Diet misery Q&A

November 18, 2012 § 42 Comments

I’ve been getting lots of questions about the New De-improved Wankmeister Diet. Answers below.

Q: Why are you doing this? Is it a test or a goal?
A:  I don’t know. Yes. Or no.

Q: What is the scientific basis for your approach?
A: Physics. Output > Input results in weight loss.

Q: Duh. I mean the health aspects. What scientific health principles have you based this on?
A: There are none. Except for my friends telling me I’m crazy.

Q: How much do you weigh right now?
A: This very moment? 151 lbs/68.492 kg

Q: How tall are you?
A: 72 1/8″, 183.2 cm

Q: What is your weight goal?
A: 145 lbs/65.770 kg

Q: That’s insane, isn’t it?
A: Perhaps. Today’s post-ride weigh in was 146.5 lbs, but that was mostly dehydration as I’d forgotten to take a water bottle and the ride lasted over five hours.

Q: You really are weird, aren’t you? And stupid?
A: Apparently.

Q: You earlier claimed to be doing this on coffee, starvation, and willpower. I call bullshit. You’re not still claiming that, are you?
A: The first phase was pretty much that, going down from the 168-170 range to the mid-150’s. Now I’ve devolved into more careful planning.

Q: Why?
A: The first 10-15 pounds were horrible, but easy, as they involved cutting out the obvious stuff. There is no more obvious stuff. And not much stuff either, for that matter.

Q: What “obvious” stuff?
A: Coffee went from heavy cream to whole milk to 2% to nonfat to black.

Q: Sugar. What about sugar?
A: Not a sugar-in-my-coffee kind of guy.

Q: What other “obvious” stuff?
A: Third and fourth helpings. Massive greasy gut-bomb dinners like Mrs. WM’s Famous Fried Chicken Strips, Mrs. WM’s Lazy Tonight Frozen Gyoza, Mrs. WM’s Gutbomb Chicken Curry and Rice by the Kg, Mrs. WM’s Extra Oily Salad Dressing Ladled on with a Shovel, Mrs. WM’s Heavenlicious Meat Sauce Made with Pure Yummy Fat Calories, and of course Mrs. WM’s Honey I Bought a New Prius-load of Hag Bars and Ghana Chocolate How Many Dozen Would You Like to Eat Right this Minute?

Q: Blaming it all on Mrs. WM, eh?
A: No. Taking charge of my meals. There’s a difference. And that stuff was pretty obvious. You asked about obvious, remember?

Q: Okay, okay. So what did you replace all that with?
A: Gnawing hunger.

Q: I mean food.
A: I started eating breakfast. Daily. To be more accurate, I’ve become so hungry that I will kill anyone who tries to prevent me from eating breakfast. I wake up three or four times a night now to see if it’s time to get up and eat breakfast.

Q: So in addition to destroying your health from a nutrition vector, you’ve wrecked it from a sleep/recovery angle as well?
A: Yes. However, I awake each morning at 4:30 AM so alert, hungry, keen, and poised to attack the day that, paradoxically, I have more power and mental energy than I’ve ever had in my life.

Q: Now we’re talking. So it’s translating into power on the bike?
A: No. I’ve lost speed, power, endurance, and acceleration.

A: But I’ve gained incredible recovery and lightness on the bike. I recover instantaneously. No matter how long the grade my legs feel light and they turn over the pedals effortlessly.

Q: So what if you’re dropped and going at a snail’s pace?
A: This isn’t a Bike Racing Improvement Diet. I’ve sucked at bike racing for thirty years. That won’t change with a different calorie allocation.

Q: Now that you’ve cut out the lard sandwiches, what do you eat?
A: Before I figure out what I’m going to eat, I figure out what I’m going to burn.

Q: Huh?
A: Lots of diets focus on intake, which is necessary. But they don’t also focus on consumption, especially consumption that swings wildly from day to day. On the NPR I burn 1,500-1,800 calories in the morning, and another 500-800 on the commute home at night. Tack that onto my basic caloric consumption of 1,585 calories and you have a potential 4,000+ day. Contrast that with Friday, when I don’t ride at all and spend two hours max in the gym, using at most 500-700 calories. Without a crystal clear picture the night before of what my burn is going to be, I can’t make a food plan for the following day.

Q: Oh, my Dog. You’ve gone off the deep end.
A: Really?

Q: Absolutely. What you’re saying is you not only count calories, but you micromanage them daily. I’m assuming that means meal by meal?
A: Yes.

Q: Sounds like you’ve taken all the fun out of life.
A: Not all of it. Just most of it. Especially when “fun” means gorging, regretting, and hurting like a dog while riding.

Q: Okay. So the positives are waking up four times nightly, getting up for breakfast at 4:30 AM, and having to memorize calories per gram for every food item in the pantry. What are the down sides?
A: Mood swings. Or rather mood swing.

Q: What’s that?
A: I now live in two states. The state of eating and the state of hunger.

Q: How’s your sex drive?
A: It drove away.

Q: I suppose that’s another “positive?”
A: You’ll have to consult with Mrs. WM on that.

Q: Do you expect to live like this the rest of your life?
A: No. Once I reach my target weight, if I reach it, I’m going to try to maintain it for an entire racing season and see if it’s as horrible and unendurable after a few months as it has been so far.

Q: Why should it change?
A: Because each time I plateau, I adjust and frankly don’t feel so hungry. It’s the constant bumping down to new levels that triggers the starvation response and the desire to eat my fork.

