« Canon Announces the S95 | Main | Can You Really Not Go Home Again? »

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Wish you the best of luck, supplement that with long photo cycle tours and you'll get where you want to be in no time!

New York marathon next?

I feel yor pain, Mike.

I myself have become a little (ha!) overweight in recent years due to stress and liking food much better than exercise. I've tried losing weight, and I think I can't do it alone. I might go to a doctor, or something. Last time I started a diet on my own, I weighed about 15 kg less than I do now :(


back in 2008 I stopped smoking, drinking and eating, well you know the nice stuff, all in one day.

I needed to constantly update my clothing which comes about as a similar expense as that for a M7/MP with lenses. I was "grumpy" (to say the least) back then, and still am now ....well a bit that is. But I lost 60 pounds and maintained it, do I feel any better?

I do, and then again I don't, I feel like I have turned into a rabbit sometimes

Interesting, Mike, let us know how it goes. My wife, a physician, would dearly love to lose 50 lb or so herself, and has been trying all the usual stuff, exercise to the point of injury, Weight Watchers, Atkins variations. We have the same diet usually, but it just affects her differently. No Optifast provider in town, so I'll have to research it a bit.

You know, of course, that this "fat ass" problem can be fixed in Photoshop.


Good luck: I'd noticed last year that I had a definite trend of gaining weight year on year and did a brief calculation to see what weight I would be in even 5 years which scared me enough to change habits and lose some weight in a more measured way. It worked very well, and now I'm just in maintenance mode.

You might want to read this if you haven't seen it: http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/hackdiet.html general advice that you might not get from your supervisors along with a mild exercise routine to help keep muscle.

Presumably you are also taking regular photos of yourself to see the difference - when you can see the visible difference that can act as the best encouragement :)

All the best.

P.S. I suppose the money you are saving on real food is going towards that A850...?

Remember at the end of day, we love ya man. We're happy you're around and want to keep you around as long as possible. You make the world a better place...

And it would be better yet if you were ever in Vegas. ;)


Sounds like something I should be on, I just calculated my BMI at 31.5! Time to call a nutrionist...thanks for the inspiration Mike. Be strong and be fit.

I wish you luck but aren't there conclusive studies showing that people who employ draconian dieting tactics are also very likely to gain it all back within a few years?

Sorry to hear about your tribulations Mike. Wisconsin - no cheese - hardly seems fathomable.

One weight loss exercise: long walks, one camera, one lens...

Mike, that diet sounds awfull. Just eat nice veggies and fruit as well or instead of the gunk. Real food in other words. We are worried about you.
Kerry Glasier
Cornwall UK


hate to tell you this, but your weight loss will begin to plateau as soon as your metabolic systems down-regulate to match the reduction in caloric intake. If you are on a "diet" that has you still taking in carbohydrates (of whatever kind; they all end up as "sugar"), you will continue to stimulate hormonal responses that will have you episodically hungry, snacking to temporize the insulin spike, and then ending up, either being "tortured" or just gaining back all the weight as you "give-in" to the cravings.

FWIW, it is not about weight nor BMI for that matter; BMI being the most notoriously inaccurate index of body composition extant. The real culprit is body fat % in general, and, more specifically, the magnitude of visceral adipose tissue, i.e., how much fat is carried subcutaneously between and around the organs in your mid-section, not to mention within the organs, e.g., so-called "fatty-liver disease."

If you'd like a more sophisticated view of fat loss instead of the old crap about "calories in-calories out," take a look at changing the macronutrients you take in. E.g., go on-line to www dot paleonu dot com. Or read Michael Eades MD's "The Six Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle" and then read Doug McGuff and John Little, authors of "Body By Science," or go online at www dot bodybyscience dot net.

Fat loss is about longevity and health. Weight loss is a notion that has outlived its utility. Best of luck.


I can commiserate with you, Mike; I've done The V-Diet 4 times, though all for my own desires to look and feel better rather than doctor's orders.

A side effect of this particular diet was the loss of desire for junk food. After finishing it I craved salads, fruits, meat and vegetables, and could snobbishly lift my nose up at breads, doughnuts, fry-ups, sugar-laden fruit juices and other frankenfoods graciously developed by the modern food industry.

My only worry is that you're not engaging in any type of resistance training, which is crucial to ensure the pounds you lose are fat, not muscle. I hope I'm wrong and you soon post pics of your home gym, located right next to your darkroom :-)

600 extra calories is EASY to do - and it accumulates after a certain age - dang, I really need to change my habits long term!

Thanks for sharing.

Good luck with the diet and may the gastro-torture come to an end soon.

