It’s your window to weight gain!

According to my physician, I am at risk for, or may already be in, insulin resistance syndrome. It’s now called “metabolic syndrome” which seems insufficiently precise to me. But he makes a convincing case.

Therefore, the best thing I can do for myself is to get to my target weight of 200 lbs in one year. This will be ~50 lbs, or 1 lb per week.

I repeat, I have to lose 50 pounds in one year.


I’m already eating a much better diet than I was a year ago. This is why I weigh ~250 rather than 275, which is where I started on this journey. However I suck at the exercise. There is an exercise machine in the house that my mom used before that I can make use of, so I shall. I sweat like a freaking PIG when I exercise and hate to do this in front of strangers so the health club is a big washout. Paxil is great for making the depression go away but it makes me into a kind of perspiratory fountain apparatus.

And walking is to smile. It burns like 1 calorie per 1000 miles. Anyone else tells me to try walking, I’m splattering lipids all over them from my bulging midriff.

It surprises me that I am overweight. I was always a skinny kid. Stupid depression, stupid depression meds. Blurg.

32 thoughts on “It’s your window to weight gain!

  1. i loved paxil when i first went on it, it was the first anti-depressant i tried, but it made me gain like 30 pounds in 3 months, and as i was trying to come off my whole speed/anorexic trip, it made me very sad in the end…
    as for walking, my dad swears by it and i kept thinking it was bullshit, but it has WORKED for me, and now i am walking during lunch and after work, so if you ever want to go for a walk some evening, just to get out of the house and get yourself moving, i always love to have a walking buddy…i also have an exercise machine, but i find the back bay much more therapeutic, and once i get somewhere i am committed, and have to walk home…
    anyway, its just a thought…and good luck…(and please don’t splatter all over me…)

  2. It’s true that walking doesn’t burn all that many calories. But it does do two other things: it gets your heart rate up (if you walk fast enough), which helps you burn more calories in some magic way that I don’t understand, and it builds muscle. Pound for pound, muscle burns way more calories than fat, so everything else you do — even if it’s just walking across the street — will burn more calories than if you weren’t as muscular. So walking isn’t useless.

    1. Yes, this is what I’ve been told as well. Apparently, just ‘idling’ with muscle burns calories. While fat is a stored reserve for lean times, muscle is a stored reserve for WHEN YOU MUST RUN LIKE HELL. As such, the body supports it with more energy to keep it ready.
      When the body starts looking for stuff to burn for energy, it actually looks to unused muscle FIRST. Since it takes more than its fare share. After that, it burns fat. So keeping somewhat toned by walking will keep that muscle on the ‘Sorry, we’re used frequently, don’t use us for kindling’ list. Thus, they keep consuming energy even when you’re not walking.
      Which sucks if you’re an dangerously underweight pencil necked geek trying to kind of tone up, but rocks if you’re trying to drop some.

      1. Yeah, walking is great. Idling is even more fun. But I already walk for exercise, and it doesn’t do much more than cause a very slow weight loss, like the bird sharpening its beak on my butt every 100 years. 🙂

      2. When I was living in Boston, I walked everywhere, using the car only once every week or two for things like groceries and laundry. I really did not lose any weight, but I ended up eating twice as much as I normally do. Of course, this might be due to the cold.
        You might want to talk to the for Weight Watchers info. He is, more or less, following the plan–not going to meetings or keeping absolutely religous about it, but trying to stick close to the points. He also has a really nifty Palm app with a database of points for just about every dish, chain restaurant, and fast-food place on the planet. I keep asking him for points, just to gauge how unhealthy I am eating. “How many points in this Quiznos veggie?” “About one and a half of my meals.” “How much for the La Salsa taquito and quesidilla platter?” “That is a little bit over a day’s worth of points.” “How much for this raw carrot snack?” “Well, that ends up being a negative point.”
        It seems you can eat a taquito and quesidilla platter, then forty carrots, you get a net balance of zero and can start your eating again. But seriously, talk to BC about it. It really does work out pretty well as long as you do not try to “cheat the system.”

