Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 4 Report & Assessment

Week 4 (the second of two "meat" weeks) has come to a close, and it's time for a report and assessment of my progress thus far. I consider my results this week to be quite peculiar, to say the least. As of this morning, I'm down a total of 15 pounds. I would consider this fantastic, were it not for the conflicting body measurements, which I present to you now.


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

*Weight and Body fat taken on a
Tanita Body Fat Monitor
upon waking.

Weight (lbs)*




Body Fat % *




Waist (inches)




Hips (inches)




Chest (inches)




SAD (Standing)



SAD (lying down)




Neck (inches)




What to make of this? I seem to be losing weight still, shrinking in some places and growing in others. I touched on my theories as to why this might be in my Week 3 report, so I won't rehash them here. I'm starting to wonder (hope?) that the chest and waist expansion are due to the admittedly-moderate resistance exercises I have been doing for the past few weeks. You certainly won't hear any complaints if that's the case. The shrinking neck measurement may be evidence of this, as it's pretty hard to build neck muscle, at least not with what I've been doing. Most of my exercise has been light weight training, focused on the abs and upper body.

According to the plan in the book, at the end of week 4 you are supposed to evaluate your results and decide where to go next. There are two choices. If you only had 10-20 pounds to lose, you should be at or near your goal. My results bear that out. If you're satisfied with your results, then you continue to week 5, which begins a maintenance period that transitions you to a less extreme, but still carbohydrate-restricted diet.

However, if you have more than 20 pounds to lose, you are urged to begin again at week one, and then alternate between weeks 1 and 3 every week until you reach your target weight. I'm pleased with my results, though I still have some ways to go yet. The decision should be simple. I lost 15 pounds. Now just go back and start again.

After some deliberation with my wife, I've decided to move into the maintenance phase. Yes, I still have another 15-20 pounds to go to reach my goal. However, the maintenance phase will still facilitate weight loss, albeit more slowly, as long as I keep my carb load down. I will continue to measure and weigh my food for awhile, and continue to restrict carbohydrates. Each week I will remeasure and update my results here. If it turns out that my weight loss stops entirely (or worse, reverses), then I may make a different decision and go back to week 1 for a week.

You may be wondering what my resistance is to repeating week 1. Quite frankly, my family hated it. They complained that the entire house (and particularly me) smelled like the protein powder used to make my protein shakes. It may just be the brand I chose, or the one awful flavor I have left, but no one wants me to use the stuff anymore. Maybe I'll replace the occasional meal when no one's around or when I have be out late. In any event, I'll continue through weeks 5 and 6 and see how things go.

Besides, other than my single weight goal, look at all of the other positive changes that have occurred in just the past four weeks:
  • All of my clothes are too big.
  • I need a new, smaller belt.
  • I am sleeping better than I have in a long time.
  • People tell me I look better.
  • I definitely feel better.
  • I have loads more energy than I can remember.
  • My blood pressure is back to low/normal. It was borderline high at my last physical this past May.
  • Finally, even though I'm not at my goal weight, today I'm lighter than I have been in more than 10 years.
The only thing I don't know yet is how my lipid panel will turn out. My follow-up lab test is at the end of next week. When I get my results, I'll post them here along side the numbers from May.

Lastly, I have decided to put up before and after photos. The first one was taken in February 2009 just outside of Disney's Yacht Club Resort. The second picture was taken this morning in my office. Same shirt, but different goofy facial expressions. Maybe I'll take another "after" picture later.

There is definitely a difference. With a little luck and strict adherence to my newly rejuvenated dietary plan, I'll have another "after" picture to put up in a couple more weeks.

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