I sympathise, Mike. I lost just over 30 pounds last year after turning 45 and not liking what I saw in the mirror on on the scales. It's boring, there are up days and down days, and there's the self-flagellation if you relapse. But it's really worth it! In my case, I had fallen into the classic middle-aged trap of too much good food and drink, and not enough exercise - there was no medical reason, purely indulgence.

When you come off the Optifast, if you can try cycling alternating with rowing to maintain your target weight. I find that it's the best exercise - my knees are shot from too much running in the Army, and the cycling / rowing combo is sympathetic to my now middle aged bones. I try to do three session a week - a session for me is one hour, and I go hard at it for the full hour, whether cycling or rowing (on a machine). There's 1000 calories burned an hour. That allows me to not worry about having a couple of glasses of wine, or a rich meal even a few times a week.

You just gotta get out on that bike Mike! It's the best way to burn calories AND enjoy what you eat, trust me I know!

Good luck to you, I salute your efforts :)
Healthwise i love marksdailyapple.com, has helped me and a lot of people I know tremendously :)
Keep it up! ;)

I think it's usually sooner than a few years...more like a few months to a year. The problem is that most people go off the diet and go right back to their old habits, with no changes. The Draconian "sprint" diets are really to get you to a place where you START eating healthily. You can't have the mindset that your diet is "over" and you can go back to all your old bad habits and start consuming 3000 calories a day again.

I must say, though, that the logic is sometimes, shall we say, puzzling. One woman said "This diet worked for me while I was on it, I lost 50 lbs., but then I gained it right back again." And...that's the DIET'S fault? It works while you're on it but not while you're not on it, and that means it's bad? I don't get that logic.

What do I know, though...after four weeks I'm still a fat ass. Just slightly less of one.


Good luck, Mike. I need a similar kind of result, by whatever means. The idea of drinking chocolate milk all day probably sounds better than it is. Anyway, please make it work, and come back to us to us with a success story that lasts. It helps to have believable role models.


Diets don't work. I think that all diet books should be in the humor or comedy section of the bookstores. Just eat less and move around more.

From someone who has been there several times before.

Hope everything goes well for you and you can lose the weight.

With best regards.


Sounds like a personal journey that could make a good photography project.

BMI is one of my pet peeves. It doesn't actually say that much about how fat you are. For instance, many professional athletes fall into the 'obese' category simply because they have a lot of muscle, and muscle weighs about twice as much as fat for the same volume. Some people are also heavily built and can be perfectly healthy with a high BMI, while others are lightweights who start getting obesity-related problems in the high end of 'normal'. Body fat percentage is a much better indicator of general fitness and health.

That said, I hope you find the rewards of the diet outweigh the temporary discomforts. And I agree with Cliff that exercise is a good idea, but then I'm sure you schlep heavy camera around all the time:)

I had the same experience many years ago, I was 40 pounds overweight. With a will that I have no more, I begun a terrible, self invented, hunger diet. I fainted a couple of times, I felt weak, dizzy and I had a terrible mood. Finally, after 3 month I lost the 40 pounds and fortunatelly I never gained that weight again. I understand you well.

I wish you the best


Good on you for doing something.

mike, that diet is no good no matter how medically supervised and prescribed it is. 4 pounds a week is way too much, do a little research on the web and you'll find out why you shouldn't lose more than 2. is that a real doctor who prescribed that? I would be very surprised if it was.

I have started losing weight myself just at about the same time as you. first, you are not getting enough energy, you should probably be around 1600 cals/day. if you don't, your body enters survival mode and starts burning muscle and internal organs mass instead of fat. When that happens, metabolism also slows down, so you burn less calories, making maintaining a deficit even more difficult.
Second, you should exercise, even if you can create a caloric deficit just by eating less. I do stationary bike, but even walking is good if you can't find anything else that you like. most important thing though, don't use food replacements. I can see why they are attractive - they make weight loss seem easy. Well, it is NEVER EASY. eventually you need to get back on normal food so why not start with that? I use caloriecount.about.com to keep track of calories and nutrition; you need to create a free account to see what it is all about. the whole thing is free. so far I have been losing about 2 pounds/week which is the recommended rate for weight loss. and I do between 30 and 60 minutes of stationary bike everyday.
this takes a change in lifestyle which needs to be permanent. and no matter what you do, it's gonna take a couple of years to get there, with or without specialist clinics and space-age food replacements.
and drink a lot of water, about a gallon a day. good luck.

one must exercise rigorously. suburban society is structured in such a way that the standard course is sedentary. thus one must make a special effort to burn all those calories that have been made so easily accessible. unfortunately, diets cannot work on their own.

good luck with it.

