to go back. And equally free not to. (111 lbs)
Small victories. 11/8/08 In which I get over my angst and ask for a salad instead of hash browns.
The old me would have sat in the car with the kids, the heat running, and waited for rescue. 11/11/08 I've definitely changed.
In a way, I'm already there. 11/11/08 Three more pounds. You with me? Just a little bit longer? (Thank you so much, CJ/Jamie, for your short comment on this post. Believe it or not, I thought about it a lot for the weeks that followed.)
The last three pounds
Schedule questions. 11/12/08 How do I structure my evenings at the gym?
8 AM in the kitchen of good and evil. 11/12/08. I am a recovering crust-nibbler. Here is my slightly ridiculous coping strategy.
(A short series in which I blog everything I eat in one day:)
Boiled egg, tomato juice, and black coffee. 11/12/08 The boiled egg first thing in the morning is a signal I send to myself: This day is for choosing. Get ready.
Whole raw milk. 11/12/08
In-the-mood pasta salad. 11/12/08 I still remember that the very first week I started losing weight, I made myself a giant batch of a particular pasta salad and ate it for lunch every day that week. In honor of that first week, I return to the same pasta salad. Recipe included.
Seven almonds. 11/12/08 It took me a while to get used to the idea of a single-digit number of tiny things as a snack. I do it almost without thinking now. Bonus: A decent rule of thumb for controlling snacks, especially snacks of unknown composition.
Fajitas. 11/12/08 An example of a meal where I didn't count calories.
Okay, I'm hungry. Hungry, I'm okay. 11/12/08 This attitude has taken practice.
Positive eating. 11/13/08 Link to an article about people focusing on what they should eat, rather than on what they shouldn't. There is, of course, one big problem with books and articles like this.
The mean rules. 11/13/08 This is how I will define having reached "goal."
Thanksgiving. 11/13/08 The irony has not escaped me that I will most likely achieve goal within a week or so of Thanksgiving.
Averaging. 11/14/08 In which I lose sleep fretting about breakfast, and finally come up with the obvious solution.
What about the clothes? 11/15/08. Dressing my new self.
The magic number appeared this morning. 11/16/08 I don't count it as goal yet.
Head to toe. 11/16/08 I evaluate how I look and feel.
The first Mass reading on the day my scale read 108. 11/16/08 Okay, okay, I get the point.
"Rethink Your Plate" 11/16/08 Link to an article that summarizes my entire mealtime strategy in a single page.
No subject. 11/16/08 A before-and- ... not "after," but "so far" picture. Me at about 109 pounds.
Roast vegetables, four ideas. 11/17/08 Because someone asked for my recipe.
The scale. 11/19/08 I am a believer in weighing oneself daily.
Remorse. 11/19/08 "Why? Why did I make blondies for the kids' tea time? Why? Why?"
Commitment. 11/20/08 Today I gave away a bunch of clothes in sizes 10 and 12.
Licorice. 11/20/08 Lately I can't get the idea of eating an entire bag of black gumdrops out of my mind.
The power of routine, or, is it a good or bad idea to be flexible? 11/20/08 One thing I'm discovering is that I screw up (eat too much) far more easily when I deviate from my usual schedule. I still have a problem.
Wool socks aren't enough. 11/21/08. I am cold ALL THE TIME.
107.8. 12/21/08 The first measurement below my target weight doesn't mean I'm "done."
Sushi strategy. 12/21/08 I made some mistakes at this meal, but I learned from them too. Here's what went right and wrong.
Stuffing. 12/25/08 Here comes Thanksgiving. Is it still gluttony if you stuff yourself with plain boiled okra?
How to answer "the question," and a musing on delayed gratification. 11/25/08 What do I tell people who ask me, "How did you do it?"
More about delayed gratification. 11/25/08 Christy gives me a good answer to "the question." And: Is it possible to MAKE yourself be motivated by the short-term reality (behavior) instead of the long-term dream (weight loss, or health, or fitness?)
