I’m gonna rant a bit, because I feel like it.
I’m irritable all the time, which I’m sure is one part lack of solid food, one part hunger, maybe one part HOT-ROX (who knows; I’ve never used it before), and at least 3 parts other stuff. I have 4 different blisters on various parts of my feet now, and as a result the morning walks are more painful than pleasant like they were the first couple of days. My hands and lips have been dry and chapped since day 2. The shakes have been boring and a chore to get through since day 4. I’ve cut out my daily coffee, which was always one of my favorite parts of my day, to make way for the HOT-ROX.
My wife always takes at least one opportunity every day to get a jab in that she’s eating real food while I’m doing the shakes (probably because I’ve been cranky lately, and if she gets me to quit, she reasons I’ll be less cranky. She quit the V-Diet for Atkins after the first day, when she discovered that she hated the taste of the shakes. Quite honestly, putting up with the occasional jabs is far superior to the hell that was all of the whining and complaining I had to put up with that day, which would be far more demoralizing than any of the above if it were still going on).
None of this is terribly surprising. I knew going in that this would suck, and it would probably suck worse than any other diet/cut that I’ve tried. I figured, as long as it’s more effective than any other diet/cut that I’ve tried, it’s worth it. After all, suckiness is usually directly related to effectiveness in a well-structured diet.
But, but, but. I knew going in that I wasn’t going to suspend 5 years of continuous data collection on weight and sleep just for a diet (I’m kind of a data hoarder). I figured, after 5 years of tracking, I know what kind of swings you can see from day to day. The suggestion to only take weight every 7 days is a way to ensure that the weight loss trend is sufficient to overcome the potential 1-day variance, right? I know what my weight variance can look like, so why should 1-day variances cause an issue for me? And I want to fit a bunch of trend lines to the measurements to figure out what the loss rate was and how I changed (I do a lot of data modeling too, hence the data hoarding). I’m reasonably sure that I had that exact conversation in my head on day 1.
For the past 5 days, according to the scale, total movement has been a grand total of 1/2 pound. 5 days that have been way worse than any other diet I’ve ever done, yet seemingly no more effective, and possibly even less so.
Logically, I know that my scale really isn’t all that great, and it’s silly to draw conclusions from these numbers while it’s so early, or off of any 5-day period for that matter. In fact, I’ve observed a tendency over the years (possibly imagined) for the stupid thing to get stuck on a number or a region for a while, then jump after a few days (up or down). And more importantly, scale weight isn’t even the yardstick that I care about. It’s how I look in the mirror and maybe how many pullups I can do, but it’s really hard to judge increments on the mirror, and since max rep pullups aren’t part of the exercise program, I’m not even doing those. Honestly, I’ve even had this very same debate with myself before during other loss/gain phases. But when it comes down to it, the problem is that scale weight is the only inter-day measure that I take, and emotionally I tend to get caught up in it (in retrospect, I think I really should’ve taken pics and measurements every week instead of every other week). So the frustration/disappointment has been building for several days now.
This afternoon, while contemplating whether it’d be a good idea to respond in a ridiculously out-of-proportion manner, I may have hit on a way to re-frame the whole thing. (I think this is a very good thing, as I don’t really have many cards to play that would accelerate the diet, so any overblown response would likely be some kind of massive eating binge.)
Mentally, I still trust the program. To quote Chris in some other post of his (I think in the Ask Chris forum), I’m not some unique and beautiful snowflake. Barring some bizarre hormonal or genetic difference from the norm, it’s chemically impossible for the program to not work. If I follow the diet, workouts, and NEPA, the fat loss and all of the other benefits will occur. It’s impossible for them to do otherwise. So I’m not going to worry about them anymore. And even if by some bizarrely slim possibly I am a beautiful and unique snowflake and they magically don’t happen, at least I learned that in the future I should try something different (not to mention I should probably get some kind of medical exam).
So, for the remaining 18 days, forget the stated goals. Who cares why I started anymore. Screw the number on the scale. The results will either take care of themselves, or they won’t. Either way, I get my final data point for program evaluation. I am going to finish, because I started, and because I can. This is a contest of will now. Am I seriously going to let a little hunger, pain, and moodiness stop me? Absolutely not. It’s me against myself, and the victory condition is nothing more complicated than to follow the same directions that I’ve followed for the last 10 days. With the exception of the 15-second rest periods, there’s nothing left here there that I haven’t seen before and gotten through. Bring it on.