Tuesday, July 26, 2016

There is no justice in the world.

I just took a shower.  Then, when I got out, I noticed some things in my bathroom needed cleaning, so I cleaned them.  Now, I'm sweaty and need another shower.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Weight Experimentation

So, as a natural part of having arrived at an amount of physical activity that burns a good portion of calories and a simple accompanying diet that helps me lose weight, it's rather interesting that I've now discovered the room to experiment with what I eat.

My goal with weight loss is really only that, weight loss; but by extension, a healthier lifestyle is necessary.  However, now that I know I can lose weight, my analytical mind wants to observe the effects of various foods on my weight, all other things being mostly equal.  Since, after all, ending up on some sort of asinine restrictive diet such as vegetarianism or veganism is not part of my plan.  It's everyone's goal to be able to lose weight and still be able to eat the things they enjoy, after all.

Moderation seems to be the key here.  I've noticed that a single spike in my weight from eating either more than usual, or something a bit less good for me than usual, comes off pretty quickly if I just stick to my routine.  Knowing that, it means I can treat myself to things that are absolutely terrible for me periodically, and still be perfectly fine in the long term.  However, all the weight I've lost is both motivation to continue the process, and room to experiment with what exactly I can eat.

To get to the point, suck it, vegetarians and vegans.  Meat is still a part of a healthy diet.  I'm completely happy to say I still consume it with every lunch and dinner, which was the norm for me before I started this weight loss journey.  Also, I feel like it's important to start this experimentation now and continue it throughout my journey, so I can see if anything changes.  I'm not expecting anything to change, but who knows, this is new territory for me.

Part of this experimentation will necessarily include getting fast food.  Personally, I'm expecting even the smallest fast food meal option to provide a significant weight spike, judging from the physique of the people you see eating at those places regularly.  There's a reason that the MAN THE HARPOONS meme existed back in the day, even if it's fallen out of use.  People who have absolutely no regard for their own well-being and just eat fast food all the time end up looking like whales.

The image I see every day, living at the north end of the American south, is what I thought of when I heard the word "obese", and "morbidly obese" was another step above that that I hadn't even thought I'd seen.  I really just considered myself to be overweight, because I looked nothing like these... to put it nicely... blobs.  That's why it was a surprise to me when Wii Fit U showed me that my BMI was at the top end of the "obese" range.  I just have a large gut, no rolls, no folds, and I don't buckle my abdomen into my pants.

I knew that America, primarily the American south, had a serious weight problem, but... really?  Wow.  Europeans like to be smug with their generalizations and stereotypes, saying "Americans r fatasses" and whatnot, which isn't really 100% true even on the worst day, but... damn.  It's close to accurate.  However, is the contrast really that severe?  Are there not overweight people in Europe and the rest of the world as well?  It's not just the US, it's just that we've got a really big problem with it.

I kinda drifted off-topic there, but whatever, I'm leaving it in.  My point is, my mental image of "obese" was wrong by about a degree of magnitude.  Everyone I'd been associating the "obese" label with is probably actually "morbidly obese" and really needs to lay off the donuts.  Heck, since I started this journey, I've had precisely one donut, and I gained a pound that day.  Nothing that can't be worked off, but it's an indication that people who can just sit there and inhale a dozen donuts are doing it wrong.

So, what have I tried?  Well, across the board, I've been following the "serving size" recommendations on most things, except when they're silly or ridiculous, such as a serving of Campbell's Chunky Soup being half the non-resealable can.  I've vetted a serving at a time of Totino's Bold (haven't tried the regular pizza rolls yet), a serving of El Monterey Southwest Chicken Taquitos, and I'm currently on one of my favorites, Giant Brand Spicy Chicken Strips.

I haven't yet ventured back to fast food, but the local gem of a restaurant that I eat at every week, Bodo's, is fine.  I was having zero problems with my usual sandwich, which incorporates the rather fatty pastrami and a slice of provolone cheese, but I'm experimenting with other sandwiches there as well, so I can change things up every now and then.  Up until last Tuesday, I'd been getting the same sandwich there for probably two or three years in a row at the very least, so it's kind of time for a change anyway.  I don't really consider Bodo's to be fast food, even though you order over a counter and get your food pretty quickly, because "fast food" carries a connotation of "not nutritious", and Bodo's actually serves healthy food.

I suppose first up will be Cook Out.  At several points in the past I'd been going there regularly enough that the staff started recognizing me, and noticed a rather bloated feeling when I was done with my meal.  It'll be interesting to try it sometime and see what happens, both feeling-wise and weight-wise.  I'm definitely expecting a weight gain, so the real variable will be how much weight I gain.