The most informed and interesting book about how and what we eat I have ever read is Roy Walford's "Beyond the 200 year diet". Even if you consider it faddery, the science behind it is solid, and his scientific exploration is excellent.

One of those small world asides, I spent 3 months in 1985 sailing round the Indian Ocean with the nutters who locked themselves up with him in Biosphere 2 for two years.

Of course knowing that skinny = longevity is one thing, putting it into action quiet another, but ask yourself: is the cheese worth 10 years of your life?


Good luck, I wish you success!


Ha! I eat chocolate every day!

Mike, my best wishes. My wife is going through a similar regime now. Cranky? Tell me about it ha ha

Maybe I've just got too many close friends in the fat-acceptance and anti-BMI camps, but I wonder if you're really significantly unhealthy, and if this is a good way to change it if you are.

However, the part where you change your eating habits (and perhaps activity habits) that you allude to is nearly certain to be good for you, so I'll just concentrate on that end and wish you the best of luck with your program.

I STRONGLY second what H. Anthony Semone, PhD said. Other books to look at are "Good Carbs, Bad Carbs" and "The Zone". Balancing my macronutrients made me healthier, slimmer and more energetic throughout the day. It all came from keeping my blood sugars from spiking. The one thing you will have to work at is cooking at home. Restaurant food has way too many carbs (especially simple and over-processed carbs). But cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out and it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, just like photography.

I remember being 17 years old, on the wrestling team with a 28-inch waist and a 44-inch chest. Not more than a pound of fat on my frame.

And looking at some fellow with a gut, who at the time was about my present age, and thinking smugly to myself "I'll NEVER allow myself to get THAT fat."

Incredibly, I am actually more overweight than that remembered fat fellow. And yet, I don't really feel fat. I am the same size in my head, and my body feels much the same. It's just my three-dimensional perimeter which is bigger and that perimeter, which keeps bumping into objects my inside body easily maneuvers around, evidently belongs to someone else. I'm just not sure who it belongs to.

Actually, I'm pretty sure it belongs to the fellow inside me who can't bear the thought of life without pasta or ice cream. The problem, ultimately, is that I really LIKE that guy - we have been good friends my entire life, and he is never far from my thoughts. Can it really be possible that I could happily shun him for the rest of my life?

What's wrong with sashimi?

Keeping your body in motion is the key to feeling good.

Be active.

No wisdom to offer, Mike; just wanted to say good luck, and take care.


Have you been tested for sleep apnea? It is very common among very overweight people. They can do it in a clinic or using equipment you take home.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and started treatment with a CPAP machine and after I started sleeping the whole night through, I lost 60 pounds in a year without making any modifications to my diet or exercise - something about your body needing a certain amount of proper sleep to properly regulate metabolism.

Simply put - it saved my life.

The solution isn't dieting but eating low-fat foods in combination with exercise. Dieting causes a person to lose muscle mass, bone density, along with some fat loss. You basically just become a weaker smaller version of what you were.

Ideally you should be eating a low-fat diet with about a 60/30/10 carbohydrate/protein/fat ratio combined with resistance training along with some aerobic work like treadmill walking. The weight training will allow you to maintain and build muscle mass while preventing bone loss; aerobics will help to burn fat as well as strengthen the heart. There is no other way. There are variations of the above, but without the three legs of the table (proper eating, resistance traing, and aerobics) the table falls over.

I'm with others on this one Mike, get on a bike! As I found earlier this year you can even comfortably combine cycling with photo taking.

And well done so far. And of course continued thanks for managing to keep my favourite t'interweblog going despite your struggle. God speed!

The only way I know how to lose weight is by running 3 times a week 40 mins or two 20 minutes runs morning and afternoon again 3 times a week. The other four days I spend walking very energetically with my pit bull 3 times a day never less than 40min each session. Up until last Nov I used to compete in half marathons just for "FUN", although right now I´m on crutches waiting my third operation on my foot after sustainig a silly injury last Sept.
Losing weight is a painstakingly long drawn goal so don´t get impatient. I lost 9 kgs in 10 months preparing for my marathon...OK I´ve never been overweight in my whole life but 9-10kgs is the difference in my case between being totally "ripped" and just being fit. Anyone can do it and I mean this, EVERYONE. Some people take 10 months others take 3 years it just depends on how overweight you are and how much you desire to lose weight and get fit. I start work at seven and I go out running at 4:30 am, that´s how much I desire to be fit! Take it easy and make it a long term goal and don´t try to lose 20kg in something like 9 months because it ain´t gonna happen.

It's the desk job.

It starts slow, then creeps up on you. For me, it was lack of activity. I changed that one thing a year ago, and I'm almost back to fighing weight:

1 hour of biking three days a week. I'm happily on a pace of 5 lbs every three months (subtracting the Winter when it's hard to get outdoors. Now I'm down 20 and feeling much refreshed in the lungs and getting a spring in the step.

