Friday, June 30, 2006

Biology is responsible for the rise of McDonalds

If Dr. Roberts is correct about familiar flavors making us hungrier - and I think he is - then yes, we're victims of quality control. But our biology made King Fast Food possible.

Let me explain.

For years, there were no chain restaurants, no franchises, only local restaurants and small diners. At most, there might be a few locations geographically close to each other. One reason is because a chef, manager, or cook would make food. If they did it well, they attracted customers. If they didn't, the restaurant would languish in obscurity, if it stayed in business at all. What business person would put their name, and hard-earned reputation, on a restaurant that they couldn't control how well the food would be prepared? So restaurant locations stayed independent, or at least close, so that they could be managed closely.

Then came the franchise revolution, and with it, McDonald's. It wasn't the first burger franchise, but the owners did something others hadn't to this point. Dick and Mac McDonald ingeniously applied modern industrial line techniques to food preparation. Ray Kroc, who bought out the McDonalds, knew the only way to make a nationwide chain work was strict quality control. A few bad locations could ruin the brand. So Mr. Kroc developed ways to control the quality and presentation of the food. When you walked into a McDonald's, you knew exactly what you were getting.

So here we have hundreds of locations, soon to be thousands of locations, selling food that always tastes the same! Genetically, we love that. Our bodies desire eating the same tastes over and over. Our bodies crave these tastes. And giving into the cravings makes us want even more of it!

And just as increased car travel made sure that people would have opportunity to try new foods, franchising was invented. So we never had to eat someplace unfamiliar again.

Of course it was successful, and with imitation being the sincerest form of flattery (not to mention imitation of success breeding success), soon our choices for cloned taste were unlimited.

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Horses to water

Until yesterday, I had only told three people about Shangri-La. One was my wife, who tried the oil one day, had stomach problems, gave up.

The other was my sister. She has asked me for advice on weight loss a couple times in the past. I told her about Shangri-La and gave her my copy of the book. I haven't heard from her about it since. It's been 3 weeks.

The other was a coworker who wondered why I had given up lunch. I explained to him how I had no appetite for lunch any more. He suggested he might try it. Nothing. Then last week, he asked me if I was still doing Shangri-La. When I told him I was, and that I have lost 20 pounds, he asked me for details and said he needed to "do something". I filled him in. No word back.

Based on those experiences, I've been reluctant to tell anyone else. They look at you as if you are telling them that you've, in fact, been an alien from Zeta Reticuli all along, and your study is done so you're returning to the Mother Ship.

Yesterday, another coworker asked me how I've been losing weight. In fact, he has been asking me for the last 3 weeks. I told him I'd let him know when I lost enough to make him believe it works.

Well, I finally gave in. He was sitting with another coworker who has been trying to lose weight, and a third coworker joined us while we were talking.

And guess what?

They looked at me like I'd told them the secret was sacrificing virgins on the full moon and drinking their blood.


I wonder if they will be more willing to try it after I've lost another 20 and kept it off for several months?

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My waist is 4 inches smaller!

Last time I bought clothes, I took a 40 inch waist.

Bought new pants yesterday, waist was 36 inches.

I know at some point my waist will stop getting smaller, but I may actually be able to get down to a 30 inch waist if every time I lose 20 pounds I also lose 4 inches around my waist.

That's something to celebrate!

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Results are in.....

Today's weigh-in: 212 pounds. I am now down a full 20 pounds in 10 weeks.

This means several things.

1) I now have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my goal weight? Should I reduce the amount of oil I'm taking now that my subsistence calories have fallen to about 2800 a day? 10% of 2800 would be 280 calories, 2 TBSP of oil is 240 calories. Should I go to 2.5 TBSP, or drop all the way to 2?

2) Water weight will likely cause more weight fluctuations. I expect more plateaus and "whooshes".

3) I need to make sure my calories drop to maintain 2 pounds a week weight loss, if that's what I decide I want. My strength was down a bit today in the gym, so I may be losing some muscle mass. I have had plenty of protein this week and I got plenty of sleep last night. I also ate before I went to the gym today (half a small chicken breast, so nearly all protein though), so lack of energy shouldn't be an excuse. I may be overtraining though. I have to decide if I'm going to cut back on the lifting (become more diversified, actually. I find if I don't go twice a week nearly every week, it is harder to get myself to go at all.), or if I'm going to drop back on the amount of weight I'm lifting. Decisions, decisions.

4) If I stay on track I will definitely be at my intermediate goal of 200 pounds by the time I head off to the beach at the end of July. Woot!

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Appetite has returned some

It's been a hectic week, and I'm averaging less than 5.5 hours of sleep a night. I've been a bit more hungry during the day also, at least for the last 2 days.. This seems related to me.

Plus, it's been so hectic that Monday and Tuesday I only managed 2 TBSP of oil instead of 3, and didn't do the crazy spicing.

Even so, my additional hunger amounted to........ taking in about 200-300 extra calories a day, as estimated on Fitday. That's around 2000 instead of 1700-1800. Maintenance should be at least 2800, possibly as much as 3000.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New weight

is 214.5 pounds. This is not official weigh-in day, so we'll see what it does on Friday. Still, it's encouraging to be down so much because I'm usually up just a little after a weekend.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

My Penzey's Order

Here it is:

1 10432 Bavarian Seasoning .7oz Pot 1.99
1 10832 Cake Spice 1.0oz Pot 2.69
1 10632 Bouquet Garni .3oz Pot 1.69
1 44134 Fenugreek Ground 1.4oz Pot 1.99
1 21937 Greek Seasoning 1.2oz Pot 2.19
1 54937 Juniper Berries .6oz Pot 1.09
1 22334 Old World 1.2oz Pot 1.99
1 97185 Raspberry Enlightenment 9.8oz Jar 5.19

I tried to get blends I thought were unlike each other and would also be unfamiliar to me. Being unfamiliar to me is a bonus, since if they're to be added to other blends it would really make no difference. However, you have to have some criteria when you go to order, or the sheer number of choices will overwhelm you or break your budget.

I also bought small sizes in case the blend is just unpleasant to me, or doesn't mix well, as Dr. Roberts has reported happened with Herbs de Provence (he said that blend was not fine enough to add easily with other blends).

These are ones I considered, but opted not to get for various reasons (description by Penzey's in parens):

Anise Seed (popular for baking, especially biscotti)
Apple Pie Spice (1-2 tsp per 9" pie)
Baking Spice (all purpose baking blend)
Bangkok Blend (salt-free Thai style blend with many uses)
Bicentennial Rub (our best blend for turkey and duck)
Bouquet Garni (salt free herb blend used in soups, stews and on poultry)
Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle (garlic-cheese blend for pasta and garlic bread)
Very Hot Cajun Seasoning (same flavor as regular Cajun with the addition of fiery, hot green jalapeno pepper)
California Seasoned Pepper (salt free combination of bell peppers and black pepper)
Cardamom (used mostly as a dessert spice in the west and and as a curry spice in the east)
Chicago Steak Seasoning (smoky blend that's great on burgers and steak)
Chinese 5 Spice Powder (salt free Oriental style blend used in stir fry)
Chip & Dip Seasoning (delicious, creamy flavor, perfect for crunchy chips and crisp veggies)
Curry Powders
Epazote (add to chili or bean soup to relieve intestinal discomfort)
Fines Herbes (salt free blend perfect for omelets, quiche and white meats)
Florida Seasoned Pepper (salt free citrus pepper blend good on white meat, fish and vegetables)
Fox Point Seasoning (yummy blend that's great for dips, eggs, chicken salad and most other dishes)
Galena Street Rub (wonderful blend with traditional Southern-style flavor that's great for ribs and chicken)
Gumbo File (also known as powdered sassafras, a staple for Cajun and Creole cooking)
Herbes de Provence (salt free blend with lavender that's great for Cornish hens and pork tenderloin)
Lemon Grass (herb used most often in Southeast Asian cooking)
Marjoram (used in Polish, Italian, French and Mexican cooking and is the next big herb rediscovery)
Mulled Wine Spices (makes great cider or potpourri too)
Northwoods Seasoning (rosemary-paprika based blend wonderful on all types of chicken and fish)
Northwoods Fire Seasoning (a hotter, spicer version of the popular Northwoods Seasoning)
Old World Seasoning (our answer to Lawry's Seasoning Salt-use as a great all purpose blend)
Ozark Seasoning (new blend that's wonderful on chicken and fried fish)
Paprika-Spanish- (Naturally smoked over oak fires-A spice that's good on everything)
Parisien Bonnes Herbes (salt free all purpose fragrant blend from the cooking capital of the world)
Pasta Sprinkle (salt free blend perfect for pasta, grilled chicken and vegetables)
Pizza Seasoning (livens up frozen pizzas and is perfect for homemade pizzas and pizza sausage)
Pumpkin Pie Spice (good in zucchini bread and carrot cake too-use 2-3 tsp per 9" pumpkin pie)
Saffron (the stigma of the fall flowering crocus, it is the most expensive spice in the world)
Sandwich Sprinkle (our old Crouton Seasoning and a staple on every Penzeys lunchroom table)
Savory (flavor is a cross between mint and thyme with a touch of pepper used in bean soup and stuffing)
Shallots (garlic-onion flavor (but sweeter) used heavily in French cooking for meats, eggs and soups)
Singapore Seasoning (salt free curry-lemon blend best on Cornish hens, steaks, fish, and in stir fry)
Southwest Seasoning (spicy, smoky chipotle pepper blend great for Mexican dirty rice and grilled chicken)
Star Anise (very strong licorice flavor-Whole is used in crafts and teas, Broken for picking and Ground for baking)
Sunny Paris (salt free version of Fox Point Seasoning)
Sunny Spain (salt free lemon pepper blend-the most popular of all our salt free blends and great on all meats)
Trinidad Lemon & Garlic Marinade (authentic Southern Caribbean seasoning for grilled or broiled poultry and fish)
Turkish Seasoning (delicious blend for seasoning meats from kabobs to roast, lamb to beef to chicken)
Turmeric (the main ingredient in most Southern Indian yellow curry powders)
Wasabi (three different versions of the blend/root popular in Japanese restaurants)

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I've been overestimating my wine consumption

I ran the numbers last night. According to Fitday, the standard wine glass is 3.5 oz. We have 2 sizes of wine glasses that we use. We bought both after attending tastings at local wineries. One size looks huge, but apparently is only about 1 and a quarter times the size of the Fitday standard size.

