FI techniques, for fitness.

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Noedig
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FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by Noedig » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:48 am

I find it galls me that the discipline I used to get to FI does not seem easily to carry over into losing weight and keeping fit.

I mean, some of it does (I like control and I am stoical)

But a lot of it doesn’t or is even counterproductive (being an introspective, energy saving, placid guy who enjoys reading and his computer)

Essentially, I don’t want to become my father – a pot-bellied dwarf (sorry, shade of Dad). But seems I have. 125kg.

My particular vulnerabilities are eating when I am distracted, or too hungry to be sensible. The snacking demons are most powerful late at night. Also a general tendency to contented inertness.

I seem to have got the exercise part down better, having replaced cycling to work with alternate day gym visits.

I have bursts of energy and movement: hell, I cycled up Mont Ventoux last year. But, I know that in a few weeks there will be a pause, when I am busy or perhaps a bit ill, and then picking up again will require a separate deployment of willpower, which may not come in on schedule.

I have thought about it quite a lot. I am just getting to FI. It would be dumb to do that, only to now spend fewer years in worse health, than I could.

Now is the time to tackle it. Better, ten years ago. "Second best time is now" as the saying goes.

It just seems to demand reapplication of will too frequently for me to be reliable about implementing regime change, at least that's the case to date.

I am committing to a new goal as of this week: 6 months, 24.7kg : about 1kg / week. Big, but doable. Edit: I originally put "trying a new goal" but as Yoda says, "Do. Or do not. There is no 'Try'".

This time however, there are rewards. Funded by 1.00 GBP per gramme I lose and keep off, for more than a month. That's 1000 GBP per kg.

Sounds like a lot. It is a lot. All for my fun budget.

There are some conditions: I only reward myself for last months weight loss. I can only do that if I am still losing. I have to lose at an average rate of just over 1kg/wk [one reason for that last is that slipping continually out and in of ketosis will be too much effort and prone to failure. Also, it's a round number. Also, is an achievable round number].

Tools: Gym - including classes. Using FI lifestyle to control what I buy, what I do, what I eat. Using an app to count calories (Tap and Track). Also helps that my wife is no longer ill so I don't have to spend time preparing food for everyone all the time (being away from the kitchen, helps).

Rewards: TBH only have a few cheap rewards in mind so far: replacing my favourite shirt. Getting a proper back massage. I will have to get more ambitious in devising massive carrots for myself. What would you consider iconic rewards worth striving towards? Anything's on the table, short of strippers and cocaine.

So, this post is either the proud foundation stone of the future, or a shameful goad to better behaviour, or perhaps both.

Wish me luck. Here's hoping that if you have similar issues, that you fix them. For those that have already or are doing so: how did/are you doing it?

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:06 am

Reading while walking on a treadmill is my most recent discovery. An hour will go by before you realize it. I go to the gym almost every day.

As far as ways of thinking, I recommend focusing on patterns of behavior instead of goals. So instead of thinking "I want to lose 1kg this week," think "I'll walk for 5 hours this week" and "I'll eat broccoli every day" or whatever.

phil
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by phil » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:39 pm

Did you actually calculate what calorie deficit you will have to run in order to lose so much weight? I don´t want to discourage you, but stating that you want to lose x weight in a specified amount of time by going to the gym and cycling to work is like stating that you want to save x amount of money by spending less money on gas or eating out, without any quantification. Willpower alone will not get you there.
There are about 9 calories in a gram of body fat, so you would have to have a daily deficit of over one thousand calories for half a year on to achieve what you set out to. I wish you all the best, but I would suggest starting with some more modest goals. And track calories.

Noedig
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by Noedig » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:55 pm

phil wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:39 pm
you would have to have a daily deficit of over one thousand calories for half a year on to achieve what you set out to.
Yup. The app seems happy with that goal, won't allow more. I have done the math, it can be done. I know it is a marathon not a sprint. I have the world's largest duracell battery round my midriff to make up the gap. It helps that if I feel tired, that is OK, I can rest and have a cup of tea, don't have to grab a donut+coffee and carry on working.

I am going to give this a go. I will report honestly on outcome.

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sl-owl-orris
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by sl-owl-orris » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:00 pm

Firstly – it’s great you are looking to lose weight and improve your health. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

You want to lose about 19% of your body mass in 6 months – I lost 18% in 6 months, so I believe we are in the same range. I will give few pointers on how I did it and hopefully you will find something useful/applicable.

1. I wasn’t trying to lose weight per se. I had just changed my diet to a healthier one and losing weight was a desirable side effect I chose to document. I stepped on bathroom scales each day just after waking up and emptying my bladder and put it down in a spread sheet with a linear graph. It was motivating that even if on a particular day my weight was more than the previous day, I could see the overall trend.

2. I wasn’t exercising at all, this was all diet and I can’t really give tips on how to exercise to lose weight. My fitness and my general condition improved drastically though, so I was more fit even though I did not hit the gym even once.

3. The diet I switched to was Whole Foods Plant Based diet. At that point I was still eating fish though. If you are unwilling to give up meat and dairy, you can still make meaningful changes to your diet by simply playing with the proportions – more fruits and veggies and less meat and dairy. Also, the more processed something is, the more you should avoid it.

4. If that’s still too difficult to balance or you are looking for just one dietary tip to follow, I would suggest eating one head of lettuce a day. That’s right, one whole lettuce. The best way to do it is to eat it before you eat your big meal. When you are hungry everything tastes delicious and eating greens can be very refreshing. It doesn’t have to be boring, you can make a salad with some fresh veggies and/or fruits, but try to avoid any oils or heavy dressings, because that would defeat the purpose. I found that oranges and lettuce make a very tasty combination. The general rule is that you should eat foods which are low in calories compared to volume. This way you will feel satiated and you won’t feel unhappy that you are starving yourself. Fruits, veggies, legumes and whole-grains should have enough nutrition to keep you going without overloading you with excessive calories.

5. If you don’t know how to approach WHPB diet, there is a lot of information on the internet. If I were to recommend one food-blog that has delicious but super healthy recipes and meal ideas it would be http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/

6. Remove all the unhealthy foods from the house. I know it may be difficult since you live with your family, but try to stick to it as much as possible. If it’s not there for you to reach for it, you won’t. If you stick to the lettuce rule and then eat healthily afterwards, you should feel satiated and not feel the need for a snack. If you do, there are several remedies. A glass of water can fill your stomach and reaching for it may occupy you enough to distract you from snacking. If not, then fresh fruit is great. It does have sugars, but since it’s accompanied by fiber you should be fine. Or even a handful of frozen berries. You can chew one at a time. Apparently berries speed up the process of losing weight. Carrot sticks and such are also not bad when you have “itchy teeth”. Lastly there are nuts and seeds (raw, unsalted) – they are very healthy, but also very calorie-dense, so be careful with the amounts you eat.

7. If you are traveling, or you suspect you may be hungry, it’s better to have an apple or a bag of nuts with you, so that you are not tempted to for example buy a chocolate bar because you’re hungry.

8. It’s very individual, but it only takes around a couple of weeks to stop craving sweets, processed foods etc. They lose appeal as your taste buds adjust to real food.

9. Drink plenty of water and make sure you sleep enough.

That’s all! If you have any questions, let me know. Good luck!

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C40
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by C40 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:46 pm

If you're mainly focused on losing weight, nutrition is generally way more important than exercise. Limit what you eat as much as possible to vegetables and meat, and drink only water, plus plain coffee or tea if you like. (no potatoes or corn. Meat is useful for satiation. If you try to eat just vegetables you'll hate yourself or start cheating. Eat as often and much as you feel like. Midnight snacks are A-ok)

If that doesn't seem to be working, really start eating just vegetables and meat. If you're actually doing that, but aren't losing weight, eat less/learner meat.

Weigh yourself twice a week after waking and peeing. Chart the weight. If it's not going down, see the paragraph above. That's it.


While you're on the way to eating as described above, the most important things to stop eating are:
- sugars (so - foods with literal sugar as a direct ingredient)
- processed grains, starchy vegetables. And then any and all grains



For most, knowing what they should do is the easy part, and actually doing it is the hard part. These books may be helpful:
- The Power of Habit (Duhigg)
- The new Mental Toughness Training for Sports (Loehr) (Just replace "sports" with "health" or whatever else you want. It's not a dumb book about macho strength, it has really useful techniques for changing how you think and how to do what you need right now (in the short term) to accomplish your longer-term goals. )

Use what you learn in the book above to change your behaviors. Forget about will power. This is about choices and habits. Figure out how to change your habits and get yourself to make choices while remembering your goals.

Negative rewards may work better for you than positive ones. (IE, "if I don't lose X kg by Y date, I'll donate Z GBP to [some cause that I totally hate])

Scott 2
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:41 am

I'd encourage you to seek a physical hobby that you find especially compelling to improve at - maybe even more appealing than eating. Maybe it's a martial art, swimming, or even augmented reality games like Pokemon.

