Friday, December 31, 2010

64.5% OF THE FAT LOST - 92.2% OF THE MUSCLE GAINED

Right before I started Atkins, this was me:

158 pounds
70.8 pounds of body fat - 44.8%
87.2 pounds of lean mass - 55.2%

This is me now:
142.8 pounds
46.1 pounds of body fat - 32.3%
96.7 pounds of lean mass - 67.7%

This is my dream goal (we'll see!)
130 pounds
32.5 pounds of body fat - 25%
97.5 pounds of lean mass - 75%

So that means that, so far, since February 2009:

I have lost 64.5% of the body fat I set out to lose.

I have gained 92.2% of the muscle I set out to gain.

Last time I posted about this was yesterday, and the numbers were 63% and 93%. Progress!

Also, my actual pounds of body fat are at the lowest they have been since starting Atkins.

MONTH END CHARTS

Since this is the last day of the month, I'm going to post all my charts.

The chart below shows my daily scale weight, my 7-day average weight and my total weight loss:



The chart below shows my actual daily scale weight and my 28-day moving average:

 The chart below shows my 28-day moving average:



One of the things I track is the average weight for each calendar month.  It is not a moving average - I just take my scale weight each day of the month, add them together and divide by the number of days in the month.  It gives me an idea of the overall trend.  Here are my monthly average weights since I started tracking in February 2009:

155.0 - February 2009 - Starting Weight
150.9 - March 2009 - lost 4.1 pounds
148.3 - April 2009 - lost 2.6 pounds
145.8 - May 2009 - lost 2.5 pounds
142.6 - June 2009 - lost 3.2 pounds
141.5 - July 2009 - lost 1.1 pounds
141.6 - August 2009 - gained 0.1 pound
141.9 - September 2009 - gained 0.3 pounds
141.7 - October 2009 - lost 0.2 pounds
140.5 - November 2009 - lost 1.2 pounds
141.2 - December 2009 - gained 0.7 pounds
141.4 - January 2010 - gained 0.2 pounds
143.9 - February 2010 - gained 2.5 pounds
143.8 - March 2010 - lost 0.1 pound
143.6 - April 2010 - lost 0.2 pounds
140.1 - May 2010 - lost 3.5 pounds
140.8 - June 2010 - gained 0.7 pounds
139.5 - July 2010 - lost 1.3 pounds
141.6 - August 2010 - gained 2.1 pound
 142.3 - September 2010 - gained 0.7 pounds
143.2 - October 2010 - gained 0.9 pounds
143.3 - November 2010 - gained 0.1 pounds
144.2 - December 2010 - gained 0.9 pounds

The chart below shows these numbers:



The chart below shows my BMI.  The number is going up, but that's okay, because I am putting on muscle and losing fat.

The chart below shows my body fat percentage:

The chart below show my pounds of body fat and lean body mass:


Thursday, December 30, 2010

63% OF THE FAT LOST - 93% OF THE MUSCLE GAINED

Right before I started Atkins, this was me:

158 pounds
70.8 pounds of body fat - 44.8%
87.2 pounds of lean mass - 55.2%

This is me now:
143.4 pounds
46.6 pounds of body fat - 32.5%
96.8 pounds of lean mass - 67.5%

This is my dream goal (we'll see!)
130 pounds
32.5 pounds of body fat - 25%
97.5 pounds of lean mass - 75%

So that means that, so far, since February 2009:

I have lost 63% of the body fat I set out to lose.

I have gained 93% of the muscle I set out to gain.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

MY HUSBAND IS TOO THIN!

Bill in October 2010
Taken in our backyard


At least that's what my step-sister told my father the other day.

She told my dad that she is worried that Bill is getting too thin and should stop losing weight.

Of course, it is not true - he still has around 15 pounds of fat to get rid of - but he used to be 40+ pounds overweight, so it is fun to hear that someone notices the difference.

Lately, every time I see Bill from across the room, I am struck by how slim he looks. He's lookin' pretty good!







Bill in September 1995



Just for comparison, this photo shows Bill in 1995, when he was at his heaviest.  When I look at his face in this photo, it's hard to believe he was that round - it doesn't even look like him to me.

Monday, December 27, 2010

NO SHOULDER SURGERY NEEDED - PT AND DRUGS ONLY

I just saw the orthopedic surgeon and he said that if they can get me 50% better in four weeks, I will get all better in time.

YAY!

He also said that, even though there is a small tendon tear on the top of my shoulder, he thinks the main source of the pain is the pinched nerve in my neck.

I am going back there for my PT evaluation in about an hour.

I asked the doc if I could start lifting again, and he said to ask the PT person. He said they love people who lift weights, and they will be able to tell me exactly what I can and cannot do.

The doctor said that I could go ahead and do cardio, and I told him I don't do traditional cardio - that I only lift weights. He looked at me like my head had just spun around. A woman that does not use the elliptical machine??? Unheard of!

Anyway, I am very relieved and hoping they will let me do some (all?) of my PT at home.

I also was put on an anti-inflammatory for three weeks. He said if it makes me swell up, to stop taking it and do without. I do have a history of swelling up with those drugs. He said this one is better for that. We'll see.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

FITDAY VS. FATSECRET

 On the Atkins Community Forum, there are two popular free food tracking websites that people use.  There is always a friendly "disagreement" on which one is better - Fitday or Fatsecret.

I have tried them both, and I prefer Fitday, and there are only four things I can see that make Fatsecret superior to the free, online version of Fitday:

1.  Fatsecret tracks net carbs and the free, online version of Fitday does not.  It gives you the carbs and fiber, and you have to do the math yourself to get net carbs.  The downloadable PC version of Fitday will track net carbs, but the program costs $30.

2.  Fatsecret lets you track your foods according to breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, and the free, online version of Fitday keeps all your food in one list.  The PC version of Fitday lets you separate food into meals and snacks.

3.  Fatsecret has lots of brand name foods in their database and Fitday does not.  Personally, I eat mostly real, whole, fresh foods, and I don't use brand name foods, so for me, this is not an issue.  For someone that uses a lot of processed foods or name brand foods, this might be an issue.

4.  Fatsecret has a smart phone ap.  Fitday does not.

Even considering these four differences, I still think Fitday is the program that is easiest to use and has the most tracking options.  Here are the reasons that I think Fitday is better, at least for me:

1.  Fitday lets you track an unlimited number of options, such as calories, carbs, protein, fat, sodium, cholesterol, sugars, fiber,  sodium, nutrients and RDI.  Fatsecret will only let you choose six of these then things to track.  If you want to track net carbs, you have to give up tracking sodium, for example.

2.  Fitday allows you to show your food journal, in its entirety, to anyone by making your journal public and supplying a link.  Fatsecret will let you do that to, but the person you are showing it to needs to have their own account with Fatsecret, and be logged in, and even then, at times you cannot see their full journal.

3.  Fitday allows you to put your food items into your journal in the order you wantto appear.  Fatsecret will put the food items into your journal in the order it wants then to be in, and you have no control over the order.

4.  Fatsecret allows users to input their own information, which then becomes part of the database of foods.  I don't like that a person can put inaccurate information into Fatsecret, and then make it part of the database.  With Fitday, you can make changes to anything you want, but it will not be shared with other Fitday users.