Q: Any concerns about proper nutrition? Losing your hair? Rickets? Pellagra? That kind of thing?
A: None. Breakfast is oatmeal (40g small day, 80g big day) sweetened with 40g of raisins, followed by zero-fat yogurt (100g small day, 200g big day), 84g raspberries, 90g blackberries, sometimes 50-90g banana (big day), and 40g trail mix (extra big day). There’s tons of nutrition in a breakfast like that. Plus a pot of searingly strong coffee.

Q: Lunch?
A: Used to be PB sandwich with coffee and cream. Now it varies depending on the day. Small day is half a block of tofu, one egg, teaspoon of soy sauce, and a large Fuji apple. Big day is whole block of tofu, two eggs, tbsp of soy sauce, can of tuna, 2 tbsp of salsa, apple and banana. Afternoon snack is 40g of trail mix and/or a banana.

Q: Dinner?
A: It varies. I try to incorporate Mrs. WM’s healthier leftovers into my own regimen. Beans. Edamame. Tofu. Boiled egg. Smattering of spaghetti flavored with some garlic and dried tomatoes and red pepper. Cut the oil.

Q: Any WM diet tips?
A: Sure. You can make a great dressing with one part balsamic vinegar to one part dijon mustard. No oil required.

Q: Any tips on dealing with the hunger?
A: Eat the high volume, low cal stuff first because it’s filling. Take the time to dice vegetables as thinly as you can. It brings out the flavor, takes longer to eat, and is more filling. A salad with 150g carrots, 150g cucumbers, 150g celery, 150g onion, 150g cherry tomatoes, and lettuce with the aforementioned dressing will feel like you’ve eaten an entire sandbag.

Q: Sandbags, huh? Sounds appetizing.
A: You want Chef Boyardee? That’s a different aisle.

Q: Now let’s talk reality. Dessert. Sweets. No Hag bar, Ghana scarfing dude gives up dessert? Really? How do you sate the sweet tooth?
A: Zero-percent Fage Greek style plain yogurt. It has the consistency of Hag, and tastes great once you get used to it.

Q: That’s what they say about anti-freeze, you know.
A: Hmmm. Mix in berries and/or thinly sliced banana. It’s pretty darned good.

Q: That’s it? Not buying it.
A: Well…

Q: Go ahead. Spit it out.
A: Every now and again…

Q: Yes?
A: You can add…

Q: Uh-huh?
A: A little tiny dollop of..

Q: Yeessss?
A: Hag vanilla. Or chocolate.

Q: Thought so. You fucking diet cheaters are all alike.
A: Yes, we are.

Q: Any plans to market this as the South Bay Wanker Diet?
A: No.

Q: Why not? It seems tailored to crazies, and the South Bay is filled with nothing if not that.
A: This isn’t a “program.” It’s an illness. If you want serious, long-term weight loss, go with a proven program. ViSalus seems to work for a lot of people.

Q: But not Wankmeister?
A: I don’t like being told what to do. And I like to dice my own vegetables.

Q: Ooookay. Any chance you’ll share the actual daily food plan details with us?
A: Sure. I can post them in the comments if you’re really interested. But it’s boring stuff.

Q: Any last advice?
A: Whether I stick with this or fail tomorrow, I’ve learned how to evaluate food. How many calories per gram? That’s so important and we just don’t learn it in the normal course of things. You can immediately see the difference between a carrot at .41 cal/g versus spaghetti, at 3.57 cal/g, and you can choose to increase the one and decrease the other. It’s huge, and once you start thinking this way, you understand why the food industry is so hell bent on obfuscating these values and making them hard to use.

Q: Soapbox alert…
A: Yeah. It’s extraordinary that menus actually have this info now, but it still takes practice and a calculator to figure it out. After a few weeks, though, you can start to eyeball. It’s great. It’s empowering.

Q: Empowering? So you think it’s eventually going to translate to watts?
A: Once I get to 145, assuming it’s not immediately followed by a graveside service, I’m going to try to build power at that new weight. Maybe it’s impossible, maybe not. But it’s going to be fun trying.

Q: That’s the first time you’ve used the word “fun” to describe any of this.
A: Well…it is fun…for me.

Q: I thought you said it was miserable.
A: No emotion exists in a vacuum, dude. Any way, gotta go.

Q: Dinner?
A: How’d you guess?

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§ 42 Responses to Diet misery Q&A

  • Mickey says:

    Have you considered or monitored changes in fat% in addition to just sheer weight loss? That’d get you closer to monitoring Power/Weight, which is really what matters. It’d also tell you how much of your muscles you’re destroying by starving yourself. Having said that, I think that’s inevitible. Massive weight loss and muscle mass gain don’t typically work together.

    • Admin says:

      Fat was 16.3% six weeks ago. Now I’m guessing 12-13%, maybe less. I’ve done the watts/kg thing, but that only matters for racing or going fast. The real goal is to find out the healthy minimum, not for racing but for riding, for work, and for living. Once I find it, try to keep the needle there.

  • You are such a funny fuck. I have designed a T in your honor.

