kingkeld's Journal, 09 December 2013

Good morning! ...or rather, good night...

It's a little past midnight.

Again, it looks like it's gonna be a night with little to no sleep.

Wife and I went to bed early. She's getting up ridiculously early tomorrow, and I'm being a good sport helping her by getting up with her. At the same time, I was super tired from NOT sleeping most of last night.

My back is aching more and more when I'm in bed. It's pretty clear to me that this happens when I am in the same position for longer time. I have very limited positions I can lie in while recovering, so options are limited and I just have to go with it. It's wearing me out quite a bit.

So, we konked out around 8 PM. Both exhausted. I woke up first time at 9:30 PM. 2nd time at 10:38. 3rd time at 11:45 PM, when I decided to just get up and do something else. Who needs sleep, right? Oh, wait... I do.

...

I have no weight numbers yet. They'd be completely askew if I did them now. Also, I can't get to do them as I can't reach the scale on the floor! :)

What I can say is that it's a real challenge to get all the calories and nutrition to fit into the new puzzle for me.

It's REALLY hard to ensure that I get enough calories, with enough protein, without going too high in fat and carbs. This is something I need to learn, and something that will take a while to grasp fully. I mean, I know what to do, I just don't know which foods to go to for which results.

I'm learning, though. Babysteps.

...

I can already tell that I am up in weight. My guess is that I weigh 2-3 lbs more than yesterday, but I could be wrong. There are several reasons for the guesstimate:

1. I weighed myself after my feeding window closed last night. I was at 85.8 kilos. This is WAY higher than I was just a few days ago. This isn't necessarily all bad just yet.

2. I have been to the restroom several times after, but only to go #1. I haven't done #2 for a couple of days. With the amount of food I have consumed the last two days, there is no way this doesn't affect my physical weight.

3. I know that I usually drop at least a kilo from an evening weigh-in to a morning weigh-in. Weird, huh? :) Still, with a starting point of 85.8 last night compared to 82.9 yesterday morning, weight's GOTTA be up by quite a bit.

(EDIT: I WAS WRONG! I'm only up by 500g! More about it further down!)

...

I'm really curious to see my numbers today. It's an interesting journey that I am taking right now.

I wrote a message to my buddy Steve, and as I was writing to him I realized that what I am doing right now is in a way not TOO different from my Indulgence Diet. It's just much more long term.

The thing is - I don't know at all if I am right or wrong on this. It could easily go in both directions.

Before I go on, though, let me just empahsize this:
THIS IS NOT A THEORY SET IN STONE. THIS IS ME SPECULATING AND GUESSING! THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I AM WORKING TO FIGURE OUT. IF YOU CHOOSE TO READ IT AS GOSPEL AND MESS UP YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY, THEN IT'S NOT MY MESS. I'm only trying to work out what is working for ME. Feel free to be inspired, but step carefully and do it at your own risk.

Anyways, here is the theory:

Many people who succeed in losing a large amount of weight gets to a point where we are very efficient in cutting calories. Many - like me - still eat reasonably large portions of food, but with very few calories. We learn to optimize, in order to create the calorie deficit.

This is what I did. This is why I stalled a couple of years ago. I was eating plenty of food in terms of volume, but not enough nutrition for my body to actually work with. Everything shut down.

I then - with the help of many - developed the Indulgence Diet. Basically, you take one day per week and over-eat. You eat MORE calories than you burn. And to avoid gaining weight, you compensate for the extra calories on the other days.
You probably also up the RDI in general a notch, going for the 1-2 lb weight loss per week. Nothing more extreme, to avoid being too hungry on regular days.

...

So, I have been doing this for ages. It works for me. It keeps me in my place, and I can lose weight with it when I want and need to. It's a good system.

However, it KEEPS me in the weight loss phase, and doesn't move me to maintenance - and in terms of proper muscle building, it's useless as your body needs longer periods with small calorie surpluses to fully build muscle.

As I started looking into maintenance, and how many calories I should consume, I obviously turned to all the calculators and tools online, and the ones I have gathered at home over the last couple of years.

The two main players here are my TANITA scale, and my Fitbit Flex.

The one I think is the most accurate - and still with a grain of salt, of course - is my scale. It's a super expensive scale, bought specifically because of the accuracy. It gives you ALL the numbers in the world:

- Weight
- Body Fat Percentage
- BMI
- Muscle Weight
- Bone Mass
- Metabolic Age
- Total Energy Expenditure
- Etc.

