I am 1.81 meters tall — I know this, because I got the nurse to measure me at my annual health-check a few days ago. For the last decade or so, my weight (or mass, if you’re scientifically inclined and pedantic) has hovered between 100 and 105 kg. At the bottom end of that range, 100 kg and 1.81 m gives me a body mass index of 100 / 1.812 = 30.5. According to the standard categories, that makes me obese — only just, as the threshhold is 30.
So reaching a target mass of 98.283 kg will give me a BMI of dead on 30, the obesity threshold. That’s been my target weight for a while: I want to get out of the obese category and into overweight.
I am delighted to report that I’ve succeeded. This morning I weighed in at 97.8 kg, which gives me a BMI of 29.85. Hurrah! I am overweight!
Now I know perfectly well that BMI is a profoundly flawed measurement. It’s a crude tool that takes no account of the difference between muscle and fat, nor of people’s natural build. But that’s OK. Its value here is that it gives me concrete targets. More than targets: ratchet-points. Having successfully got below the “obese” threshold, I’ll be very aware now if I ever cross above it, and that should motivate me to get straight back down below.
Since “overweight” goes from BMI 25 to 30, I suppose my next goal should be to hit the middle of the overweight range, which is 27.5. That would mean getting my weight down to 90.1 kg, which to be honest feels like a reach. Hmm. Not sure how realistic that is. Maybe I’ll aim for 95 kg, just because it’s a roundish number, and see how it goes from there.
“But Mike”, you ask, “How did you lose the weight you’ve lost so far?”
By using a diet of my own invention that I call the “eat less food” diet. I will share it with the world. It consists a few simple rules, all based on a principle that Jeff (in a comment below) made explicit for me: eat good food, but less of it.
- Before you start, have a superb meal and eat way too much. The goal is to feel bloated enough that you find yourself wanting to lose weight, not merely feeling that you ought to.
- Don’t eat between meals.
- Eat smaller portions of your meals.
- Don’t have seconds.
- When you’re hungry, have a beer instead. (This rule may be controversial. It’s working for me, because although beer is fattening, it’s much less so than an equivalent volume of food.)
- When you break one of these rules, break it hard.
Rule 6 may need a bit of explanation. The idea is that if you slightly break a rule, it’s easy to let the next state become the New Normal. For example, if I let myself eat a Mars bar one day, it would feel natural to have one the next day, too, and pretty soon you’re eating a Mars bar every day. Instead, I prefer to pig out. When we visited Fiona’s parents around Easter, they gave me an Easter egg, two Wispa bars and a chocolate orange. I ate all that chocolate in the two days we were there — indulgence so extreme that I couldn’t possibly make myself think it was normal or healthy — and then returned to the rules the next day, when we came home.
Maybe I should have spun that out to 180 pages, and made it into an international best-selling diet book. Oh well.