Everything in moderation, including moderation itself. I'm not a fan of the "slamming on the brakes in regards to food intake" diets.

Once the diet is finished (or you're just finished with the diet), ride the bike. Swap out some of the crap foods with better ones. Ride the bike. Eat the bad foods, but in much smaller portions. Ride the bike. As for cheese: quality instead of quantity. Head up to Widmer's Cheese Cellars in Theresa (hwy 175 about 20 miles south of Fond du Lac) and get their 10-year-old cheddar. A scrape of that has as much flavor as a pound of Kraft cheddar. It's all about moderation. And riding the bike.

My $.02

I lost over 55 lbs on a low-carb diet 5 1/2 years ago and have managed to keep it off. I am still mostly low-carb, I eat certain types of low-carb bread, avoid any type of sugar (I have adapted to sweeteners) and stay away from potatoes and pasta. I eat salads, many types of vegetables and some fruits, The biggest change was to get a pedometer - I recommend Omron - and practice the 10,000 steps a day discipline. This works out to about 5 miles a day and is between 500-600 calories for a 200 lb person. I park my car as far from the entrance to a store that I can, I walk to the nearby grocery store instead of using my car and take a walk of about 3 miles every day I can. And often I take a camera with me...

Last fall I took a temp job at the local Amazon warehouse. I lost about 20 pounds in about six weeks.

Good luck with that diet, both people I know who did it that way put the weight back on. Now, if you listen to those who tell you NOT to go back to the old habits prior to the diet you should do OK.

Me, I'm thinking of doing another 4 or 5 month stint at Amazon...

Went for a 45-minute bike ride today.

I've also got a training aid just down the block...the kids call it "Killer Hill," from the damage it causes when they attempt to ride their skateboards down it. (Seems like every kid has to try it, but usually only once.) Walking up and down Killer Hill a few times as part of a longer walk wakes the old ticker up and gets me huffing and puffing.


"Neither does being a fat ass, ..."
--I don't know about that Mike...I seem to remember having heard somewhere that fat people are on average happier!
But your reflection on the medical profession is a gem that I will try to quote while in an impressionable company.
In the meant time, hope you endure well and get back in shape fast. :-)

Power to you.

Mike, good luck with the diet, I have been struggling with weight loss for several years now. I will say, that long walks are the best, just carry a camera, and enjoy the late summer weather. and get exercise at the same time. It does help. Eric

I have been a reader for some time, your post roused me to comment.

I lost 65kg last year on a similar diet in preparation for getting a total knee replacement. After a few minor setbacks with the knee my I had put back about half what I had lost before getting the go ahead to resume the diet and exercise programme. This time around I am including better exercise and losing the weight slower.

It is worth the effort but you need to view it as a life extending process and not a life style restriction. My view on it as someone whose philosophy on life was 'live to eat' rather than 'eat to live'

There is still cheese, and pasta and everything else - just not all the time.

Good luck, Mike.

In an attempt to boost your motivation to achieve the aesthetic target of a shallower personal depth of field, I should encourage you to seek out the information on the web under the key phrase *calorie restriction* or *restricted calorie intake*. All the research shows that having a lifestyle based on restricted calorie intake (but not malnutrition, of course) pretty much guarantees a significantly longer lifespan.

The trick is in achieving the change of lifestyle whereby appropriate exercise and restricted calories become normal.

Just remember nothing tastes as good as thin feels. Good luck!


Your current daily intake is approximately the number of calories I burned this morning bike riding around Jakarta (according to the heart rate monitor). I am 45 and have lost about 8 pounds since starting to ride again 6 months ago. Your Rivendell is still in the garage? Find a group of guys that ride 3 to 4 times a week. That together with a sensible diet may be sufficient and would also be a good change in lifestyle.
Best of luck, Peter

I only had to lose about 10kg but found Green Tea really helped. I'm not sure if it actually melt the fat or if the act of replacing more fatty drinks like Ice Mochas is the key.


I realize you don't have a commute, per se, but take a look at www.ecovelo.info for some inspiration regarding bikes as a practical and enjoyable form of transportation. And the photography, color though it may be, can be pretty nice too...

I too worry about crash diets and put in another vote (obviously) for the bike. Good luck to you.

I certainly wish you luck - we need TOP to stand for "The Online Photographer" - not something else!

(NB I'm keen to know what the medical supervision has recommended in the way of an exercise routine to accompany / assist the weight loss.)

Mike -

I consider you a friend and I do care about you. I have actually supervised such diets before we knew any better. I do not want to come between you and your doctor (not that I really could), but I want you to know that I do not think a liquid diet is a good choice.