      3. Weight Watchers is a scam because it teaches you how to eat preprocessed crap food, not how to learn to cook and eat regular food, and what Real Life serving sizes are. Most people end up relying on their little bags of food too much than figuring out what works for them. It’s pretty damned expensive even without the food investment. I understand it for the moral support aspect, but it’s a huge moneymaking scamz0r. Foo.
        I mean, it works in the short term for a lot of people, but they end up back where they were eventually. The numbers back that up, unfortunately. =/

      4. I am not sure if Weight Watchers is different now, or if the thing you are describing is somehow different from the Weight Watchers stuff Vegemite is doing. For him, there was no initial investment–several of his friends are doing it, so he learned the basics from them, then found all the point equivalents all over the web. You can eat whatever the heck you want (he is a pretty good cook, so that works out pretty well), there is no special (read: expensive) food, any every piece of food translates to “points.” Even items that are not on official listings can be translated to points based on some sort of value–calories and carbs, if I remember correctly. You have to keep under your point value for the day–eating adds points and exercising subtracts them. I guess there are lots of gimmicks you can buy–playing-card-like things with points and wallets to store them in, dictionaries of food-to-point translations, etc. Supposedly, if you know what you are doing, you do not need any of that stuff because it basically boils down to those two scores (calories and carbs, or whatever they were).
        So, really, I do not know much about long-term, since Vegemite has only been doing this for about 6 months. It seems to be working for him though, with little-to-no $monkey investment. What’s more is that he is now much more conscious of the kinds of things he is eating and how their content can effect him, which I think ends up being the most important thing.

      5. Oh, that rules! They used to be a) very expensive and b) in it for mostly just selling their line of Everything, much like a Jenny Craig sort of thing, but slightly less Evil, because they didn’t locate themselves next to phen-fen dispensers. That’s great! =D

      6. Ha! Jenny Craig! I remember that! Are they/is she still around? I still see the occasional flyer for phen-fen stapled to a random telephone pole around here (right under “Make money fast! Part time! From home!”), which kind of scares me. I think they are spelling it differently now, though, so you still get the name recognition but without messy copyright issues or anything. It would not surprise me if it was now an “herbal” remedy like that “herbal eXstacy” stuff.”

      7. Yup! Still around, still doing the 20 pounds for twenty bucks thing. =)
        That herbal phen-fen is scary… probably some ephedrine thing, I’d guess. Hurp! Oh well. I think most of the sources of it here in canada are pretty controlled now, but who knows. It’s too hard to keep track of all the scams at once!

      8. I think they have cleaned up their act quite a bit in the last few years. They are no longer basically a food sales operation, and have been acting more .org than .com. It’s still not the approach I want to take but it appears to be somewhat reformed from the days when it was basically TRY THIS LASAGNE WITH LOTS OF ASPARTAME IN IT!!1!

      9. Yay!
        That rules! It used to suck so much, and be so much more $$$$$$ oriented. I’m glad to see something change for the better. =)

  3. Diabetic exchange diets are pretty helpful (or were to me) when I was using it more religiously. I did indeed lose 1-2 pounds per week, and I learned a lot that was of long term use for how to eat (I just slacked off — but it *is* possible to eat this way for most of the rest of your life, it’s not like a Diet(tm), it’s a way of eating.)
    I was on the 1500 cal a day one, but there are other variations… basically you start at one (for you, say, I would suggest the 1800), and if it’s not working well, or you are not getting enough to eat, then you go up or down by 100 calories in either direction until things are working out.
    Check out for a basic idea. There are tons of websites that give you lists of the kinds of things you can eat (anything really) and how much constitutes a serving as per the layout.
    This page has some interesting info for vegetarian food (, has a bunch of general info for all diets, also and
    Something I found useful was to go to the doctor or at home or whatever and weigh myself once a week on the same day at the same time. Keeping track of progress, but not doing it too often. I kept that information in a book, along with measurements of my upper arm, upper chest, waist, hips, and thighs, to give me an idea not only of how much weight I was losing but also where things might be shifting to, if I were feeling that things weren’t happening very quickly for me.
    Anyway, I’m planning to go through the same crap at the moment, so if you need encouragement, just poke me when you need to. I have more specific docs around here somewhere about the exchanges. I’d basically set up in advance what I was going to eat from day to day — making up a sheet that I’d pin to the fridge of what my eating plans were going to be for the next few days, so I’d always know, and be able to stick to it that way. The only difference with the way I ate and the way the diet was set out is that I basically gave myself as many vegetables as I could eat (other than potatoes and corn), because they’re pretty light, calorie wise, and good for you elsewhere. I ended up feeling like I never stopped eating… breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. And lots and lots of water. Hurp!
    Like I say, I could have gone on doing it for a long time, but I eventually stopped paying as much attention to serving sizes as I should have. Hurp. And now I must pay. Oh well.
    Honk. Let me know how it goes, sir. And stuff. Maybe we can have a small club with me and thee, discussing how it’s going. =)

    1. oh yeah, p.s.
      Can totally relate to sucking at the exercise. I have the recumbent bike in the back room, but I get embarrassed to use it when hj and fimm are around because I don’t want to Sweat like Le Hog when anyone can see me. Sigh. I really *am* sloth.

