Monday, February 1, 2010

January Weights and Measures

Sixth 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. Also added average frequency.

The "Weight Chart Daily Graph" worksheet shows the daily morning weight.

The "BM Score Daily Graph" worksheet shows the daily combined BM score and quantity.

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.


Six months down! Day 180 actually came a few days ago. Halfway there. I promised myself I’d re-evaluate at six months and see how things were going, make any tweaks that seemed necessary, and then finish out the year. Here it goes.

January was about as boring as December when it came to Crohn’s Disease. It’s becoming more and more difficult to remember to log everything because there’s just nothing interesting to note. I’m in remission without medication. My poop is normal. I’m gaining weight. Great, now what?

Well, for one, I went to my gastroenterologist and told her that I was no longer taking medication in order to test a diet. She wilted in her chair like I had just told her I killed someone dear to her. Her tone of voice and demeanor completely changed from cheerful, “you take your pills so you’re a good boy” to “oh my god you killed the family dog”. She said that I really should be on medication because people have flareups when they stop. I mentioned that I did not appear to be flaring up, that I actually felt great, and she said she couldn’t argue with that. She seemed shocked when I mentioned some of the research showing that this angle wasn’t entirely insane. I couldn’t tell if it was the affront of me trying to tell her how to do her job or just her experience with people like me doing stupid things and then begging for steroids a few months later. So with that “resolved”, they drew my blood and I left.

A few weeks later she calls and tells me that my liver enzyme panel was out of whack. Everything pertaining to Crohn’s Disease was normal, but two liver enzymes were elevated: ALT at 121 (normal is 55) and AST at 56 (normal is 40). She asked if I was drinking (I wasn’t) or if I was taking any medication like ibuprofen (I wasn’t). Since I wasn’t taking any Crohn’s medications, it couldn’t be that. So I get to go to a lab in mid-February for another test to confirm the first one, and if that’s elevated the working hypothesis will be either hepatitis or some sort of liver disease.

I, of course, did my own research and discovered a paper from 2008 outlining how some healthy males had pathological levels of ALT and AST when engaging in heavy weight lifting exercises. Since I’m in the middle of a heavy weight lifting regime, this seems like a plausible explanation for elevated liver enzymes. In order to test the idea, I’ll be as sedentary as possible for the 7-10 days leading up to the blood test.

In the weight lifting realm, incidentally, I pushed my weight up to 175 on the squat, but felt that my form was pretty poor. So I reset twice now to work on it. I’d prefer to squat less weight and have a healthy back than go for broke and break something. Weight gain continues, though not at that rapid pace. I’m up to 184 now, so a gain of 10lbs over this month.

Overeating to the degree that is necessary to gain weight is extremely difficult on this diet. I haven’t felt hunger for a month and a half, and my whole body is resisting the idea of eating more. I’ll probably stop overeating soon, simply because I can’t stand it anymore. Sorry, Sean, I won’t be able to race you to 200lbs.

My only six-month gut-check tweak is that for the month of February (to start) I’m going to be taking a Vitamin D3 supplement. I’m curious to see if there’s any effect on energy levels. Getting out of bed in the morning hasn’t been easy all winter, and maybe that has something to do with a lack of sunlight. If there’s an improvement, I’ll keep it up.

Also, I’ve decided to bail out on my challenge to myself to ride a century on a bicycle this year. Further research into chronic cardio exercise like long distance biking has convinced me that it’s not particularly healthy or useful. I’ll be playing in a paintball tournament this year, which means I need to develop sprinting stamina, not be able to spin a bike pedal for seven hours. Previous experience has taught me that training one does little if anything for the other, so there’s no need to punish myself on a bike four times a week. Instead, I get to practice sprinting.

Six months down. Six to go.