    Thanks Mike Slower Than Ever Piper

  • I don’t know. Printed up right and maybe with an actual skeleton on the cover this “The Wanker’s Diet” might have wings. Sub-title: “It isn’t a program, it’s an illness.”

    mmmm, wings…


  • Seth, you just crack me up, but you are helping a lot of people. I riding friend (much younger than I am) bet me 100.00 by Jan 1st we reach our weight goals – mine is 8lbs, taking me to 115 – and we have to keep it off for two weeks – so I am ordered a scale – Hers is 138 to 130 – so it’s fair – she is using the Lance/Carmichael Nutrition books – I, on the other hand, being a “wanker-wanna be” am going the the WM non-program illness method. Let’s see if I can make it! 8lbs by Jan 1 – WM- style- Feel free to send me a bill for my many questions. 😉

    Q: What do you put the salsa on you eat for lunch?
    Q Do you cook the tofu or just cold plain rubbery tofu?
    Q: Do you think couscous can substitute for oatmeal? It goes down more easily in wee hours (two hours before ride) more carbs, fewer calories?
    Q: Is your oatmeal measured raw or cooked? It only comes up as 1 cup (assuming cooked) on MyFitnessPal.

    Today I bought my first ever scale for my kitchen. Tonight for dinner I will figure out how to do something to/withTofu. 😉 –

    And for lunch I chopped up mini veggies and you’re right, I was full before salad gone. Fugi organic apples – check –
    I do not have dijon, so i used yellow mustard with balsamic for dressing- yummie -i bought a small spray bottle to control the use of any oil.

    Thanks – it does not seem you have lost so much endurance and speed by your strava? –

    BTW – since reading your blog and paying more attention to my after-ride over-consumption of food, healthy or not, I was eating too much — and counting my calories, I wake up at 4:30 too, and I feel more clear-headed and alert – not sure why – I also feel more calm – It has only been a few days of really strict calorie counting and deducting my calories burned on rides, etc, but I felt better this morning, than i have in a long time.

    Sorry for the long reply, but this way I can share back with you and your frequent followers how it works for me. Plus I have 100 bucks on my WM ride, diet, starve, drink shitty coffee, but feel more clear-headed and sleeping better –

    And, no, I am not sharing the 100.00 with you if I win! 😉

    • Admin says:

      Q: What do you put the salsa on you eat for lunch?
      A: I mix the salsa with canned tuna or canned salmon. I limit canned fish to once or twice a week; previous commenters posted about mercury, I looked it up, and less is definitely more. Just mix in the salsa and eat as-is. As I’ve said earlier, I match my lunch with the day’s caloric burn. If it’s a huge day I’ll have tofu, two eggs, can of tuna, salsa, and fruit. If it’s a tiny day I’ll have half a block of tofu, one egg, half an apple. Another point is this: Rather than making everything instant and quick, it’s been very calming to prepare my own lunch every day. It takes time, but it’s better than rushing to and from the Inn ‘N Out. It’s better than slamming prepared food in front of the computer. It’s actually a lunch “break.” I used to quickly make a PB sandwich with an apple and coffee and scarf while surfing the web during lunch, or, worse, working. Now I just leisurely hang out in the lunch room for 35-45 minutes, and return to the trenches feeling very rejuvenated.

      Q: Do you cook the tofu or just [eat] cold plain rubbery tofu?
      A: I’m super picky about tofu. American brand tofu tastes awful and I can’t eat it. My wife buys House brand tofu from Mitsuwa or Marukai supermarkets. The best brand of all is called Otoko Mae, from Mitsuwa Supermarket or from Nijiya Supermarket at Rolling Hills Plaza. Nijiya also sells an organic tofu that is absolutely top notch. The tofu is firm but has a creamy texture. I eat it raw with a little soy sauce and a microwaved scrambled egg on the side. Tofu calories are 240 cal for one block, 120 for half a block. I learned to love good, fresh tofu after ten years’ living in Japan. You can also add finely diced green onion, grated ginger, and a little soy sauce to really make the raw tofu pop. I never cook it; ruins the great taste unless you fry it, and of course fried tofu kind of defeats the purpose of calorie reduction. Tastes fantastic though when made with “agedashidofu” sauce.

      Q: Do you think couscous can substitute for oatmeal? It goes down more easily in wee hours (two hours before ride) more carbs, fewer calories?
      A: I don’t know. You should eat what you like.

      Q: Is your oatmeal measured raw or cooked? It only comes up as 1 cup (assuming cooked) on MyFitnessPal.
      A: I measure it raw, which is how the caloric values are given on the back of the can. I buy the Trader Joe’s brand of steel-cut oatmeal. Your guide should be what’s on the back of the can, regardless of the food item. The only time the Internet is a reliable source is for vegetables and fruit.

      Q: Today I bought my first ever scale for my kitchen. Tonight for dinner I will figure out how to do something to/withTofu.
      A: Nice. The key number is calories per gram. You should start learning that number for everything you eat. Simply divide the calories by the number of grams in the serving listed on the label. For example, pasta is usually 100 calories per ounce, which forces you to learn how to convert to grams, and shows the idiocy of the English system versus the metric system. Anyway, it’s 28 g per ounce, so the value for pasta is 3.57 cal/g. At first these numbers don’t mean anything, but after a few weeks you begin to automatically calculate, or at least ballpark the numbers, and it’s a Brave New World. Why? Because you learn that while pasta is 3.57 cal/g, carrots are .41 cal/g. Zero fat Greek Fage yogurt is .53 cal/g. Bananas are .892 cal/g. Makes the decision about what to eat somewhat easier, because you also learn how tiny most of these high cal/g portions end up being if you’re trying to limit your intake. In other words, you’ll eat a little, get a lot of calories, and be ravenous at the end if you choose unwisely.
      For example, 3 oz of pasta gives you 300 cal, which is a big caloric portion of your dinner, but is a measly 84 g uncooked in actual volume. That’s a few strands of spaghetti on your plate, and doesn’t begin to fill you up, as opposed to something like rice, which is 1.29 cal/g, and you can therefore eat more of. As the values plummet, for example tofu gives you .63 cal/g, you get to eat more, and as you battle with hunger, the sensation of being full becomes more and more important.