A restaurant I forget about way too much because we only have one of it is Arby's.  They're definitely on the healthier side of fast food, but still most likely considered "fast food" given my criteria listed above.  I never really went there regularly, but I'll give it a shot eventually and see how it goes.

Five Guys is one I'll want to try.  I may end up going to the single bacon cheeseburger from the double, that seems reasonable.  My toppings as always are lettuce, tomato, and jalapeños.  I've always advocated getting the small fries there, simply because they give you so many fries it's ridiculous even when ordering the small size.  I never really went to Five Guys with any sort of regularity, it was always a midday spur of the moment thing.

Taco Bell will be another variable entirely, that I may or may not decide to subject myself to.  The last few times I went to Taco Bell, I was on the toilet within an hour.  I don't know precisely why that is, other than that my body is clearly reacting to something in the food and saying "ain't nobody got time for that, get that shit out of here".  In my case, the latter half of that statement is literal.  People like to stereotype Taco Bell as causing this sort of thing, or act like everyone who says this sort of thing is making it up, so I'm sure my problem and the associated complaints are simply just lost in the noise, but it really does affect me.  What I do tentatively want to see is what exactly causes it, which will probably either necessitate ordering multiple menu items over the course of a few weeks, or one very well-set-up combo.  I'm thinking that three taco combo, with one of each taco option (beef, steak, and chicken, if memory serves) might be an efficient way to test it.  Also, it'll give me a chance to get some Baja Blast, since they only ever toy with us by putting it in stores on a limited run periodically instead of making it the permanent fixture it ought to be.

Other than those, I'll probably swing by a McDonald's and get a McGangbang, maybe try Hardee's, Wendy's, etc.  There's a lot of fast food options out there, and I think I'll be able to get a good enough picture of how they affect my weight without having to exhaust every single option.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wii Fit U, two months in

Well, everything's going quite well so far.  I'm continuing my trend of losing about 10 pounds a month, which averages out to less than a pound a day.  The actual graph obviously looks nothing like that, but it's the trend you have to pay attention to, not the individual spikes and dips.

Funny I should mention that, because Wii Fit U gets way too caught up in the spikes and dips.  On top of that, it's inconsistent.  It's made me explain a 1.1 pound gain before, but I've had a couple 3 and 4 pound gains that it was apparently fine with.  It sees that I'm burning enough calories to meet and exceed my daily calorie goal, notices that my weight is up, and goes "EXPLAIN YOURSELF".  You get a choice between eight reasons why you gained weight, most of which are either judgmental or imply that you're not really fully in it to win it, as they say.  The only choice I've ever chosen is "I don't know", and sometimes, it's not even satisfied with that.  It'll go "Do you really not know?".

It thinks you're constantly trying to cheat the system.  It thinks you're trying to avoid exercise and that you're not eating correctly.

On top of that, a lot of the exercises get too caught up in being "games", to the point that the game they're trying to be gets in the way of the exercise itself.  In a lot of cases, things have countdown timers where I feel as though they should have countup timers.  Sometimes input recognition is an issue, like with the rowing exercise and Puzzle Squash.

In the rowing exercise, you have to row at the right time in order to go faster, but sometimes it feels like the game just wants to take a shit on you.  Lately I've been getting completely random, unexplainable "nope, you didn't do something right" failure noises, and with them, much slower times than I'm used to.  The game offers zero feedback as to what it thinks I'm doing wrong.  In Puzzle Squash, it just decides whether you're going to do forehand or backhand, even when what it's decided on is less intuitive than what you really want to do.  That, and it limits you to three balls.  If you let those three go past you, it ends the exercise early.  Also, sometimes it recognizes my movement of the wiimote to get ready to hit the ball as a swing, and then it goes into a forced cooldown between swings and I can't actually swing to hit the ball, causing a miss.  Get that crap out of here, give me unlimited balls.

Input recognition was such an issue with the Luge exercise that I removed it from my routine entirely.  It's so prohibitively difficult to get off the damn banking that it gets in the way of the exercise.  You have to basically roll all the way onto your side to steer far enough, and even then the game doesn't really want to let you off the banking.

