Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Weight Loss Update - almost the end of November 2015

Almost 11 months of weight loss. Down about 10 kg (22 lbs) overall.
I've been doing these monthly updates about the end of the month. But this month I know I will VERY busy in a week's time, so I'm doing this a week early.

The big "headline" is that for the 6 days I have been 86 kilos (about 190 lbs) or less.
I started the year at 96.6kg (about 212 lbs).
In the Spring I was losing weight at about 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) per month.
5 weeks ago I switched to a low saturated fat diet, and lost 4 kilos (8.8 lbs) in that time.

Because we have "fancy" weighing scales, I can check whether I am losing fat or whether I am just dehydrating (although if one lost 10 kg of body water the physical signs of that would be VERY obvious!).
I bought the new scales shortly after starting the diet which is very low in saturated fat.
This is what the scales say:
25th October 2015.
Wt 88.3 kg, Body fat 21.1%, total body water 56.9%, muscle 38.8%

24th Novemebr 2015
Wt 85.7 kg, Body fat 20.3%, total body water 57.7%, muscle 39.3%

So lets turn those percentages into weight
25th Oct: Wt 88.3 kg, BF 18.6 kg, Water 50.2 kg, Muscle 34.3 kg
24th Nov: Wt 85.7 kg, BF 17.4 kg, Water 49.4 kg, Muscle 33.7 kg

The reason why each set of numbers "doesn't add up" is because muscle also contains some water, so that gets counted twice! I suspect that body fat also involves a very small amount of water being stored.

What is important is that, in the 4 1/2 weeks I have been doing this advanced measuring, I have lost 1.2 kg of body fat.
That's actual body fat.
You can't fake it by skipping breakfast the day of a weigh-in at a slimming club.
You can't fake it by taking diuretics
It's actual body fat.

When most people say they want to lose weight, they mean they want to lose fat.
I have also lost a bit of muscle, but that may be because my fitness regime has been intentionally less that it was in the Spring/Summer.
It also demonstrates the adage that fat people have big muscles - we have to have in order to just shift our butts about!

As I have mentioned before, "real" weight loss has physical signs beyond the weighing scales.
I have lost about 2.5 inches (about 6 cm) from my waistline, and I had to buy a smaller belt.
My current pair of trousers (US: pants) have a 36" waist, my previous pair was a 38" waist.
only a couple of years ago, the 38's were getting tight, and I was considering a 40" waist!

The effect of my running is more difficult to measure as there is a "confounding" factor. Do I seem to run faster without too much effort because I am lighter, or because I have developed my muscles to run better?
Owen Barder's excellent "Running for Fitness" website suggests that my 10k time will drop by about 34 seconds for every kilo I lose in weight. So I need to do another "threshold" 10K just to see how much I can get under my previous PR, and compare that with the predicted figure for the weight loss.

Similarly, the effect on my cycling, although I haven't really tested yet, is likely to be substantial.
My bike weighs in at 18kg, but as everyone agrees that it is total weight that counts (bike and rider), the weight I have lost from myself could have been "bought" by staying fat and buying a lightweight bike.
An 8 kilo bike.
How much does an 8 kilo bike cost?
That's how much money I have saved by losing weight rather than get a lightweight bike!.
And before anyone suggests that I can get a 9kilo bike for such and such, I said an 8 kilo bike.
And remember, most lightweight bikes have the weight quoted WITHOUT pedals.
My figure of 18 kg is from weighing my ACTUAL bike, in full running order, pedals, mudguards (fenders), rack and all.
And guess what: - I can get Mermaid down by another kilo just by changing from my Marathon Plus tyres to a lighter tyre (like Marathon Supreme, for example - cost twice as much as "plus", but half the weight!). Cost $100 to $150 for a "quality" item.
I could take off the STEEL mudguards.
I could take off the rack.
And suddenly, compared with the diet, I am looking at staying fat and buying a bike UNDER the UCI weight limit!
Sub-UCI limit bike, or spend $150 and go on a diet.

I could take off more weight, too.
I have heavy-duty double-wall wheels with 36 spokes each. Another couple of hundred dollars would save quite a bit on the weight of the wheels.
Carbon? I'm pretty sure there are NO carbon parts on Mermaid - even the handlebars are steel!

Seems to me that only a fool would buy a really lightweight bike while still being fat.
But then, as they say, a fool and his money are easily parted.

The logic is compelling.
If you want to go faster and you are overweight, keep your hand in your pocket and lose some weight. I did and saved a fortune.
It is also easier to lose weight on a heavier bike because you have to expend more calories to get up hills etc!

Already got a lightweight bike, but you're still overweight?
Next time you want to buy a fancy upgrade part, get a "winter training bike" - something heavy and tough that can withstand rain and bad roads and salt. 
And then ride it. 
A lot.
That'll get you thinner so when you switch back to your fancy bike, the fancy bike will seem VERY easy to ride, and you'll be a good bit quicker, too.

The mistake folks make is they try to buy speed first (with a lightweight bike), then do the hard bit (losing weight and doing a lot of training) later.
What I am suggesting is that you do it the other way round.

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