Thursday 29 November 2012

Low carb recipe: cauliflower and bacon gratin

Egg custard is clever stuff :o)

Net carbs 8.3g per serving
  • Prepare the cauliflower and par-boil it in chunks, drain it and and let it steam itself dry.  Pan cook the bacon and chop it into bite-sized pieces (I used smoked back as that's what was available, preferably use a good streaky bacon).  Slice the mushrooms.
  • Bring the the milk and cream to the boil in a pan and take off the heat.
  • Finely grate the parmesan and whisk it into the egg yolks.
  • Mix the cauliflower, bacon bits and mushroom slices in a baking dish.
  • Grate the cheddar coarsely.
  • Pour the milk and cream into the whisked parmesan and egg yolk and whisk until well mixed, then return to the pan the milk and cream was heated in and heat gently, stirring all the time as the mixture very slowly thickens.  It will thicken to a very thick cream consistency over 8-10 minutes; do not be tempted to turn the heat up to make it go more quickly as all that will do will give you scrambled egg in cream.
  • Once that mix has thickened, take it off the heat and pour over the solids in the baking dish.  Press the mix down a bit and then top with the grated cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at about 150C (you can leave it in there for up to a couple of hours if you need to for any reason).  Brown under the grill if desired.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Nice test!

I was quite apprehensive about today's Thames Turbo Half Marathon for a number of reasons.  Firstly, my pace is quite compromised from weeks of no exercise, then weeks of very little exercise of any form after crashing and then surgery on my clavicle.  Secondly, I'm 2.75 weeks into very low carbohydrate nutrition and have very very little carbohydrate in my system (<50g taken in every day) and there was a very real risk that I would have fuelling problems due to not having adapted to accessing fat as a fuel during longer exercise just yet.

For breakfast this morning, I had Bulletproof Coffee (with 50g butter).  In the race, I slowed and walked through aid stations three times, to have a cup of water only each time.  And the short of it is that, yes there were a couple of weird points where I felt quite light-headed and one dark moment when I thought walking and probably stopping would be quite nice, but I pushed through them and was fine after that.  Moreover, I held a stable, high heart rate all the way around (over 92% of 196 if we take that to be my HRmax now).  I held a stable, good cadence all the way around (good indication of mindfulness/lack of tiredness) and I got all the way around the furthest run I've done (by 6km) since Ireland 70.3.

Nike Run to The Beat last year
Today's Thames Turbo Half Marathon
All of that, despite the not sparkling finish time (and going off course and adding a bit in and it was quite hilly) which is irrelevant at this point, is very very pleasing indeed.

Saturday 24 November 2012

A quick little... WTF!?

A quick little parkrun (Upton Court Park) this morning.  5km in the marshy, squishy grass and a bit on paths on a pretty flat course.  A bit slippery in places but I thought I'd give it a bit in advance of tomorrow's half.

Stuff the time, I actually don't care about that.  There were more interesting revelations today.

I thought my HRmax was 192, and that's certainly the highest I've ever managed while being puce in the face and about to throw up while running uphill when I first decided to try running.  Turns out I'm wrong.

Exactly 12 minutes today, at parkrun, at 190 BPM (in theory 99% of HRmax) or higher and for the last couple of minutes, drifting up from 192 to 195 with a blip to 196 BPM.

There is no way on god's earth that 192 is my HRmax, nor is 196 BPM.  Nobody can hold 99% of their maximum heart rate for 12 minutes, or even 5 minutes, though some elites may be able to hold it for a couple of minutes or so(*)  Makes me really wonder what my HRmax is.  I've known for a while that it must be higher than 192 due to several training sessions and parkruns where I've held 98%+ of 192 for several to tens of minutes.

And the thing is, I felt that it was my legs that were the limiting factor, not my cardiovascular and respiratory bits.  (Phinney et. al. have a lot to say about CO2 removal during exercise as a fat-fuelled athlete and that you need to do less of it, so you need to breathe less hard in the exhalation - more reading required).  I'm really rather excited by this indeed.  It seems to say that I can push harder (once I get a bit more strength and endurance into my leg muscles) and most likely harder for longer with this new fuelling mechanism.  So, once I'm a bit fitter, I'd like to go for the hideous torture that is an HRmax test to find out what it really could be and then I can adjust training zones appropriately and get even more out of it all.

* - From Lore of Running, by Tim Noakes, MD (1991), pages 39 and 40: "For reasons that are not absolutely clear, it is not possible to run at 100% VO2 maximum for more than a few minutes. This concept has been most clearly researched by C.T.M. Davies and Thompson (1979), two eminent British physiologists who found that trained athletes could maintain an average of 94% (range: 89 to 100%) of the VO2 max values for a 5-km race, 82% range...for the standard marathon, and 67% range...for the 85-km London-to-Brighton race."

