Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oats of Diets Past, Present, and Future

Yes, yes, I like puns way too much. Aren't I clever?

I made up a Diet Plan table on Google Documents to show my past diet plan, the current plan, and I am working on getting the future one done.

I know this may sound odd, but I am not really at all sure how much food I will want to eat after I get back off the phentermine. A lot of the eating I was doing during my lull in diet loss wasn't so much to feed hunger, but because something was telling me I needed to eat.

The nice thing about the Phentermine is that it helps me get used to smaller amounts of food again. I'm eating half portions for 2 out of 3 meals. (This scares me though, so I will be adding some vitamins to my routine.)

Still, I have serious doubts that I will be able to maintain a 1350-1400 calorie diet and maintain the exercise routine I have managed to stick to for the last week and a half. I may have to revise the plan, but we'll see when the pills run out. I remember in college I was able to eat a similar number of calories but I had to use nicotine as a meal replacement to do so.

Though, this reminds me of another funny thing. In both cases a drug cost was mitigated by the lower cost of groceries. I am buying almost literally half the amount of groceries I was previously. The phentermine is only $45/month supply so the groceries completely offset the cost. (I remember food being so much cheaper when I was broke.) The cigarettes of course were more expensive than buying food and left me feeling terrible. I will ramble about quitting some other time, as this is already "Too long, didn't read".

Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting my due from the devil

I found a way to describe my feelings about phentermine.

Phentermine is the devil. If I'm going to make a deal with the devil, I want to get my due. This past month I did just that.

Went to the doctor today and I had lost 22 lbs since last month. Big, big swing.

If you look at the second tab on the chart (the one with the graph), you'll notice that I went from being 28 days behind schedule to being 37 days ahead of schedule.

Of course, only about 12 lbs of this is "real" weight-loss. The first 10lbs or so came off easily and so were most likely the water weight people always talk about. I had most likely gained that water weight back when I was eating out the month before last.

Also, I've managed to keep walking the past few days. I am still trying to make it into part of my daily habit. Just a morning walk everyday before work.

So today is good news, but it's hardly time to celebrate too much yet. I want to make the changes I am working on become habitual before the 3-months on phentermine is up.

I'm also adding a menu plan to the left hand side.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Crazy Crash Diet

Yesterday, Saturday, I ate about 950 calories. I cut my lunch, supper, and one snack by half and my planned calories per day is now at 1250. However, the first day I was trying this was Saturday. Instead of eating my planned 320 cal tortilla for supper, I fell asleep. That's crazy. I even woke up and took a walk today.

Even weirder, I didn't bother taking my phentermine until around 3 hours after I woke up. I wasn't hungry until my usual time.

Another thought I had. On saturday, I took the pill at 9AM because I was taking my brother to the airport (2 hours away). So, I was able to stave off cravings long after the pill should have worn off. As best I can tell from my reading, each dose is effective for 10-14 hours.

Of course, while I was figuring out my new menu plan, I realized that previously I was eating about 2150 calories per day and still losing weight. The slow down and backtracking didn't kick in until I stopped walking entirely and started eating out.

My scale at home is reading 325 and it's rather consistently measured 3 lbs heavier than the doctor's scale. Maybe tomorrow will bring big news.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tortured Definitions

From Andrew Sullivan:

In all the discussion of John McCain's recently recovered memory of a religious epiphany in Vietnam, one thing has been missing. The torture that was deployed against McCain emerges in all the various accounts. It involved sleep deprivation, the withholding of medical treatment, stress positions, long-time standing, and beating. Sound familiar?

According to the Bush administration's definition of torture, McCain was therefore not tortured.

I am not sure that I like this argument. It certainly has teeth but it has the same feel of the "Swift Boat" ads. Trivializing torture feels fundamentally wrong. However, Sullivan isn't so much questioning the suffering of McCain as he is pointing out the crazy situation the country has landed in.

Of course, this argument will be presented by the Right as proof of how fundamentally anti-American McCain's critics are. These same people who wore Purple Heart Band-Aids.

Really though, the best result would be for this question to spark a serious discussion. Perhaps this will help people stop and think "How did we get here?".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Slowest Speed-freak ever.

Last month, I gained 13lbs due to poor discpline in my diet. In response, the doctor prescribed phentermine to help get back on track.

Taking a stimulant makes me worry due to the associated heart risks. I suppose due to a lowered cholestrol count (From 207 to 91) that my risk profile is much lower, but still I worry. Of course, I was joking with a friend that I am becoming paranoid about being paranoid (one of the possible side effects).

Another effect, is that I have cut out almost all soda. I made the mistake of drinking a cafeienated soda while on Phentermine only once. It would have been a very productive time, if not for the extreme restlessness the combination caused.

I am trying to use this time to re-establish an exercise routine. I did go out walking 4 days in a row. Then missed 7 in a row. I have also tried using the bike I have up on a trainer (makes a normal bike a stationary bike), but my heart-rate always goes out of control. I have trouble regulating my pulse when I don't see how fast I am going. Though, that may not be the problem either. My heart-rate was always faster on a bike.

Still trying to come up with a good strategy to get exercise back into my daily routine.

Tomorrow, I am going to try riding the bike at a measured pace.

Mike Phelps News Network: All Phelps, All the time.

For the nerds.

History repeats itself minus the 'stache.

More relevant to myself, Michael Phelps and his 12,000 Calorie diet.