5.  Fitday allows you to customize foods.  If you want to create a custom food, you can choose a similar food and then change the numbers and save it as your custom food.  Fatsecret makes you start from scratch to create a custom food.  And if you decide that one serving is a slice, and enter it that way, when you look at your menu for the day, it will not show you that one serving is one slice, it will only say "one serving".  You have to go to another page to remind yourself of what a "serving" is.  For example, you may decide that "one serving" is one ounce or one gram, and if you forget which it is, you have to go to another page to see that.  When you look at your menu for Fitday, everything is on one page.  You can print that page and hang it on the fridge and know that everything you need to know is on that page.

THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER - GETTING BACK ON TRACK

I am so glad that the holidays are over, and I can just eat on plan without always being tempted with candy and cookies and cake and pie!  I was at the mall today, and actually turned around and walked quickly away from the Cinnabon store before I could really start to be tempted.  I said to myself, "Christmas is over.  Today is the day that I get back on track and stop eating holiday foods!"

Since the Sunday morning before Thanksgiving until this morning, the day after Christmas:

I gained 2.1 pounds of fat.  (boo!)
I gained 2.7 pounds of lean mass.  (yay!)
I went from 33.1% body fat to 33.4%.  (not too bad!)
I gained 1/4" around my neck.
I gained 1/8" around my bicep.
I gained 1/4" around my bust.
I gained 1/2" around my midriff.
I gained 1/4" around my waist.
I lost 1/4" around my navel.
I lost 1/4" around my hips.

All in all, not too bad.  I'm not that upset.  I now have around 5 or 6 weeks to be serious before I take off for the vacation that I always gain weight on!

The thing that is bothering me is the fact that my shoulder tendon is torn, and I cannot exercise.  I keep being tempted to do a little, but I remind myself that my doctor appointment is tomorrow, and I can chill out until then, and see if he releases me to start doing a little lifting again.

DECEMBER 26 - WEEK 93 RESULTS

One week ago, my actual scale weight was 143.4.
Today, my actual scale weight is 145.4.
I gained 2 pounds this past week.

 One week ago, my average weight for the week was 143.8.
Today, my average weight for the week is 144.2.
I gained 0.4 pounds this past week.

I tracked my food on fitday two days this past week, but I did not look at the totals until Saturday night.  I did a lot of off-plan eating on the days that I did not track.

Here is a chart that shows my week of food and the average for the two days that I tracked.



Today is my weekly measuring day. In the past 7 days:

I lost 1/8" around my bicep
I gained 1/2" around my midriff
I gained 1/4" around my waist
I gained 1/4" around my navel
I lost 1/4" around my calf

Here is what I have lost so far, since starting to lose weight in February 2009:

Neck - 13.75" to 12.5" - down 1-1/4"
Bicep - 11.75" to 11.875" - up 1/8"
Forearm - 9" - no change
Bust - 38.25" to 36" - down 2-1/4"
Midriff - 32.25" to 30" - down 2-1/4"
Waist - 31.5" to 29.5" - down 2"
Navel - 38.25" to 32.25" - down 6"
Hips - 42" to 39" - down 3"
Thigh - 24.5" to 22.25" - down 2-1/4"
Calf - 14.5" to 13.5" - down 1"





BODY COMPOSITION

AT THE BEGINNING OF WEIGHT LOSS 2/22/09

158 pounds
35" waist
13.75" neck
45.5" hips
28.0 BMI
0.56 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
44.8% body fat

ONE MONTH AGO

149.6 pounds
32" waist
12.5" neck
40.5" hips
26.6 BMI
0.51 waist-to-height ratio
0.79 waist-to-hip ratio
35.9% body fat

ONE WEEK AGO

143.4 pounds
30.5" waist
12.5" neck
39.5" hips
25.5 BMI
0.48 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
32.8% body fat

TODAY

145.4 pounds
31" waist
12.5" neck
39.5" hips
25.8 BMI
0.49 waist-to-height ratio
0.78 waist-to-hip ratio
33.4% body fat

Since my heaviest weight in February 2009, I have lost 12.6 pounds on the scale, 4" around my waist, 1.25" around my neck and 6" around my hips.  I have lost 22.2 pounds of fat and I have gained 9.6 pounds of lean mass.

In the past month, I have lost 4.2 pounds on the scale and I have lost 1" around my waist and 1" around my hips.  I have lost 5.1 pounds of fat and I have gained 0.9 pounds of lean mass.

In the past week, I have gained 2 pounds on the scale.  I  have gained 1/2" around my waist.  I have gained 1.6 pounds of fat and I have gained 0.4 pounds of lean mass.




MY NEXT GOAL

142 pounds
29.92" waist
12.25" neck
39.25" hips
25.2 BMI
0.47 waist-to-height ratio
0.76 waist-to-hip ratio
32.1% body fat

To achieve this, I need to lose 3 pounds of fat and lose 0.4 pounds of lean mass.  I need to lose 1" around my waist, 1/4" around my neck and 1/4" around my hips.

MY ULTIMATE DREAM GOAL

130 pounds
26.5" waist
12.25" neck
37.25" hips
23.1 BMI
0.42 waist-to-height ratio
0.71 waist-to-hip ratio
25% body fat

To achieve this, I need to lose 16.1 more pounds of fat and gain 0.7 more pounds of lean mass.  I need to lose another 4.5" around my waist, another 0.25" around my neck and another 2.25" around my hips.

If I reach this goal, I will have lost a total of 38.3 pounds of fat and gained a total of 10.3 pounds of lean mass since my highest weight on February 22, 2009.  I will have also lost 8.5" around my waist, 1.5" around my neck and 8.25" around my hips.

Friday, December 24, 2010

CRUSTLESS PUMPKIN PIE

After looking around on the internet for a crustless pumpkin pie recipe, and finding several, I settled on this one, which is simply the recipe off the Libby's 100% Pumpkin label, with a couple of minor changes to make it lower in carbs and free of grains. 

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Makes a 9" deep dish pie


Ingredients:
2 eggs
15 oz. pumpkin, canned, no salt added
30 drops Stevia sweetener
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1.5 cups (12 fluid oz.) heavy cream (whipping cream)

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.

2.  Beat eggs slightly in a medium bowl.

3.  Add remaining ingredients one at a time, blending well after each one.

4.  Pour mixture into a 9" deep dish pie plate that has been buttered or sprayed with cooking spray.

5.  Bake at 425 degrees fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

6.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees fahrenheit and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes.

7.  Pie is done when a toothpick or knife inserted near center of pie comes out clean.

8.  Cool on a rack, then refrigerate until cold.

9.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

This is the nutritional information for the whole pie, not including optional whipped topping:

1590 Calories
143.7g Fat
24.8g Protein
49.4g Carbohydrate
13.9g Dietary Fiber
35.5g Net Carbohydrate, of which 22.1g come from the pumpkin

This is the nutritional information for 1/8 of the whole pie, not including optional whipped topping:

198.8 Calories
18g Fat
3.1g Protein
6.2g Carbohydrate
1.7g Dietary Fiber
4.5g Net Carbohydrate, of which 2.8g come from the pumpkin

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FOCACCIA-STYLE FLAX BREAD



From Laura Dolson:

I call this "focaccia" because it is baked in that style -- flat on a sheet pan, and then cut up into whatever sized pieces you want. It works for toast, sandwiches, and other bready uses. It is "rough" in texture like heavy whole grain breads. Since it isn't made with wheat, it doesn't have the same kind of grain as wheat breads, but the carb in flax is almost all fiber. Flax is very useful on a low carb diet, as well as being amazingly good for you.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

* 2 cups flax seed meal
* 1 Tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1-2 Tablespoons sugar equivalent from artificial sweetener
* 5 beaten eggs
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/3 cup oil

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare pan (a 10X15 pan with sides works best) with oiled parchment paper or a silicone mat.