Friday 23 November 2012

Are we there yet?

It's been 16 days since I started on a "very low carb" diet of under 50g carbohydrate a day.  In theory, it takes 2-3 weeks of constantly low insulin knocking about to flip that fat burning switch.  So, am I adapted yet?  How can I tell?  Has my carbohydrate level been low enough?  All of the data that drives the 50g threshold comes from studies that have been on men, so it might be that due to my different absolute body-weight and/or hormone profile, I might need to go even lower with carbs to adapt.  If I don't know whether I have or haven't adapted, I don't know if 50g was low enough (though, to be fair, most days it's been very comfortably under 50g and, on average, around 6% of my total caloric intake).

Having not noticeably had ketone-smelling breath, I'm not sure whether I have adapted or not.  I've been drinking a lot of coffee so it could be hard to tell whether my breath is that sort of smelly through the coffee smell.  And that's not the be all and end all of it either, so I have no idea.  The only real way to find out is have a gas analysis test.

Possibly a problematic amount of alcohol over the 2.25 weeks in there for adaptation?
And that's exactly what I'm planning to do.  Cadence Performance in Crystal Palace do RMR and Steady State Fuel Analysis testing (along with a whole bunch of other exciting things) and I'll hopefully be going in next weekend at the beginning of December to get strapped into some contraptions and analysed.  That should help me to understand whether I've got there to being fat adapted by then, and if not then I'll have to think about lowering the threshold for carbohydrate and/or examining what I'm eating in a bit more detail.

This weekend, however, I have to drag myself around a half marathon in an indeterminate fuelling state.  This will be... interesting.  My pace has been low since I started back after surgery and it's not really got any better in the last couple of weeks.  The longest I've run for is 90 minutes and that was 2 weeks ago.  I'm thinking I'll not be breaking any PBs on Sunday but I'm more worried that I may actually bonk if I'm not adapted enough yet.  And that would be very miserable indeed as I wouldn't want to crack and eat a banana; the insulin spike would strike fear into me.  However, if I make it around the course and I don't bonk, that would be rather a successful outcome indeed.  We shall see!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Low carb recipe: Tiramisu

Individual Tiramisu portions in a low-carb style are quite easy, although messy, to make (I got grated chocolate all over the place making these).   Compared with my usual Tiramisu recipe, this is incredibly low carb; 8.5g per portion vs. 35g per portion (and it's debateable whether all of that carbohydrate is usable given some of it is from Xylitol).  And still blimmin' lovely!

The "Total Sweet" sweetener I've used is, in fact, Xylitol and there are other brands available but this is the one I can get hold of easily.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Low carb eating

Some of you may be wondering "what the hell can you eat on this crazy 'diet'?".  So, here's what I've had over the last 12 days.  You have to remember that I used to have 3 meals a day, plus 2-4 snacks so the evolution to 2-3 meals a day is quite a change for me.  It starts off a bit randomly as there's some things we needed to use up etc.:-

Day 1
Breakfast:- Greek yoghurt with whey protein and blueberries
Post-training:- pecan nuts
Lunch:- spinach and leek soup topped with parmesan, followed by tuna pate on 2 oat cakes
Dinner:- stir fried roast chicken, chorizo, mushrooms and red peppers and a mug of tea

Spinach and leek soup with poached egg and parmesan
Day 2
Breakfast:- Greek yoghurt with whey protein and blueberries
Post-training:- macadamia and brazil nuts and a chunk of chorizo
Lunch:- spinach and leek soup topped with a poached egg, Hollandaise sauce and parmesan
Post training:- shake: blended ice, whey protein, 50g strawberries, olive oil
Dinner:- fillet steak topped with stilton butter, fine green beans and mushrooms

Day 3
Breakfast:- bacon and poached eggs with a fried tomato
Post-training:- Brazil nuts
Lunch:- salad: romaine lettuce, chicken livers in coconut oil, stilton
Post training:- shake: blended ice, cream, whey protein, 50g blueberries, olive oil
Dinner:- slow cooked pork ribs with creamed cabbage and a mug of tea

Fillet steak, beans, poached egg, mushrooms and stilton
Day 4
Breakfast:- bulletproof coffee (filter coffee blended with 50g unsalted butter)
Post-training:- poached egg with Hollandaise sauce and parmesan cheese
Lunch:- slow cooked pork rib and spinach and leek soup with parmesan cheese
Dinner:- salad: romaine lettuce, chicken liver in butter, stilton and walnuts with half a bottle of dry champagne (we were celebrating!), followed by a 30g bar of Montezuma chilli chocolate

Day 5
Breakfast:- bacon and poached eggs with a fried tomato
Lunch:- salad: romaine lettuce, roast ham, cheddar and walnuts
Dinner:- roast chicken with green beans and creamed cabbage with a bottle of Becks Blue

