Redemption?

It has been less than 24 hours since my last confession.

That post was in draft for several months as I tried to gain control of my weight; control that would be evidenced by my weight reducing towards my running weight goal. As I continued to drift in the wrong direction so I would reassure myself that the following day offered another, equally good, opportunity to improve my food behaviour and reverse the trend. And when I occasionally revised my draft post and considered publishing it I felt that I couldn’t as I had little to report beyond the passing of the days and the increase in my weight.

recent weight graph

My recent weight history consists of three distinct phases: 2012 – return to running and associated significant weight loss, 2013 – levelling off in weight despite 66kg goal, 2014 – continuing trend, started towards the end of twenty thirteen, of weight gain …

I am firmly of the opinion that weight control is purely psychological in nature for those of us who aren’t affected by food poverty or a physiological condition that supersedes this. With that caveat weight control succeeds or fails entirely on the choices made day to day, moment by moment. With a basic understanding of nutrition and what constitutes a balanced diet, it is clear that the only rational approach to weight control is to restrict food calorie intake to match calorie expenditure to maintain weight and to restrict it a little further to lose weight.

To date all my weight management has applied this approach in its simplest form; daily restriction of calorie intake. Typically this is done fairly informally; I don’t often calculate calorific values for my meals, but use my experience to judge. For some this approach in itself is the primary cause of failure due to misjudging calorific intake, but as can be seen from my previous post in my case the primary cause is much clearer. It’s taken two posts to approach using the phrase, but here it is; “binge eating“. I don’t want to medicalise my eating choices and I do not exhibit the full range of symptoms described, but a selective quote from the NHS Choices website linked to above accurately describes my behaviour:

” … feels compelled to overeat on a regular basis … consume … quantities of food over a short period of time … often eat even when they are not hungry … usually takes place in private … feelings of guilt”

The quote is somewhat selective, but I think that this reflects that I am at the lower end of the spectrum of severity of binge eating and associated behaviours rather than that I am forcing an inappropriate description to fit.

So yes, “Redemption?” I want a shot at redemption. When does the redemption start?

A few nights ago I got around to reading my wife’s copy of “The Fast Diet” or the slightly less snappy “The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting – Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer” as Amazon UK have it. Either way it was a very interesting read and solely from a weight control / loss perspective it is possible to sum up the message in a two or three sentences:

“Eat normally 5 days a week. Fast, consuming only a quarter of your normal calorie intake, on the other two days. Yes, you’ll eat more on the non-fast days to compensate, but overall you are unlikely to compensate fully and hence there will be a net reduction in calorie intake.”

I find this approach very appealing primarily because it requires concentrated focus on food for only two days a week. Also the days are contrastingly different and clearly defined; I will either be fasting or not. It may be that this appeals to me for similar reasons that running does; short periods of concentrated effort with known end points and extended recovery periods. Daily calorie counting on the other hand requires constant food focus and has little contrast from day to day and it is too easy to defer goals and not notice the passing of time. More like cricket.

As suggested in the book I didn’t procrastinate and fasted for the first time the day before yesterday. I shall fast again the day after tomorrow.

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