Measure Up!

Having abandoned all but the mirror for monitoring my weight, uncertainty has made me weary. The mirror is consistent but the mind is not. In the cell phone app era, keeping track can be fun but distracting so I decided several months ago to abandon Fitbit and Co for the 19th century. But I’ve put a few pounds back on. Having lost weight and seeking to maintain that loss I have to think/go deeper.  The habit energies that lead to gaining weight have only been interrupted. Moving more, counting calories, fasting are just interventions. Keeping track is still necessary but I really want it to be unobtrusive yet precise. I still need to measure up.

The tape measure is a good next step.  I have a scale but I’ll better ignore it and you should too. The only real measurement required is the waist to height ratio. The waistline should be half of your height. For me at 1 m 84 cm the magic number is 92cm. If we can keep this measure well, most of the metabolic work is done. Stronger, faster and more flexible are built on this base. If you’re not headed to Uncle Drewdom you can at least feel happy about all disease risk factors you’ve minimized with this single number.  If you want more data with attendant ease, measure hips, thighs and chest in that order of importance.

Use of the clock can also help. No longer a luxury, clocks are everywhere to be found and, unlike when I was a child, they’re accurate too. Use a feeding window. If you require tighter control decrease the size of the window. What’s a feeding window? It’s a predetermined period of time within which you’re allowed to eat. Shortening the window will make you suffer but you determine the dose. I’ve heard of studies that have determined that the ideal period of not eating is about 13 hours. But that is with is zero caloric intake, a long row to hoe. Try water and teas until midday and stop eating by 8 pm to start, an eight hour window, and go from there. This means not eating for 16 hours with the hopes that 13 of those are truly calorie free.  I’m currently struggling with the 8 hour window, winter seems to do that, my magic number is at 95, but things are not yet out of hand.

Using a feeding window is easy and interesting because you can just play with the window size while eating completely as you wish.  I don’t recommend that necessarily (eating absolutely any and everything but for some it’s possible) but you will eventually find a window size that allows you to maintain your weight. If you are past 35 and have had your last children then an ancestral diet is the best choice for what to eat during your window if you want to stop aging but more about that in another post.

The clock and the tape measure are good additions to the mirror for monitoring your weight.  The mirror and the clock can be used daily; the tape measure weekly. The feeling you should cultivate is the regularity of dental hygiene. What I meant earlier by saying that we need to go deeper means, in this case, to work directly with the basal habit energy.  You want to grow the base of a high level of physical performance hygienically. Like throwing a pitch or learning a scale on the flute you want to ingrain good habits down into your marrow. If you never reach the pinnacle of performance you at least build the base of longevity by establishing good habits at the level of your basal ganglia.

Try ingraining simple floor exercises, sofa shiatsu and the feeding window in this way (so that they feel like brushing your teeth or a morning shower) to see if you develop a level of awareness that makes it easy to guide your use of interventions like periodic fasts, saunas, strength training, plyometrics and so on. We’ve lost the bulk of the weight now so let’s build a base for performance!

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