Day 6
Breakfast:- bulletproof coffee
Lunch:- salad: romaine lettuce, tomato, roast chicken and walnuts with a mug of tea
Cinema snacks:- cheddar and Marmite, peperami, peanut butter and celery and a boiled egg
Salad with bacon, avocado and stilton

Day 7
Breakfast:- bacon and poached eggs with coffee and cream
Lunch:- braised chicory with roast chicken and chicken liver in butter
Dinner:- salmon fillet with courgettes in a cream and parmesan sauce with bacon and a poached egg

Day 8
Breakfast:- a couple of slices of very thick streaky bacon and coffee with cream
Lunch:- tin of tuna with 2 boiled eggs and romaine lettuce with a stilton, cream and cider vinegar dressing
Roast chicken, roast tomatoes and creamed cabbage
Dinner:- scallops wrapped in pancetta with creamed spinach; slow roasted pork belly with crackling, wild mushrooms and greens with half a bottle of dry white wine and some very dark chocolate

Day 9
Breakfast:- nothing
Lunch:- salad: chicken Caesar salad with no crutons and extra cheese
Post training:- sliver of pork pie and a chunk of chorizo
Dinner:- baked sea bass in butter with steamed broccoli tossed in flaked almonds and coconut oil with 1 bottle of Becks Blue

Day 10
Breakfast:- greek yogurt (2%), whey protein, 50g blueberries
Asparagus with poached eggs, hollandaise and parmesan
Lunch:- cream of spinach and courgette soup with chorizo chunks
Dinner:- ribeye steak, cauliflower puree, 1 small glass dry white wine followed by cheddar with a smear of Marmite and a mug of tea

Day 11
Breakfast:- smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with a mug of tea
Lunch:- salad: celery, romaine lettuce, avocado, bacon, stilton and a coffee with cream
Post training:- shake: blended ice, cream, whey protein, 50g blueberries, olive oil
Dinner:- Meatzza, a chocolate whisky ball and tea

Day 12
Breakfast:- steamed asparagus with 2 poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce and grated gruyere
Lunch:- salad: romaine lettuce, stilton, avocado, bacon and walnuts
Dinner:- roast chicken, roasted tomatoes, creamed cabbage and tiramisu(!)

Individual tiramisu

Sunday 18 November 2012

Eating 150g fat a day

150g fat.  That's the average amount I've eaten, per day, for the last 11 days.  33g carbs (though it's getting to stabilise around the 25g or less mark now) and 130g protein.  So, less than 7% of my daily kcals from carbohydrate and over 2/3 from fat.

As I mentioned 9 days ago; after an interesting tweet from @SportieDoc and reading the book she recommended (Taubes - Why We Get Fat and what to do about it), and another (The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living), I've been trying very low carb nutrition.  It's been interesting and weird and it feels like hacking my metabolism, which it pretty much is; I'm trying to flip a switch to get my body to use primarily fat as a fuel for most of what I do.

Sunday morning breakfast
I've been eating bacon and eggs, smoked salmon and eggs, coffee with butter blended into it for breakfast and sometimes nothing at all because I'm not hungry at all! I've been making spinach/kale/courgette soup with and without cream, chorizo or stilton added in, or a caesar salad (no crutons), or chicken bacon and avocado salad for lunch, or sometimes nothing at all because I'm not hungry.  And for dinner... steak, salmon, pork belly and all with creamed spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower etc. on the side.  And it's been -delicious-.  And I've not been hungry between meals. And I've not had "intrusive thoughts of food".

The first day of this experiment felt like a normal day but with mind-bendingly tasty foods.  Day two, was pretty similar and I felt no different.  Days three and four I started to notice a change... I was feeling more alert and then increasingly full of pep to the point of almost irrepressible.  Most interestingly I was eating three times a day and not feeling hungry at all in between, not feeling hungry when I woke up, not thinking about food aside from working out what to make at mealtimes as I'm not routinised into a set of recipes yet.   I wasn't missing or craving breads, potato, rice, couscous, pasta etc. and didn't feel like I wanted anything sweet; moreover I was drinking much less tea and a cup or two of filter coffee a day.

Day 8, we went out for dinner at our local favourite restaurant and had a starter of scallops, wrapped in pancetta and creamed spinach, followed by slow roasted pork belly with crackling, wild mushrooms and greens and half a bottle of dry white wine.  The wine hit me like a truck.  I was giggly half way through the first glass and wrecked by the third.  I ate too much and though I didn't finish my pork, I ate all of the crackling (*heavenly*) and really should have stopped earlier than I did.  When we got home, I crashed out to sleep, leaving my tea to go cold.  The next morning, I felt terrible until I got up and was fine in minutes; then didn't eat until 2pm when I was out for lunch with a friend.  I didn't really feel hungry at lunch time either, but had lunch to be sociable and to see what's possible in a pub (Caesar salad with the crutons left out).  Still feeling perky and sharp on that day (day 9) and not having any trouble with energy or stamina during my training sessions, no afternoon slump in attention or perkiness at all.

