Saturday, January 31st, 2009

The 30 Day Intake Experiment

My entire life I’ve been what is commonly known as “fat”, or, as the clothing industry calls it, “Big and Tall”.  I have been blessed with both an impressive girth and height.  For as long as I can remember these have been my defining physical qualities.  I generally cast an imposing figure over my contemporaries, that didn’t stop the teasing during my childhood of course, but those times passed generally without much incident. And for years these attributes caused me no real harm, medically I was “healthy” besides my obesity.  My cholesterol was low, my blood pressure normal, no problems with sugar levels.

Now, as I stare down thirty, this is no longer quite true.  For the most part I’m still healthy (again, except for the pounds of extra flesh), but cracks in my infrastructure have begun to creep up.  The blood pressure is starting to tick up slightly, the cholesterol and sugar are still good, for now.  But more worrisome is my knees.  Starting about a year and a half ago they began “grinding” and generally starting to, well, not be their old weight-supporting selves any more.  Even more troubling is I have a family history of knee problems.  My father (who is NOT obese) is having both his knees replaced this year. 

So, what does this have to do with the title of this blog post?  What is the “30 Day Intake Experiment”?  The 30 day experiment I am about to take is my first step towards, hopefully, leading a more healthy life style. This is my attempt to be honest with myself about my eating habits.  For the next thirty days, I will be recording EVERY piece of food and drink that I consume.  I have created a twitter account and will be posting pictures of every meal I have every day.  In this manner I will not be able to “cheat” or lie to myself about what my diet is

I fully intend to follow this up with increased physical activity as well, it’s a little difficult during the height of a Cleveland winter, but I will find some way.  This is simply the first step.  Believe it or not, I once had a membership at a gym, and those two years were probably when I’ve felt the most energetic and healthy.  It’s definitely something I want to get back to.  Ironically, I originally joined the gym in anticipation of our daughter, and haven’t been able to go back since we’ve had her.  Children take up a ton of time :)

In another twist, completely unknown to me, this month is the “Fit in February Developer Challenge”.  Strangely apropos don’t you think?

10 Comments on “The 30 Day Intake Experiment”

  1. Good luck, Letterle! I’m rooting for you!

  2. My wife and I just finished thirty days of doing this with our finances. Tracking everything to the penny as a way to honestly assess where the hell it’s all going.

    I hope your experiment is as productive as ours has been. BTW, check out this article:


  3. Good luck my friend! May you be an inspiration to all of us “big and tall” men!

  4. You have my support !

  5. Glad that the Fit in Feb Challenge was so timely! I have never had the guts to post every meal, but I think that is a great idea. I’m adding a *little* bit of additional exercise to my routine this month. Good luck with the challenge!

  6. I got it off the internet a long time ago, had to have one that would go about the 300 hundered line… can’t remember where I bought it though, sorry.


  7. I’ve just finished reading “What Makes Us Fat” by Gary Taubes, and I’m about to dig into his “Good Calories, Bad Calories” which is a deeper dive into the same subject matter. Taubes has done deep research into the research that’s been done on exercise, diet, and how each impacts our weight, metabolism, etc.

    Taubes is convinced, based on the evidence, that switching to a low-carb regimen (not a diet…we’re talking a life-long change here) is the key to not just losing weight, but improving your health.

    The bad news is that his research didn’t show much correlation between exercise and long-term weight loss…exercise is great for general fitness, and will make you look and feel better, but apparently won’t do much for weight loss over the long term.

    Just some food for thought. Once you’ve concluded your intake experiment, consider taking a look at one of Taubes’ books (or even at Atkins’ book, which has been around for decades). He does a good job of connecting the dots on *why* refined carbs are problematic, and why just eating less doesn’t solve the problem long-term.

    Good luck! Making the decision to change is an important first step!

  8. D’oh! Just realized that I posted about 2 years late on this…saw the January and made an incorrect assumption. :-)

    Still recommend Taubes’ books, tho. Perhaps I need another book on reading dates more carefully.

  9. Michael

    Hahaha, yeah, I figured you HAD to be a spammer, Andrew, until I took a look at the comments themselves. ;) No worries, will check it out! I believe that book was JUST featured in Reader’s Digest. Sounds interesting.

    I think what ultimately makes us fat is what makes us human… laziness. If I still had to hike up mountains to kill a single deer for me and my family, I’d probably be ripped!

  10. Actually, laziness has little or nothing to do with it…if you still had to hike up mountains to kill a deer to provide for your family, you’d be skinny because you were eating deer meat instead of bread. Or so Taubes concludes, and given the research he’s done (and my personal experience with low-carb vs. high-carb lifestyles) I’m inclined to agree.

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