What is interesting in this game is the Total Energy Expenditure.

The cool thing is that it - based on all my stats such as gender, age, height, weight, muscle and fluid mass, bone weight etc. estimates how much energy my body burns in a 24 hour period.

This number relates DIRECTLY to my mission. In a perfect world, I could simply get on the scale, read that one number, and go with it if I wanted to maintain my weight today. If I want to lose weight, knock off a few hundred calories, and I'm good to go.

There are TWO problems though.

1. The number seems ridiculously high. Scary high. Never under 3100 calories, usually closer to 3300.

2. It comes with a set activity level, that isn't very specific. You get to choose between 1, 2 and 3. Three is supposedly "Athletic" which is NOT where I see myself. I would normally - when I am not healing from surgery and when I am my normal active selv - think that I'd be a 2. But when I set it for 2, it suggests additional 500 calories , knocking my intake up to 3800 calories! I have checked numerous times that my settings are correct. Obivously, I set it at the lowest setting, the 1. This would be as close to sedentary as I can get, and what would be right for right now.

So, essentially, a scale tells me to start eating twice the amount of calories to maintain my weight. Can I trust it? I don't know.

I've gone with it for two days. Between the first two days, I seemingly LOST body fat, after having consumed 3300 calories with little to no exercise.

I did the same yesterday, but the numbers are not in yet. They will be in a few hours. I probably won't post this journal until then. Sitting up all night alone in the darks is a good time for writing, so I am doing all the other work now. :)

Anyways, where was I...?

Oh, right. The theory.

So, what I see - and the reason to me linking it to Indulgence Day - is this:

When we lose weight, we optimize. We lower the calories, and in my case to the point where I have probably more or less starved myself the last three years.

Whenever I would eat more than I should, or when I would reach Indulgence Day, I would gain weight massively. Usually just fluid that would drop off again over the course of the next week.

This pattern kept me from wanting to eat more, though. The shock of the gain would knock me back in my place and do good. It would keep me to restricting my calories.

So, over the last three years, my body has learned to survive on less. It has learned that there probably is NOT enough food in the world, and to just deal with it.

This isn't good - especially not when I am trying to build muscle mass. Building muscle mass takes energy. Lots and lots of energy. It takes proteins and fat, it takes carbs, it takes physical effort. All of this, combined with low calories, is a bad deal.

So, suddenly it dawned on me.

What if my body is basically just waiting to see that there is enough food? What if my body is ready to build muscle, ready to maintain the muscle mass that I already have, ready to recover from surgery faster - IF I FEED IT OPTIMALLY?

What if all I need is to learn to live with eating more, eating what my body is actually burning?

If the scale numbers are right, then this is the way to go. Find out how much protein and fat is needed for muscle building and recovery, and find a good balance where I have enough carbs to give me energy, and little enough that I don't end up a blob of retained fluid.

Then of course there is the mental game. I know I'm gonna gain weight. WEIGHT. Not necessarily fat. This hasn't been proven just yet. Actually, after the 1st day of 3300 calories, I lost 38 grams of body fat. Interesting, isn't it?

I have to be okay with gaining weight to test this out. It needs to be tested out more than a couple of days. It might be weeks before my body actually realizes. And it might be a lot less than that before I panic and hit the brakes. I don't want to gain 10 kilos doing this, and have to struggle to lose them again. And still, this is such an interesting thing that I need to find out.

I have been trying to read up on it online, but I just can't find any straight answers. One part of me says it all makes sense. The other just says "Watch out. You'll just get fat". Which is right?

I went with a million different online calculators made for cutting and bulking bodybuilders, and worked out numbers, and now I am going with it. The worst that can happen is that I gain a few kilos. I know how to drop them again. I would MUCH rather gain a couple of kilos of fat than lose muscle mass.

...

I didn't even get to tell you about the fitbit. Sorry. :)

The fitbit does some of the same estimations, but only relies on weight, heigth, gender, age and bodyfat.

It doesn't take activity level into account, as you have to "earn" it. It's basically a glorified pedometer, that measures how active you are at any given time.

The fitbit shows much lower numbers, though not impossible low. A generally active day can reach the 3200 calories that the TANITA scale is hinting. The question is, of course, how relevant is a 3200 calorie intake when I am almost not moving? These days I am recovering from my surgery, and I haven't made it past 4,000 steps yet. It will take a while before I get there, I think.

...

The numbers are in!