Also, there's things the game just flat-out doesn't tell you about some exercises.  I'm thinking mainly Island Cycling here.  While you're riding around collecting the checkpoints, you'll find a dog, which is cute, and follows you around.  For the longest time I thought it was just decorative.  Then at some point, I discovered that the A button rings a bell, so naturally I started tapping out various songs and whatnot.  I soon noticed that the dog reacts to the bell, and that you can use the dog to get checkpoints.  Since the goal is to have the shortest distance you possibly can, using the dog to optimize your route is crucial to success.  In fact, on Beginner I was able to get Shortcut Champion without dog optimizations, simply because I didn't know you could use the dog at all, and I found a route through the checkpoints that got me Shortcut Champion every time.  On Advanced, however, dog optimizations seem to be required if you want to get Shortcut Champion, and if you don't use them, you get Shortcut Pro instead.  There's one required dead end on the route no matter how you string the checkpoints together, and my best route so far inserts another dead end close to the beginning.  Using the dog to collect the checkpoints at these dead ends means you can turn around sooner, meaning you don't have to cover as much distance.  The cutoff distance for Shortcut Champion on Advanced seems to be 2.47 miles, and with my route and dog optimizations, I've gotten it down to 2.41 miles.

I could go on listing additional gripes.  Wii Fit U is my most-played game on the Wii U, which is fitting since I bought the console specifically for it.  I play the game for an hour every day, and do the same routine every day.  Thus, I experience the things that cause my gripes every day.  Even then, my gripes are far outweighed by the fact that I'm losing weight.  It's still been a really good purchase for me, even if all the required materials did end up costing around $400.  I plan to continue, mainly because I want to lose all this weight.

I see no reason to keep the details hidden, either.  Since I acknowledged that I was overweight and became determined to do something about it, part of that is accepting that I'm not currently in a perfect state.  So.  I started out at 253 pounds.  Before the added activity began to kick in, I actually gained weight for the first week.  Since then, though, it's been a downward trend, leading up to the end of the second month where I was 233 pounds.  My mom always said that once you get started, your body will tell you what to do next, and that sounded kind of weird, but it's totally right.  One day you'll go "you know what, I wanna do this" or "you know what, this one thing I'm eating I could probably be better off without".  With the Fit Meter, Wii Fit U encourages you to have activity outside of playing the game, which I've implemented so far as a nightly walk around the neighborhood.  My neighborhood is fairly hilly, with a really big hill that I incorporated into the walk.  I started out at just one lap, but I've worked my way up to doing three laps.  I soak a shirt in sweat in the meantime, and I take a bottle of water with me to consume as I walk.  But you know what?  It's working.

Just like before, here's a graph.  Since the game won't let me use Miiverse to screenshot it, I had to use my phone.  The red dots are where the game made me explain weight gains.  However, there's that nice 4 pound spike in there that it was apparently fine with.  That was July 4th, go figure.  More important than the spike itself is the fact that two days later the extra weight was gone.

So, to summarize my point about spikes, dips, and trends: If your diet/exercise combination is working for you, a spike is nothing to be worried about, because you'll work it off, guaranteed.  This means that even while losing weight, you can afford to have a treat every now and again.  Don't do it all the time, of course, but... reward yourself every now and then.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Good Snack

On my weight loss journey, I've come across a pretty tasty snack with room for customization, so of course I'm here to share.

Get yourself some Triscuits.  My only gripe with Triscuits is that they have both Reduced Fat and Low Sodium varieties, but not a Reduced Fat, Low Sodium variety.  Anyway.  I use the Reduced Fat ones, but they've got a lot of varieties to choose from.  Whichever ones you end up with, get out six of 'em (which the package lists as a serving) and stick them on a plate.

Next you'll need some hummus.  Storebought hummus is hit or miss, a lot of companies put stupid shit like sugar, salt, and oils in it.  If you find a good one, more power to you, but it's also easy to make yourself.  The base is chick peas (aka garbanzo beans) and tahini (ground sesame seeds), and maybe a small amount of lemon juice if you lean that way.  You can have that as-is, or add stuff to it.  My recommendations there are roasted garlic and roasted red pepper.  Whatever you end up with, get a knife and spread a small amount on each Triscuit.

Finally, you'll need some vegetables.  Carrots and celery work well, and radishes function as a much more flavorful and less heartburn-inducing alternative to onions.  Explore the produce section at your store and grab a few things.  Whatever you end up with, you'll want to slice it just small enough that you can fit two or three pieces of whatever vegetables you've chosen onto the Triscuit.  The hummus will hold it in place for easy eating.

...aaaaaand that's it.

Pretty simple to make, only contains things that are good for you, pretty damn tasty, and fully customizable.