Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weight Gain

On the cruise -- or more precisely, at the end of the cruise -- we were informed that, on average, people gain one pound per day of cruising.

Which was interesting because I'd actually started modifying my food intake about halfway through the cruise. Not modifying it much, mind -- it was more of keeping my desserts capped to one a day, and replacing that afternoon cookie with afternoon fruit.

Still, I know I ate a lot more -- and a lot worse for me -- than I eat at home. (And I certainly ate a ton on my last travel day, in my attempt to take in enough calories to get myself home awake.)

So, it was with some level of trepidation that I stepped on the scale upon my return, and discovered...

I hadn't gained any weight. My weight was right where it was when I'd started. At the low end of "normal" for me.

Over the past week -- with me back at home on my food & exercise plan -- my weight has gone up two pounds.

I am trying to process this fact. I've come to some interesting conclusions, which are likely to lead to some modifications in my current plan.

Preliminarily, I am, of course, aware that I got a lot more exercise running off on shore excursions than I do at home. On the other hand, I don't think the same is true of the week I spent in London, and I didn't put on weight there, either. So this isn't about exercise. It's more about the intersection of two different elements:

1. Eating for stomach, not mouth.
2. Portion control.

On the last day of the cruise -- the very last day -- I experienced something I hadn't experienced my entire trip: I had that feeling that I was full, but I ate another couple bites anyway. I don't think I would have noticed the feeling except it hadn't been there for the previous week. I had certainly eaten a lot -- in some cases, I ate everything they put in front of me at dinner and then some -- but I was always eating because I was hungry. (With the exception of breakfast, of course, when there was a certain amount of planning ahead.)

At the same time, lunch was often a serve-yourself-from-the-buffet affair, and I (in direct contrast to what you might think is standard buffet behavior) didn't take all that much at all. I'd put a small puddle of food on my plate, take it back to the table, eat it all ... and then be oddly surprised when I didn't feel a need to go back for seconds.

The other day, I tried to put these lessons into practice at home. Got lunch (a teriyaki chicken bowl) at the place I usually get lunch. And I usually finish the whole bowl, including every last grain of rice. And this time, I thought, "Hey, if I eat half of this, will I be full?" So I tried it -- and after I ate half the bowl, I had to have a small consultation with myself on how it felt. Is the stomach full? Not sure. The mouth wants more, because it's tasty. (Shut up, mouth.) Brain wants more, too. I'm on my lunch break; if I'm done, I have to go back to work. (Sorry, brain. Can't eat just to keep from working.) So, stomach? You OK with this?

Apparently so. The food that, for the past year, has been my regular lunch at least a couple days a week, is actually sufficient for lunch and dinner, if I split it up.

I'm also trying to deal with the impact of television on my eating. Because there was minimal television on this vacation -- and I definitely eat when I watch television. That's my "discretionary calories" (which I keep under 300), but I wonder what it is about watching TV which makes me want to snack. And I know (brain speaking, not stomach or mouth) that I wouldn't want that snack if I wasn't watching TV -- I certainly didn't when I was on vacation. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I turned of the TV and tried to finish my book, I'd be eating less.

And there's no doubt that stress (i.e. not having any on vacation) and sleep (getting at least 8 hours on vacation) have also both played into the unusual circumstance of Not Gaining Weight On A Cruise.

I have to admit, however, that I'm a little bit depressed by the discovery that my daily life is not good for my health.

1 comment:

Wil said...

Just remember ... muscle weighs more than fat (greater density for same volume).