Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since it’s been so long, I’m going to try something different. Instead of linking the measurements at the end, I’ll link them right here and I can go over them with you.
So let’s start with the thing about which everyone cares: Weight. This has some positive and some negative, and it’s going to take a while, so let’s get down to it:
First, in terms of absolute weight, I lost just under 90 lbs in a year. Considering the fact that the only other time I’ve experienced significant weight loss in my life was when I was homeless, I’d like to think that this is pretty huge. This is including the times when I went off-schedule and ended up eating pretty poorly, along with the fact that I got very little exercise this past year. I think that, if I had been on-schedule the entire time, I would have lost a full hundred. As far as exercise goes, well… that may or may not have had an effect, considering that the primary advantage in terms of weight loss seems to be when people are on the standard American diet or diets that are just wildly different than the one I follow.
Now here’s something that a lot of runners and dieters seem to forget: Absolute weight loss is bad if it happens solely in the active cell mass. Good for me that I was aware of this fact when I started this diet, and thus purchased a bioelectrical impedance scale for this purpose. Let’s talk about the actual numbers first. Almost 55 pounds of pure fat loss. Roughly 61% of my weight loss was from fat. Now, that’s not 100%, and I’ll explain why that’s not an issue in just a second. As far as active cell mass, that accounted for about 24% of my weight loss, with a little over 20 lbs lost. For my bone mass, that accounted for 9% with just over eight pounds of weight loss coming from that.
So why don’t I hate the fact that I’ve lost some active cell mass? Well, having too much in terms of percent isn’t a good thing, either. In fact, around 50% seems to be ideal for a male my age. That would put my ideal weight at 275 lbs. No thanks. Active cell mass is nice to have, but I don’t want a ton just to have a ton. While 275 lbs with 138 lbs of active cell mass may be just as easy on me as 180 lbs with 90 lbs of active cell mass, I’m just not that interested in the extra 100 lbs just for the sake of the extra weight. The same, for the record, applies to bone mass. A person at 275 lbs might find 46.2 lbs to be a bit too much. For someone at 180 lbs, it’s just right out. Furthermore, I know for a fact that I’m not getting the protein requirements to maintain that (another consideration, as I’d need 50% more protein to support 50% more active cell mass). I expected to lose some active cell mass from the start.
But, in spite of losing some active cell mass and bone mass, the percentage of my weight attributable to each has gone up. Bone mass has gone up almost a half a percent in terms of contribution to my body’s total composition. Active cell mass has gone up about 2%. On the flip side, body fat has gone down by 3.5%. In the midst of all this good news, however, we must keep in mind that my bone mass percentage is still not optimal, nor is my active cell mass or body fat percentage. 43.9% is still a high BFP and 33.5% is still a low active cell mass percentage. Given where I started, however, it’s a very good start and I’m making my way to a healthy body composition.
Now let’s get to the not-quite-as-good news: My mother’s weight. She has lost about 20 lbs, but that’s nowhere near my 90 lbs. Why? Well, a few reasons: First, she’s a post-menopausal woman. Weight loss for her is difficult in the first place. Second, she cheats… a lot, in a lot of ways. She drinks beer (sometimes wine) at least a couple of times per week, she eats out with her friends on a fairly regular basis, and she uses artificial sweetener in her coffee. To compound these issues, she’s taking a pharmacy’s worth of medication, any one of them could be causing her weight loss to stall.
As I said, though, she has lost some weight. Once again, we get that 61% number. 61% of her weight loss was from fat. And, once again, we’re confronted with 24% coming from active cell mass. The consistency here is a little bizarre to me, but the numbers don’t lie. Coincidence, I’m sure, but there may be some signficance there. Perhaps a normal distribution? Well, with a sample size of 2, there’s not much we can say there. The point is that my mother lost a significant portion of fat and not nearly as much from her active cell mass or bone mass. Again, I’m not worried about it because her active cell mass at the start would constitute a weight much higher than is really reasonable (at her age and because she’s a woman, her ideal active cell mass is far below 50%).
As you might expect, her relatively lower results in weight loss also resulted in relatively lower results in terms of body composition. Her BFP fell just short of a 1% drop, and her active cell mass increased by about a quarter of a percent, with her bone mass percentage fluctuating between a .1% and .2% gain.
So while my mother’s results weren’t as fantastic as I might have hoped, she still had positive results (in spite of cheating) and my results were pretty great. I’m hoping for better results next year, but I guess we’ll have to see.
Now, let’s get into heart health. Surely a diet so high in saturated fat is going to wreck havoc with my blood pressure, right?
Well, blood pressure is a little harder. In addition to the fact that we haven’t measured our blood pressures since mid-July, blood pressure fluctuates a lot more than weight and my blood pressure wasn’t nearly as absurdly high as my weight, but we can still see a pretty obvious decrease in my blood pressure, especially my systolic. My diastolic isn’t quite as obvious until you examine it or add a trendline, but it has decreased as well. Heart rate has a barely lowering trend, but it’s nowhere near suggestive of anything. For now, I’ll mark “no change” for heart rate and I guess we’ll see how things go in the future.
As for my mother’s blood pressure, we can see a lot more spikes, but therein lies the interesting part: Those spikes all happen during periods where she had a lot of cheat days. The first spike, for example, happened around Thanksgiving (visiting and going out to eat with friends and family started before Thanksgiving). The second spike was after Christmas and the new year, and subsequent spikes were things like going out of town to visit sisters. The last two weeks of measurements followed this. Outside of these spikes, there does seem to be some improvement, but it’s difficult to tell.
Unfortunately, we didn’t hold to the mental measurements as well as I’d hoped. My primary objective throughout much of the past year was to get on schedule or focus on staying on schedule. That said, in the brief period when we did the testing, both my mother and I showed improvement in reaction speed and memory tests and I showed improvement in the time it took me to solve the sudoku puzzles (keep in mind that my mother didn’t do the sudoku puzzle measurement).
So… good for weight loss? Check.
Good for the heart? Tentative check.
Good for the brain? Tentative check.
If there were any doubts about this diet, let them be laid to rest. But if all this isn’t enough, I”m going to talk about some health benefits we noticed that weren’t really within our ability to measure in the next Monday Musings post.
Since we took these measurements, we haven’t been weighing ourselves or taking our blood pressure, but I’m hoping to get started on that again soon, perhaps even this week. The measurement posts are going to continue, but I’m hoping to expand them a bit, including getting the mental measures going again. Not only that, but my mother recently got test results from her last blood panel today, and I’m hoping to talk to her doctor about getting the results for her various blood panels for the past year and a half or so so that I can show you guys things like her cholesterol numbers, her HbA1c, etc. I’m making no promises there, however.
I do hope to type up a page done in the style of a study for these measurements, including methods, discussion, etc. We’ll see if I have time to do that in the future. Once again, no promises there.