Monday, July 9, 2012

Round 2

Ding.  Ding.  Ding.

But Jesse, Round 2 of what?  You can't just lead into a post that vaguely and expect us to know exactly what you're talking about.  We're just blog followers, not stalkers!

Oh, right.

Over the last 2 years I've slowly but surely been gaining back the weight I lost in my prop bet with avoidthe9to5 (who, despite getting smoked like a fine cheese those 3 months did go on to lose over 60 pounds the following year).  The numbers aren't that bad, but they aren't great either.  I started the bet at 180 pounds, and over the course of 90 days whittled myself down over 10%, to under 162 pounds.  For a while I was doing fine, staying in the low 160s, but eventually there was some...creep.  I've still been getting comments, as recently as last weekend in Vegas from BubbleMint, that I look to have lost weight, but I've decided that enough is enough.  I weighed myself this morning at 172.0 pounds, and am declaring my intentions for everyone to read.  I'm going to lose 16 pounds in 16 weeks, dropping all the way down to 156 pounds (for those curious, that gets my 5'7" frame just barely inside the "normal" range on most BMI Charts...not that those are the gospel or anything, but at the same time it shows that I'm not doing anything preposterous or dangerous here).

Why am I doing this again?  Well, to be honest it was a very rewarding experience the last time around.  At the end (and even during it) I felt great about myself, both for how I looked and for simply doing something hard for once.  And I believe it's good for me to be carrying around less weight, and while it may seem sort of like a yo yo diet I did keep basically half the weight off for 2 years, which isn't half bad.  So anyway, here we go.  I'll keep everyone posted on the progress, but honest prediction is that it's going to very well for the first three to five weeks (during which I bet I'll lose five to eight pounds no problem) then become very, very difficult.  I haven't been that light since about freshman year of high school, and I had to accidentally lose a fair bit of weight being stupid (as most 14 year old boys are) to get there even then.  But like I said, it's not like I'm trying to actually be skinny or anything here, so I give myself at least a reasonable chance of success.


Pokershaman said...

I'm all in favor of things that help people feel good about themselves and taking pride in doing something hard. At the same time, we're poker players, and one of the hard things we are supposed to be working at is trying not to be results-oriented.

BMI is a bogus measurement. It doesn't distinguish between body fat and muscle (it tells us, for example, that most NFL players are "obese"). It doesn't scale well with body size (given two identically proportioned people, the taller one will have a larger BMI). The BMI numbers identifying "overweight" (>25) or "obese" (>30) are arbitrary, chosen because they are round numbers, not because of any actual medical data.

If I were in your position, I would focus less on weight and more on how you look and feel. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you taking stairs two at a time? How much can you bench-press? I really believe that the right thing to do is to focus on practice, not on numbers (not even on the bench press number, actually, as long as lifting a few times a week is something that you like to do). Get at least half an hour of exercise every day. Take the dog for a jog rather than just a stroll. Eat in a way that works for you ("Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.") Stay away from the heavily syruped drinks.

But regardless of what you think about what I'm saying here, do what's right for you. If you want to aim to lose weight, and that feels right to you inside, then more power to you.

First Normal Form said...

Pokershaman: I swear when I read "At the same time, we're poker players..." my mind 'read ahead' and added "and we're supposed to be proud of our guts." Whoops. :)

I'm going to disagree with the spirit of your post. I don't think the poker v. dieting analogy is a good one. Poker results suffer from noise. But I think you can be results-oriented with dieting. Weight can't be the only measurement, but the metric "weight" is a strong component of "health", and easily measured.

To that end, BMI is a decent measurement. It fails for professional athletes, and I don't think that analogy is a good one, either. Jesse's not a pro athlete, and pro athletes have a pro understanding of fitness, or have nutritionists and trainers who do. But the middle-of-BMI dart tends to hit the dartboard for average folk. Adjust for individual differences and add more metrics, and you start zeroing in on the bulls-eye.

Your list of things to focus on is difficult to measure or follow. When I look in the mirror, I look twenty pounds lighter than how I look in photos, videos, etc. I'm just plain too heavy. My heart works too hard and the food choices that make me fat are bad nutritionally. How many stairs I climb ad hoc, how much I press, or my self-image just aren't the right measurements to solve these problems. Losing weight just can't be wrong, and BMI is a great first approximation metric.

I want to thank you for pointing out the severe limitations of BMI, and because of you I'm better educated about it now. I found this link and offer it up to the blog readers: