Sunday, September 6, 2009

August Weights and Measures

First monthly roundup of measured data and analysis.


Since blogger is annoying in how it handles images, I’m going to upload an Excel (2003) spreadsheet. Here’s a link:

The "Weekly Graphs" worksheet shows the weekly average of weight and the weekly average combined BM score and quantity.

The "Weight Chart 9-06-09" worksheet shows the daily morning weight for the past month and change.

The "BM Score Quantity 9-5-09" worksheet shows the daily combined BM score and quantity for the past month and change.

I'm keeping a food log and notes in a written notebook, which for the sake of putting off an annoying task, I will scan and upload when I'm done rather than every month.


Since this is the first month of data, it is probably going to be the most interesting and volatile. As you can see from the weight chart, my weight has fluctuated between 151 and 155 pounds. As you can see from the BM chart, there have been some rather tumultuous days and some rather boring ones.

If I had done this properly, I would have begun tracking things back when I started low carbing. The weight chart would have shown a sharp decline down to this range back in July. I'm not actually sure what the BM chart would have shown, because I wasn't paying as much attention to that back then. Without that starting frame and baseline, we are left with mid-stream data. Unfortunately, this means that I will have to use this first month as my baseline, which will probably lead to misleading results. Chalk it up to not thinking of this experimentally at first - live and learn.

Anyway, from a subjective standpoint, I think these past few months have traced a bit of a "U". I started out feeling very, very odd. My body temperature was noticeably elevated, I felt as if I had the beginnings of a sore throat and a head cold all at once, except I was not congested. In retrospect, my crash descent to very low carb probably engendered a stress or even immune response from my body, which was counter-productive. If I had to do it all over again, I'd taper into it, just like tapering off of a steroid or powerful medication.

This lead to a long month or so of what I've come to think of the "exhausted energy jitters". I'll be sitting at work and my legs, quadriceps particularly, will feel dead tired, as if I had just run a marathon. But at the same time, I’ll have a jittery sense like I have to move. Then when I actually go and do something physical, like hiking in the Adirondacks, not only do my legs not feel tired, they feel exceptionally un-tired. When we finished hiking Algonquin, which is the second highest peak in the Adirondacks, my legs felt like they could have kept going for another round, which they absolutely should not have been able to do.

This sensation has abated somewhat but not significantly. The longer I am sedentary, the worse it becomes. By 3pm or so at work, I often find myself running around the pond and then going to the gym for twenty minutes just to “wake up” my body. Interestingly, I do not feel this at all when I first wake up. I feel refreshed, ready to go and happy when I step out of bed. Then as the day goes by I get progressively more “blergh” until I eventually hit that point of needing to do something but feeling as though I have zero energy to do it.

Mentally, I don’t feel this fatigue. I’m as sharp as I’ve ever been (which may not be saying much) and in general I feel a sense of contentment and well-being. The highs and lows of alertness I used to experience are gone, replaced with a sort of constant awakeness.

I suspect that I am not doing myself any favors with my sleep schedule. I probably should be getting an extra hour or two as I go through this, but I find that when it comes time to go to sleep, the jitters don’t let me. My body will want to sleep but at the same time it’s telling me that it’s not tired. I’ve added wake up and sleep times to my log to sort of remind myself that I need to go to bed earlier. The cat takes care of waking up early.

I hope to start an exercise regimen this week. I will start with a few weeks of bodyweight exercises intended to get my body ready for an actual lifting program starting in October. I hope this helps burn off whatever the jittery part of this feeling is so that I crash at night.

My August level of wellbeing, alertness and energy is now my zero point. Every month I’ll judge how I feel against this zero and see how it goes. This is obviously a very subjective and not at all trustworthy metric, but since I’m actually living at the same time I’m doing this experiment, it is noteworthy to see how I “feel” during it.

On a food note, I’m currently pricing out buying a whole steer from a farm in Stillman, NJ. This should be an interesting experience and I’m looking forward to seeing just how much beef you get from a whole steer!

One month down, eleven to go!

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