Not with a bang but a whimper. 11/28/08 "Congratulations, hon." We both twirled our index fingers in the air and muttered, "whoo."
Now what? 12/2/08 So I got over the stomach bug, and my appetite came back, and I found myself wondering: What should I eat?
Self-awareness. 12/2/08. Could it be that... once you KNOW what you should do... moral behavior, or "good" behavior, or "healthy" behavior (take your pick) is nothing more than the setting-up of the right incentive structures for oneself? Can one version of the "self" set goals and constraints for the other?
Less really is more, where I live now. 12/3/08 Indulging looks so much different now. So does overeating. Everything is smaller, and made of better stuff.
One more thing about not beating myself up over treats. 12/3/08 On being a recovering bulimic.
New cravings. 12/4/08 I can't believe it, but I'm actually looking forward to exercising.
Tipping point? 12/08/08 The limits of "tips and tricks," for weight loss and other goals.
Gain mode. 12/9/08 What, I have to gain weight? Well, now, that's just bizarre.
Tracking again. 12/12/08 I need to go back to calorie-counting again, because I need the data. Bleh.
It's always worth mentioning. 12/13/08 In which we go out to dinner for our anniversary, and I eat too many beets. Bonus: My restaurant rule of thumb.
The much-requested "big pants" picture. 12/17/08
Bewildered. 12/18/08 The data shows I'm doing something right! But I don't know what it is!
Another kind of food goal. 12/21/08 Jen at Conversion Diary came up with a good one, unrelated to weight loss.
Insulin and my weight loss. 1/1/09 Did my hard work begin, or end, the day I started to lose weight? (Sort of a book review of Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories)
Reasons to eat or to fast. 1/2/09 "As I prepared to think and write about gluttony and addiction, I realized that first you need to distinguish all the different reasons people eat. They fall into three classes, I think. Let's start by listing the reasons people eat or fast."
Gluttony: a definition. 1/2/09 (From the Catholic encyclopedia.) I love the catalog of five ways to be a glutton.
Working hypothesis. 1/3/09 Maybe the reason I suddenly became able to lose weight was because after nearly two years of fairly-low-carb eating, I hit some invisible internal tipping point.
Breakfast experiment. 1/4/09 It's still a little tricky to decide how to cut calories when I get a bit heavy and to add calories when I get a bit light.
Compulsion. 1/9/09 Have I mentioned that I still experience the compulsion, or the impulse, to eat too much or to eat the wrong stuff? Yes, every day, pretty much. How do I resist?
Weight loss miscellany: Link to a low-carb diet blog that seems like a good resource. 1/18/09
Food, yuck. 1/23/09 "Yesterday a friend asked me for I-can't-stop-eating advice. The timing was kind of funny because I'd had an I-can't-stop-eating day. Yes, it still happens from time to time."
This is what maintenance looks like. So far. 1/24/09 Is it harder to be maintaining than it was to lose weight?
The paper rules. 1/24/09 How I chart my weight each morning, and what I do when it goes out of bounds.
"I get filled up on the smell." 2/4/09 Three advantages to dropping the habit of nibbling while cooking -- most importantly, so you can really enjoy your meal.
The Beck Diet. 2/6/08. I had a chance to skim through the book. Was I channeling Dr. Beck the whole time I was losing weight?
Salad for breakfast. 2/7/09 Isn't it strange that with all my effort to pack more vegetables into my day, it would take me so long to realize that salad can be a fine breakfast food?
Back in weight loss mode. 2/8/09 Yesterday I decided to go into weight loss mode and remain there until my five-day-running average drops below 108. So, several days of work. How'd I do yesterday?
Small victory of the day. 2/9/09 "Willpower is nothing but the sum of all your difficult decisions made right."
Gluttony is different from sloth. 2/9/09. Part of the Induced Exercise series.
Yesterday's small victory. 2/11/09. In which I compensate for eating too much popcorn.
So how are YOU doing? 2/12/09. Eleven comments.