    2. thank you!
      Good info, bookmark bookmark
      My diet is pretty good. I need to cut out a few things but mostly it’s the exercise that needs to change. I plan to carry around an anvil or something.
      Also hack off both legs 364 days from now to meet deadline.

      1. whelp
        Hi, see this boat? We’re both in it.
        Things that helped me lose ~70 lbs in 2001:
        – vegetables
        – fruit
        – more vegetables
        – diet shakes, a la slim-fast, in lieu of snacks
        – a 2000-calorie-a-week exercise goal, periodically met
        – period of unemployment DURING WHICH I LOST MOST OF THE WEIGHT (see: lack of job stress, sufficient time in which to exercise)
        – more fruit
        – even more vegetables
        – *complete* avoidance of resturants for 5 months
        – *complete* avoidance of people eating things I couldn’t
        – having nothing in my kitchen that wasn’t a fruit, a vegetable, or a dietarily-sanctioned food
        Things that helped me put most of it back on in 2002:
        – abhorrence of exercise
        – boredom with vegetables, fruits
        – job stress
        – overextended schedule
        – vending machine
        – utterly sedentary desk job & hobbies
        Last week, I started adding diet shakes, fruits & veggies back in, and got back to the gym for 1300 calories. I hated it. It sucked. I lost five pounds.
        If you need a cheerleader, I’m happy to be of service.

      2. Re: whelp
        2000 calories of exercise in a gym? well I personally can’t contemplate it. Weight training isn’t all that intense, calorie-wise, so that would be much more than an hour a day, unless I’m totally mistaken.
        Or do you do aerobics, treadmill, etc.?

      3. It’s just math.
        My particular program defines exercise as “moving your body through space,” and does not have any specific requirements as to how you arrive at your 2000-calorie expenditure. You can walk dogs, mow the lawn, walk through the mall, go rollerskating, play a sport… or you can, as I do, go to the gym, and bring magazines and cds to help the time pass as quickly as possible.
        At my weight and age, moderate aerobic activity burns about 15-16 calories per minute. At that rate, burning 2000 calories per week means spending about 30 minutes four times a week, 45 minutes three times a week, or 1 hour twice a week. It’s not that difficult to contemplate.
        Obviously, as Ig points out, if you’re only walking, it’s going to take a longer period of time to arrive at that kind of calorie-expenditure goal. I choose to use an elliptical trainer because that gives me a decent calorie-burning bang in a relatively short investment of time.
        Though it doesn’t give you that kind of calorie bang, weight training does burn some calories, and moreover, it increases the amount of metabolically active tissue in your body, so it’s important. I try to work in a few sets at the end of each aerobic session.

      4. Maybe the exercise calorie counts I’ve been using are on the low side. From what I can see, 15 cals/minute would be very vigorous activity, like running 7.5 mph (12 km/hr). I personally couldn’t sustain that on the road for an hour. Even 30 minutes would be quite challenging.
        But now that I think about it, your choice of the elliptical trainer is probably the easiest way to get to that burn rate. No impact, constant activity. Some of the people using that machine seem almost superhuman (to me), they move at a high speed for a very long time.

      5. PS
        During my weight loss, I ate corn and potatoes. In fairly large quantities. Like, daily. I ate anything even loosely termed a “vegetable.” And I lost multiple lbs per week. My diet instructor laughed when I expressed concern about the corn, and said she’d never seen a case where eating corn niblets resulted in significant weight gain.
        Because, two things: as it turns out, corn and potatoes are better than Hershey’s. And: you really can only eat so much corn.
        YMMV, especially if your thang is insulin-related, but really if you think about it, it all boils down to crowding out fattening food with less-fattening food.
        Oh yeah, one other thing: keep yourself full. I ate a lot, and often. I eat far less now… and I weigh far more. Life is strange.
        Good luck!

      6. Re: PS
        That’s cool, but corn and potatoes do get turned pretty quickly into sugars, which is pretty dangerous when you’ve got insulin and blood-sugar related problems like I do. If I eat a big serving of potatoes, I get high and sugary in a verrrry short period of time; same with corn. Whole wheat pasta, no prob. So I’m just sayin’. =)

      7. Yeah.. eating a raw potato spikes your blood sugar higher than eating *a cup of sugar* because it’s metabolized easier. That makes my head hurt just a little bit.

