Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Equilibrium

If you Google for a definition of Equilibrium you'll find something like this:

Equilibrium: condition of a system in which competing influences are balanced

This is followed, of course, by about 40 more specific definitions for Economics, Physics, Chemestry etc, but I like the main definition because it fits me best right now. My competing influences are my Logical Brain vs my Emotional Brain.

Logical brain says to count calories, carbs, protein fat. To limit total intake. To monitor when I eat, not eating after 7pm. To eat small snacks during the day between meals such as brocolli or carrots.

Emotional brain says to attack the kitchen and pantry in force, taking no prisoners, leaving no morsels. To ensure Papa Johns is on speed dial and use it frequently. To consume carbs all day long every day. Emotional brain tells me I am never full.

So, a battle inside my head rages. For the first 3 months of the year Logical Brain was the victor. For April though, Emotional Brain put up a good fight and they have now found a balance, a stalemate in the war. The price of this balance has been me working out regularly, but zero weight loss for the month.

For a normal sized person who isn’t grossly overweight this is a great place to be. But right now I don’t want balance. I want control, I want weight loss, so I have to look at where I’m at in this war and where to go from here. Where is my problem? Why can't I control my eating and snacking?

To diet and achieve weight loss one has to starve the body in a controlled fashion, providing enough nourishing food to keep the body functioning and healthy, but lacking enough to require the body to consume it’s own fat cells for energy. And I think it’s that word ‘starve’ that is the key to my problem. Demon in belly not like starve. Or is it he doesn’t like to starve too much?

To make the weight loss cycle described above work, a delicate balance (there’s that equilibrium word again), must be maintained. Upsetting this balance is what I've done. Logical brain wants to starve as much as possible, increasing weight loss for a given period of time. This will work of course, but there are two side effects (at least for me.) 1) Starving too much decreases health, strength and stamina, while increasing fatigue and recovery times. 2) Starving too much makes Demon want to come out and pillage.

I believe this is my problem: I’ve been starving too much this month. Trying to lose too much, too fast and in the end not accomplishing my goal by binge eating when I'd get hungry. The further evidence of this is my health. I haven’t had a cold or sniffle since last year, but I have a horrible cold right now. It was probably the result of all the pollen and allergies, but would I have this cold if I’d been eating healthier all month.

So, how to get around this problem? How to better control what I’m eating to stay healthy and keep the Demon at bay? With things at the house the way they are it’s difficult to schedule a menu. I can’t afford to hire a bodyguard to whack me when I go in the kitchen, although Gracie might serve this function well and there may be some volunteers out there to do it for free.

I guess my only recourse is to better control my eating through documentation and management:
- Documenting will let me visually see ‘what’ I’ve consumed during a given 24 hour period.
- By seeing what I’ve eaten, it will allow me (Logical Brain) to evaluate if I’m on track for a given day and modify the menu for the remainder of the day.
- Daily workouts are already documented
- Conduct daily weigh-ins and document as well.

Having all this information available to me will allow me to evaluate trends, performance and needs. It will allow me to manage myself so to speak. It’ll be a lot of work, but perhaps worth a try. I’ll start out in Excel at first, but a DB approach may be best long term. I’ll have to play with it for a while.

So, I’ve achieved balance and am getting ready to upset it again. I hope it doesn’t get too mad.

2 comments:

Steph Bachman said...

Joe, I think Beginner Triathlete has a food-logging part of their logging section. If not, go to "Peanut Blog & Jelly" (link on my blog) because I know Sarah logs her intake also and I'll bet there is a link.

Good luck with your logging. I've had good success with adding some protein/fat to my snacks. Yogurt (lowfat), cereal with milk, cheese, nuts, etc.

JoeVic said...

Thanks Steph. 2 places I'll have to try out.