This really means, I need to get out and exercise. Walking, biking, and maybe swimming. I love swimming, but a gym membership usually ends up going to waste. Also, the last time I swam with any regularity, I would get out of the pool and quickly eat as much food as I could. Swimming really drives my appetite.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A thousand words?

From Balloon Juice a silly photo:

While I agree that declining to support the president for this reason is silly, it does bring up an interesting point.

The flag is correctly displayed from Bush's point of view, but tellingly he seems to have neglected to consider any other point of view.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Survey on Evolution

I was linked to this survey by Pharyngula

I gave the following answers to the essay questions. (For my own vanity, I have edited some grammatical mistakes I found only after hitting submit.)

To the best of your understanding, and in your own words, please explain what “evolution” means

The theory of evolution is the common name for two theories: The theory of natural selection and the theory of common descent.

The theory of natural selection is the idea that from a large population of individuals in a species that those with beneficial variance will tend to reproduce more. This theory depended on the existence heredity for passing on traits to subsequent generations. The selected individuals would thus tend to pass on their traits more successfully and begin to alter the makeup of the population at large.

The theory of common descent is the idea that all living creatures are descended from an initial creature or population of creatures. This proposition is difficult to prove and much less intuitive. In order to prove it, a more robust theory of heredity needed to be provided.

If you accept the theory of evolution, please explain in your own words why; or if you do not accept the theory of evolution, please explain in your own words why not.

For what I understand, the theory of natural selection has become far more complicated and nuanced. So in a way I don't accept the theory of natural selection as originally proposed. I accept the refined, modern model of selection.

However, the theory of common descent has only become stronger with the gathering of more evidence. Personally though, I find the evidence that was most convincing was the evidence from animal husbandry among non-extinct species. This is the evidence that Darwin hammers upon most fervently in his Origin of Species. Try as they might, creationists, or less honestly intelligent design proponents, have little fulfilling explanation to counter the intuitiveness of arbitrary similarities.

Sure, they fall back on "Same designer, same design" but that hardly works to explain arbitrary similarities in disparate species while also accounting for independent evolution of similar structures fulfillingly.

Combine and Restart (again)

In an effort to keep trying to post on this blog, I am going to attempt to expand its subjects. I will do my best not to turn this into simply a journal, but to actually talk about things of interest.

I have moved some posts over from my previous attempt at blogging and will be publishing them here eventually.

So let me go ahead and blatantly layout some of my goals and thoughts.

1. I want to keep talking about my weight-loss both to chronicle the events and to desperately seek approval and support from random strangers on the internet. More accurately though, "friends" I cajole into subscribing. I use quotes because some of them may feel that way after reading.

2. I want to present Science not only as a practical system of understanding the world, but to present the understanding of Science as an enriching activity. Science offers such an expansive understanding of my immediate world and the larger world around it. I want to show that Science is fulfilling in the same way that the Arts are fulfilling.

The powerful emotions we associate with a wonderful piece of music or thought-provoking play can be also invoked by supposedly "left-brain" fields. In this, I follow in the footsteps of Carl Sagan. A high target, but that's where I need to be aiming.

3. I also which to house some of my snark here. The tone may end up being jarring compared to the previous 2. I may simply not include this here despite it being a key part of my personality.

Low Earth Orbit

I am posting this again from a previous blog. I have renamed the series but this is otherwise unedited from its original form.

Science drives my understanding of reality, from the nuts and bolts of the way matter interacts to the most intimate human relations. So often, people portray science as cold, hard facts and the scientists receive guilt by association. However, these studies require much more than simple logic and mathematics, without human creativity to lead it, our logical pathways soon peter out. Explaining our basic emotions in scientific terms will prove the fundamental humanity of this quest for knowledge.

Consider this the first in a series called "Science as Art".

We begin as an object hurtling through space. We feel no force and simply continue along our path. Eventually though, another object hovers into view and draws us in. The force of gravity pulls us closer to the object but our original velocity keeps us moving. In concert, these forces cause our path to curve. With a strong enough pull, we begin to circle the object of our attraction.
Each loops spirals us in and speeds us up. Our increased velocity threatens to pull us from the object of attraction but our proximity increases the strength of its pull. As these two forces fight we may settle into a pattern where our speed has balanced with gravity to create a stable loop.

However, another factor exerts a force in lower orbits. The thin air in low orbit slows down and heats up any object travelling through. This decrease in speed causes us to fall farther inward and actually speeds us up. At the same time, the thicker atmosphere slows us down faster, heats us up more, and causes us to fall farther in.

We are now in a dangerous situation. If we fall in too quickly, we will face increasingly thick air at a rate that will engulf us in flame and consume us. However, if we move tangentially too quickly, we will skip off the atmosphere, slightly burned, and race away from the object of our attraction.
We rocket forward in this perilous position paralyzed. Burned if we slow down too much and slip too far into the atmosphere. Skipping off the atmosphere, lightly burned and spurned by the gaseous shield. If only love equated to a variable, then we could solve for our trajectory. We would know just the right amount to push away so that we may easily glide in through the invisible wall surrounding the center of our attraction.

Sadly, though, most blind trajectories fail. Some of us luckily skim off the edge and skip onto a new target. Others, however, become too strongly entangled in the atmosphere and must spend their energy rocketing away to avoid being burned up and consumed.