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13 Weeks: Week 11 -- In Which We Consolidate Our Losses

It turns out that I happened on a picture I took of myself on the 16th of October, which is just about the time I started finding myself writing in my morning pages that I was only 12 years younger than my father had been when he died....

2012 October 16

Here's a picture from a similar angle with the same (iPod Touch) camera, taken today (Friday):

2013 January 18

I see where I've lost the 30 lbs: it was all from my neck. Jaysus.

So, even with my troubles seeing myself clearly, I've got to say, now I'm seeing some differences.

I'm continuing to plan for my next 13 weeks experiment, and you know, there's a question I've been asked multiple times now: why 13 weeks?  Honestly, the answer is probably "I don't know." Some of it is pure superstition: I have good luck (contrarian that I am) with thirteens.  Both of my parents were born on the 13th, and they married on the 13th; I've lived at #13 addresses many times.  But there are some practical points about it.

Thirteen weeks is exactly one calendar quarter -- there are 4 of them in a year, with a day left over.  Thirteen weeks is long enough for longer-term trends and effects to show clearly, but short enough that I can foresee an end.  If I hadn't decided to do this experiment for thirteen weeks no matter what, there have been a couple of weight plateaus (and sudden weight gains) that could have been very demoralizing -- about which more below.  Thirteen weeks is right around the average lifetime for a red blood cell, so an A1c (average blood sugar) taken next month will be from entirely within the experiment. (As you'll recall, it's my blood sugar that concerned me more than weight in itself.  Even though, dammit, I do tend to obsess about the weight loss.)

Now, I'll say, the thirteen has put some people off for the opposite superstition from mine, the common triskaidekaphobia. I do intend to write this up in book form; I've had people tell me that I've got to change the title. But I have to say, 13 weeks seems to have worked for me.

As far as consolidation.  The pictures above do show the difference I think, and I'm really feeling other differences.  I've got a two story house; I'm not putting off trips up and down the stairs as I used to.  I feel exceptionally good.  I got a CPAP about 10 days ago, which is also helping -- I may be sleeping well for the first time since puberty.  I'm sure that the apnea has been helped by the weight loss and I'm hoping continuing weight loss will help more. And, of course, my blood sugar has showed a marked improvement -- as I said last week, from diabetic to post-diabetic (although it'd be more correct to say "type II diabetic in remission.")  My mood is better too, which for someone who has had paralyzing depressions is a good and useful thing.

I seem to have more energy, both physically and mentally. Again, this isn't too surprising.  I buy water in 1.5 liter bottles from Eldorado Springs Water Company, in cases of a dozen.  That's basically 40 lbs; 9 bottles is just about 30 lbs.  The effect is like if I were carrying around nine of these bottles in a backpack and I took the damn thing off.  But I'm just finding it easier to do things, and not just physical things -- I'm actively studying Mandarin again, and getting more writing done.  Some of that also may be the CPAP -- I don't think I understood the effect of actually getting a decent night's sleep.

More Training

As I've promised, the next 13 weeks will be more about exercise, physical activity, and so forth.  i'm accumulating a number of experts to help me with this, and reading a bit more widely.  Now, you may have noticed that there is a fair bit of controversy about different diets -- low fat, low carb, paleo, and so on.