Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Physics: Biology

 The ridiculous ease with which I'm losing weight on my new regimen makes me think I may have made this whole process much harder than it needed to be, by casting a biological problem (how do you get fat to leave fat cells faster than it comes in?) as a physics-and-will-power problem (how do you reduce calorie intake without overwhelming your will power?)

The physics-and-will-power solution worked, but it worked by main force, and it wouldn't have worked if a) I weren't already a guy who liked measuring things and keeping spreadsheets and b) if I hadn't been extremely canny about managing hunger hormones and c) if I hadn't had a nice calm stretch of water in my life that allowed me to devote the lion's share of my exertions of will to managing my eating. I suspect now I could have done the big weight loss with considerably less effort. But who knows? I still had to go through weaning myself from processed foods, from flour and sugar and seed oils, and that was never going to be easy. This (very mild) intermittent fasting regimen would not have worked if I had been eating as I was four years ago: four years ago fitting more than a day's calories into a ten-hour window was child's play. Now it's quite difficult.

But of course, we're only a month in, and we have novelty going for us, and we also have the nearness of the goal going for us: a .90 waist-hip ratio is very close. My 7-day rolling average stands at .905. I want to take it to .89 before even thinking of taking my foot off the pedal, because there's bound to be random fluctuation of .01 or .02. But it's very close, in the range of weeks, if not days, by now. And that's even without reckoning in prolonged fasts. I am (by my old way of reckoning things) within a couple pounds of my realio trulio end-goal.

The biology of weight loss boils down to having the time that the insulin is low and the glucagon is high -- and hence the entrance to the fat cells is closed and the exit is open -- being longer than the time that it's the other way around. Yes, accomplishing that will generally translate to being in an overall hypocaloric state, but that's accidental, not essential. 

That's my best understanding now. The proof is in the pudding, of course. I should know whether I'm right within a few weeks. 


Sabine said...


I was thinking of you last week when I edited/spell-checked a paper on beta-glucans and weight loss. (Spoiler: Beta-glucans from oyster mushroom powder is extremely promising and superior to that found in oats.)
There is a whole world of research out there it seems. Just in case you get bored.

Dale said...

Beta-glucans! I don't even know what they are! How fun.