Let's take a look, and see if we can make any conclusions. Obviously, I only have data from three weigh-ins (two days of eating this way), so nothing is set in stone. I need much more evidence than that. But maybe we can see an early trend.

This is what the scale says, along with the last couple of weigh-ins:

Weight:
07.12.13: 82.4 kg
08.12.13: 82.9 kg (pretty much average of the last several months)
09.12.13: 83.4 kg

Bodyfat:
07.12.13: 07.5% (6.18 kg)
08.12.13: 07.0% (5.80 kg - lowest in AGES!)
09.12.13: 06.8% (5.67 kg)

Muscle weight:
07.12.13: 72.5 kg
08.12.13: 73.4 kg
09.12.13: 73.9 kg

Fluid Percentage::
07.12.13: 68.5% (56.44 kg)
08.12.13: 68.3% (56.62 kg)
09.12.13: 70.5% (58,80 kg)

Total Energy Exp.:
07.12.13: 3379 calories
08.12.13: 3424 calories
09.12.13: 3451 calories

Abdominal fat:
07.12.13: 4% (a first in a LONG time!)
08.12.13: 4%
09.12.13: 4%


This is getting REALLY interesting, I think.

I am up in bodyweight. I'm not surprised with that. I haven't gone boom-boom for two days, and I also see an increase in fluid/muscle. There is nothing really bad in this, as long as the muscle mass keeps up to speed. I have gained one kilo of body weight over the last two days, but gained 1.4 kilos of muscle. The fluid numbers follows this nicely. It all sits in the muscles.

Now, this is where it gets interesting...

My bodyfat percentage is down AGAIN, and so is the actual fat mass. They might sound like they're the same thing, but they're really not.

One can easily have a lower bodyfat percentage, but have an increase in fat, since the percentage is relative to the WEIGHT. If I was to gain ten kilo body weight, and only 500g of it was fat, then the percentage would be down, but the fat mass would be up. Gaining fluid in order to lower the bodyfat percentage is not a solution. It makes a great show in numbers, but it's worthless.

I hope this makes sense.

Once again, I am down in actual body fat. It's not a lot, 130 grams, but it's a whole lot better than gaining fat. This is literally what I am hoping to see and accomplish doing this. I want to stay even on fat - I don't care much whether I lose any or not, but I would like for it to not go too far up - and I want to retain the muscle I have built over the last year. So far, I see only perfect numbers - and at a ridiculously high calorie intake.

...

So, the next big question is: Do I go with the new, higher RDI for the day? Do I add another 27 calories to my RDI that I was given yesterday? Yeah, why not. It's not that precise a science, and I probably will miscalculate those 27 calories somewhere in my intake over the course of the day anyways.

...

I have all meals planned out for the day, and have allowed myself some treats too.

I will have a gigantor omelette for lunch. Home made. Eggs, chicken sausage, cheese. Rye bread on the side, chili ketchup on top. It's gonna be a massive amount.

Dinner will be chili con carne, home made by The King himself. :) Again, a very large portion is planned, with more rye bread.

Snacks? I'll be having a very nice protein shake in the afternoon, and then I'm gonna treat myself to a LARGE bar of super dark chocolate.

More about the chocolate in a moment.

It's so much food. I can't say I don't like it, but the math is kinda killing the mood. I really want to get everything right, or as right as possible. It's hard to do, and I do struggle a little getting the macros to fit in perfectly.

I prioritize them as following:

- NEVER go over RDI. With an RDI of 3400, that should never be a problem. :)
- ALWAYS make sure you have 190g of protein in a day.
- ALWAYS make sure you have at least 30% of your calories from fat, but don't let it spin out of control.
- NEVER go crazy in carbs. I'm trying to limit it to under 200. I'm not sure if this is a good number or not - some calculators indicate that I could go all the way to 300 with little to no damage, but better safe than sorry.

...

So, about the chocolate...

I'm feeling confident that I can treat myself today. I wanted to give myself something sweet, but I don't want to compromise the numbers. So I started digging around my calorie counter, to find out where I do the least damage, and how I could fit it all in.

And this is when I had quite an eye opener:

Dark Chocolate!

I mean, I know it. I prefer dark chocolate when I have the choice, compared to milk chocolate. I prefer it pure, without all kinds of stuff in it.

But I never bothered to actually look at the nutritional values, other than the calories. We all know that the calories in milk chocolate and dark chocolate are pretty much the same - they're equally fattening - but when you look at the macros, there's a HUGE difference.

