food journal 008

I stopped eating about 11:00 pm on Tuesday. On Wednesday…

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011.

Yeah. I ignored my food journal all day on Wednesday, and have left the recording of what I ate until now, Thursday morning. Even though this post is published on Wednesday, I am actually writing it Thursday morning.

One of the benefits/challenges of keeping a food journal is that it requires you to focus more on what you are eating. This is necessary just so that you can remember it later to write it down! Now, in my experience, if you persist in keeping the journal for a month or two, that extra act of attention eventually pays dividends, the most important of which is a more conscious way of eating.

I am not there yet in this most recent round of journalling. Remembering my food intake from yesterday is going to be a bit difficult. It was classic Baldwin: pretty solid all day long, then, I willfully broke the rules I had laid out for myself at night. Two days in a row of breaking the rules of intermittent fasting… not cool. Time to reset and review.

It was a much higher carb day, and a day in which I didn’t worry too much about the “rules.” I should have, since I basically discarded them at nighttime.

Morning: up pretty early with the kids (like 5:45 am). Not having maintained my fast from Tuesday, I didn’t worry about getting an early start on food. I ate breakfast early (by about 7:00 am). 3 egg whites and 2 whole eggs, scrambled in butter. Sausage patty, cantaloupe. Coffee w/ half-half.

Snacks during the morning until lunchtime: bites of strawberry. Bites of crap the kids were eating: from yogurt covered raisins, to strawberries, to cheddar cheese, to beef jerkey.

Lunchtime: two chicken apple sausages and roasted zuchini and green cauliflower w/ olive oil and salt (leftovers from Tuesday dinner).

Afternoon: went to a coffee shop to work, had coffee w/ espresso and half/half.

Dinnertime: I made ground beef enchilladas, with my favorite cheating grain based food, corn tortillas. Corn tortillas, local grass fed ground beef, red onion, zucchnini, tomato, enchillada sauce, mexican cheese, and white rice on the side. I ate a large plate of it and felt stuffed. I had sparkling water with dinner.

After dinner: kid bedtime came quickly, it seemed. It was 8:00 pm already and I still felt like eating. I didn’t worry too much about starting my fasting window… maybe I should have.

From 8:00 pm to 10:30 pm I had: at least two LARGE scoops of my homemade strawberry icecream, some chocolate, and a large number of these small, funky, frosting covered organic star cookies that we brought from Asheville. Oops. These should be doubly off-limits to me: they are basically animal crackers, made with wheat flour and sugar, of course, covered with a light candy frosting that is mainly sugar, and comes in various flavors: cinnamon, chocolate, raspberry yogurt, peanut butter, etc.

I won’t try to calculate my caloric intake or anything. But it seems appropriate to record my body weight at this time.

Thursday AM: 192.8 lbs

This tells me that, whatever else may be the case, although I seem generally unable to stick to the rules of my own nutritional “plan warpath,” so far I have not undone my larger intention, which is to reign in unwanted weight gain and lose some pounds.

The only thing is that I know I will get better results if I can stick closer to the plan.

food journal 005

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Coffee w/ heavy cream… and skipped breakfast, except I did have some grapes.

Around 8:00 am I did about a 20 minute walk pushing the stroller with James. Beautiful day.

Weight in mid-morning: 194.5 lbs

About 11:30 pm: a big tablespoon of peanut butter and some bites of sausage.

About 12:00 pm: 4 eggs fried in butter, sausage patty, 1.5 cups cooked kale lightly dressed in sesame oil, balsamic and tamari, 3 oz. japanese sweet potato, couple of oz. of watermelon.

Coffee w/ cream

Coffee w/ cream

Was feeling hungry by the late afternoon but was at the pool with the family. Lena is really learning to swim!

For dinner, about 6:00 pm: Greenlife hot bar: 2 BBQ chicken thighs skin fat and all… I even got a tailbone! I love chicken fat. Yes I am aware that it is probably the least desirable of animal fats, health wise (too much omega-6 polyunsaturated fat). Chicken fat. Yes. And along with 2 cups zuchini, and a moderate serving of roasted sweet potato and roasted potato.

While putting kids to bed: few tablespoons of almond butter. Last calories about 7:30 pm.

This food was consumed in an 8 hour window, which corresponds to 16 hour fasts. But it followed only a 12 hour fast, and will probably be followed by only a 12-14 hour fast.

Weight at 9:00 pm: 194.5 lbs

Awesome Sunday. We are leaving for Oregon tomorrow. So stoked.

food journal 003

In a war, you can’t expect to win every battle. And so, perhaps it will not shock readers to learn that I lost the battle of Friday. Actually, it was worse than losing a battle. My troops completely surrendered and burned an effigy of their general. But I will return… with renewed resolve. After I finish digesting whatever remains in my bloated innards.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pre-Workout (5:30 am): 14g BCAA (2 scoops Purple Wraath brand in water)

Post-workout (7:30 am): coffee w/ cream and cocoa powder

Post-workout (8:00 am): scrambled egg, 2 slices bacon, 1 sausage patty, couple of oz. of roasted sweet and roasted white potatoes

Post-breakfast: about 8 oz. chocolate milk (Homestead Creamery, the bomb).