Either or: a small victory. 2/23/09. In which I learn to challenge the sabotaging thought that I don't just want this extra food, I need this extra food. (plus a recipe for bran muffins)
Before and After. 2/26/09. On my first Ash Wednesday fast as a post-glutton.
Obsessed with the numbers. 2/26/09. I realize that I've lost my long-term view of maintenance and started reacting to the numbers on the scale, and I write to try to get myself back on track with a focus on behaviors.
Revelation on the gluttony front.3/4/09. I still have a drug-like addiction to eating BIG, and I still have to fight it.
My own personal madeleines -- or, maybe there is a time and place for excess. 3/12/09. In which I enjoy something to excess and reflect on whether it is sometimes okay.
"Food doesn't have to drive your life." 4/28/09 A completely false attempt at a helpful message.
A new path. 4/28/09 I did something new yesterday. I ran around Lake Calhoun.
My first 5K
"So was it fun?" 5/3/09 Not exactly. Why, then, do I want to do it again?
A long-term running goal 5/4/09
What's so hard about running. 5/8/09
A short series: My failure-free, real-life habit constellation for weight loss.
- Introduction to the "habit constellation."
- (2). Why I call it "failure-free."
- (3) Why unplanned eating doesn't mean failure anymore.
- (4) The backdrop to the habit constellation.
- (5) The constellation itself.
Found an old photo. 5/14/09
Counterbalance. A review of The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos. 6/12/09
Coming back for more. I run my second-ever 5K. 6/13/09
My fourth pregnancy
In which I sleep a lot, and learn to eat more. I announce my fourth pregnancy, due in late January 2010. 6/22/09
Immediate results. 7/4/09 Can I apply what I've learned to the other things I would like to change about myself?
Smart snacking. 7/13/09 Some suggestions to make snacking work for you.
Vague habits are hard to keep. 7/22/09 Don't just say you're "working on portion control." What does that mean?
On being a supportive husband. 7/30/09 Mark refuses to take much credit for my weight loss. He says it was very easy to be supportive. Here is his algorithm, according to him.
Change is worth it for its own sake. Can you believe that? Can you want it? 8/1/09. "I think few people can keep doing what they don't want to do in the absence of immediate and ongoing reward... but lots of people can do what they really want to do, even if it's hard." (This is one of my favorite posts)
(not-a-medical) Doctor Bearing is in... 8/1/09 A reader emails: "Everyone says, 'Don't focus on losing weight, just get healthy.' My problem is that I feel healthy!"
Do it for its own sake. 8/7/09 More on exercise qua exercise.
Long-distance self-optimization. 8/8/09 How I've been dealing with long car trips, and the value of performing ongoing experiments on oneself.
Dosage. 8/21/09 A meditation on self-medicating with food. It works, but overdose is possible.
Normal eating vs. disordered eating. 8/27/09 "Whatever our eventual philosophy turns out to be, I think we must refuse any line of thinking that either leads us into 'self control is useless' OR 'obese people must have no self control...' Let's be charitable and take people at their word when they say they are trying hard...and at the same time let's recognize that a portion of the people who try hard really do succeed, and their hard work and success is not meaningless."
Pregnancy exercise: a review. 1/8/10 (eight months pregnant) How I am managing exercise during my first post-weight-loss pregnancy.
After the baby
Two weeks postpartum: for comparison later. 2/13/2010
Flipping the switch. 2/21/10 I take back everything I ever said to every new mother who finds herself despondent about her weight.
Declining, again. 2/27/10 What I've lost already: the fear that I will stay heavy postpartum.
A few new cookbooks. 3/1/10 Reviews of The Flexitarian Diet; Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less; and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Habit, habit, habit. 3/13/10 Six weeks postpartum: It's slowly coming back to me.
Trial run. 3/15/10 Today I returned to running.
Abundance. 3/18/10 "Even after working hard for almost two years to overcome my toxic overeating habits, there are still a couple of things I find very difficult to deal with. One is the abundance of choices I have... it seems that my reasons [to justify eating] change with every handful I stuff in my mouth."