      After a while, the ability to quickly evaluate cal/g for a given food item speeds the decision about whether or not to eat it, and even when you do plop on a dollop of Hag, at 2.35 cal/g you’re not going to put on as much and will likely opt for more yogurt or banana or even nuts. It’s a numbers racket. If you don’t know the key numbers you will never, ever, ever stand a chance of winning. People who say “I don’t count calories” are not going to lose weight over the long haul and keep it off. It’s like saying “I don’t count money” and expecting to increase year-end net revenue. If you can’t count, and don’t know what to count, you’re not in the game.

      Fortunately, the numbers are simple and they’re on the back of every food package. The numbers you need to begin learning by heart are cal/g, total consumed for the day, and total burned for the day. It’s laborious at first, but becomes second nature with practice. They say it take 21 days to make a change a habit. I think that’s a good rule of thumb. I’m already getting pretty good at sizing stuff up for its cal/g value. Standing in line at SB last night to get a cup of coffee, I went over their menu and could eyeball the cal/g values for some items where volume/weight was given. Talk about making it easy to drink black coffee!

      Q: And for lunch I chopped up mini veggies and you’re right, I was full before salad gone. Fuji organic apples – check – I do not have Dijon, so I used yellow mustard with balsamic for dressing- yummie -I bought a small spray bottle to control the use of any oil.
      A: I’m finding oil less and less of a necessity. Maybe just a tiny, tiny drop to roast the chopped garlic that I put on spaghetti, but none in salad dressing. I’d rather use those calories with something like dried tomatoes, which taste great and add a lot of taste and are a fraction of the calories of olive oil. In other words, 8.74 cal/g for olive oil, versus 2.5 cal/g for the dried tomatoes. I’d rather have more tomatoes and feel fuller than more oil and just feel, well, oilier.

      Of course the bigger picture in all this is “What do you expect out of your food?” If it’s variety, excitement, lots of different flavors, and the full exploration of your flavor palate, then what this exercise devolves into is a cooking class. Fortunately, I’m pedestrian in my tastes and in my wants.

      Once I find something that tastes good to me, I can eat it for a long, long time without wanting anything different. I’ve loved oatmeal since I was a kid, for example.

      My experience has also been that as calories have decreased and hunger has increased, I’ve become less picky and more thankful for what I do eat rather than critical and demanding of the food. If it’s healthful and filling I’m grateful because the alternative is a kind of living hell: Going through the day hungry. Cervantes said that “Hunger is the best sauce.” He knew from whence he spoke.

      Q: Thanks – it does not seem you have lost so much endurance and speed by your Strava?
      A: Don’t know about power, as I don’t ride with a power meter and the iPhone app is useless to calculate true power output, but my endurance has gone way, way down. I’m riding on the edge for anything over 70 miles, even with a hearty oatmeal/yogurt/fruit breakfast (500-700 cal). Today I bonked twice: Once in Santa Monica, and again in Manhattan Beach. I never used to bonk and could easily knock out a hard hundred miles with little or no nutrition. I’m not sure if this is something I’ll adapt to or if I’ll just have to change my in-ride nutrition, which currently consists of water and a few nibbles on a Clif bar.

      Q: BTW – since reading your blog and paying more attention to my after-ride over-consumption of food, healthy or not, I was eating too much — and counting my calories, I wake up at 4:30 too, and I feel more clear-headed and alert – not sure why – I also feel more calm – It has only been a few days of really strict calorie counting and deducting my calories burned on rides, etc, but I felt better this morning, than I have in a long time.
      A: I think it has its good points, and you’ve identified some of them, but the negatives are pretty strong, too. The biggest one is quality of life. Why do this if it makes you miserable? Why do this if it’s just to ride your bike a little faster? Why do this if you’re wasting precious moments of your limited time on earth plunking away at a fucking calculator? The answers are different for each person. For me, I’m enjoying it…for now. I want to see what happens and I want to share it with other people. They can read about it and conclude that it’s not for them, or that it’s for them, or that they want to try it, or that they want to do something similar but with different methods and materials. The mornings are supercharged because, I believe, hunger is the single most powerful driving force in wo/man. As Mao said, “Revolution comes from hunger and the barrel of a gun.” And if he didn’t say it, he should have.
      The early morning syndrome is the subject of an upcoming blog post. I hope I never go back to lolling around in bed until 6:00 AM. Ever. And I don’t think I will!

      Q: Sorry for the long reply, but this way I can share back with you and your frequent followers how it works for me. Plus I have 100 bucks on my WM ride, diet, starve, drink shitty coffee, but feel more clear-headed and sleeping better – And, no, I am not sharing the 100.00 with you if I win!
      A: I’m glad you’re taking the time to write. It’s fun to share experiences and see what works and what doesn’t. I’m no nutritionist or health guru or cycling expert, but then again, the experts don’t seem to have all the answers, either. Last time I saw a photo of Chris Carmichael, he looked pretty pudgy to me!

  • cmparrish says:

    Today i got Wildwood SprouTofu (firm) the block is 10 oz – so you have half of that on a small day?