Early lunch (11:15 am): 1 apple, 6 oz. leftover chopped shoulder of lamb… very fatty! delicious, coffee w/ cream.

Friday afternoon (4:00 pm): pint of BEER baby.

Friday afternoon (5:30-8:00 pm): two more pints of Beer at Highland breweing company. And a bag of potato chips.

There was no catering at Highland Friday evening, so my dinner plans fell through. Getting a buzz on with such a low number of calories under my belt turned out to be dangerous. First I rationalized taking the bag of potato chips from the kids.

Still not having had dinner, at 8:30 I went to the store and got take out from the deli case and hot bar.

Dinner (about 9:00 pm): pulled pork, potato, broccoli, 8 pc. salmon sushi roll, shot of whiskey.

After dinner: my willpower collapsed. I ate and snacked on many things. Very hard to quantify exactly, but here’s what I noticed and am recording. Another shot of whiskey. Some pieces of chocolate from the remains of a bar I found. Three or four handfulls of chocolate covered ginger. A large glass of chocolate milk (finishing off the jar). An oversized all beef hot dog. Slices of cheddar cheese. Several ounces of almonds.

I kept eating up until 11:00 pm, so I broke the first rule of the warpath pretty badly. The alcohol was allowed (since it was Friday) but it clearly impacted by capacity for rationalization and was therefore detrimental to my overall purpose. A reminder! my purpose is … to eat only good foods, only on purpose and only within a defined and controlled daily window of time.

Cheating and Slack

I have learned from prior experience that you have to cut yourself, or rather, I have to cut myself, a lot of slack. Without slack, it’s either madness or giving up.

You can’t cheat on your nutritional principles unless you have some. And vice versa.

So the problem with dieting isn’t cheating, it’s how a dieter behaves in the aftermath of the inevitable cheating.

food journal 002

Thursday 23 Jun 2011

After 8:00 am:

Coffee w/ half half and coffee w/ heavy cream
2 eggs fried
sauteed spinach (about 1 cup)
fritter of ripe banana, coconut flour, egg & butter
2 pieces of sausage
2 strips of bacon

Around 12:00 pm:
bite of leftover pancake
1/2 leftover sausage
spoon full of almond butter
coffee and heavy cream

Around 1:00 pm:
two hamburger patties and white rice w/ organic local BBQ sauce
coffee w/ heavy cream

Yes there is sugar in the BBQ sauce and… no I didn’t have any veggies. Gotta think about that.

Around 2:00 pm:
bites of an all beef uncured hot dog
sip of chocolate milk

— this little non-meal had to do with me trying to get my son to eat food.

coffee w/ half-half

Around 5:30 pm

unsweet ice tea

Around 6:30 pm
— dinner from Earth Fare hot bar —
tilapia (1 filet, maybe 2.5 oz)
awesome prime rib roast beef (large chunk, probably 10 oz)
collard greens
mashed potatoes

food journal 001

Deliberately low calorie day to begin my 120 day warpath.

coffee w/ half half
scrambled egg with cheese and bacon
about 1/5 of a leftover children’s burrito from urban burrito: a few bites of ground beef, beans, rice, cheese, tortilla.
Coffee w/ half half
Oatmeal and butter

1 can sardines packed in olive oil
1/3 apple (son and daughter stole the rest!)
about 1 cup of snap peas

coffee w/ half and half

Dinner time:
“hamburger sushi” (2 slider size hamburger patties on disks of white rice)
a pickle

After Dinner:
The family went to Ultimate Ice Cream downtown and I bought, but only tasted the SC Peach ice cream cones. When I got home I had a shake of 1 ripe banana, 2 scoops plain whey protein, 2 tsp. cocoa powder, a couple tablespoons of half half, 8 oz whole milk.

I’ll add more if there is more.

Friday’s Food and Drink

Pre-WOD: Creatine, Jack3d, BCAAs; Post-Wod: BCAAs, Creatine, L-Glutamine; L-Carnitine; Chromium; B; D3; Probiotics; Cal-Mag Citrate

Breakfast (at 8:45 after 14+ hours of fasting); 4 egg whites fried in non-stick pan; 2 eggs fried in 1 tsp. butter; 1 cup kale; 2 tsp. butter; 4 oz. plaintain; 4 oz. white sweet potato; 4 oz. ham 53.00 p 20.50 f 67.50 c

Lunch (at 1:00 pm) from school cafeteria (take out): large portion (6+ oz) of fatty beef brisket; 1/4 cup of cole slaw; 1/2 cup of jerusalem salad of tomatoes, cukes, onions, etc.; 2 slices tomato; some boiled carrots; mixed veggie salad 1/2 cup; 4 oz baked french fries 40.00 p 32.00 f 48.00 c