1) Mix dry ingredients well -- a whisk works well.

2) Add wet to dry, and combine well. Make sure there aren't obvious strings of egg white hanging out in the batter.

3) Let batter set for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken up some (leave it too long and it gets past the point where it's easy to spread.)

4) Pour batter onto pan. Because it's going to tend to mound in the middle, you'll get a more even thickness if you spread it away from the center somewhat, in roughly a rectangle an inch or two from the sides of the pan (you can go all the way to the edge, but it will be thinner).

5) Bake for about 20 minutes, until it springs back when you touch the top and/or is visibly browning even more than flax already is.

6) Cool and cut into whatever size slices you want. You don't need a sharp knife; I usually just cut it with a spatula.

Nutritional Information: Each of 12 servings has less than a gram of effective carbohydrate (.7 grams to be exact) plus 5 grams fiber, 6 grams protein, and 185 calories.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MRI RESULTS

I just got my report. It says:

Impression:

1. Small interstitial supraspinatus tendon tear and mild supraspinatus peritendinous bursitis. No full thickness retracted tear seen.

2. No labral tear seen. (This is what my doctor was 99.9% sure I had.)

3. Intact biceps pulley tendon mechanism. (He also thought this was messed up.)

So, YAY, basically! According to my PT niece, I am headed for physical therapy and NOT surgery. Of course, the doctor will have to confirm this, but even the medical sites I looked at just now said that you should do PT for 3-6 months before considering surgery.

My appointment is not for another week, so I guess I will just lay low until then and relax and stop thinking about surgery.

By the way, I looked up to see what the PT would be for this, and it was all of the arm exercises and weight lifting that I have been doing as part of my regular workouts - push ups, rows, etc.

A SOCIAL NETWORK CHRISTMAS

Monday, December 20, 2010

ARTHROGRAM MRI - ANOTHER HORRIBLE MEDICAL PROCEDURE TO CHECK OFF MY LIST

Yes, I am evidently on track to have every horrible medical procedure known to man before I die.  I just got back from having my most recent - an Arthrogram MRI of my right shoulder.

I spent about 45 minutes in the open MRI, which is not a problem for me.  I got to listen to Christmas music and I fell asleep a couple of times.  Afterward, I went to another room to get the contrast injection.  I was lying on the table, and saw an x-ray of my shoulder, which was pretty cool.  The technician asked me if I wanted to watch the screen while they inserted the needle into my shoulder joint.  He obviously does not know me.  Here is what they did to me, and just in case you are wondering, the patient in the video is not me:



I know it may look like fun in the video, but it was not.  The first needle going in wasn't bad at all, but when he started injecting the lidocaine, I felt sharp pain not only in my shoulder joint, but shooting up into my chin and down to my fingertips.  It was pretty rough and I yelled a bit.  He said he was done, and that I was numb, and then he started injecting the wonderflonium and guess what!  I was not numb, I yelled a little bit more, and he had to numb me again.  When he did that, I had to yell some more.

By this time, I was pouring sweat, shaking and headed into a mild panic.  He asked if I was prone to panic attacks, and I told him yes, but only when I am having painful medical procedures.  He got me to open my eyes and reassured me that the painful part was over.  He finished the procedure, and there was no more pain.  After the contrast material was in the joint, I went back into the MRI for another 15 minutes.  I just could not relax, due to the stress of having the pain, and I felt myself scowling all the way through it.

I am home now and feeling nervous and I want to binge on carbs.  They gave me a little gift at the MRI place - four Fannie May chocolates in a pretty little box.  I ate three of them and gave one to Bill.  I also ate the box.

They also gave me a disk with 221 photos.  Here are two of them:

Ah!  I see... that I have an arm bone. Aside from the bone, which I definitely have, I have no idea what I am looking at.  In 24 to 48 hours, they are going to fax me the report that will say whether or not I have a torn muscle.

Just in case you are new around here, you can read about my shoulder injury.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

PUMPKIN PROTEIN COOKIES

Double click the photo to enlarge.
I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Atkins Forum.  Thanks to Thinker and TigerTye.  It's a good way to get in some fat, protein and carbs, not to mention a veggie. 

I am so pleased with these cookies - not all at like a "health food", but like a real cookie.  It made me feel happy to get to have a treat, especially around Christmas, when cookies are part of the festivities.





Pumpkin Protein Cookies


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 Tbs. coconut oil
56g (or 1 cup before grinding) flaxseed, ground very fine with a coffee or spice grinder
26 drops liquid Stevia
15 oz. canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
7.5 Tbs. IsoPure Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (available at GNC)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1.  Soften butter and coconut oil.  Cream together.

2.  Add half the ground flaxseed and blend well.

3.  Add Stevia, pumpkin, protein powder, remaining ground flaxseed, eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well after each.

4.  Add baking soda, salt and spices, mixing well.

5.  Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

6.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

7.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Doing this will keep the cookies from getting to dark on the bottom, and from sticking to the pan.  It also makes for a super easy clean up.

8.  Drop the dough onto the parchment paper by level tablespoons.  This will produce a thick, cake-like cookie, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  To get a thinner, crisper cookie, flatten them somewhat before baking.  If you flatten them, they will need a shorter baking time.  These cookies will not spread when they bake, so you can place them close together.

9.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until done, and cool on a rack. 

This recipe made around 60 cookies.  If you prefer, you can make the cookies larger and get a smaller yield.

This is the nutritional information for the whole recipe:

2489 Calories
99g Fat
85.4g Protein
1.4g Alcohol
87.8g Carbohydrate
58.5g Dietary Fiber
29.3g Net Carbohydrate, of which 22.1g come from the pumpkin

I wanted to know the information for one cookie, so here is what I did:  When the cookies were cooled, I weighed the whole batch, and it came out to 540 grams.  I put an entry into www.fitday.com called "Pumpkin Protein Cookies" and used the nutritional info for the whole batch and said that it weighed 540 grams.  Now, when I want some cookies, I just weigh the ones I want and enter how many grams they weigh into fitday, and it does the math for me.

If you would rather not weigh the cookies, you can count the number of cookies you made, and then divide the total info by that number to know what the info for one cookie is.  Because I ended up with 60 cookies, this would be the info for one cookie:

41.5 Calories
1.65g Fat
1.42g Protein
0.023g Alcohol
1.46g Carbohydrate
0.975g Dietary Fiber
0.485g Net Carbohydrate, of which 0.37g come from the pumpkin

DECEMBER 19 - WEEK 92 RESULTS

One week ago, my actual scale weight was 143.4.
Today, my actual scale weight is 143.4.
I lost 0 pounds this past week.

 One week ago, my average weight for the week was 144.3.
Today, my average weight for the week is 143.8.
I lost 0.5 pounds this past week.

I tracked my food on fitday five days this past week, but I did not look at the totals until Saturday night.  I ate normal meals, and on the days that I worked out, I had extra protein in the form of a shake.  Some of the days, I had treats like cheese, nuts, dark chocolate and apple.