I could write a lot about this, but I won't.

Also, despite the fact that it is commonly believed that they do, calories do not translate into pounds. All kinds of regulatory mechanisms turn on or off as you drastically change your caloric intake. Metabolic rate changes, and what actually happens long term is unpredictable or unknown.

Healthy food, less calories and more exercise are the answer to long term weight loss. Ease into whatever you do. Sudden change is not good.

Live well and good luck.


Calories in, calories out. Figure out how to burn 2000 per week. Then eat what you want but in one-half portions. Works.

Good luck and good health to you, Mike.

Dear Folks,

Some important facts:

1) Dieting *can* be dangerous. A weight loss, by any means, of more than 15% in one year produces a real risk of organ damage. This is why serious dieting should always be done under medical supervision.

2) Most diet research (by most, I mean something over 90%, I ain't kidding) is done by diet industry companies. The number of medical diet efficacy studies that did not involve diet industry money (at least, as of 4-5 years ago)? Exactly zero. That doesn't mean all the research is crap, but take what you read with a huge grain of salt.

3) One of the very few credible comparisons (by Harvard, I think, but my memory could be wrong on that) showed that no one weight loss scheme worked for the majority of people. Not even the "no brainers" of cutting caloric intake or a vigorous program of exercise. It appears that there are a good half dozen mechanisms by which people end up overweight. Be cautious about accepting testimonials. If anyone guarantees you success, run like hell.

4) Yo-yoing is worse than obesity. FAR worse. What I said back in #1? Try doing that repeatedly. Your likelihood of having a long and healthy life goes way, way down if you yo-yo instead of simply stay fat.

5) Theory is wonderful, reality is a bitch. It's fine and dandy to make pronouncements about an "obesity epidemic" or the ideal living/eating regimen, but the pronouncements have almost nothing to do with how real human beings actually act. Theoretically, everyone could live a lot healthier lives. In reality we don't. And we won't. And medical pronouncements that are based on the assumption we will are worse than useless.

Kaiser Medical removed dieting from their list of normal doctor-recommended practices some years ago. They determined that, IN PRACTICE, it was doing more harm than good (see points 1, 3 and 4). Not merely ineffectual, but actually hazardous compared to doing nothing. In specific cases, doctors will still, of course, recommend weight loss. But not in the absence of any important obesity-related symptoms of unhealthiness. Not as a general practice.

pax / Ctein

"No cheese, no French bread,"

The above is part of healthy eating. Has always been and will continue to be. Add wine, olive oil, nuts, fruits, berries, vegetable, fish and other seafood, and meat now and then.

What is unheatly is sugar, salt and fat. That's what the North American food industry uses to give taste to food.
"Industrial" food, that which comes in a box and is made in a factory is full of salt, sugar and fat plus it contains chemicals your body can do without.

A "trio" at one of the popular fast food contains the following:
10.5 teaspoon of fat
1.5 teaspoon of salt
26 teaspoon of sugar

Colon cancer incidence shot up in the USA when people, on the advice of the food industry, starting eating "light" and vegetable oil was removed from salad dressing. Thank God, i'ts now back in salad dressing.

Type 2 Diabetes incidence in kids also shot up when people started replacing water with pint size glasses of soft drinks.

Another source of unheatlty eating is that commercial white slice bread. Bleached floor was developped for the military during WWII because it could be stored up to one year in ships hulls without becoming rancid. It wasn't developped for it's nutrional values. And the grains (cereals and othe sources) added to bleached flour nowadays? The're ground so fine that they pass through the colon without any beneficial effects.

Have you read the ingredients listed on the side of a box of breakfast cereals these days? Compare the list of ingredients of a box of "shredded wheat" to your breakfast cereal.

Peanut butter. Almost unknown in Europe when I was there a few years ago, but very popular in North America. It is made from peanuts. Period. What's inside your peanut butter jar? Does it contain suet, sugar, salt, molasses, corn and hydrogenated vegetable oil?

Eating healthy means eating a wide variety of food and eliminating those which may effect one's health. Apes have a variety of some 200 types of food. Some humans in N.A. go by with only 20-30 different foods.

Smoking (30%), poor dietary habits (30%) and heredity factors (15%) account for about 75% cancer risk factors.

I wish you well in your quest for a healthier life. And long life to T.O.P.

PS: A good source of information that I would recommend is one of Dr. Richard Beliveau's book. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I bet your doctor is skinny.

Mike, good luck with that.

I've found that my pants size is in direct correlation with how much I move my fat ass. No motion, no carolies burned, expando.