  • cmparrish says:

    thank you – sorry, i had not read your post yet, obviously I will find the good tofu – has to be some place in SM? – Like you, once i like something, I can easily eat it very day Tuna and salsa sounds really gross, but i will save that until i try it – I think eating more veggies, salad, tofu, nuts, etc, makes me feel good, you already know my health history.
    I did not stop drinking all the vodka in Newport Beach until 1995 when they said I had six months to live. I still did not stop until 1998 and I was inches from death – At that time, I started taking spin classes, going to a Chinese herbal doctor, and changed my life -I have a life and i am still here – so i am a first-hand believer in diet and exercise – I did not take any fun out of my life. Because I love my life and i want to enjoy it, I prefer to watch my weight. I don’t eat ice cream or sweets anyway – I am mainly cutting out all the bread, pasta and heavy sauces – chili, spag, and all the crap that is filled with sugar.

    Feeling happy and healthy: this is my goal – I think you are on to something withe the counting and cal/g – it gives you something to have some knowledge about in order to make those decisions. It will take me some time, I am not great in math! 😉 but i am sure no quitter, ever!

    Sorry about your bonking today – I had a good ride day and felt strong.;-)

  • Lisa says:

    Seth, … Lisa here … I follow u daily and show your blog to my husband – dr. Philip Goglia — he works with numerous athletes and friends of yours – joe Yule – melony Phillips – Chris demarchi – Aron gahdia – Paul Che – Johnny Walsh – Marco – fantone …. He is essentially the go to nutrition expert for your herd and co-president for the get crackin race team … He has concerns and wants to be a voice of reason for you – hoping that you will stop by his office or reach out to him —
    1- metabolism is not as simple as calories in and calories out – athletes know that caloric intake either promotes an anabolic metabolic environment or decays it – catabolic environment – here are the basic metabolic rules
    – metabolism is not fast or slow – it’s hot or cold
    – metabolism is a function of heat
    – because calories are heat energy units
    – fat only burns in a hot caloric environment
    – so how many calories do you need to consume daily to generate enough heat to burn fat and repair muscle daily to support activity – tissue repair and energy pattern –
    If you are highly active and under eating – u are catabolic – waisting muscle and hoarding fat – as an example if you have lost about 15 lbs and only a few points of body fat … You are losing muscle – power and wattage – ideal food patterns should yield 1.3 % body fat drop per week with sufficient tissue repair to remain anabolic and build strength – your sleep is interrupted – not deep REM-ing resulting in low growth hormone output – loss of efficient tissue repair and risk of cardiovascular inflammation – though you feel euphoric in this short moment – it will pass and the result will be devestating – metabolically – emotionally and physically – you will get injured – its a guarantee – and god forbid in your weekness or momentary loss of coherence amidst dehydration that you cross someone’s wheel and take out a handful of your peloton — the rule of thumb is 1 ounce of water per 1 pound of body weight consumed daily if active ie: you weigh 150 you need 150 oz daily to maintain proper hydration to regulate body temperature to allow the use of fat as energy rather than storing it and therefore using it as insulation to control temperature due to lack of hydration – water is the uber god of performance – never dehydrate — it controls digestion – muscular tonis – cognitive focus – temperature –
    …. Your meals are low protein — protein is meat with eyes : chicken – fish – steak – turkey – eggs – all else is sugar … Your tofu is high esteogen – a bean / a carb with some of the lowest biologically available protein in it — tofu sucks …. I challenge you to come and see me – let me run your blood – give you a little nutrition 101 — you need it dog !! You are on a one way course headed towards manorwxia… I want to be your solution — cowboy up — call me !! 310 392 4080 //

    • Admin says:

      Voice of reason? Here???

      It’s too early for me to type the detailed response your excellent comment deserves, but I will do so this evening.

      Thanks very much for commenting.

      • Bill Stone says:

        Whenever I see Dr. and not MD after a name I have to wonder why. After all Seth you are a Doctor in the sense of a JD. But then I have always had a warm affection for Snake Oil and taking in a lot of it is probably as good a weight loss prescription as ‘eating more to rev up your fat metabolic systems’ and I suspect a bit cheaper than the 1K for two visits. However, I still prefer my elixirs served with a generous dosage of irony and thus am more inclined towards Liebling’s “Honest Rainmaker” , James McDonald. James as you know was a horse race prognosticator, with a fondness for apple brandy. He was also quite instrumental in Dr. Hatfield’s great work in bringing rainfall to California and Oklahoma, at least until the good folds of So Cal figured they could set off their cannons and what like.
        But then I also think slow guys win races when all things are taken into consideration. So why wouldn’t drinking three gallons of water make you skinny strong.

        • Admin says:

          Yup. People who regularly win bike races are smarter and take better, more carefully calculated risks. They are also better prepared–know the course, know the competition, know themselves.

          Skinny and power and equipment and all the other junk will never get you to the promised land, just like ersatz stats in basketball (wingspan, height, vertical leap, blah blah blah) won’t get you a ticket to the NBA.

          And of course, the single best predictor of future results is past performance. Check Wankmeister’s palmares if you want to peer into the crystal ball for his race results in 2013.

    • Tom says:

      150 oz water — 4.7 qts! — for a 150 lb person?!

      Unless you’re cycling hard for 100+ miles in 90º+ heat, that’s nuts. Ever heard of “Water intoxication” or “dilutional hyponatremia” ?

      People have *died* from drinking excessive water.

    • Admin says:

      Lisa, there was so much packed into your comment that I didn’t know where to begin, even after a day of cogitating. So let me begin squarely with the one word that is most appropriate: “Thanks!”

