Monday, April 07, 2014

Losing weight is hard: Part 2

Here is the update to my post last month entitled "Losing weight is hard".

Through a program of restricted eating and intense exercise, I was able to lose most of my December "Christmas baking" weight:

I'm back down to around 160lbs and about 13.5% body fat.

Surprisingly, this is still on the high end of normal! Mid-range for my height should be about 155lbs and 12.5% body fat. That will be my goal after we return from the wedding.

Even 130lbs would still be in the "healthy" range. I can actually remember quite well when I was 130lbs. It would have been in high school, where admittedly, I was a bit of a beanpole :-)

Another interesting chart is my one-year plot (missing the period when the scale was being shipped):

When I look back and see how I was up over 170, that seems so high, but meanwhile it had become the "new normal."

It's important to keep things in perspective, and I've found that our Internet scale really helps with that.

Realistically, Melissa and I will probably gain some weight during 2 weeks of all-inclusive resort food, but at least we have a good baseline, and a working system for losing weight.

Finally, a few tips:

  1. It will take longer than you think, and it will be harder than you think, but stick to the plan!
  2. On a related note, make sure you have a plan. Write down exactly what you can and cannot eat. Carry a copy in your wallet if you have do (Melissa did).
  3. Sugar is evil when it comes to weight loss. In my personal experience, sugar intake is the single largest factor. Do everything you can to eliminate it from your diet.
  4. Keep to your routine! If you "fall off the wagon," get back on immediately. If you go back to bad eating/exercise habits for more than a day, it will be incredibly hard to correct.
  5. Always set a goal, and remember why you are losing the weight (health, quality of life, self esteem, special event, beach season, etc.)
  6. Discover new healthy treats to displace unhealthy ones, but make sure not to go overboard, and be sure that the treat is actually diet-friendly.
  7. And most importantly: Have a partner! When the going gets tough, you need someone to kick your butt. Mel and I both had to kick each others' a few times :)

Friday, April 04, 2014

A Formula for Success

A formula for success and happiness, in both business and life:

Keep your own expectations tempered, but always try to exceed the expectations of others.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

When will the next stock market crash happen?

Stocks have been on a major upswing for the past five years, but haven't gained quite as much as the big 1990's bull market:

But the big question on investors' minds is: When will the next crash happen?

This article about bull markets shows us how the current market compares historically.

We're at about the median time length, and not quite the median gains.

So although it's quite possible stocks will keep increasing for another year or two, it's unlikely to go much further than that.

Another unique factor with this market is that it is being infused with money by something called "quantitative easing", a large financial experiment with unknown side effects.

Meanwhile, corporate profits are doing very well, but earnings ratios are starting to get high.

And interest rates continue to stay extremely low.

It will be interesting to see what direction the stock market takes in 2014/2015.

More reading:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Losing weight is hard

As part of my goal to be in the best shape of my life prior to our wedding, I've vowed to lose all my "Christmas baking" weight before we leave on April 10th.

Our Withings scale shows the damage and poor results so far:

I was very near my goal weight of 160 at the beginning of December, but a month of eating cookies and sweets pushed me to almost 170. This approached the outside limit of a "healthy" BMI.

So for the next 30 days, I'll be following a diet modeled on the Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Body diet (aka "Slow Carb"). It is similar to Atkins and South Beach and encourages high protein intake.

The diet focuses on elimination of sugars and simple carbs that metabolize quickly. I made a chart to post on our fridge to show what we can and cannot eat:

This is a tough diet to follow, but if you stick with it, you're pretty much guaranteed to lose weight, and more importantly, lose fat.

We're combining the diet with the Insanity video fitness program so we don't lose muscle mass along with the fat.

It will be interesting to see how this experiment goes, and what happens after 2 weeks of eating at all-inclusive resorts. Hopefully we'll be able to maintain reasonable eating habits when subjected to all of that temptation.