That 45-minute bike ride should be a 45-_mile_ bike ride daily. Of course you'll have to build up to that. Do you have anyone to ride with?

We seem to be unable to avoid excess calories while easily avoiding exercise, especially in our older age.

Beware the Docs. They think we should have the blood pressure, lipid counts and physiques of 16-year-olds but they fail to notice that we're not 16 so they prescribe us all sorts of things; those things bring along all sorts of unpleasant side effects while the real problem is the docs not acknowledging that we're essentially old farts.


Buy book: Eat, Drink and Be Healthy and try Willett diet! Good food, no hunger, better health. You never go back to normal (industrial) food, because you start to taste low quality fats and artificial ingredients.
Willett diet is not fast, but results are permanent, because your eating habits change. I have lost 11 kilograms in two years eating better and tastier food.


My kids challenged me to lose 30 lbs by offering to buy be an IPhone. I did it more for fun and son of a gun if I didn't lose the weight by basically following weight watchers approach. I've attended a number of times and could probably lead WW groups.

What works best for me is to weigh myself every morning. Good or bad, Big Mac, fries and a milkshake or Weight Watchers Vegetable Soup. That way, I can regulate my intake and I find that even if I gain a bunch of weight over a holiday weekend, I can usually "zero" my weight by Wed or Thursday. It keeps me from getting surprised or discouraged.

I've never been in better control and my habits have improved greatly.

My next tip is the use of an IPhone App, "Lose It" which allows me to very quickly log my calorie intake. I allowed about 2400 calories a day and I am aiming for about 2 lbs a week.

I've got a lot to go, but I feel great and am not rushing.

Good luck with you weight loss.


While I realize this isn't a dieting forum, I'd like to add a voice to the many people saying to avoid sweets and too many carbohydrates - I call it the "Anna Karenina Diet" because it's what her lover Count Alexei Kirilovich Vronsky was doing to lose his paunch. I dropped white/enriched bread, rice, and pastas - I didn't have much weight to lose, but it was quick and painless and has stayed off.

Additionally, I think it's entirely fair to blame one's diet program for a later bounce-back in weight. Diets will slow down your metabolism, diets place restrictions that are so draconian they can't be continued but offer no gateway into genuine healthy eating, & diets lacking enough protein & fat are bad for your general health in the long term.

I'm taking in a 1260 calories a day and exercising four days a week. My fighting weight's about 175lbs, I'm around 192 right now with a BMI OF 25.3. I'm six one and my BMI doesn't really tell the tale of the tape as a good amount of that 195 is on my belly, so I'm in worse shape than my BMI would suggest.

Little changes can give big results, not taking milk in my tea & coffee has saved me about 700 calories a week. You really should do something that you're going to be able to maintain long term. I broke my Jaw when I was a teenager and had to get by on fortified milkshakes through a straw for six weeks. I could live a with a broken jaw, but Christ, not milkshakes.

Mike, just to say I hope the dieting goes well for you. As you told us just a year ago when we discussed (appropriately enough) kitchen design you have a bad back and bad knees.

Taking the permanent load off these damaged areas has got to be a good thing. I have a bad foot which sometimes makes me so cranky I have to go away and be by myself until it stops hurting. Losing some of the 240-250 lbs I carry on my 5'10" frame would reduce the load and the hurting. Evidently I need to diet myself.

Well done for taking action. I hope I can do the same.

I'm a long time reader, speedskater and Ironman-er... And weightloss is an important parameter in what I do.

First thing, losing 4 pounds, even 5, per week might be normal and easy for one person, losing 2 pounds for another might be dangerous. It depends on people. What works for you might not work for another.

Some seem worried about muscle loss if you loose weight fast, yes if you dont "shock" you muscle mass into building (it can be long walks, gardening or 100 miles rides) and still eat proteins.

- Dieting and not exercising is the real mistake.
- Looking at weight and not body fat is the other.
- The last big mistake is to overcomplicate things - Kcal peeping - and loose focus.

I annoy my girlfriend because I can drop, without really trying, 9 to 12 pounds over two weeks to get to race weight... The other thing I do is to COOK MY OWN FOOD in SMALL VERY TASTY quantities... Just buy raw ingredients and cook. It suprising how fast it goes to stir fry an onion with a spoon of olive oil, add one cut tomato and a bit of fish, salt, pepper and serve with some salad with echalottes, olive oil, vinegar and salt.

I think Mike is on the right course, and will be able to see the rear screen of the 850 - not the top LCD - when it rests on his gut :)

Sashimi was a surprise and so I went looking. And that was a revelation, I tell you...


508 calories in one roll of shrimp tempura!

I'm doing something like you, but my approach is much more primitive - I eat everything and anything, but I cut the food intake greatly. Not really good but much easier.

