Sunday, 1 November 2015

No longer overweight - 10 months on the "Exercise" diet, with a new diet twist for the last couple of weeks

10 months of a diet high in exercise, with a diet low in saturated fat , and still high in exercise, for the last couple of weeks
Just a quick summary, as I already trailed the "big news" a few days back - I am now the lightest I have been for the last 15+ years.
There is always "physical" evidence of the sort of weight loss I have achieved this year - I have just moved from a pair of 38" waist trousers (which fitted a little closely) to a pair of 36" trousers (which fit comfortably). The trousers are the same style from the same supplier, so barring minor manufacturing differences, they should be the essentially the same, apart from the size.

Even better, I am no longer officially overweight ...
... my last four days of weigh-ins have produced a BMI of under 25! (and a further one 4 days before than.
I would have reached "normal" a bit earlier (and indeed, I though I was there a bit earlier, but I've shrunk.
Yes, seriously.
I've shrunk.
Not much. Just 1.6cm off (about 2/3rds of an inch)
Welcome to the world of "old people's medicine" :-)
(officially it is called "medical gerontology").

We can argue all we like that the missing height is "silly", and that if the rest of me is the same, why should I accept that my BMI goes up because I am shrinking.
(Shrinkage in older folks is caused by a variety of things - slight spine curvature, worn cartilage, etc. etc., but it is a common, and well-documented condition).
As the BMI formula uses height multiplied by itself, then the effect of a change of heigh makes more difference than an equivalent change in weight.

Before I was 190 cm, so 89 kg (196 lbs) gives me a BMI of 24.65 i.e. "correct weight".
Now I am 188.4cm, so 89kg gives me a BMI of 25.07 i.e. "overweight".
But the weight is the same!
(Both heights are "official", by the way, and were measured in a contolled medical setting, and are on my "official" medical records)

Protest as I might, when we look behind the figures a more sensible pattern emerges.
The health differences of being 24.65 BMI and 25.07 BMI are going to be pretty much identical.
the bands for "correct weight", "overweight", "obese" etc are merely a way of presenting the information in an easy to understand form, and nothing more.
"Body fat percentage" isn't going to be skewed by the "old folks effect", so would appear to give "better" information, however, that is rather missing the point.
Instead of arguing about whether I fall just over or just under the 25.0 BMI line, it would better to be far enough inside the "correct weight" band so that it doesn't matter.
If I was, say, 85 kg (187 lbs), incidentally the weight I actually was when I was when I was 34 (rather than the 51 I am now!), then the BMI calculations looks like this:
Ht 190cm, Wt 85 kg, BMI = 23.55
Ht 188.4cm, Wt 85 kg, BMI = 23.95
So you see the "shrinkage effect is still there, but to be arguing about 23.5 BMI or 24.0 BMI seems like a better place to aim for.

Indeed, the evidence is that the lower half of the "correct weight" band, and even the top part of the "underweight" band is the "best" place to be - 18.5 to 22 BMI.
Based on my "revised" height of 188.4cm, that comes out at 78.1 kg (172 lbs) for a BMI of 22.
That's about 10 kg less than I am now.
I have been that weight - back in my early 20's (!)
That's a big ask to get down there again, so we'll see.

My new diet.
After a dubious cholesterol test, my doctor has put me on a "low lipid" diet.
Lipid just means fat,
So really it is a low-fat diet.
Except it isn't.
The advice leaflets I was given say that I need to cut the saturated fat, but the advice on foods lists lots of things with unsaturated fats in them.
So it is actually a low saturated fat diet - indeed, the advice sheets for my "low lipid" diet look suspiciously similar to the much vaunted "mediterranean" diet!
I guess the "low fat" message is so ingrained that if you tell folks they can eat fat they will just eat chips (fries in the US) and crisps (chips, if you are in the US).

Anyway, I seem to be losing even more weight on the new diet.
As I was losing weight anyway, it would be almost impossible to tell if the new diet was helping or not (!) - indeed it could be the extra bit of running we have been doing (Anna and I are cyrrently aiming for four short runs a week, rather than the three we were doing before).
Certainly, a mix of diet and exercise does seem to have the best results - diet with exercise simply doesn't keep the weight off for most people!

After 10 full months, I am 8.4 kilos down on my start point (January 1st) - that's 18.5 lbs.
Seeing as most folks are already regaining weight 10 months into their diets, or have given up, and are back where they started (or worse), I'm pretty happy with how it has been going.
Even better, the exercise has made me fitter, too!

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