      I like it when people like you reach out and offer their opinion, professional or otherwise, regarding the state of my health and the direction in which it seems to be headed. It’s fun to see things from your perspective. People reveal themselves utterly when they write, right?

      You’ve said what a lot of people think, and I appreciate that you care enough and follow my blog closely enough to lay out the argument. Don’t take it amiss just because I happen to see things quite differently, or because I explain myself in such a quirky way. As the boy said when his friend angrily remarked, “Don’t be that way” and he answered, “I know no other way to be.”

      Ah, the voice of reason! Now you invoke my nemesis! I’m not seeking reason or its echoes; I’ve been running at full scream from it all my life. The voice of reason is really just a myth anyway, like the sound of the ocean in a seashell high atop a mountain. Voices don’t carry reason…facts do.

      So, here are some facts. At 151 lbs. and 12.2% body fat as of today’s measurement by the smoking hot chick at the gym in tights and a bustin-out-all-over tee shirt and a chart and a set of calipers and a tattoo that said “Eat this!” with an arrow pointing down from her navel, my 20.5 BMI is completely normal and not even the least big underweight. For a guy in his 40’s, my fat percentage isn’t even all that low. It’s solidly in the normal range, albeit towards the end of the normal scale.

      This is an introduction to a couple of things: First, there’s nothing crazy sick going on with my weight loss. I was 167-170 in early August, and have shed somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 pounds by first slashing intake, and after hitting a plateau, slashing the junk carbs and gratuitous fat calories except for chocolate, which is its own food group essential to all higher life forms and cyclists so don’t fuck with my chocolate, okay?

      At first I was terrified by your recitation of all the awful things that were going to happen to me if I continued down this bad dietary path to damnation: Bike crashes, REM sleep disturbed, crazed mental states and deranged physical behavior, loss of muscle, power, wattage, and no more 14k erections. All this from eating tofu and veggies and riding my bike!

      But before I could hop in the car and go buy a 3-for-1 extra sausage with bacon and pepperoni hamburger cheese-stuffed Totino’s extra-large frozen pizza and gross of double-choco Hag bars, I realized that all of those things had been happening to me long before the South Bay Wanker’s Diet of Misery and Unmitigated Hell.

      If anything, the SBWDoMaUH (pronounced “Spaw-dom, Ma!”) has actually decreased the incidence of all those bad things. I’ll talk about them later, maybe, but first I want to talk about the Big Picture with regard to dieting rather than the little picture that everyone else always talks about. The little picture is “What am I gonna eat?” It’s the stuff of diet cookbooks, nutritional guides, webinars on various food supplements, and the whole endlessly fascinating dialogue of “Eat this, not that, because…” It’s dieticians and nutritionists and physicians and chiropractors and yogis and organic gardeners and TV infomercialists all the other people who know absolutely that if you just eat their food their way then magic is gonna happen.

      I call “What am I gonna eat?” the small picture because regardless of the scientific basis or the new, deeper understanding we have of human physiology, people’s digestive systems are designed remarkably like the Model T. You could thrown anything into that fucking thing and make it run. Old bolts. Sausage grease. Strips of tire. It would cough once or twice and start chugging again.

      Humans are this way. They can subsist on grubs or foie gras. They can lubricate on water or coconut juice. Having the little picture conversation is what turns dieting into eating, and eating is the whole game. It’s the entire candle, the ball of wax, because when you’re eating, your mind and body are singing in beautiful harmony at every level—cellular, tissue, organ, system, organism—“Winning!”
      Unfortunately, it’s still the little picture, maybe even the tiny picture, or maybe it’s no picture at all, because nobody ever lost weight from eating.

      The Big Picture is much bigger than “Eat this, not that, because…” It’s much bigger than Ph.D.’s and professional nutritional advice and weight loss systems and complicated physiology charts that show how one food is better for you than the next. It’s the Big Picture of hunger. Here’s how it works: Eating less makes you hungry. Then, the longer you don’t eat, the hungrier you get. Finally, you eat until the hunger abates. Repeat.

      Diets, paradoxically, don’t fall apart because of what you eat. They fall apart because of what you don’t eat. It’s the act of not eating that triggers hunger, and it cannot be suppressed or tricked or lied to for very long. Hunger is the massive gorilla in the room swinging his fists of pain, reminding you that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about whether you’re losing muscle mass or fat or hair or sperm cells or teeth or toenails. All he knows is that you’re not eating enough, so either get the fuck over to the table and eat or start killing the people standing in between you and the food.

      The Big Picture is the force of nature, the imperative of life, and no diet, no adviser, no cookbook, no TV show, no rational thought is ever going to conquer it. Once the food supply decreases beyond what you’re used to, the Big Picture will take over. You will get hungry. It will become unbearable. You will then eat.

      This Big Picture is the reason I’m so skeptical about people who claim that they can help me with my diet. My diet involves hunger, whole universes of it. The conditions of that hunger can be manipulated to some extent—eat food with more volume but less calories to “feel” fuller (as if you can ever trick the Big Picture with size over substance!); spread the calories out over the day (as if low grade, ceaseless hunger is somehow more endurable than ravenous waves of starvation punctuated by gluttony-induced satiety); or my favorite, and likely yours, too, if you’re reading this blog…fill your time on the bike or in the gym, anywhere but near a kitchen or restaurant or food truck or farmer’s market or Peet’s coffee shop.