Here is a chart that shows my week of food and the average for the five days that I tracked.



Today is my weekly measuring day. In the past 7 days:

I lost 3/4" around my navel
I gained 1/4" around my hips
I gained 1/4" around my calf

Here is what I have lost so far, since starting to lose weight in February 2009:

Neck - 13.75" to 12.5" - down 1.25"
Bicep - 11.75" to 12" - up 0.25"
Forearm - 9" - no change
Bust - 38.25" to 36" - down 2.25"
Midriff - 32.25" to 29.5" - down 2.75"
Waist - 31.5" to 29.25" - down 2.25"
Navel - 38.25" to 32" - down 6.25"
Hips - 42" to 39" - down 3"
Thigh - 24.5" to 22.25" - down 2.25"
Calf - 14.5" to 13.75" - down 0.75"



BODY COMPOSITION

AT THE BEGINNING OF WEIGHT LOSS 2/22/09

158 pounds
35" waist
13.75" neck
45.5" hips
28.0 BMI
0.56 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
44.8% body fat

ONE MONTH AGO

140.6 pounds
30.5" waist
12.25" neck
39.5" hips
25.0 BMI
0.48 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
33.1% body fat

ONE WEEK AGO

143.4 pounds
30.75" waist
12.5" neck
39.75" hips
25.5 BMI
0.49 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
33.4% body fat

TODAY

143.4 pounds
30.5" waist
12.5" neck
39.5" hips
25.5 BMI
0.48 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
32.8% body fat

Since my heaviest weight in February 2009, I have lost 14.6 pounds on the scale, 4.5" around my waist, 1.25" around my neck and 6" around my hips.  I have lost 23.8 pounds of fat and I have gained 9.2 pounds of lean mass.

In the past month, I have gained 2.8 pounds on the scale and I have gained 1/4" around my neck.  I have gained 0.5 pounds of fat and I have gained 2.3 pounds of lean mass.

In the past week, I have lost 0 pounds on the scale.  I  have lost 1/4" around my waist and 1/4" around my hips.  I have lost 0.9 pounds of fat and I have gained 0.9 pounds of lean mass.



MY NEXT GOAL

142 pounds
29.92" waist
12.25" neck
39.25" hips
25.2 BMI
0.47 waist-to-height ratio
0.76 waist-to-hip ratio
32.1% body fat

To achieve this, I need to lose 1.4 pounds of fat and gain 0 pounds of lean mass.  I need to lose 1/2" around my waist, 1/4" around my neck and 1/4" around my hips.

MY ULTIMATE DREAM GOAL

130 pounds
26.5" waist
12.25" neck
37.25" hips
23.1 BMI
0.42 waist-to-height ratio
0.71 waist-to-hip ratio
25% body fat

To achieve this, I need to lose 14.5 more pounds of fat and gain 1.1 more pounds of lean mass.  I need to lose another 4" around my waist, another 0.25" around my neck and another 2.25" around my hips.

If I reach this goal, I will have lost a total of 38.3 pounds of fat and gained a total of 10.3 pounds of lean mass since my highest weight on February 22, 2009.  I will have also lost 8.5" around my waist, 1.5" around my neck and 8.25" around my hips.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A REVERSAL ON CARBS - LOS ANGELES TIMES ARTICLE

Fat was once the devil. Now more nutritionists are pointing accusingly at sugar and refined grains.

carbs
Carb consumption has risen over the yeras. So have U.S. obesity levels. (Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times / December 20, 2010)




Most people can count calories. Many have a clue about where fat lurks in their diets. However, fewer give carbohydrates much thought, or know why they should.

But a growing number of top nutritional scientists blame excessive carbohydrates — not fat — for America's ills. They say cutting carbohydrates is the key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

"Fat is not the problem," says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases."

It's a confusing message. For years we've been fed the line that eating fat would make us fat and lead to chronic illnesses. "Dietary fat used to be public enemy No. 1," says Dr. Edward Saltzman, associate professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University. "Now a growing and convincing body of science is pointing the finger at carbs, especially those containing refined flour and sugar."

Americans, on average, eat 250 to 300 grams of carbs a day, accounting for about 55% of their caloric intake. The most conservative recommendations say they should eat half that amount. Consumption of carbohydrates has increased over the years with the help of a 30-year-old, government-mandated message to cut fat.

And the nation's levels of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease have risen. "The country's big low-fat message backfired," says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "The overemphasis on reducing fat caused the consumption of carbohydrates and sugar in our diets to soar. That shift may be linked to the biggest health problems in America today."

To understand what's behind the upheaval takes some basic understanding of food and metabolism.

All carbohydrates (a category including sugars) convert to sugar in the blood, and the more refined the carbs are, the quicker the conversion goes. When you eat a glazed doughnut or a serving of mashed potatoes, it turns into blood sugar very quickly. To manage the blood sugar, the pancreas produces insulin, which moves sugar into cells, where it's stored as fuel in the form of glycogen.

If you have a perfectly healthy metabolism, the system works beautifully, says Dr. Stephen Phinney, a nutritional biochemist and an emeritus professor of UC Davis who has studied carbohydrates for 30 years. "However, over time, as our bodies get tired of processing high loads of carbs, which evolution didn't prepare us for … how the body responds to insulin can change," he says.

When cells become more resistant to those insulin instructions, the pancreas needs to make more insulin to push the same amount of glucose into cells. As people become insulin resistant, carbs become a bigger challenge for the body. When the pancreas gets exhausted and can't produce enough insulin to keep up with the glucose in the blood, diabetes develops.

The first sign of insulin resistance is a condition called metabolic syndrome — a red flag that diabetes, and possibly heart disease, is just around the corner. People are said to have the syndrome when they have three or more of the following: high blood triglycerides (more than 150 mg); high blood pressure (over 135/85); central obesity (a waist circumference in men of more than 40 inches and in women, more than 35 inches); low HDL cholesterol (under 40 in men, under 50 in women); or elevated fasting glucose.

About one-fourth of adults has three or more of these symptoms.

"Put these people on a low-carb diet and they'll not only lose weight, which always helps these conditions, but their blood levels will improve," Phinney says. In a 12-week study published in 2008, Phinney and his colleagues put 40 overweight or obese men and women with metabolic syndrome on a 1,500-calorie diet. Half went on a low-fat, high-carb diet. The others went on a low-carb, high-fat diet. The low-fat group consumed 12 grams of saturated fat a day out of a total of 40 grams of fat, while the low-carb group ate 36 grams of saturated fat a day — three times more — out of a total of 100 grams of fat.

Despite all the extra saturated fat the low-carb group was getting, at the end of the 12 weeks, levels of triglycerides (which are risk factors for heart disease) had dropped by 50% in this group. Levels of good HDL cholesterol increased by 15%.

In the low-fat, high-carb group, triglycerides dropped only 20% and there was no change in HDL.

The take-home message from this study and others like it is that — contrary to what many expect — dietary fat intake is not directly related to blood fat. Rather, the amount of carbohydrates in the diet appears to be a potent contributor.

"The good news," adds Willett, "is that based on what we know, almost everyone can avoid Type 2 diabetes. Avoiding unhealthy carbohydrates is an important part of that solution." For those who are newly diagnosed, he adds, a low-carb diet can take the load off the pancreas before it gets too damaged and improve the condition — reducing or averting the need for insulin or other diabetes meds.

