I’m perfecting this experiment as I go, and this week I have decided to change how I will present the information to those of you following along at home. In two weeks I am down 2.4 kilograms, (approximately). To make it easier, I will post the weekly statistics in graph form and select a ‘focus’ for each week to follow up with research.
1. Caloric Intake, Caloric Outtake and Cumulative Deficit
It’s clear from the graph that weekends are my greatest challenge. My caloric intake on Saturday and Sunday last week were higher than I’d like, (though in fairness we were away for the weekend), and there was no exercise. I just scraped by with a deficit just over 100 calories on both days. Weekdays, however, I managed to create a sizeable deficit of more than 1500 calories each day. That is considerably better than last week.
2. Cumulative Deficit
From just over nine and a half thousand calories, I raised my caloric deficit to almost nineteen thousand in Week 2 – that’s a little over a kilo lost last week. This general trend looks very positive. It will be interesting to see how it continues. At the moment it is a straight line, but over time I expect that to taper off a little as I settle more and more into a routine.
3. Calories to Reach Short Term Goal, (5kgs)
Cumulatively, I have reached the equivalent of almost 2.4 kilograms so far, and this week contributed just over a kilo. In a week which included two days away from my routine, I am fairly happy with the outcome.
This Week’s Focus
A meeting with fantastic dietician Meg McClintock has alerted me to the Non-Diet Approach, (NDA), which works in tandem with the Health at Every Size movement. Together, these ideals promote mindful eating and lifestyle, and self acceptance of every size and shape while replicating a ‘normalised’ eating plan that prevents against disordered and dysfunctional diets.
Specifically, the NDA discusses weight, food, exercise, hunger, self esteem and joyful movement in the context of a healthy and mindful lifestyle. The focus on weight is shifted to a focus on wellness, and the desire to either demonise or exalt food, (carbs are bad, lean protein is good), is altered to an understanding that all food is acceptable but quantity, quality, and frequency are determined by an individual responding to physical cues. Draconian exercise regimes are replaced with moving more in a manner which suits the individual and the physiological hunger response is examined.
This is particularly important, since hunger is our body’s way of telling us we need to replenish it. Many diets either directly or indirectly limit the amount of food we intake without exploring the reason for over eating. Often, the cause is psychological or emotional, and so suppressing hunger responses from the body will do little to improve diet. We are fighting against our own body’s cues instead of listening more carefully to it. Eating mindfully means responding to hunger cues, choosing foods which are naturally nutrient filled but not calorie dense, and indulging occasionally. Restricting food groups is twelve times more likely to result in binging, so the obsession with will power is misplaced.
In my own experiment I have noticed that as I eat more consciously I am finding it more and more difficult to reach 1800 calories. The nutrient rich foods I am eating which contain fewer calories are lasting longer in my body so I am hungry less than when I was eating calorie dense foods at restricted levels.
To be absolutely clear, I am not advocating strict calorie counting as a means of losing weight. This experiment is designed to prove that it is possible to lose weight sensibly and without long term damage to health while also eating a range of food across all food groups. Counting calories is simply a way of quantifying my success, and while I think it is important for people to develop a better understanding of which foods are the most calorie dense and what a portion size actually is, I don’t think calorie counting is essential in a weight loss model.
Though the Non Diet Approach paradigm shifts the emphasis off weight loss, it also promotes strategies that will result in weight loss, (as well as healthy living, quality of life and longevity), over time. So if you are willing to change from a ‘right now’ attitude to a long term outlook, this model is for you.
Resource of the Week
The University of new Hampshire has a fantastic resource for those interested in the Non Diet Approach here. I highly recommend the read if you are ready to jump off the diet treadmill and switch your focus.
Workout Tune of the Week
Down on the Corner, Creedance Clearwater