Grinding out cardio sessions at the gym gets very old, unless maybe they are training for a bigger competitive goal.

The real challenge isn't losing weight, but finding a new way of life that is rewarding enough to make physical changes permanent.

wood
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by wood » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:20 am

Great OP, I hope you will succeed!

You want this to be a lasting change in your life. So my way of solving this problem would be to look at an exercise+diet program that is more or less sustainable in the long run, with minor adjustments for weight loss/gain. That program would be your frame in which you try make it as enjoyable as possible. It will be difficult to succeed unless you enjoy the workouts.

I wouldn't compare your program to a marathon. It's rather daily sprints everyday for 6 months! This will get really tough. And it will continue to be tough after completion, because it will be tempting to go back to your old ways. Hence why I suggest something more sustainable, kinda like how many of us target ERE; we find a sustainable level of spending that will remain unchanged even after the goal of ERE is achieved. It really is a lifestyle rather than an end goal.

Using myself as an example, I've been going to the gym regularly for the past 5 years. I've found something I enjoy: running and boxing. I'm lucky to never have had a weight issue, but I can tell you my physical fitness has improved immensely during this period. But that is just a side effect. The main point is I found something I enjoy doing on a regular basis.

At the end, celebrate doing your favorite workout.

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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:15 am

INTP, I assume? One thing that worked for me in the past (making note to self here too) in combating distracted eating was to make myself walk a 3 mile round trip to the store if I wanted a 300 kcal treat. Otherwise, I only kept food like fish and spinach in the fridge. Not the most frugal plan, but kind of eliminates the need for attentiveness or will-power.

Another systems approach rule-of-thumb is to recognize that this is a very difficult challenge that most people fail at, so counting on any one tactic or small set of tactics to work is not likely to be successful. So, imagine there is some enemy you are trying to defeat; don't worry about being too scientifically accurate; maybe imagine cartoon character demons in your belly chortling as they make you some new fat cells. Then do some brainstorming and make a list of 20 highly varying things you might do to win against the belly demons. Do NOT be all pc or purist about "healthy lifestyle" when you make this list. This is not about signaling virtue. This is about kicking ass against the belly demons. And, like all successful warriors, be sure to celebrate and reward yourself each time you win a battle. The most reinforcing rewards you can give yourself would be anything that would serve as tool to better implement whichever of the 20 tactics you listed that did prove to be most helpful. For instance, if keeping a hunger journal on your desk seemed to help, obtain a small one to keep in your backpack too. Second order would be minor indulgences that are counter-productive to other goals. For instance, like many females, I will sometimes buy myself new clothing as reward, but I do it at the $1 Salvation Army.

Good luck!

Noedig
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by Noedig » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:03 am

Thank you all for the support and encouragement and many useful ideas.

@7Wannabe5 - 'Belly demons' has entered my lexicon. Am INTJ - so, almost. Suspect lots of those round here.

@sl-owl-orris - many good points. Will do the lettuce thing. Was, sort of. Now, will. You have Gone Before, I salute you.

@wood, yeah it's a lifestyle change. Less about food, for one thing (foodcentricity will have to go on hold for a while). Will weigh twice a week.

@c40 - yes - is about what I do more than about my goals. Despite having goals. I have cut out the crap: it's more liking feeling full, I must adjust.

@Scott 2 : I am fortunate in that I took the special gym offer this April so that cost is sunk, and that the class I like - spin - is not getting old on me: it is v techy and sends me emails of cal burn and effort charts after each session. If I have concern it is that gym will cancel it as few people go.

@Kreigsspiel: *very* good point re activities vs goals. Still thinking about that one.

Update: tried Pilates. Killed me. Will try again. But sticking to spin meantimes: but with stretches. I never used to do stretches.

Am making list of reasons to lose weight. It is very long list. Will post when done, contains pointed personal stuff.

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FBeyer
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by FBeyer » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:56 am

Mindset:
I'll chime in on the idea of changing your day-to-day life, rather than going on a 6-month diet.
The difference between those two points of view is that once you're 'done' with your 6 month crash course, you'll mentally have crossed a non-existant finish line, which is where people slip up and revert to their old self again because the think they're done.

If you think in terms of changing the way you live your life, there IS no finish line, living healthy is simply what you DO. You won't lose 40 kg in six months, your weight will simply asymptotically approach what is aligned with the way you live your life.

Rewards:
Rewards should ALWAYS support the cause you're working towards. Do NOT reward yourself with fun-money because you'll be teaching yourself that getting healthy is punishment and spending money is the reason you're working out. What you should reward yourself with is better exercise gear once you've completed your first 10.000 kettlebell swings. Reward yourself such that you are bound to continue your habit, rather than disband it once you're 'done'.