I determined this by converting oz to ml. 3.5 oz is around 100 ml. There are 750 ml in a standard size wine bottle, so there are about 7 standard Fitday size glasses of wine in a standard bottle. So 2 people drinking half a bottle (together, not each) will get 1.75 glasses of wine. I've been thinking it was more like 3 Fitday size glasses. At 140 calories per Fitday size glass, I have been overestimating by nearly 200 calories.

Wine is much more of a calorie bargain than I've realized.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

New weight is..........

215.25 pounds. I sweated like a .... something that sweats a lot? in the gym today, so a fair amount of the loss from Monday may be water. We'll see what the weekend brings. Muscle mass problem is solved, if it ever existed. All lifts were up from last time and time before. I changed things up a bit, had some yogurt and protein powder about an hour before hitting the gym. I think that helped, though I think I would have done better if I could have eaten it a half hour before. I felt like I lost a little bit of energy toward the end.

Have been taking the oil 3 times per day, and adding crazy spicing to portions of each serving (rather than the whole thing, I want to enjoy some of what I eat). Though the spicing doesn't make it taste bad, it just makes it less good. For the first time, I can tell the spicing is working. Today I had Szechuan Pepper spice blend and cinnamon on pasta salad, and a few hundred calories worth - about 2.5 cups (size estimated, I think quite generously) Can't wait for my Penzey's order to come in because right now I have limited different spices to choose from, which makes it more difficult than it should be to crazy spice.

If I get time tomorrow, I'll post my spice order and a list of some that I rejected because I hit my budgetary limit.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My wife doesn't understand me

Well, not really, but she doesn't understand that I'm eating less now. We still have way too many leftovers. She, of course, won't touch them, so in the past I took them for lunch.

Now I don't really eat lunch, so we have been throwing out a bunch of leftovers. I guess realization is a slow process. I'm hoping if I keep telling her not to cook so much eventually she'll get it.

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Unintended consequences

I work in a restricted access building. We have to submit our briefcases, bags, etc. to an x-ray machine before we can enter, in case of carrying weapons (or alcohol, we are a dry building).

This morning, the x-ray machine showed a nice, clear picture of the hot sauce bottle I carry my oil in. I got stopped because the guard thought I had a bottle of Corona in my lunch.

In the future, I can see having to explain myself when I travel on airplanes, or sitting at my desk taking shots of oil, so forth.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

People are starting to talk.....

Couple of people have started to comment on my weight loss. It's no wonder, I've now lost the equivalent of a bowling ball.

I can really tell it in my clothes now. I can wear Medium size shorts now. I think I haven't been able to do that for 3 years or so, and then it was only for about a month. The last time that was my "size" was probably 1995.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Drumroll please......

Weigh-in day, and the answer is..........

217 pounds.

I suspected that last week's weight was high. I figured I was retaining a bit of water due to the heat.

I also suspect that todays weight is lower than it should be. I was a bit dehydrated yesterday due to doing yard work, and I didn't have as much water before my weigh-in as I usually do. But I may have lost some muscle mass also, my bench was down at the gym today. Hard to tell, because I stayed up late to finish out the Sopranos half-season last night (somewhat disappointing), plus if I'm dehydrated that would affect my strength. And I missed a workout last week. Too much to do, I had hoped to work out at home but it never happened. And and I changed up my routine a bit today. Usually I sip sugar-water while working out, today I didn't because I hope to move to just oil now, and get some health benefits out of the flavorless calories rather than just empty calories.

Anyway, I won't get too excited, since I both expected this and don't think it's reflecting complete reality. Let's see what next Monday and Friday bring.

In the meantime, I have ordered 8 spice blends from Penzey's to see if creating unusual flavors also works for me, and speeds/strengthens the appetite suppression.

I will post which spices I bought later this week. Then I'll post a review on their usage when they come in.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Familiar phenomenon..........

I was disappointed with myself last night. I ate and ate, even past the point of being full, mostly because I've been operating on too little sleep the last couple of days. I knew I should stop, and didn't. This morning I woke up very bloated.

I was so tired yesterday I didn't enter my Fitday data. Today, when I entered the foods I ate yesterday, best guess on number of calories......... 2200, about 500 or more below my maintenance level.

This is the type of phenomenon that a lot of SLDers have been reporting on the forums.

Of course, I could be way underestimating, but I try to account for that and be on the high end of realistic. Even if I way underestimated, yesterday would have been, at worst, maintenance level.

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