Americans can also blame high-carb diets for why the population has gotten fatter over the last 30 years, says Phinney, who is co-author of "The New Atkins for a New You" (Simon & Schuster, 2010).

"Carbohydrates are a metabolic bully," Phinney says. "They cut in front of fat as a fuel source and insist on being burned first. What isn't burned gets stored as fat, and doesn't come out of storage as long as carbs are available. And in the average American diet, they always are."

Here's how Phinney explains it: When you cut carbs, your body first uses available glycogen as fuel. When that's gone, the body turns to fat and the pancreas gets a break. Blood sugar stabilizes, insulin levels drop, fat burns. That's why the diet works for diabetics and for weight loss.

When the body switches to burning fat instead of glycogen, it goes into a process called nutritional ketosis. If a person eats 50 or fewer grams of carbs, his body will go there, Phinney says. (Nutritional ketosis isn't to be confused with ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that can occur in diabetics.)

Beyond the fat-burning effects of ketosis, people lose weight on low-carb diets because fat and protein increase satisfaction and reduce appetite. On the flip side, simple carbs cause an insulin surge, which triggers a blood sugar drop, which makes you hungry again.

"At my obesity clinic, my default diet for treating obesity, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome is a low-carb diet," says Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University Medical Center, and co-author of the new Atkins book. "If you take carbohydrates away, all these things get better."

Though the movement to cap carbs is growing, not all nutritional scientists have fully embraced it. Dr. Ronald Krauss, senior scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute and founder and past chair of the American Heart Assn.'s Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, says that while he fundamentally agrees with those advocating fewer dietary carbs, he doesn't like to demonize one food group.

That said, he adds, those who eat too many calories tend to overconsume carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates and sugars. "It can be extremely valuable to limit carbohydrate intake and substitute protein and fat. I am glad to see so many people in the medical community getting on board. But in general I don't recommend extreme dietary measures for promoting health."

Joanne Slavin, professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota and a member of the advisory committee for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is less inclined to support the movement. The committee, she says, "looked at carbohydrates and health outcomes and did not find a relationship between carbohydrate intake and increased disease risk."

Most Americans need to reduce calories and increase activity, Slavin adds. Cutting down on carbs as a calorie source is a good strategy, "but making a hit list of carbohydrate-containing foods is shortsighted and doomed to fail, similar to the low-fat rules that started in the 1980s."

As nutrition scientists try to find the ideal for the future, others look to history and evolution for answers. One way to put our diet in perspective is to imagine the face of a clock with 24 hours on it. Each hour represents 100,000 years that humans have been on the Earth.

On this clock, the advent of agriculture and refined grains would have appeared at about 11:54 p.m. (23 hours and 54 minutes into the day). Before that, humans were hunters and gatherers, eating animals and plants off the land. Agriculture allowed for the mass production of crops such as wheat and corn, and refineries transformed whole grains into refined flour and created processed sugar.

Some, like Phinney, would argue that we haven't evolved to adapt to a diet of refined foods and mass agriculture — and that maybe we shouldn't try.

To read the full article, click here.

DOWNLOAD MY SIMPLE FAT PROTEIN CARBS CALCULATOR HERE

I just put my calculator online, so it can now be downloaded directly to your computer.

The calculator is very simple, and helps you figure out how much to eat each day on Atkins. The instructions are included in the calculator.


Although you may need to make adjustments as you go along, this calculator will give you a starting place.

To get the calculator, click here and then be sure to click "Download" to be able to input your own numbers:

If you have any questions after you download the calculator, post them here.  Have fun!

Friday, December 17, 2010

SHOULDER INJURY

I went to an orthopedic surgeon today. Two days ago, I evidently tore a muscle in my shoulder. Technically, I did it weight lifting, but not during my regular routine. I picked up a 14 lb. weight (not that heavy) to move it, and I was not careful, and was immediately in big trouble and pain. I put it down quickly, and I have been in hot pain ever since with limited movement and strength.

Based on the 34 painful positions he put my arm in, the doctor suspects a SLAP lesion.

I am scheduled for an x-ray guided contrast injection MRI on Monday evening, the 20th. If it is what the doctor thinks it is, he says I have to have surgery to repair the muscle. He says PT and drugs will not help without surgery first.



I looked it up on the internet, and all of the sites said that most SLAP lesions don't need surgery, and that physical therapy and drugs should always be tried first.

When I looked up the surgery, it said that you cannot use your arm for 6 weeks after the surgery (yes, it is my right arm and, yes, I am right handed) and the time to total recovery is 3-4 months.

I guess I will be getting a second opinion after the MRI results come in. I have my next appointment with the original doctor to discuss the MRI results on December 27th. They said I just have to live with the pain until then, and don't do anything with my arm that causes pain.

Sometimes it seems like two steps forward and ten steps back. I do not want to stop weight lifting. I don't want to lose the muscle I have gained and gain back the fat I have lost. I am just basically a big baby when it comes to surgery, and I don't want to be scarred in a place that shows in a sundress.

I did this to myself. I was careless. I don't want anyone to think that it was sensible weight lifting that did this to me, and avoid lifting, because it is so important to health, especially to women "of a certain age".

Anyway, not happy. Not happy at all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

DEVILED EGG VARIATIONS

Here are 14 different ways to make Deviled Eggs, adapted from an old cookbook - Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking (1959):

Anchovy:  For 6 eggs, use 2 Tbs. anchovy paste, 1 Tbs. minced chives and 1 tsp. lemon juice.

Bacon:  Cook bacon until crisp.  Chop and mix with mashed egg yolk and minced parsley.  Moisten with mayonnaise.

Caviar:  For 6 eggs, use 2 oz. caviar, 3 Tbs. mayonnaise, 1/4 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper.  Garnish tops with caviar.

Celery:  Chop celery very fine.  Mix with mashed egg yolks and moisten with mayonnaise.

Chicken or Veal:  Chop cooked chicken or veal very fine.  Mix with equal amounts of mashed egg yolk.  Season to taste.

Chicken Liver:  Saute chicken livers.  Chop fine and mix with mashed egg yolks.

Crabmeat:  For 6 eggs, use 1/2 cup flaked crabmeat, 1/2 cup finely chopped celery, 1 Tbs. finely chopped green pepper, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard and 1/3 cup mayonnaise.

Deviled Ham:  Blend deviled ham with the mashed egg yolks.  Smooth to a paste with mayonnaise.

Ham:  For 6 eggs, use 1/4 cup ground ham, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt and enough mayonnaise to form a smooth paste with the mashed egg yolks.

Liver Sausage:  Blend liver sausage with the mashed egg yolks.  Smooth to a paste with mayonnaise.

Mushroom and Onion:  Saute chopped mushrooms and onions in butter.  Mix with mashed egg yolks.

Pickle:  Mix finely chopped dill pickles with mashed egg yolks.  Moisten with mayonnaise.

Sardine:  Drain and mash sardines.  Season with salt and lemon juice.  Mix with mashed egg yolks.  Moisten with mayonnaise.

Shrimp:  Chop cooked shrimp and mix with mashed egg yolks.  Moisten with mayonnaise.

It is not mentioned here, but I always like to sprinkle a little paprika on my deviled eggs.

THE WAR OF THE COOKIES

I don't know what it is about cookies that make them so nearly irresistible to me! I'm sure it is mainly emotional and has to do with a sense of "reward" and "fun" when I get to have one. Or seven.

I may not have won the War of the Cookies yet, but I won a battle today.

I went to my granddaughter's preschool Christmas program this morning, which was actually written by 4-year-olds (my favorite part - Angel: "You are going to have a baby." Mary: "I will do what God wants." Angel: "Good luck with that.").

I don't know why I did not anticipate that the after party would be a cookie-rich environment. It was, and I chose not to eat even one cookie, but had a cup of tea instead. Here were the thoughts that went through my head:

This morning, my body fat was the lowest so far on Atkins. If I eat cookies, and it goes back up, I will be mad at myself later.

If there was a sugar bowl there instead of cookies, and everyone was eating pure sugar as a treat, would I do that, too? No. (I found out later that a 2" chocolate chip cookie has the same amount of net carbs as 1.5 tsp. of refined sugar, and will increase my blood sugar with equal speed.) Okay, the obvious answer to that is that the cookie tastes better than plain sugar. Must be all that yummy refined flour!

The cookies looked good, but so what?

This is not the last chance I am going to have to eat cookies. I don't have to resist cookies for the rest of my life. Just this morning at this event. (I borrowed that one from Bill W.)

Any time I want cookies, I can always go to the store and buy some. But will I do that? No. So if I won't buy them at the store, why would I eat them at a party?

Each time I resist an unhealthy food, it builds my resolve and increases my strength to turn away the next time, not to mention the neural pathways that are being formed that will make it more "second nature" as time goes on.

You know what I found out in the end? The longer I stayed at the party, the easier it got to ignore the cookies. By the time I left, I was not feeling deprived at all.

AND AGAIN! A NEW LOW FOR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE - 32.5%

The last time I posted about this was four days ago, and my body fat percentage had gone from 33.1% to 32.8%, which was an all-time Atkins low for me.

This morning, it has dropped again, this time to 32.5%.

I have not changed what I am eating or my activity level. I am lifting weights three times per week.

So, since December 12, I have lost 0.3 pounds of body fat, I have gained 1 pound of lean mass. I have also lost 1/4" around my hips.

Right before I started Atkins, this was me:

158 pounds
70.8 pounds of body fat - 44.8%
87.2 pounds of lean mass - 55.2%
35" waist
13.75" neck
45.5" hips
28.0 BMI
0.56 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio

This is me now:
144.0 pounds
46.8 pounds of body fat - 32.5%
97.2 pounds of lean mass - 67.5%
30.5" waist
12.5" neck
39.25" hips
25.6 BMI
0.48 waist-to-height ratio
0.78 waist-to-hip ratio

This is my dream goal (we'll see!)
130 pounds
32.5 pounds of body fat - 25%
97.5 pounds of lean mass - 75%
26.5" waist
12.25" neck
37.25" hips
23.1 BMI
0.42 waist-to-height ratio
0.71 waist-to-hip ratio

So that means that, so far, since February 2009:

I have lost 63% of the body fat I set out to lose.

I have gained 97% of the muscle I set out to gain.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I CAN'T GO TO BED!

62% OF THE FAT LOST - 90% OF THE MUSCLE GAINED

Right before I started Atkins, this was me:

158 pounds
70.8 pounds of body fat - 44.8%
87.2 pounds of lean mass - 55.2%

This is me now:
143.6 pounds
47.1 pounds of body fat - 32.8%
96.5 pounds of lean mass - 67.2%

This is my dream goal (we'll see!)
130 pounds
32.5 pounds of body fat - 25%
97.5 pounds of lean mass - 75%

So that means that, so far, since February 2009:

I have lost 62% of the body fat I set out to lose.

I have gained 90% of the muscle I set out to gain.

I always assumed that I would have a harder time gained the muscle and an easier time losing the fat.  It turned out to be the other way around.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

CALORIES IN CALORIES OUT - PSIPSINA

This from psipsina:

One of the more irritating things about die-hard proponents of low-calorie weight loss diets is how they talk about “the laws of thermodynamics” as though they have any idea what they actually mean, or how they might be applied to human nutrition.  Usually, I struggle mightily against the sin of arrogance, but I must say that when I read what passes in the press for nutrition writing, I am confident that I understand the laws of thermodynamics, as well as all the other laws of physics, better than most journalists do.

So, in today’s edition of Dumb Things the Diet Dictocrats (tip o’ the hat to Sally Fallon for the term Diet Dictocrats) Say, I am going to take on the tired notion of “calories in, calories out.”  In so doing, I hope I can make amends to the first law of thermodynamics for the sins that have been committed in its name.  I don’t use the word sins lightly; what else can you call it when someone like Jane Brody, who actually has a degree in biochemistry and should know better, advises the American public to consume exactly that diet that is most likely to lead to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and a host of other grievous ills, and on no better evidence than a fundamental misunderstanding of energy use and storage?

I am picking on Brody not because she’s any more egregious than any other writer, but because this article of hers provides an example of just exactly where the popular understanding of calories goes awry.  Here she “explains” to the reader how thermodynamics apply to the human body:
With respect to weight gain and loss, the laws of thermodynamics can be translated as: Calories consumed must be used or they will be stored as body fat.
So far, I have little quibble with what she says, though, as you’ll see below, I think it would be more accurate to say that “calories consumed must be disposed of.”  But before I go much further, I have to say that a surefire clue that a nutrition writer is a little fuzzy on the subject of thermodynamics is when he starts talking about the laws, plural, of thermodynamics.  What he means is the first law, which states that the amount of energy in a closed system does not change, the implication being adding energy to such a system results in a net increase in energy unless an equal amount of energy is subtracted from the system.  This law is often expressed as Energy is neither created nor destroyed.  The zeroth (yes, there really is one), second, and third have little to do with the total energy of a system.

So if I don’t fundamentally disagree with “calories in, calories out,” what is my beef?  The problem is that writers like Brody don’t understand the “calories out” portion of the equation.  And this misunderstanding is based on at least three fundamental myths, assumptions, or oversimplifications about how calories are expended.

Myth 1:  Calorie burning is 100% efficient.

Brody’s first poorly justified assumption is that the human body burns calories 100% efficiently and never wastes any – any that are not burned are stored as fat.  Indeed, in the article cited above, she goes on to say:
The body does not waste energy, no matter what its source.
This is an assumption, not a fact, and it is an assumption that is easily refuted.  The popular press delights in talking about the so-called dangers of ketosis, the metabolic state induced by significant carbohydrate restriction.  And yet they do not seem to catch on to the fact that the very process of ketosis results in a waste of body energy!  Let me say that again:  ketosis is a process that results in a waste of energy.  An analogy might be helpful – if you burn a log of wood for a certain amount of time, you will release or use energy in the form of light and heat, and you will probably end up with a large chunk of black stuff called charcoal.  You could throw out this hunk of charcoal.  But the charcoal still has energy, as anyone who has ever used a charcoal grill will understand, so you could also burn the charcoal and cook a steak over it.