Motivation:
Psychologically you should paint two pictures, practically you should make two physical lists, written in ink.
The first list gives you all the reasons why you want to, and need to, get healthier.
The second list is all the things that will happen to you if you don't.

You need a mental pull, as well as a mental push, to get to difficicult places.

The sugar cravings suck motherfucking donkey's balls. So sit your ass down on a chair a few times everyday and picture yourself, while 'dieting,' with your hand in the cookie jar. Envision yourself on the brink of stuffing your face and dredge up as much self-directed empathy as you can and dive deep into the feelings you have inside once you're about to betray your cause. Once you've familiarized yourself with that feeling of almost-failure the odds of you recognizing it once it happens in real life are much greater and so you have a better chance of stopping yourself.

You will fail a few times, but that's much better than messing up many times. Envisioning yourself on the brink of failure actually helps a whole lot more than positive thinking. Preparing for the suck and accepting the suck before you begin will make it suck a whole lot less than thinking it'll be a breeze.

Seriously, get as familiar with failure as you can without actually failing.

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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by jacob » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:38 pm

I'll add a couple of minor points.

If you're lucky enough to spend time in the company of people of different shapes and weight classes, maybe family members, friends, colleagues, ... try the following experiment. Observe how much they move. Do they move slowly and deliberately and maybe as little as possible. Do they change body position frequently or rarely? If they pick up a pencil, does the hand move fast or slowly? Is it a big movement or a small movement? If they need to get something, do they stand up and get it? Or do they tend to sit and maybe ask someone else when they stand up? When they walk, how fast do they walk? If they need something upstairs, do they just walk up there or do they delay it for later? Do they fidget?

You'll likely see that some people are much more efficient when it comes to conserving their energy (some would say they move lazily) while others expend it quite freely. You'll probably also notice a connection between these difference and overall weight class/BF%. I've done the experiment around here and I see it ... I don't know if it's actionable though. It's very hard to change one's energy-habits.

As everybody else pointed out, eating less is by far the more effective method. One kg of bodyweight corresponds to 7700kcal of food which is enough to live for 3 days or survive sustainably for 5 days without eating anything :o IOW ... you need to eat three days worth of extra meals in order to put 1 kg on.

One hour's worth of extremely intense exercise burns about 1000kcal. Half an hour's worth of brisk walking burns 150kcal. A 150km bicycle ride is worth about 3000kcal. IOW, it's actually possible to do it with exercise only, but as usual, the people who are in good enough shape to do it are precisely the ones who don't need to do it.

Furthermore, if you focus on weight rather than performance, it will be highly discouraging because initially, added exercise means being more hungry (to replace the burnt energy) while adding muscle (and water) faster than reducing fat. It takes 2-4 weeks to get beyond this hump on the scale.

I recommend adding some exercise ... but in terms of overall quality of life and lethality, lack of exercise is more deadly than weighing too much. I would also suggest picking your metric in a way that progress will be linear. This means work capacity ... e.g. how far can you run without stopping. Or how many situps before failing. Not strength stuff which will see diminishing ROI inside of a month. Nor speed stuff which is the same.

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Smashter
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by Smashter » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:18 am

The "6 steps for a slimming lifestyle" outlined in the book "The Hungry Brain" could be helpful.

1) Fix your food environment - pretty much what 7W5 was saying
2) Eat Satiating Foods - C40 is bad mouthing potatoes, and I must stand up for them! :x
From what this book says and from my own experience, potatoes get a bad rap (at least when eaten plain). They are very satiating. Nutritious too. And cheap. I love potatoes.
3) Eat simple foods
4) Make sleep a priority - low sleep duration and quality is one of the biggest indicators that you're going to gain weight
5) Move your body - obvious
6) Manage stress - this one is easily overlooked. Chronic stress creates chronic inflammation in the hypothalamus, which hugely impacts how we eat. (very dumbed down version, the book is awesome if you want to learn the neuroscience)

Scott 2
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Re: FI techniques, for fitness.

Post by Scott 2 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:35 am

Spin is a great example of an activity that can become a hobby. Most classes develop a community. There are teachers to model behavior. As you gain mastery, it's very possible to carry your enthusiasm into becoming a teacher, which gives you access to a more exclusive community. You can get better at running classes. Teaching can get you free gym access, pay you a little to move, and give you incentive to maintain long term.

You might approach physical activity along the lines of the above. I bet you could be training to teach classes within a year.

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