And since I'm mostly in front of my computer, I started exercising and walking (it takes an hour and a half from the centre of the town to my home). I lost a nice deal of weight, but can't get rid of the slight roll around my middle. :)) Still, with the exercises, I'm in much better shape than I used to be.

The huffing and puffing is probably not caused only by your being not fit, but also by the lowered food intake - you are simply weaker. You need more exercise, certainly. The bicycle will help, but also check http://hundredpushups.com/ and the accompanying sites for situps and squats. The links are there, at the bottom of the navigation pane to the left.

This diet is designed to sell you prepackaged and artificial food. Not much different than pet food. It will work, if you get hooked.
I do hope that you switch to fresh fruits and vegetables and try to exercise. This to me sounds like America at its worst.

It's the typical Merceditis. Take my word for it ;-)

recommended read: "the zone" by dr. barry sears. just get it on a public library and read it. I hope it will open your eyes as it opened mine.

Lots of great advice in the comments--but since you are a noted "book guy," and important to legions of us out here in internet-land, PLEASE go to Amazon and get a copy of "Younger Next Year." It will change your life. Great read too.

Good luck and glad you are doing this, Mike. I have an uncle who is 6'1 and weighed somewhere around 350 pounds. After one heart attack, he woke up and started a program very like your own. He's lost a lot of weight and is doing much better now.

I personally feel your pain too, as I've been forced for medical reasons to radically change my own eating habits. It's amazing how fast you will clean up your act when not doing so renders you extremely sick. I've had to cut my sugar intake to almost nothing (no ice cream all summer!) and also my alcohol consumption (I've never had a drinking problem, but I'm 27 and dating so this is really frustrating in its own way). Hang in there!

have to try this myself but just in case it helps with keeping it off

"I know this isn't a personal blog" I think it is, even though it is mainly about your photography's comment. I really think that it is as I like your blog because there is a person behind and it is talked in personal terms. Even though as you are who you are, it is mainly about photography but I welcome something outside.

Even peacock is fine.

Personal is what is all about.

Funny, this is the third time this week I've come across the phrase 'Kentucky Windage'. I had never heard it before that :)

Anyways, good luck...

"Funny, this is the third time this week I've come across the phrase 'Kentucky Windage'. I had never heard it before that :)"

That's an example of how we learn vocabulary. If you rank all words in a language according to difficulty (which is done empirically, by surveying a large sample of speakers of the language and seeing what percentage of them knows what a given word means), several interesting facts pertain.

All "fluent" native speakers share a core of vocabulary words that are known to virtually anyone who speaks the language. There are no English speakers who do not know what "chair" or "go" mean. On the difficulty scale, every speaker will have a "gray area" that contains a jumble of words, some known to you, some not known, and some you think you know but are confused about or can't quite define. It turns out, though, that everybody's "gray area" is a fairly small and well-defined section of the scale; and it's true for virtually everyone that below their gray area, they will known virtually EVERY word, and above it, they will know virtually NO words.

This has implications for how best to learn vocabulary. For instance, have you ever had the experience of learning a new vocabulary word--say for the SAT or from a "word builder" type of feature in the newspaper--that you just can't seem to remember three weeks later? That's an example of a word that's above your gray area--you're not ready to learn it, so retaining it will be difficult for you until your entire gray area moves upward and reaches the level of difficulty that encompasses that word. (If you don't believe me, go look up "nanism" or "abducent" and then see if you can remember either the words or their definitions three weeks from now.)

The experience of "never hearing a word before" and then suddenly hearing it multiple times--something I think we've all experienced--is merely a case of a word entering your gray area from above. It's not that you never encountered it before; it's that you ignored it, because you weren't ready to assimilate it.

The only effective way to improve your vocabulary is to work on words in your gray area. One way to do this is to notice new words and phrases that are suddenly popping up at you like that, and go learn them thoroughly. Another is to try to identify words you sort of know but aren't quite sure about, and go learn those. For many words, the last stage of learning it is confusing it with its opposite, so if you ever catch yourself doing that, pay close attention.

I've also gotten pretty good at recognizing words above my gray area. If I come across words like "schediasm" or "eupeptic," for instance, I won't bother to go look them up unless I really need to. I know they're above my gray area and that learning them is not going to "take," so I don't waste my time.

Another interesting facet of this is that people won't read books that are too far above their vocabulary level. A certain number of unknown words encountered while reading is seen as a challenge, but too many just gets in the way of smooth assimilation of the facts, arguments, or stories. The most popular writers don't necessarily have very large vocabularies, and some esoteric authors with extremely large vocabularies are very unlikely to ever be popular. They are, in effect, writing in a somewhat different language than most people can understand.