Gauging. 3/21/10 If I don't feel hungry or chilly, I'm not losing weight.
Diet (!) lunch. 3/24/10 Look, I saved half my sandwich from the restaurant last night!
Getting fit after 40. 4/13/10 Solitary pursuits like running, swimming, and lifting are ideal for the self-conscious -- so why don't they get taught in gym class?
Driving through. 4/14/10 Meditation on having successfully trained myself to endure mild hunger.
Confession. 4/21/10 A reader writes, "You credit the Sacraments to your weight loss. Please elaborate on that if you have the time."
In the moment. 4/22/10 I did not learn to make good on-the-spot choices by making good on-the-spot choices, or bad on-the-spot choices, or in fact by making ANY on-the-spot choices at all. What taught me to make on-the-spot choices was to make choices well in advance and then stick to them.
Self-denial. 4/25/10 I don't like overeating anymore. But if you'd told me before I changed my eating style that I would feel this way, I wouldn't have believed you.
The other daily specials. 4/27/10 Options that exist at every restaurant, but which are not printed on the menu.
The power of memory. 4/28/10. One skill I have had to cultivate in losing weight, maintaining it, and now losing it again postpartum is my memory.
Planning vs. flexibility. 5/1/10 Do you chafe at plans? I just don't think you can do without planning and still expect to succeed. But you might do better disguising the plan, or readying multiple plans, or have a once-and-for-all plan. Here's how.
The resolution that is least likely to take off excess weight. 5/3/10 "I really should try to eat more ______."
Vital statistics. 5/4/10 Where I am three months postpartum. Great discussion in comments about nursing and weight loss.
The remains of impulse. 5/4/10 You have to understand, if you are where I was, and if you are hoping that the impulses to overeat will just disappear.... that they may never disappear, but it is possible to learn to ignore them. You see, I still have them.
I still don't understand myself sometimes. 5/7/10 Why do I still have an unopened bag of cookies on my dresser?
Burger binge. 5/7/10 I know by now that whenever I try to eat in response to my hunger, I fool myself into eating more than my hunger requires. Structure is more important.
Quick poll:grease and salt edition. 5/8/10 Which is more difficult to do if there is a plate of French fries within your reach? (a) eat zero or (b) eat one or two and stop? Answers in the comments.
Barefoot running? 5/10/10 A rambling book review.
Mantras. 5/11/10 These little mutterings help me stay on track. Number one is "I don't do that anymore."
Pickiness. 5/18/10 One problem with being "on a diet" in America: it tends to make you an aggravated, and possibly aggravating, dinner guest. The only control you should exercise over the menu is self-control.
Means-centered affirmations. 5/23/10 Could people use the affirmations method to teach themselves to want to eat moderately for its own sake? Here's my idea for a set of affirmation cards to desire the means, and not just the end.
Menu request. 5/24/10 I got a request for a day's dietary intake along with the decisions and trade-offs that I made. Update here including calorie totals.
Before-after photos. 5/25/10 Five months postpartum.
Grab it and go. 6/1/10 What does a hiking lunch look like now? Sometimes an objectively "less healthy" food experience is mentally healthier.
Another blogger's book review: The End of Overeating. 6/2/10 I look forward to reading the book because I have to assume I will always struggle with overeating.
Why did the chicken cross the Pyrenées? 6/6/10. How to make an omelette with lots of veggies and only one egg.
Monk's meal. 6/10/10 Another blogger's post about the daily diet of Cistercian monks presents a few reality checks.
Frozen flexibility. 6/14/10 Yes indeed, I use a lot of frozen vegetables. Canned too.
Don't get too creative. 6/21/10 Simplicity is the way to go whenever you are looking to add new foods to your regular menu.
Garbage yardage? 6/24/10 Improvement at any physical activity requires a challenge, however tiny.
Travel lightly. 6/25/10 Thoughts and strategies for maintaining on vacation.