The body’s metabolism of fat is very much like this.  When fats are burned, a by-product called ketones is produced.  Ketones are incompletely burned fat molecules, and like charcoal, they still contain some energy.  Some of the ketones can be and are burned for further energy; the heart and brain in particular will suck up ketones to use as fuel whenever they are present.  But if more ketones are produced than can be used, as is the case when fat is the primary source of dietary calories, the body excretes the unused ketones in the urine, breath, and sweat.  The body does not have a mechanism for storing excess ketones for later.  It’s like burning wood and tossing out most of the charcoal because there’s no place to keep it – a waste of energy.  And if you are overweight, wasting energy is exactly what you want to do.

Myth 2:  Basal metabolic rate never adjusts.

A person’s basal metabolic rate is the number of calories required just for low-level life processes – breathing, heartbeat, digestion, brain and nerve functions, and so forth.  You can think of it as the number of calories you’d need if you spent 24 hours lying very still.  The total number of calories a person expends in a day equals the person’s basal metabolic rate plus the number of calories expended in activities (plus, as we saw above, calories wasted by the incomplete burning of fat).
The way most popular nutrition writers understand this, a person’s basal metabolic rate (and for that matter, the number of calories expended by a given activity) does not respond to increased caloric intake.  Oddly, though, these same writers will easily grant that basal metabolic rate does respond to decreased caloric intake.  In fact, they use this phenomenon, which is well documented, to explain the failure of most people to lose significant amounts of weight, or keep the weight off, on low-calorie diets (which makes you wonder why they continue recommending such diets.  But I digress).  Our bodies, they say, evolved to store weight easily in times of plenty and get rid of it slowly in times of famine.  When you diet, they say, your body thinks a famine is impending and holds on to every last calorie it can.  People whose bodies did not work this way, they reason, would have failed to make it to reproductive age during famine; so we have our famine-resistant ancestors to thank for the inheritance of a gene that makes it hard for us to lose weight.  This is sometimes known as the Thrifty Gene argument.

This argument always makes me think that they don’t understand evolution any better than they understand thermodynamics!  I happen to think that the theory of evolution is just about the most brilliant product of the mind of Western man, but the problem with explaining our current condition by recourse to evolution is that all we know is that at some point in human history, conditions favored genes that are prevalent in our genome today.  Exactly what those conditions are is usually nothing but speculation, and you can almost always spin an equal and opposite story.  (This also drives me nuts when it’s used to explain the psychosocial differences between men and women, but again I digress.)  In the case of metabolism, an equal and opposite story would be that, in times of plenty (and surely there have been times of plenty in our evolutionary history – famine is a relatively recent occurrence in human history, tied to the development of agriculture and the subsequent dependence of humans on very small numbers of different crop species), it would be a disadvantage for our ancestors to gain more than a few pounds.  An obese hunter-gatherer would have a disadvantage in chasing prey or in running away from predators.  Furthermore, we know that obesity is associated with debilitating conditions like heart disease and diabetes.  Therefore, the obese would’ve been eaten by massive carnivores or died of heart attacks or diabetes complications and would’ve failed to reproduce.  Therefore, goes my story, our bodies have evolved to waste calories by kicking up our metabolisms when food is plentiful.  Let’s call this the Spendthrift Gene argument.

Is my equal and opposite story true?  I have no idea, any more than an honest proponent of the Thrifty Gene argument will claim to know if their story is true.  These stories are both what the ancient Greeks called “likely stories,” stories that “save the phenomena,” i.e., account for observations in a more or less plausible way.  We do observe that people burn fewer calories when they consume fewer calories, and – the dirty little secret that the low-calorie people don’t tell you, maybe because they don’t know it themselves - we also observe that people who consume more calories actually burn more calories, but only on low-carbohydrate diets.  I am not going to go into a thorough review of the research here; Gary Taubes devotes a good portion of Good Calories, Bad Calories to an examination of the research.  Let’s just say that studies have been done where participants were put on high-fat diets containing 3,000, 5,000, or even 10,000 calories per day and maintained stable weights or even lost weight without increasing their activity levels.

Myth 3:  Anything that can be burned will be burned immediately or stored to be burned later.  There are no other choices.

We consume three nutrients that can be burned, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  And in fact, carbohydrate is good for nothing but burning.  It’s like gasoline – you can either ignite it with a spark and burn it now, or you can store it in your gas tank to burn later.  And with carbohydrates, it is true that if you consume more than your body can use, your body saves them for later.

Protein and fat, however, have a host of uses in the body in addition to generating energy.  Protein is used to build muscle cells, to create and repair cell membranes in all cells, and to create enzymes that make it possible for all your body functions to occur at the relatively low temperature of 98.6 degrees.  Fat transports certain nutrients that are not soluble in water, acts as a precursor to a number of hormones, insulates neurons to ensure that electrical charges are carried properly, and, like protein, is used to create and repair cell membranes.  Furthermore, fat and protein can both be broken down and recombined into whatever form the body needs.  So you might consume muscle protein from a cow, and the body might break it down and rearrange it to make a digestive enzyme, or incorporate it into the membrane of a brain cell, or use it to make the red blood cell protein hemoglobin.  Protein and fat are like wood – you can certainly burn it for energy, but you can also use it to build a house, or grind it up and make paper out of it.

It should be obvious that we use our food for something other than burning – if it were not, we’d collapse into little unorganized puddles of organic compounds (oh, hey, that’s the second law of thermodynamics, if you’re interested).
—————————
So the next time someone tries to wave the laws of thermodynamics in your face as an explanation of why low-calorie diets are better than low-carb diets, have a little fun with them.  Ask them to name the laws of thermodynamics and explain to you how they are applied to human metabolism, or better yet, ask them exactly how calories out are calculated.

To read the full article, click here.

THE MYTH OF LOW CALORIE DIETING FOR WEIGHT LOSS EXPOSED

 This from Elizabeth Walling from Natural News:

Anyone who has tried to lose weight has heard the age-old formula: eat less, exercise more. This is intended to create a calorie deficit, where the body is using up more than it's taking in. The idea is to coerce your body into burning stored fat, but for many people low-calorie dieting ends up burning them out long before the fat is gone. This is not because of a lack of self-control or willpower. It happens because the very fundamentals of low-calorie dieting are downright wrong.

For people trying to lose weight by cutting calories, food suddenly becomes the enemy instead of a means to genuine health. Hunger pangs become a sign of success instead of a sign the body is craving nourishment. This kind of twisted reality - a world where we desire starvation to maintain a healthy weight - is contributing to modern disease and misery.

No one can actually say a certain amount of calories is right for everyone. There are many factors that can influence how many calories you need, such as genetics, lifestyle, exercise habits, etc. It's interesting to note the World Health Organization declared that starvation begins to occur under 2,100 calories per day, a number far more than most dieters assume they need. While we work so tirelessly to end starvation in third-world countries, in Western society we are starving ourselves on purpose.

To avoid the disaster of low-calorie dieting, we must define the term "low-calorie." It has come to have different meanings over the years. Not long ago, 1,200 calories per day was the standard number for dieting, and 800-calorie diets were not uncommon (900 calories, by the way, was the typical diet fed to prisoners in concentration camps during the second World War). These very-low-calorie diets still exist today. So many people cut back to 1,600 calories per day and assume this is not low-calorie dieting. This is an illusion. If you are eating less than your body needs to function at its best, then you are low-calorie dieting. When you are eating less than you need, your body perceives it as a signal of starvation. It is a simple, biological fact.