Post-Work: 1 shot of vodka 14.00 alc

Dinner (at about 5:30 pm): 6 oz. salmon w/ garlic; 6 oz. mashed potatoes; 3/4 cup broccoli; 1 gin martini (6 oz) 42.00 p 32.00 f 49.50 c 35.00 alc

At home (dessert, about 6:30 pm): 1 piece of pumpkin custard pie; 1 scoop protein; 3/4 cup hemp milk; 1/4 cup chocolate milk; 6 oz. wine 23.00 p 16.00 f 40.40 c 21.00 a

End of Day Total 158.00g pro (22%; 23 blocks) 100.50g fat (32%; 34 blocks) 205.40g cho (29%; 23 blocks) 70.00g alc (17%)

2848 calories

I wasn’t able to weigh and measure either lunch or dinner today; and I wasn’t able to moderate my choices very well while dining out. I drank alcohol before during and after dinner, and this kind of messed up my calorie total (about 400 calories from alcohol alone), as well as my judgment, leading me to eat a whole piece of my NOT gluten free pumpkin custard pie and consume sugar with my evening shake.

Yet, at the end of the day my protein and carb totals were about right (how did I do that? I am suspicious of my counting, since many of the quantities here are estimates) and I was only about 10 blocks over on the fat. And at 2800+ calories I probably ended up about even for the day. We had a hard workout in the morning and experience teaches me that I’m very likely to burn 3100+ calories per day. So, while the food choices were not ideal, the results were not disastrous.

One of the benefits of keeping a food journal is that the journal is unbiased. It does not judge your decisions, it simply records them. You may be thinking to yourself, as I was after Friday’s food and drink: “I’ve had a terrible food day; it’s been a failure; I missed all my targets and I cheated against my own rules.” The journal (at least, the way I keep it) helps me analyze those choices in a more quantitative way, leading me to a new qualitative assessment of the food day. Snatching relief from the jaws of anxiety.

Retrospect: Five Weeks on the School Plan

I examine my training and nutrition over the past five weeks in the light of my “never on a school night” plan, which I established on August 23rd. The results are mixed, but I seem to be healthy and on track for good things as I move forward with the plan.

Keeping a Food Journal

Among weight loss tools, tricks, and tips, I have found that nothing else works like keeping a food journal.

Before you even begin to contemplate what dietary theory you plan to follow, you should know this. The best thing you can do to ensure your success is to write down every single thing that you eat. Everything. Keep. A. Food. Journal.

I have gone through two periods in my life (1996-1998 and 2009) where I lost a large amount of weight (30-40 lbs). In both instances, the most important weapon in my arsenal was my food journal.

When I keep a food diary, I attempt to record everything I eat, with unrelenting honesty. If I do this, then two things happen.

First, I am confronted clearly with the facts of my eating, and all excuses vanish. When I spend night after night eating candy before bed, that shows up in writing, where it can’t be denied. Its link to my waistline gets documented too, since I record the data from my Tanita Body Fat Percentage Scale in my food journal too.

Second, I am forced to become more conscious of what I eat. I learn to remember more clearly all the things I consume, and over time, my memory of my eating behavior improves. Learning to be honest about what I eat (and drink!) breeds a different kind of honesty, about what I want from food, my body, and my life. Being honest with myself in this way points me towards success.

There is a simple bottom line. One must own one’s own eating. The food journal helps you do that.

But don’t take my word for this! Scientists have noticed it too. As Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported for Time in July 2008, a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (Hollis, Gullion, Stevens, et al., “Weight Loss During the Intensive Intervention Phase of the Weight-Loss Maintenance Trial,” AJPM 35:2 [2008] 118-126) found that there is one single factor that correlates highly with weight loss. You guessed it: keeping a food journal. Victor Stevens, one of the lead researchers, told Gupta that in their study of weight loss trials, “hands down, the most successful weight-loss method was keeping a record of what you eat.” Over a six month period, study participants who kept a journal lost TWICE the weight of non-diarists.

An effective diary contains a record of what you eat every day, from waking to sleeping. In it, you attempt to describe all the substances you consume, in whatever quantities you consume them. You record the items, the time of day, and, if necessary, additional information.

If you get serious, you will record the exact amounts (see the next post in this series), and all nutritional data.

I actually use an Excel spreadsheet to keep my food journal. I do this because it’s a stable and quick way to record data in a table. The sheet just goes on forever, and I can customize the look, and update my system as I need to. I use different “sheets” within the spreadsheet to record weight, or frequently utilized nutrition data, or data I calculate about recipes, etc.

Also, I like to take advantage of the spreadsheet’s ability to do math automatically. The spreadsheet file I keep needs input only on the list of items I consume, and then I add in the relevant information about grams of protein, fat, carbs, and alcohol. But then I have the sheet programmed with formulas, so that it then computes automatically the protein/carb ratio, total calories, percent of the protein, fat, carbs and alcohol, and even the number of “Zone blocks” this represents. More on all this stuff later. All this data data is extremely useful in the war against excess body fat.