Guest post by Mark: My role in my wife's fitness and weight loss. 6/28/10 I've always written that my weight loss and maintenance would have been impossible without the intense support of my husband. Here, he tells eleven things he did to help.
Running off the rails. 6/28/10 I keep hinting about wanting to use what I've learned to defeat gluttony, to combat my next most besetting vice.
Brain scans. 7/16/10 A newspaper article that supports the two things I believe about obesity: (1) it's hard to overcome but (2) it's not impossible to overcome.
A deliberate cliffhanger. 7/19/10 In which I have an inkling that the "gluttony thing," what I've learned, is meant to serve some higher purpose. (The resolution is here.)
Finally where I want to be, again. 8/24/10 Almost seven months after the baby is born, I return to my intended postpartum weight (four pounds heavier than before I got pregnant, on purpose).
The answer depends on the question. 9/19/10 A friend of mine asked me a week ago, "So, how important do you really think exercise is for weight loss?"
Just maintaining. 9/27/10. Should you ease up on yourself and try to "just maintain" during a stressfull time? Here on the other side of weight loss, it's perfectly obvious that "how I lost the weight" and "how I maintain the weight" are THE SAME. There is not a significant difference between my behaviors as a weight-losing person and my behaviors as a weight-maintaining person.
Seven in a row. And a new ID. 10/15/10 In which I decide I need to buckle down and return to better habits.
Ten days. 10/26/10 In which, ten days later, I manage to hit most of the habits. This is why it's so important to focus on habits instead of scale numbers.
The "maintenance algorithm" as it stands today. 10/28/10 I am mainly working on reining in the sloppiness that may have developed since the last time, a surprising amount of which consists of "eating things I don't even want to eat."
Obesity in a land of starvation. 11/1/10 On people losing weight for charity.
The Twinkie diet. 11/10/10 My take on that nutrition professor who lost 27 pounds eating Twinkies: why it isn't so crazy.
Reader question. 11/16/10 Two questions, actually.
From the "other people's weight loss" department. 12/4/10 Sci-fi author and blogger John Scalzi has a post up describing The Incredible Scalzi Weight-Loss Plan.
Weight maintenance and the Akron U-Turn. 1/20/11 One of my most popular posts. After dropping a couple of pounds, did you ever find yourself thinking, "I'm down a couple of pounds. I can afford to splurge." Step back and look at how loony it is from a loss standpoint.
Cutting back the recipe. 1/25/11 Don't be intimidated by a published "one-hour workout" if you only have 45 minutes. Adapt!
Power snack. 1/26/11 It is frustrating, sometimes, to live with a fit male person.
The demon that feeds on fasting. 1/30/11 " Can my heart let go of the idol of health, while my decisions and actions still responsibly preserve it? ... If I could only drive this demon out by prayer and fasting -- but on fasts, this demon grows sleek and strong."
Gary Taubes's new book Why We Get Fat prompted a three-part review:
- Why We Get Fat: A review (part I). 2/2/11
- Why Why We Get Fat isn't really a comprehensive diet book: a review (part II). 2/3/11 Includes my summary of possible realistic lower-carb approaches.
- Why We Get Fat, part III -- why gluttony isn't off the hook. 2/6/11 Gluttony might stand in the way of implementing the food restrictions that will heal your hunger and cravings; and if you do implement the restrictions, if you do become physically healthy, gluttony might remain long after the hunger and cravings have disappeared.
Taking a step back. 2/14/11 My first time on skis since I became an athlete.
Is foodie-ism a form of gluttony? 2/16/11 I think so.
Gluttony: Drawing the line. 2/21/11 I propose to define gluttony as the inability or unwillingness to eat under the restraints of charity, obedience, resources, health, religious/ethical duty, and manners.
Low-carb, low-impact. 3/5/11 What to do about the tension between low-carb eating -- often high in animal products -- and sustainable eating? Five things to keep in mind: eat more fat and less protein, don't overestimate protein needs, fill the plate with nutritious vegetables, don't waste so damn much food, and choose animal products that make efficient use of protein.