The idea of calories in versus calories out is a complete myth. The body is far more complex than that. There are hundreds upon hundreds of activities performed in your body at any given time - it needs fuel to perform these functions. If your body is not receiving the materials it needs from your diet, then it has no choice but to take from its only other source - itself. Most people assume your body will only use its stored fat for its various needs, but this is not true. Your body will also draw from your bones, muscle tissue and organ tissue. You may lose some fat, but it will be at the sacrifice of vital living tissues. This is not a good state to be in, so your body slows down your metabolism to prevent its own destruction. After all, your body has one natural instinct - to survive.

Many people who have been on low-calorie diets experience side effects like fatigue, depression, hair loss, dry skin, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, irregular menstrual cycles and a lack of interest in sex. Over time symptoms worsen and the body weakens until illnesses and allergies become frequent, and eventually degenerative diseases are more likely to occur. This deterioration may be fast or slow, depending on how extreme your diet is.

Another side effect of low-calorie dieting: when people focus on slashing calories, usually fat is the first to go - because fat has nine calories per gram, compared to four calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates. It may seem like a logical choice, but it's a poor one. The body treasures its dietary fat, which is used to coat every cell and is required for countless functions in the body. Getting plenty of healthy fats also satiates the appetite and prevents food cravings, so cutting them out does nothing but hinder weight loss efforts. Eliminating healthy, natural fats seems to exacerbate and accelerate all of the above-mentioned side effects of low-calorie dieting.

Eventually most people find it difficult to maintain a low-calorie diet, and after their diet many find they must eat fewer calories to avoid weight gain than before. Others continue on the low-calorie bandwagon, usually hitting a plateau which triggers them to "buckle down" and cut even more calories or exercise excessively to cause the coveted calorie-deficit. The body feels the effects of starvation even more, and fights back. At this point it often feels like your body is working against you - and you're right. It's fighting you with everything it has. The body will stop clinging so desperately to stored fat when it no longer fears starvation because it's receiving proper nourishment from food.

The idea of eating hundreds more calories every day may seem unusually generous to some, but it is not permission to eat irresponsibly. What's most important is making sure the foods you eat are natural, nutrient-dense choices. Choose whole foods - your body understands how to use these foods to their full advantage. Eat foods in the most natural state possible, and implement traditional practices like soaking grains, beans and nuts overnight before eating or cooking them. Avoid processed foods like refined grains, sugar, alcohols, aspartame, saccharin, monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrates and nitrites, and the rest of the gamut of food additives. These impair the body and prevent real nutrients from being utilized properly.

It's time to rethink the tired theory of low-calorie dieting. It's time to consider the fact that the body will quit hanging on to stored fat when it is properly nourished with healthy, natural foods it can use to rebuild. It's time to stop resisting food and realize it is the only path to healing.

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DECEMBER 12 - WEEK 91 RESULTS

One week ago, my actual scale weight was 144.0.
Today, my actual scale weight is 143.4.
I lost 0.7 pounds this past week.

 One week ago, my average weight for the week was 145.0.
Today, my average weight for the week is 144.3.
I lost 0.7 pounds this past week.

I tracked my food on fitday the last three days of this past week.  The first four days, I did not track, but I ate normal meals, and on the days that I worked out, I had extra protein in the form of a shake.

12/9/10
1771 calories
122.7g fat (62.4%)
121.4g protein (27.4%)
45.3g total carbs (10.2%)
17.1g fiber
28.2g net carbs, of which 20.3g were from veggies
2310g sodium

12/10/10
1367 calories
103.6g fat (68.2%)
68.5g protein (20%)
40.1g total carbs (11.7%)
14.7g fiber
25.4g net carbs, of which 15.4g were from veggies
2791g sodium

12/11/10
1950 calories
131.5g fat (60.7%)
153.6g protein (31.5%)
37.9g total carbs (7.8%)
13.7g fiber
24.2g net carbs, of which 18.8g were from veggies
2463g sodium

Estimating what I probably ate the first four days of the week, this is the average for the week:

1662 calories
115.7g fat (62.6%)
114.8g protein (27.6%)
40.5g total carbs (9.7%)
15.1g fiber
25.4g net carbs, of which 18.6g were from veggies
2452g sodium

Today is my weekly measuring day. In the past 7 days:

I lost 1/2" around my hips
I lost 1/4" around my calf

Here is what I have lost so far, since starting to lose weight in February 2009:

Neck - 13.75" to 12.5" - down 1.25"
Bicep - 11.75" to 12" - up 0.25"
Forearm - 9" - no change
Bust - 38.25" to 36" - down 2.25"
Midriff - 32.25" to 29.5" - down 2.75"
Waist - 31.5" to 29.25" - down 2.25"
Navel - 38.25" to 32.75" - down 5.5"
Hips - 42" to 38.75" - down 3.25"
Thigh - 24.5" to 22.25" - down 2.25"
Calf - 14.5" to 13.5" - down 1"


BODY COMPOSITION

AT THE BEGINNING OF WEIGHT LOSS 2/22/09

158 pounds
35" waist
13.75" neck
45.5" hips
28.0 BMI
0.56 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
44.8% body fat

ONE MONTH AGO

141.6 pounds
30.75" waist
12.5" neck
40" hips
25.1 BMI
0.49 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
33.7% body fat

ONE WEEK AGO

144 pounds
30.75" waist
12.5" neck
39.5" hips
25.6 BMI
0.49 waist-to-height ratio
0.78 waist-to-hip ratio
33.1% body fat

TODAY

143.4 pounds
30.75" waist
12.5" neck
39.75" hips
25.5 BMI
0.49 waist-to-height ratio
0.77 waist-to-hip ratio
33.4% body fat

Since my heaviest weight in February 2009, I have lost 14.6 pounds on the scale, 4.25" around my waist, 1.25" around my neck and 5.75" around my hips.  I have lost 22.9 pounds of fat and I have gained 8.3 pounds of lean mass.

In the past month, I have gained 1.8 pounds on the scale and I have lost 1/4" around my hips.  I have gained 0.2 pounds of fat and I have gained 1.6 pounds of lean mass.

In the past week, I have lost 0.6 pounds on the scale.  I  have gained 1/4" around my hips.  I have gained 0.2 pounds of fat and I have lost 0.8 pounds of lean mass. 


MY NEXT GOAL

140 pounds
30" waist
12.25" neck
39.5" hips
24.9 BMI
0.48 waist-to-height ratio
0.76 waist-to-hip ratio
32.5% body fat

To achieve this, I need to lose 2.4 pounds of fat and 1 pound of lean mass.  I need to lose 3/4" around my waist, 1/4" around my neck and 1/4" around my hips.

MY ULTIMATE DREAM GOAL

130 pounds
26.5" waist
12.25" neck
37.25" hips
23.1 BMI
0.42 waist-to-height ratio
0.71 waist-to-hip ratio
25% body fat

To achieve this, I need to lose 15.4 more pounds of fat and gain 2 more pounds of lean mass.  I need to lose another 4.25" around my waist, another 0.25" around my neck and another 2.5" around my hips.

If I reach this goal, I will have lost a total of 38.3 pounds of fat and gained a total of 10.3 pounds of lean mass since my highest weight on February 22, 2009.  I will have also lost 8.5" around my waist, 1.5" around my neck and 8.25" around my hips.