To compare my two favorites from Ritter Sport. One is milk chocolate, one is "very" dark. The info given is for 100g, a "personal" size.

MILK:
Calories: 561
Protein 6
Carbs 52
fat 36

Dark:
Calories: 561
Protein 7
Carbs 30
fat 47

The difference is obvious. The dark chocolate has almost half the carbs, but adds 30% extra fat.

I'm less concerned with the fat than I am with the carbs. The carbs are what will awaken the Carb Demon, and I want him to stay sleeping. I think I'm able to go past him unnoticed though.

(EDIT: I actually found a MUCH better chocolate.

Calories: 646
Protein: 8.5
Carbs: 18.5
Fat: 56.

Again, I am not TOO concerned with the fat. At least not as concerned as I am with the carbs. This one has 1/3 of the carbs found in milk chocolate. It's somewhat higher in calories, but I have so many calories to spend that it's hard to reach goal.
END OF EDIT)

...

So today's numbers are great, I have the day planned. I'm good to go.

...

Today, I will try to start walking just a little tiny bit. Nothing like what I normally do, but I do want to get out there and move around. I miss it. Don't worry, I'll be careful.

I feel like I have the energy for a shorter walk. Maybe a kilometer or two.

Generally, I don't feel exhausted and out of energy like I did with the last surgery. This time I am much more mentally alert, and have about the same energy as always. I'm just not allowed to do all that I would like to do. If I could, I'd go work out today. I feel good - even if I didn't sleep much.

...

Going on my walk, I will make my way to the gym, going a detour to just get some steps in. I will then arrive there about the same time as when I'd normally work out. I want to stay in the habit of going, and just be there. I don't want a habit of NOT going to suddenly creep up on me. I can't let that happen. So, regardless of whether I'm working out or not, I will STILL be there three mornings per week.

Besides, there's always free coffee! :)

...

Today, I'm thankful for:

- Wife!
- Slowly feeling progress. It takes time, and I'm okay with it.
- Sick leave. I'm happy that I don't have to go to work until next year. I need the break, both physically and mentally.
- Morning coffee! Much needed after a crap night like last night.
- Losing fat with a 3400 calorie RDI (so far). Let's see where this goes!
- Learning new things every day.
- A naïve hope that someone read this nerdy babble all the way to the end. :)

Have a great week, everyone! Life is good!


