The End- for now…

As some of you know, I’ve decided to call an end to this little experiment for now. The complete lack of calories that I am intaking shows that the original strategy is certainly not sustainable by any means. So, I am going break it off for now and give my body a chance to recover.

I was linked to an article about a lady in Michigan who successfully completed a similar experiment, and was able to consume about 1400 calories a day, which is certainly far better than the 500 that I am currently intaking. Apparently hers was somewhat nutritional as well.

My biggest mistake, I realized, was attempting to balance out the nutrition by combining basic foods like rice and bread with fruits and vegetables. As I mentioned previously, the fruits and vegetables simply do not have the caloric content to justify their inclusion, since the lack of calories negates their nutritional value.

Were I to do this again, I would initially focus on a high enough calorie content, and then see if I could balance out the nutrition later. As cliche as it may sound, rice and beans may be the best way to achieve that- I don’t know. The next time I attempt this I am going to research it more to be well prepared.

To be honest, the hunger wasn’t the worst part of it. I’ve gotten so accustomed to being able to essentially eat whatever I want whenever I want, and the luxury of that is kind of addicting. To all of a sudden be so limited in what I could and couldn’t eat was a bigger shock that the limited amount of food and calories.

So anyway, I’m back to eating regularly, but I am going to be strategizing about different ways of going about this, and perhaps find some other creative things to explore in the midst of it.

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Disturbing Developments

So, after I finished up my earlier post today I decided to go play basketball to take my mind off of not getting much sleep. Well, I decided to weigh myself for fun. I’ve hovered around 175 for the last decade of my life, never varying by more than 2 or 3 lbs. Guess what it was today? 165. In only 7 days I’ve unintentionally dropped 10 lbs., which, since it stems completely from malnutrition, couldn’t be the happiest news possible. Consider:

3500 calories= 1 lb. (appox.)

10 lbs. = 35000 calories

I have been averaging 500 calories a day for the last 7 days, so I’ve only had an intake of 3500 total calories, creating a 35000 calorie deficit.

I’ve been doing some reading about what’s to come- my body is going to begin to go into starvation mode, meaning that it will begin to lower metabolism to compensate for the lack of caloric intake. Since muscle contains more nutrients than body fat, my body will begin to lose muscle mass to try and make up for the lack of caloric intake. This will in turn further degrade the metabolism rate, which may eventually level out to allow me to get by on such a lower amount of calories. But the end result would be devastating long-term.

To be honest, today I woke up and felt pretty light-headed, and it wasn’t just because of waking up at 3:30 am. It wasn’t until I ate breakfast that I actually felt well enough to function for the day.

I proposed shifting the strategy of food I was going to eat, but it may be too late for that- the damage is already done, and potentially doubling the calories isn’t going to magically make everything better. It’s only been a week, and isn’t too late to get back to normal. But it would have to be now.

What do you all think? It’s clear to me from weighing myself this morning that to continue this experiment has already taken a pretty heavy toll on me. I don’t necessarily feel that bad, but rationally it’s obvious. If I had started off the 30 days with this newer strategy, I think things would have been better. I could have more slowly eased myself down on calories.

As I think about what the future inevitably holds if I continue down this path, to keep it up seems downright reckless and irresponsible. As exist-dissolve originally said: I’m screwed.

If this is going to stop, it needs to stop today. One of my co-workers has already advised me to stop. Chime in and let me know what you think.

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Week 2 begins- new strategy?

If you know me at all, you know that sleep and I have never been close friends. In fact, there is probably an underlying animosity betwixt us. Today I guess my body decided that waking up at 3:30 would be a good idea. Once I wake up, I can never fall back asleep, so I decided to blog about it.

I’ve been thinking about this experiment for the last hour or so, and I am realizing that a new strategy must emerge for this to be successful. Based on the sheer exertion of willpower I have little doubt of a successful outcome; however, I am realizing that the biological aspect of me may not live up to its end of the bargain.

As my friend Elizabeth pointed out in one of her comments, I opted for the semi-nutritional approach, hence the vegetables, apples, etc. I am beginning to see that this was a mistake. While getting balanced nutrition is obviously important, the fact is that the severely decreased caloric intake is negating any nutritional gains. What I mean is this- while the apples and vegetables are reasonably nutritious, they offer little in caloric value, which in terms of sustainability for a month seems to be the most important aspect of this. From a cost per calorie perspective, the fruits and vegetables are simply not feasible to use a severely limited amount of money on. For instance, one package of stir fry vegetables costs $1.95, has only 5 servings, and each serving only contains 30 calories, which means I am obtaining only 150 calories from the entire package of vegetables. I purchased 2 bags of vegetables, which means nearly $4, or almost 15% of the entire budget for only 300 calories, which I can get from 4 pancakes or a cup of rice.

Apples suffer from the same ‘defect’- not only are they ‘expensive’ at $1.65 for 5 apples, but they each offer at most 60 calories; again, while perhaps more calorically heavy than the vegetables, for the cost per calorie just can’t compete with the ‘staples’ of rice and pancakes.