Ravening wolves.

Ravening wolves and men with high-powered rifles.

Ravening wolves and men with rifles on a desert island chasing you.

That should shift it.


Good on you for going for it.

I'm going to have to offer an opinion that's probably contrary to many of the comments above, and contrary to popular wisdom. The truth is everybody *knows* 'how to lose weight': eat less/exercise more. The hard part is doing this in a way you can sustain indefinitely.

We're currently on a 'diet' which isn't about denying yourself the good stuff. In general, it's a replacement of high-carb 'filler' foods with lots of vegetables, and one meal a day with a protein shake.
When it comes to the 'bad' foods (high fat and/or carb), you make a list of those you can and can't live without. Cut out the ones you can live without, but you can still have some of the ones you can't. This leverages behavioural psychology to avoid the otherwise inevitable diet-killing binge, and makes it a sustainable change in lifestyle.

With respect to exercise, the focus is on increasing incidental exercise, eg park further away from the store and walk, etc. It's just crazy that an expectation be there that all of a sudden you have to do hours of vigorous exercise a day.

Here's the book that this technique comes from: http://www.weightlossforfoodlovers.com/ , and I believe you can download many of his talks.
He's an Aussie like me, but don't hold that against him.

Good luck, Mike! I just have to give my plug to Weight Watchers. I lost 30 pounds about 4-5 years ago and I've kept it off. I didn't really step up the exercise while on WW, but after I lost the weight I found I actually enjoyed exercising and have been able to keep it off because of activity. I didn't intend to lose 30 pounds, but at a certain point the diet was just really easy to do and I kept losing...so I just kept going.
Also, at first the meetings seem really annoying and stupid, but I think subliminally it helps to go for 45 minutes a week and listen to weight loss talk. Somehow, even for a skeptic/cynic like me, clapping because someone lost 5 pounds and wanting to get there myself really helped. I still go to meetings occasionally just to check in. Anyway, I really wish you the best of luck, you won't believe how much better you'll feel!

Good on you, Mike.

My girlfriend undertook a tightly-scripted weight loss diet as a kick-start a few years ago and similarly hated it. It did work and she had the knowledge to manage the transition back to normal food, and has kept almost all of the weight off since.

Although I am naturally lean, I have noticed that middle age has lowered my metabolism to the point that I need to be active on a daily basis, in addition to eating sensible portions of vegetables, fruit, fish and meat with only occasional exceptions, to avoid the weight creeping on. Cheese is a killer for me and I have learned to mostly ignore it in the supermarket. I do enjoy hommus on rice crackers and that satisfies the craving for a snack.

For the last few weeks I've been working extended hours away from home (with little internet access) and am not able to exercise as I normally do. Already I feel stodgy, a feeling that I hate and that motivates me to do whatever I can in the situation. So my suggestion: firstly, find a habitual first-thing morning exercise that you enjoy, and secondly, get to enjoy eating sensible portions of vegetables, fruit, fish and meat, while lifting your nose at sugary and fatty foods (I liked that phrase that a previous reader used). But it sounds like you are aware of these things. Go for it!

Warm regards,

As someone who is currently, um, enjoying a BMI markedly above 25, I empathize and wish you the best (and a prompt return to French bread, because 1,300 calories a day is a very hard regimen to be subjected to.)

For what it's worth, I went on a self-designed diet about a year and a half ago,not to lose weight but to see if I could eliminate muscle and joint pain that was taking over my life. There was a PBS program airing at the time, and I came across Raymond Francis' book "Never be Sick Again", which resulted in my decision to avoid gluten (bread, pasta, etc), coffee, sugar, and milk products for six weeks.

Eating no bread was difficult and no sugar more so, but after two weeks it was no big deal. I soon started feeling much better (I became committed to regular exercise at this time as well), and after a few months I realized that I had lost about 30 pounds (now stabilized at 40 pounds lost, about what I weighed 45 years ago in high school).

I have gone back to drinking coffee, allow myself a small amount of bread, about 5 grams of sugar per day, and very little dairy product . I avoid all processed and non-organic food as much as I can.

The two best things about this are that I enjoy eating good fresh quality food far more than I enjoyed my former diet that included packaged processed food. It just tastes real. I also like my lean body, which makes me feel more in charge of my life rather than a victim.

I'm fortunate in this regard to live alone and work at home, so I can pretty easily control what I eat. There is also an abundance of organic food available where I live (Portland and San Francisco).

My conclusion is that eating natural, unprocessed food will likely do more for one's health, along with reasonable physical activity, than any diet. Sugar is literally a killer, and for me dairy doesn't work either.

Best wishes as you proceed.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007