The Question For My Next 13 Weeks: Pivot or Persevere?

Preparing for my third 13-week season, working to lose weight, control my Type 2 diabetes, and improve my health. You can follow me at my 13 Weeks Facebook page for daily updates, and you can join Fitocracy (free!) and follow my daily exercise, and maybe even start tracking your own.  A new 13 week experiment starts June 1 2013. Join in!

Okay, this is a long one, just to warn you. Here's the basics:

I've been rethinking these 13 week sessions and how to do them; I've written a new explanation.

I'm starting to see how the emotional part plays into the issue.

I've used the pattern as I now see it to start planning my next 13 weeks, and provided that as a "worked example" for other people who want to try it.

I'm looking for people to volunteer to try a 13 week experiment of their own, and possibly to try a web site meant to support 13 week experiments. Volunteers should mail me at

Now on with today's show.

As I said last week, I'm taking a little bit of a vacation from attempting to strictly follow some eating plan while I think about my results and what to do next.

The vacation has been interesting. I gave in to one of the things I'd been missing, and had a McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder and large fries for lunch, the same day I was going to my niece's daughter's first birthday party. Then at the party, I had a nice piece of cake as well as a bunch of things that were actually low carb.

From this I learned two things: I don't actually like McDonalds as much as I used to, and I really can manage to drive my blood sugar up to the 230's with carrot cake. But this was a momentary indulgence, especially since I, sure enough, had some of my old stomach troubles for a couple days afterwards.

As they say in Shangri-La, "Everything in moderation -- including moderation."

In the mean time, though, I've been thinking a lot about the experiments, and about the emotional/psychological/spiritual aspects of what I've been learning. (Let me just say, I don't really believe there is a difference between the emotional, the psychological, and the spiritual. We're not made up of a lot of pieces; what we're thinking is what we're thinking, and what we're feeling is what we're feeling, all together.)

What I've realized is that when I started my first 13 week experiment, I was groping toward something that would let me make changes in a way that didn't scare me with the prospect of endless and unproductive deprivation, didn't shame me as so many diets had done in the past, didn't blame me for the lifelong problems I've had with weight, and gave me some emotional support in the process.

For me, writing about it has been a good bit of that support -- I learned from Twelve Step programs that sometimes the best support you can get is by honestly admitting to the problems and your feelings about them.

Another big part of the support has turned out to be the rooting you, my readers, have been doing for me, and the sense that by talking about this I'm actually helping other people.

I hope to help other people use the things I've learned, and that means I need to figure out how to explain them. I've made a couple of previous attempts, but in this week's thought I have what I think is a better explanation.

The First Insight

This is really what got me started: my first insight was not to think of a diet, not to think of of a weight-loss goal, but just to think of performing an experiment. I now realize that this was a first step in insulating myself from the years of fear and shame that had accompanied Dieting.