The turkey is in the same boat and is actually worse- each slice of turkey only offers about 35 calories, and the amounts of protein that might offset the decreased caloric intake are so small as to be probably be negated.

If I were to not have purchased 1 bag of apples, the 2 bags of vegetables and 1 package of turkey, I would have had an additional $7.75 to spend. That doesn’t sound like much, but it could easily purchase either 2 more boxes of pancake mix (which could allow for 1.5x the caloric intake every day for the rest of the 23 days), a large bag of rice (again, 1.5x the caloric intake), or, according to my friend Elizabeth, 84 packages of Ramen Noodles at Aldi. (12 packages for a little over a dollar) I’ll be honest, I hate Ramen Noodles. However, from both a caloric and nutritional standpoint, they may not be a bad idea. Food as something that tastes good or not is quickly becoming meaningless. Consider this:

1 Package of Ramen contains 188 calories, 27 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein. (a slice of turkey also has 4g of protein)

84 packages for $7 (if that’s the case- I’m checking today…) for the next 23 days would allow for 3.5 packages of Ramen per day, which would increase my caloric intake by 658 calories a day. Add that with a couple pancakes for breakfast (150 calories) and a half cup of rice for dinner (150 calories) and an additional 2 slices of bread per day (100 calories) and all of a sudden I’ve cracked 1000 calories per day, whereas right now I am hovering around 400-500.

So here’s what I am thinking of doing. Over lunch today I am heading to Aldi’s to check on prices for Ramen noodles. If they are 12 for about $1, as Elizabeth said, then I will be extremely happy. I will need to find someone who will buy 4 apples, an unopened package of lunch meat, and some stir fry vegetables for $7.75. I can then use that money to hopefully not send my body into complete shutdown mode.

Any takers?

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Day 7

One week down, only 3 to go!

Today was tough, mostly because Wednesdays are always pretty long days for me. I’m gonna need to plan the next three of them out a bit better. Anyway, here’s the food for today:

Breakfast: 2 pancakes

Lunch: Turkey sandwich

Dinner: Apple

I’m really tired, so I’m going to bed.

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Day 6

Today was an alright day- I woke up with a regular headache, which kind of sucked, but Excedrin Migraine came to my rescue, and knocked it senseless by 10:30 am or so. Anyway, here’s today’s damage:

Breakfast: 2 pancakes

Lunch: Turkey sandwich

Dinner: 1/2 cup of rice

I had to exert a massive amount of willpower today, since there was free Sheridan’s Frozen Custard at church. But I managed :-) It actually wasn’t all that bad, now that the constant hunger of the first few days has subsided. Thursday will be challenging, since my department is having a go-away party for someone at Cinzetti’s, which is pretty much an amazing place to eat. It might be kind of awkward to sit there and only drink water and eat my turkey sandwich. We’ll see.

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Day 5

Today was a great day- I woke up with no headache! Woohoo! It would seem that my body is starting to get used to the idea of a lowered daily caloric intake.

I went to the gym and worked out a bit this morning- I expected to feel pretty awful afterwards, but actually felt really great. It’s been about a week since I’ve been there to play basketball, so that was really fun.

Ok- here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast: bowl of oatmeal

Lunch: Turkey sandwich and an apple

Dinner: 2 pancakes, 1 piece of wheat bread and 1 egg

Today I also didn’t feel as hungry, which I trust is a good sign. In fact, after dinner I actually felt full, which was kind of weird, but hopefully good. I’ve been drinking lots of water, since I imagine I am getting less through what I eat than normal. I’ve never been that big into drinking water, so this is kind of a new thing for me.

Anyway, that’s it for today. Have a great night!

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Day 4

Things are gradually getting easier…I think. I’ll be honest though- at about 9:30 am I was feeling it pretty badly. I couldn’t wait until lunch time. Anyway- here’s the breakdown:

Breakfast: 2 pieces of wheat bread

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich, piece of wheat bread

Dinner: 2 pancakes

Tonight was kind of brutal. We had this volunteer appreciation dinner at church, and it was catered by Sunset Grill, which is pretty much awesome. So for the whole night I was in there, smelling the awesome-ness, and desperately wanting some of it. I hear the salad was especially good… To be honest, I was really wanting to break this thing off just for a plate of salad. How pathetic is that!

Tuesday promises to be a similar situation. At church we are having an Arena swtich-over party, and Sheridan’s Frozen Custard is being served there- for free! Talk about amazing-ness in your face! I’m planning on steering clear of everybody that day. lol.

Imminently approaching as well is the All-Staff Luncheon at church which always has amazing food. Let me shed a tear now.

Today I was reading some interesting statistics on the cost of obesity in America.

Apparently if there were no obesity in America we would collectively save $487 billion dollars a year, which is 3.7% of the GDP. That’s pretty incredible to think about. It seems we collectively blow $81 billion on over-eating. Also, we spend over $140 billion on medical costs associated with obesity. Pretty crazy, huh?

Lastly, it seems that we would all generate over $250 billion more dollars in productivity a year. That’s enough output for businesses to be able to hire tens of thousands of more workers.

That’s all I’ve got for today.

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