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Comments 
Hah! I read the whole thing! :P WTG, Keld!!! I think you're on the money. Although, I do wonder if that RDI is a bit high until you resume your workouts too. But you'll find that out soon enough. I'm going to keep up on your investigations and experimentations. Dying to know how it all goes for you! Best wishes, and keep riding high! 
09 Dec 13 by member: Rob.c.weiss
Well, the activity level in my scale is set for level 1, supposedly "sedentary". It does strike me as a SCARY high calorie intake, but so far so good. Let's see what tomorrow brings.  
09 Dec 13 by member: kingkeld
Very interesting! I think you are in a unique position to take this journey and report back the results. I am going to Google that Taninta scale so I can understand how it is arriving at those numbers. And of course, being a numbers freak, I may have to obtain one! bp 
09 Dec 13 by member: Draglist
I made it through your essay on theories of muscle retention! Only thing I have to say is maybe eat some grass fed beef. High in protein and calories but way less on the fat end than all the confined corn fed beef we typically eat. 
09 Dec 13 by member: iamachristianjesusfreak
Keld, can you tell me the exact model number of the scale you are using? I found several and I want to ensure I'm looking at the right one. Thanks! bp 
09 Dec 13 by member: Draglist
Keld, you are such a numbers geek. Truthfully I didn't read all of your long journal today, just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you. Perhaps some of the weight gain, if any gain, is from post surgical puffiness ie water retention. I am so sorry you aren't sleeping that is a bear and will impact your getting well, and your weight numbers. Wish I had a suggestion. Keep on getting better every day. It won't be long I am sure until you are back in that gym. 
09 Dec 13 by member: sarahsmum
@ Rob.c.weiss: From what I've learned so far bodybuilding a good RDI when weight training is around 20-25 calories per pound of body weight. For me thats around 3500 calories. The trick is to always burn more calories than you take in through your training + basal metabolic rate. Also depends on your calorie sources (complex carbs, healthy fats, lean proteins). I think hes on the right track. :)  
09 Dec 13 by member: chadlius88
I read the complete journal. I love learning from your experiments and wish you great success. I may have unintentionally tested the Indulgence diet theory a few times last week. I’ve had some major spike days lately and amazingly my weigh in this morning did not give me the shock I was preparing for, the scale says only a half lb difference. Well anyways, please post that model# for the scale it does sound pretty interesting. And most importantly what was the name of the last dark chocolate bar with better numbers. 
09 Dec 13 by member: ChicaLean
Ha - I read it to the end too - my scientific friend! Very interesting. Keep on taking care of yourself --- 
09 Dec 13 by member: Lynn1958
Hey guys. Wow. Lots of thoughts. I'm happy to read that several believe I am doing right. The scale is a Tanita BC-601. Also, in regards to Chadilus88's comment, 20-25 calories per pound of body weight would get me to somewhere between 3680 and 4600!! Damn. Now, I am always in doubt just HOW MUCH do I really do (when I'm not on sick leave and recovering from surgery)?!? Do I really put in the effort which allows me to have such intakes? It's a terrifying path to walk. I do not want to end up huge again. Ever.  
09 Dec 13 by member: kingkeld
@Kingkeld: I get you, it really is a mind blowing number of calories. But take away the calories and focus more on the macronutrients and their sources. If you use white bread, starchy potoatos, and simple sugars for your carbs...theres no doubt you will gain fat back from that. Eat loads of trans fats...no doubt you will gain. You just stick to healthy sources for everything, whole grain breads, pastas, rice, sweet potatos, and green vegetables for carbs, fats from meats, olive oil, coconut oil, and eat loads of protein 1.5-1.75 grams per pound of your bodyweight and lift intensely!!! a good balance of macros is 60%pro/20%fats/20%carbs all clean eating. When you eat this way you will not gain very much fat (you will gain a little) but the increased muscle mass turns your body into a fat burning machine and cutting the fat is as simple as dropping off some carbs for a while. 
09 Dec 13 by member: chadlius88
That first calculation IS frightening. For me, at 211, it would be 5337 calories! Yikes. I don't want to work out that hard. LOL. Thanks for the scale info, Keld. I'm going to get one. 
09 Dec 13 by member: Draglist
@Chadilus - I hear you. I essentially NEVER eat white breads, stuff like that. Denmark is HUGE on potatoes, but I limit my intake somewhat. I agree with you in general, and I practice it as much as it is practical for me to do - which I suppose means I do my best but I'm no saint. :) 
09 Dec 13 by member: kingkeld
@Draglist - I highly recommend the scale. Be aware that numbers to swing quite some up and down from day to day. I've read reviews where they state that it feels highly inaccurate, but I believe that our numbers simply change because so many things affect them. I think the readings are right, and it's all a matter of reading them right, and understanding what factors can be behind them. You can handle it though. You've got a good grip on things. Now, what I REALLY like about this scale is the fact that it saves ALL your data on an SD card. You can put the card in your computer and run statistics on EVERYTHING. Also, it is seriously detailed in its readings. You can actually measure fluid, muscle and fat in each individual limb - left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg, body. Wild. If you can find this one at a fair price, then it will be your best weight loss and body(re)building friend.  
09 Dec 13 by member: kingkeld
Thanks. I checked Amazon.com and found that the North American model (601-F) does not have the SD card. Bogus! But I will look into it anyway. 
09 Dec 13 by member: Draglist
D'oh! That's not fair. I love that feature. It makes the nerd in me jump with joy and clap his little chubby hands. My inner nerd still has chubby hands. :) 
09 Dec 13 by member: kingkeld
I ordered the simpler Tanita BC533 Glass Innerscan Body Composition Monitor as a start... it will give me much more info than I have now and it's only $89. Will try that one for a while! Thanks. bp 
09 Dec 13 by member: Draglist
@Sarahsmum - I appreciate it. I know I geek out a lot in my journals lately, and this probably isn't interesting for everyone - but I learn a LOT from it. I appreciate your concern over the lack of sleep, and boy do I wish I had a better solution. Pains are truly a pain. :/ Tonight, I will take a calming herbal medicine we have. I don't think it does anything in regards to pain, but maybe it'll calm me down just a notch to help me sleep better.  
09 Dec 13 by member: kingkeld
@Draglist - I don't know the BC533, but it looks okay. I am sure it's a whole lot better than not knowing, since you like to geek out like I do. :) Careful though. Numbers are highly addictive. :) 
09 Dec 13 by member: kingkeld
LOL. I love them. Hard to see how I can get more involved then I am, but here goes... 
09 Dec 13 by member: Draglist

     
 

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