      The person who resolves the Big Picture will have solved the great problem posed by Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion: “Man in motion gotta eat.” That person, by the way, isn’t me. Is it really you?
      Indeed, as I’ve played guinea pig with myself it’s become clear that the Big Picture is the conundrum of life. We can’t feel good if we’re fat, but we can’t feel happy if we’re thin. The corollary is equally delectably confounding: Nothing feels better than a full stomach except a flat one. Lisa, I defy you, or anyone, to solve the Big Picture, because that’s really the only issue I’m having with the SBWDoMaUH. It makes me hungry, except when I’m eating.

      Now, you will point to certain problems with regard to my cycling that the SBWDoMaUH may lead to. I will get slower. I will get weaker. Prez will lick my ear and scald me with hot coffee. Brad House will tell me how and when to pedal on the Holiday Ride. I’ll become a shadow of my former self.

      Though I appreciate the concern, and though I’m a cycling devotee, and though I’d dearly love to be faster, that’s not what this diet is about. Its effect on cycling is of tertiary concern, if that…maybe even quaternary. The point behind the SBWDoMaUH is to get rid of shitloads of excess weight quickly and keep it off forever. To never again hit 170 naked (censor that thought, if you can). To boldly hit the mid-140’s and maintain that weight through a lifetime of constructive consumption of relatively simple, wisely chosen foods that are tasty to me.

      In reality, Lisa, could the SBWDoMaUH make me even more of a wanker? Impossible! I don’t just own a piece of that market, I’ve got it cornered.

      But there’s more…

      Everyone I know is fascinated with weight maintenance, weight gain, or weight loss. Show me a nutritionist and I’ll show you somebody with 15-30 lbs. hanging around that they wish wasn’t. This experiment of mine, aside from being a kind of vulgar, narcissistic display of the bizarre and misplaced importance I attach to my own body, is also a way for people to do with me what I do with them: See things through a different lens.

      It’s that process by which the things we take for granted—what we can do, what we should do, what we’re going to do—change and become new things in our lives. I never saw myself as a 10% body fat, 145-lb. NORMAL GUY who was that way because he ate less and ate better food. Perhaps that person will never come to be. Perhaps he’ll crash himself and fifty people out or collapse from sleep deprivation or hop back onto the lardwagon or, or, or…

      On the other hand, maybe my approach is the right one. Maybe I’ve identified the real obstacle to weight loss, which isn’t my predilection for tofu or my blissful ignorance of all the muscle mass I’m devouring or my love of coffee. Maybe I’ve hit on the real problem, which is this: Effective weight loss is to unrelenting hunger what effective time trialing is to pain. You can never, ever have the one without the other.

      Maybe people reading this will conclude that the SBWDoMaUH is for crazies, but that the Big Picture really is the issue whether you’re doing the South Beach Diet or the Apple Diet or the Chocolate Cake Diet or whether you consult a dietician or whether you make shit up as you go along or whether you’ve broken down and sent in your $9.95 via PayPal to pre-order a copy of the South Bay Wanker Diet of Misery and Unmitigated Hell.

      Regardless, you’re confronting, in my opinion, the real problem. Which is always, always, always the best place to start when in search of a solution.

      • Bill Stone says:

        Brilliant. To steal and pervert the comments of Cognitive Therapist Judith Beck: “you can be thin or you can eat a cashew, you cannot do both.” Or you can be thin if you are willing to be crazy nuts hungry for the next couple decades.” But, the antidote to these obvious truths are to visit my website (buymystuffandbegreat.nimwit/foolsgold and purchase containers of special food type stuff.

  • Tom says:

    Your diet seems awfully low in quality, mono-unsaturated fats. Eg, stuff like olive oil, or raw nuts.

    Yes, fats are caloric, but they’re also fairly filling.

    These “good” fats, a large component of the “mediterranean” or “cretan” diets, correlate well with improved cardiovascular health & longevity.

    You might also look into “heme iron” (more readily absorbed than plant-based iron). Are you getting enough? Too-low iron in your blood’s (low hemoglobin) and endurance sports, don’t mix too well.

    • Admin says:

      I think as long as you just say “Your diet seems awfully low in quality…” and leave it at that, you’ll garner the assent of the three other readers here, including me.

  • Albacore says:

    By the Numbers (Albacore edition)
    So I recently underwent my yearly physical and received my “baseline” numbers. This year I am 188 lbs with 15% slow body blubber. My numbers are off this year due to a total absence of racing, a partial lack of motivation, and an over abundance of fermented hops. After every physical I say, “Next physical I’ll hit my peak. I will make a concerted effort to reach my prime. I will train with a purpose and monitor my diet with dilligence. This is the year I race with authority. I will line up prepared.” Then life (read wife and kids) get in the way and I just race myself into shape with mediocre results. Now, thanks to you WM, I am inspired. An adult male needs to carry 2-4% essential body fat for survival. That equates to 166 pounds on my current frame. Of course rhabdomyoliysis can shave some more weight off. The leanest I have been was 8% in college for strictly narcissistic vanity (pussy appeal). I can do better. Hitting 6% in a quest for bicycle-weight-weenie-ability would put me at just unde 170 pounds. I figure coffee and enemas are a good start. Plus, every organ lost is more weight shaved. Then I will transition to coffee with a side of starvation. I can temper my hunger with insatiable determination. Be on the lookout. My newfound racing weight may even have me toeing the line at the local crit where the other skinny wankers reside. Of course, this being the off-season, I will start next month.

