Weekly Digest 14 – 10/19/18 – 10/25/18

Hello everyone! This week was another very strange one.  It seems I have more of those than what might seem like a “regular” week.  It makes me wonder if there is such a thing as a regular week or is every day its own special challenge? To start with, I was exceptionally hungry much of the week. My body seems to be craving calories.  I am not sure how much of that is due to it actually wanting more calories as fuel or the shift in temperature causing me to reach for more comfort foods?  Often, I can tell the difference between a need for fuel versus just cravings.  However, this week was a mystery.

This week also featured some physical hurdles. While I maintained good exercise levels, I also was dealing with some residual effects of the recent gout attack.  While the steroid put a hard stop on the swelling response, allowing it to heal, the crystallization of uric acid in the blood stream around the affected join still takes a while to break down and dissipate.  So in the meantime I experience a mild degree of discomfort.

As an underlying condition for the week, gout is annoying. I am also worried that it may flare back up into an attack.  A byproduct of experiencing periodic gout attacks for years is the fear that a full blown attack will immobilize me and prevent me from exercising. However, even more insidious for the dieter is the impact that it can have on the body.  It can make your body shift into survival mode where it retains as much water and fat as possible.  And that is very likely what is going on this week.

This week the scale says I gained 5 pounds, regressing my total weight loss to 185 pounds.  Mathematically that is simply not possible, even with a slight increase in caloric intake. Therefore there must be other factors at work.  Such as: building muscle (muscle weighs more than fat per given displacement), water retention, and survival mode. Frankly, the scale can be a bit of a pillock.


This week was a pretty high intake week for me.  I only had two days in the 1400-1500 calorie range. The rest were between 1500 and 1700.  Specifically I consumed 1,247 more calories than my goal.  So given that one pound of weight is equivalent to about 3500 calories, the effect is about one-third of a pound.  Which, when factored with my exercise levels and what the body naturally burns for calories, I should still have been losing weight this week.  But as I have previously said, the body is a funny thing.  This week saw some increases in some comfort foods, partaking in crackers and cheese twice, and a goodly amount of peanut butter. Alcohol intake was a glass of wine, 2 beers, and two cordials. Next week I will need to focus on limiting the comfort food snacks and alcohol – especially with gout creeping at the periphery.


Given the residual impact of a mild gout attack, I am pretty pleased with my exercise levels this week. I did two elliptical sessions, 6.8 miles of walking, 2 free weight sessions, and 12 miles of biking.  The elliptical sessions were interesting because the manufacturer (Octane Fitness) updated the control app and firmware! The interface is now completely different! I actually had to do some searching to find a similar exercise routine.  One thing is clear in browsing that app:  The machine is capable of so much more than how I am using it.  I need to spend some time working on the app and developing more variety in how I use the elliptical.

My Take Away:

The health situation has a major impact on whether or not my body will allow weight loss.  Sometimes it feels like a whole passel of conditions must be just right for that to happen.  At my most pessimistic, I have to admit it can feel a bit of a monumental task.  But then, I have to remember how far I have come. What I have been doing is working so far, so I need to keep going.  Where needed, I can make logical changes.  So this week, I have several goals:

1. Drink no alcohol – especially beer.  That will help with the gout.

2. Focus on healthy foods, and be conscientious about bready, starchy snacks again.  No cheese and crackers! I didn’t do as well as I wanted last week- I need to improve this week.

3. Keep the exercise levels up, but push for an increase in a practical way.  Specifically, I want to see myself log more steps.  Doing that through being more active around the house, doing more things such as cleaning, etc might be a good way to accomplish that.

If I can accomplish those things, and kick the residual gout, I should have a good week.

Right, then!  Off we go!

2 Responses

  • Ann

    Ethan, your dedication is so impressive. I think sometimes your body just decides to plateau, and there’s nothing you can do about it. One suggestion – give yourself a scale holiday for a few weeks, and focus on all the other positive cues you have. You feel better, your clothes fit better, you have more energy. At some point this has to shift to taking care of yourself instead of losing weight, so maybe a bit of practice on that and leave the scale alone.

    I have no idea whether that will work for you or not, you are clearly the one who knows how to do this!

    • Hey Ann! I completely agree with you on how the body just sometimes decides to plateau. Focusing on the process, and sticking with my plan seems to carry me through those times. I think a big factor that is prevalent over the last couple weeks is the body being thrown into survival mode due to the gout attack.

      Enjoying having more energy, being more active, doing things I couldn’t do before is a great byproduct of all the hard work, so I do try to focus on that. I tend to analyse things from a risk-management perspective, and sometimes that’s not as positive as it could be. You know how it goes – when you are always looking at what is going wrong and how to fix it instead of what is going right. I really believe that a balance of those two outlooks makes a big difference in terms of keeping me positive yet realistic. You bring up a great point about self-care. That’s also something that people who have worked in social services/non-profits are not very good at. That might be worth being a blog topic all by itself! Thanks Ann!!


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