Reader Jamie asked me to take a look at Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family by Ellyn Sattler. Here is what I wrote about it (3/11):
- An introduction, buried in a post about Lent. Includes an overview of the book.
- Part I: What I learned from reading the appendices first. I have a lot of criticism of the book here, but I think it mostly means that the book serves a specific purpose -- mostly having to do with emotional and mental health -- that isn't the same as the purpose I generally have.
- Part II: Virtue and restraint. I think this word does not mean what you think it means. I think Sattler does not really think that all food rules are bad; she just refuses to call the good rules "rules."
- Part III: Some good stuff. Here I explain the parts of the book that I think are useful, even in the gluttony struggle.
Vanity and physical fitness. 5/4/11 Is it okay to want to look attractive?
A mini-series on so-called "accepting your body" which really turns into "accepting reality and deciding whether to act in response":
- What do you mean, "acceptance?" 5/6/11 I'm not really happy with the vocabulary surrounding the debate about "acceptance." To "accept one's self" is, I assert, nonsense. I replaced the vague question of "should I accept myself as I am?" with a process of discernment of a decision to change.
- Accepting the facts and deciding to act on them. 5/6/11 It occurred to me that these decisions have long-, medium-, and short-term manifestations, so I thought I'd work through an example.
- The third post in what seems to be a series about "acceptance." 5/7/11 Here are some propositions I urge my readers to accept, instead of wondering whether they should "accept" their own selves. #1 is: "Permanent personal change would require you to accept discomfort."
- Maintenance blues: Acceptance, #4. 5/9/11 Lately, weight maintenance has been hard. Why not take my own advice? Accept not the self, but the truth about the self, and accept the sacrifices that are necessary to change that truth.
- Maintenance: Will change help? (Acceptance, #5) 5/10/11 I'm not entirely sure whether it would benefit me to stop worrying about the numbers, but I am sure I would benefit by exerting effort on habits.
- Acceptance #6. Is change possible? How is it possible? 5/13/11 My life is in a different place now than it was a few years ago when I first lost the weight. Can I transplant my old habits into new soil?
- Acceptance #7. Just doing it. 5/14/11 In which I convict myself for eating shredded cheese out of the bag, and conclude that if I were Michael Pollan my book would say "Eat meals. From my plate. Then stop." (I like the comments on this one)
What this is not. 5/14/11 A weight loss blog, for starters.
Filling in the gaps. 5/22/11 One of the fun parts of weight loss (although expensive) was completely re-making my entire wardrobe. I did it poorly the first time, and more intelligently the second time.
Negative splits. 5/27/11 A simple workout idea -- fleshed out by one commenter into a midlife philosophy.
Do what you like? 6/3/11 Nine reasons it's a myth that you should choose physical activity based on what you like to do or find fun.
27:30. 6/11/11 I run my fourth 5K.
Improvements. 8/17/11 I compare my score in a mortality calculator with my score before my lifestyle changes.
Renouncement of will. 9/22/11 What does that mean when we have mixed intentions? I think exercise and food decisions are not areas where I am competent to make judgment in spiritual matters.
Couple's success story. 10/5/11 Rachel at grasping for objectivity in my subjective life tells a story of a weight loss bet between spouses.
Maintenance blues II -- re-establishing on the new "default day" plan. 10/19/11 After slipping post-baby, it took almost four months of false starts before I felt that I'd gotten a handle on my habits. The most helpful strategy in this season: a radically simplified calorie-counting technique.
Pants. 11/29/11 In which I report a discovery about jeans that, I think, sheds light on body dysmorphic disorders.
My gym bag. 12/24/11 An update to the "what's in my swim bag" post from a long time ago, now that I am not just a swimmer but a runner.
Is it a puppy or is it a turkey roaster? 12/30/11 For New Year's: The difference between habits and compensatory deprivations.
Habits to try for the new year. 12/31/11 A follow-up: well-established habits I want to keep, new habits I am excited about trying, and habits to try later on.