      8. Yeah, it’s very much a special case for diabetics. Potatoes also have a lot more vitamins than a cup of sugar if you eat the skin. 🙂

      9. Yeah, that freaked me out too, when I first found out. WHAT BUT I READ OH SHIT. This explains so much not only of my pre-diabetic stuff, but also why I had so many problems with getting tired (the spikes & all). Sigh. Oh well, I’m MUCH BETTER NOW… I think.

      10. Re: PS
        Yep. That’s why I included the YMMV disclaimer above. From a calories-to-food-mass perspective, there’s nothing inherently evil about corn and potatoes, so if blood sugar isn’t an issue and weight loss is, you’re a lot better off sating your snack urges with those kinds of things.

      11. Re: PS
        Yeah, the poor old potato gets such a bad rap. I mean, they’re so USEFUL! =D I love potatoes personally, I just have to watch it, or eat them with a lot of things that take me longer to digest or I get the carb floaties. =)

  4. lots of good advice here especially from Der Stimps and Der Marmot. My $0.02 cents. Over the past 2 years I’ve oscillated between 240 and 190 lbs, but am now forging into the 180s.
    I found calorie-counting software to be a major help. Once I started recording what I ate, the cost of snacking was a lot clearer. You don’t have to wait a month to find out your pants don’t fit; instead every night you see if you hit target. I’m using FitDay, which is free and acceptable, but I think I’d prefer real desktop or palmtop software.
    Also, while I’ve done a ton of exercise this year and am planning for more, the math shows me that it’s negligble w/regards to weight loss. I’m a decent runner now but the most I can burn in a day through exercise is something like 800 calories. That wouldn’t even burn all the way through a McDonald’s meal. On the other hand with diet control I can easily manage a 1000 calorie deficit every day, and not notice the effort.
    Diet control is the important part for weight loss, but I wouldn’t give up the exercise either.
    a) It is an inexpensive hit of natural antidepressants — I really notice when I haven’t done anything physical in a week now.
    b) It has all those burning-calories while you sleep benefits,
    c) When you have no muscles at all there are a lot of little defeats every day that don’t help if you are already prone to depression. Climbing stairs. Not being able to run for the bus. Etc.
    d) It makes life more fun. IMPORTANT!!! Find something to do that is FUN. I don’t care if it’s tiddlywinks, exercising your thumbs consistently is better than flagellating yourself to get on an exercise bike and never doing it.
    BTW: Nobody gives a damn if you don’t look good doing it. This is a common fear, it keeps people away from team sports and gyms, but it’s totally groundless.

    1. I am gym-avoidant. I also grew up being The Fat Kid, for various reasons. It wasn’t until I started commuting by bike on a daily basis that I learned to like doing things with my body. What brev said— cheap natural antidepressants— was absolutely true for me— and part of why I started riding in the first place.
      In the last 2 years, I haven’t lost /that/ much weight— maybe 15 pounds total— but I’ve converted a lot to muscle. I haven’t altered my eating habits appreciably either. Even if I’m only burning 200 calories extra in a day that I bike, over the course of a 20-workday month that’s a pound lost. Not bad for someone who’s basically lazy 🙂
      Best of luck. I’m happy to provide suggestions for building biking into your life, or whatever.

      1. Yes bikes!
        Bike-riding is an excellent for of exercise. I highly recommend it, especially if you can use it in a commuting situation.
        I’ve never tried counting my calories; maybe I’ll give it a shot.

  5. “If you cook it, they will eat”
    Just to add another $0.02 (I think I am up to $0.06 now), Kate and I make a number of nutritious vegetarian recipes from a couple of different books:
    1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes has all sorts of tasty goodness. Each recipe includes the per-serving kind of nutrition information you would normally get from the packaging of a pre-made item at the store. PLUS, the basis of Enigma’s Galaticaly Renown Lasagna came from this book.
    Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is not quite as good (in our opinion) as the other, but it does have a number of awards pinned to it–including two from Julia Child. This one seems a bit more “gourmet,” which equates to “not as practical for everyday use.”
    Now, I know that you are not going to go vegetarian–I am not and still eat the occasional shellfish or bird. These books, though, have some pretty tasty dishes made of vegetable matter which are still tasty and filling to the meat-eater and do not consist of “two lentil beans and a grain of rice with a side of brussels sprouts.”

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