  • Aside from the impossibility of having Karen Carpenter sing at your funeral, I completely applaud what you are doing, which ain’t much. There is a little town on the east side of Pakistan called India where for centuries holy men and fakirs have carried on in far more extragavant ways than your minor dietary shenanigans. But further do I applaud your ability to pull from the woodwork learned persons who now will critique the method and poke at the corpse of something as simple as the ages-old quest for purification of mind and body.

    I once thought that all things magical could be explained by science but now that I am old and wise beyond my ears I realize that I had it backwards. Science is but the futile effort of the unenlightened to explain that which they cannot grasp.

    Wank on, Wankmeister!

    • Admin says:

      No purification search here, only looking for ations.

      So far have found: masturb, mastic, starv, fornic, and el. Along with a smidgen of self-flagell.

      Nice writing, dude.

      • Whatever. Your dialogue with Ms. Wanker far surpass all my feeble efforts. Crisp and sharp and full of delight. In fact, I may have to come out there and hit a lick just to make sure old and fat can keep up. I wonder this: If you leave pre-dawn, is there a light? Not at the end of the tunnel KC kind of light. I mean,,,well, you know. Soon, me lad, soon.

        Oh, and this: We are an ation kind of nation.

  • vavoomoom says:

    WM – my reaction to the Doctors comment was that you should go in, see him and hear him out. See if his recommendations make any changes to your diet. What have you got to lose?

    That said once you have a point of view, it is very difficult to change it, even if it is by a PhD. In 1 year of being one of your dedicated 3 readers, I have NEVER seen you be convinced you are wrong. I’m not critiquing you, I’m just sayin’…

    Looking forward to continued updates on the diet/performance etc…

    Vavoom (180lbs, 14% body fat. Goal of 170lbs and less body fat :).

  • Albert Lakes says:

    When I was a gym rat, spent 3 hours daily weight/cross training and micro-managed my nutrition, I could never get into the single digits. Reading all the tips in Men’s Fitness on sculpting a six pack and getting ripped and still in 3 years never get below that arbitrary 10% body fat. At the end of my first year of serious cycling/commuting, I dropped to 4% body fat and for the first time in life I had the magic six pack. Two years later, I’m still in the 4-5% neighborhood. I also haven’t thought about fat or protein or carb intake in all that time. I just assummed riding a bike all the time had the same benefit for everyone. Obviously, there are plenty of chubby riders who put in miles, but does it really take that much work to get lean? I’m by no means a genetic freak. And I only ride when I have the energy, which is to say all the time. Does it all change at 40?

  • John says:

    In March of this year I went for my long overdue physical. 5′ – 9″ and 175lb. I was advised to lose some, then got the call in a few days. Bloodwork back, Verified I did not eat that morning, and yes, from the last test he added (after I paid the initial bill)… “your a diabetic” Great, I replied sarcastically. I had some work to do. 1,200 calories per day to start, ride your bike more. Was riding to work for the past 6 months prior anyway. I can ratchet it up, I replied. Meeting a week later to review and plan, I stated I was hitting 1,300 to 1,400 cal per day, try for 1,200 was the reply, with some other comments about saturated fat. Read up, took notes plus 6-8 hours now on the bike per week plus commute. Seven weeks later I was at 160 lb. Follow up appt. blood draw… numbers good but you lost a lot, a bit too fast. So much for following orders. Finally got in to see the nutritionist. Numbers still on track, now 155. The plan is to glide to 145-150, keeping the muscle mass up and or increased and maintain 1,800 useful calories per day. A bunch of food is off the table of course. Adios Haagen-Dazs and sugar. I do not find my self hungry though. With some guidance it can be done. For super low body fat numbers at my age though it will take much more time on the bike, which I don’t have and or PED’s. I will do the best I can and leave it at that.

    • Admin says:

      Good for you. We cyclists think that because we’re riding our bikes, we’re healthy. That’s not always the case. When we’re riding our bike, we may only be keeping a bad situation from worsening, or sometimes not even that. One local world champion, yes, a guy with rainbow stripes, had a heart attack just before road nationals. Cycling isn’t a healthy lifestyle any more than watching TV is an unhealthy lifestyle, right? It’s the things that go along with the cycling and/or TV watching that define the health effects. Whatever it is, cycling isn’t a magic bullet or a cure-all. It’s an entree into activities and choices that can make us healthier, or that can allow us to continue terribly unhealthy habits for longer than we otherwise could.

      It’s impressive that you not only heard the wake-up call, but that you did something about it. Whatever your goal is, it’s doable. I’m losing lots of power even with the gradual decrease (not sure if +/- 20 pounds in 14 weeks is gradual or not), but am not concerned about cycling so much at this point. The point is to get the bad stuff in check and try to reform some habits that are leading nowhere.

      Keep it up. There’s no reason you can’t achieve it, only excuses. We get one trip through the fun house and then a billion trillion years times infinity of nothing. Don’t give away one fucking second to the black hole. Not one.

      • John says:

        I was advised a pound a week is reasonable for aggressive weight loss. I have felt some form coming back, the first tier came in about 13 weeks. I have had to lengthen my rides to get in the planned time in the saddle. The Dr. is happy. Fortunately I do enjoy the time on the bike. Probably no more organized competition for me, that was long ago. I have enjoyed catching the guy ahead of me when climbing up either side of PV Drive East, I will be the guy on a 40 year old bike with 5 or 6 cogs in back just to rub it in. Old racers never really fully retire.

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