"The Fat Trap." 1/4/12 A link to an article by Tara Parker-Pope plus to a discussion on a different blog. It's about how hard it is for people to keep the weight off.
A whole post on half sandwiches. 1/5/2012 Why I am resistant to eating only half of sandwiches. Especially cheeseburgers. With a cameo by Nigel Tufnel.
Well, this is a timely article: How to stick to your resolutions. 1/8/2012 Review of an article by John Tierney (who later went on to write the book Willpower). The strategies ring very true to my experience.
Tweaking the recipe: yet another maintenance post. 1/14/2012 When I am trying to tweak, I like to tweak as fast as I can. What really helps is repeating a behavior as frequently as I can, until I have laid the habit to rest.
Strength training or no strength training? 1/16/2012 I haven't gotten to it, and I make excuses by telling myself that swimming provides at least some resistance training.
Book review of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney:
I take it back, that on-off habits thing. 1/25/2012 I throw out an old strategy, and adopt a new one: to evaluate habits as potentially permanent lifestyle adaptations. "What I do, I do from now until it doesn't make sense for me anymore."
Knowing what I know now: how to choose a habit. 1/28/2012. Christine asks: "Do you think habit listing and making steps a few at a time could work for someone in the weight loss phase?" I think I've discovered that tracking calories, like stepping on the scale, is a way to find out if the habits are good -- not a way to find out if *I* am good.
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The following is one of my favorite mini-series of posts.
Untangling the threads of gluttony. 5/12/2012 Of the two dominant narratives about weight loss and weight gain ("a calorie is a calorie" and "insulin resistance"), neither ultimately satisfies. Here's why.
"Americans don't grok gluttony because they don't grok sin and human failings in general. We believe in an essential dichotomy: Either a man's failing is his own damn fault, so we stigmatize and punish it, and maybe (if we are religious) call it "sin;" or it is someone else's fault, so we try to pass laws and social programs, and de-stigmatize it and raise awareness. The only difference as you move from Left to Right is which failings are your own damn fault and which failings are someone else's."
Where to start with gluttony: some links back to my archives. 5/15/2012
Gluttony doesn't (typically) cause obesity. 5/16/2012 Gluttony is mitigated insofar as it is difficult to "discern" and "regulate" what is suitable. Metabolic syndrome creates a feeling of hunger, and that is exactly what makes it difficult to discern and regulate what is suitable to eat. And we don't choose to develop metabolic syndrome.
Can insulin resistance cause gluttony? 5/17/2012 Before we consider whether people who are sick with insulin resistance develop gluttony as a symptom -- let's consider gluttony in healthy, non-obese, non-insulin-resistant people.
Why, even if illness causes obesity, you've still got to deal with gluttony to get well. 5/18/2012 Metabolic syndrome damages the body's innate means of regulation. The control-system patch that we jerry-rig from our intellect and our willpower is buggy.
Securing the food supply. 5/21/2012 A phrase jumps out at me: Back when I was heavy, I was always trying to "secure my food supply."
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Exercise can make you fat. So what? 8/3/2012
The invisible hand. 8/9/2012 I discovered something today. It is possible to make a gain in training that cannot be taken away even by weeks of inactivity.
The secret to living a balanced life. 8/22/2012 "Aren't you the one who is some kind of fitness fanatic? Who runs and swims all the time?" No, no, I'm not.
A little middle-aged motivation for you. 9/5/2012 The NYT "Well" blog describes a study that's good news for those of us who are committed to staying fit in middle age -- or who have time to practice better habits between now and then.
Jamie asked me to write about swim lessons as an adult:
Have you ever written about your swim lesson details? I never learned to swim well but I would like to. At the same time, I am nervous about adult swim lessons. What pushed you into it? Any tips for the wary?
(For posts later than this, see the category Chronological Index. Latest posts on weight loss, weight maintenance, and gluttony are at the top, and this post is at the bottom.)