Day 11, Saturday this week, I started feeling a bit sluggish and very very cranky in the morning and the same this morning (day 12), though a little less so.  Friday's and Saturday's first run felt awful; I felt like I was dragging my legs through treacle, but the second run on Saturday (hill sprints) felt lots better.  I get the impression I'm going through yet another stage in the adaptation process.  I'm starting to get some good ideas for meals beyond the obvious ones, thanks to Abel & Cole for some of the green leafy veg ideas.

I'm still reading lots of articles (like Joe Friel's one on becoming a better fat burner, and Dr Runyan - a diabetic Ironman finisher) and books and looking forward to cracking through The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance to get a bit more understanding about what I need to be doing and how I get to being a proper fat-fuelled athlete.  What is still very clear is that the details an fine tuning are not well-known or understood, and in fact not known much at all, and that there is an appreciable amount of thinking that low-carbohydrate fuelling probably has a detrimental effect at the top-end exertion level; but then I'm not a 100m runner, or even a professional athlete at any sport and I'd rather be able to get through the bike leg of a 70.3 without needing to stuff my face with bars and gels than gain an extra 3-4 minutes off my time through top-end power (as I'll gain those 3-4 minutes back through not faffing about eating on the bike).

Oh, and I've incidentally lost 1.9kg since I started (OK, yes most of that will be glycogen and water, but still...)

The experiment continues!

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Blast from the past (thanks LJ)

Thanks to LiveJournal, I'm reminded today of the beginning of my journey to a healthier and happier life.  I'm not completely equating weight loss with being happier, but the process of doing that is what started me down the path to so many things; new hobbies, new health, new love of sport, new love...

LiveJournal sent me an email, out of the blue, telling me they'd migrated my photos to a new service and the process was now complete.  To be honest, I'd forgotten I ever put much up on LiveJournal, I created the account mostly to be able to read other people's stuff.  So, I logged in and had a look at what was there.  And found this:-

My original weight loss progress chart from when I started on May 8th 2006.  It shows that I recall incorrectly that my start weight was 94kg; it was "only" 92kg then.  And it stops short of where I got to (another 5kg off over the next couple of months).  But still.  It shows the incredible progress and mercifully few, mercifully short spikes and plateaus.  I had an "easier" time than many.  But there were reasons for that.  I wish I knew what I'd done with the spreadsheet for this.  I'd import the rest of the data from WLR and complete the chart to date.  I think I cleaned it out a long time ago though.

Friday 9 November 2012

Not so cute kitty

I'd been looking for decent images to explain to people about the cat's eye that caused me to crash because I think people think I was just useless.  And I've finally managed to find some.

On a large proportion of roads in England that you'd normally cycle on, cat's eye reflectors are usually like this:-

OK, they're not often blue, but they're usually low, square, smallish and made of rubberised plastic.  Quite cute really.  A bit of a bugger if you hit one at speed, but probably recoverable for most people.

This is what you get on older motorways, major multi-lane roads and the road I crashed on near Galway:-

Tall, mean metal and glass buggers, with a blimmin' huge metal housing around it and a ridge of tarmac.  Not so cute.  Yes, the bit in the middle is designed to compress downwards when a car goes over it, with the effect being that wipes the glass bits and keeps them cleaner than they might otherwise be.  Can you guess what happens when you're cycling at a reasonable speed (around 35km/h, say) and your front (or back) wheel strikes that ridge in the metal housing?  I'll give you a hint...

That is all.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Good to go (also, cool x-rays!)

Well, that was reassuring.  Worse than predicted by the physio, when I went for my 8 week check at the hospital, yes they took an x-ray; but not only did they not do much assessment of mobility/range of movement, they did none at all!  The consultant asked "how's is it?" and then moved on to "you need to leave the plate in for another 6-12 months before considering taking it out if you want it out".  And that was it!

I'm allowed to do absolutely anything and there's no need to go back again.

So here are the x-ray progress pics...

10 days after the crash, with no intervention:-

Immediately post-operative (click to enlarge and note the headphone in the front-facing [top] one and the springs and wires in the angled [bottom] one, probably from a surgical implement to hold stuff in place; also note the two screws not going through the plate, which hold chunks of bone together):-

And here we are, 8 weeks post surgery.  Healing up nicely:-

So there we are.  Off to physio this afternoon to get cracking with putting some muscle back in place again.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Day one of the experiment

Not much to report other than when I look at my kcals taken in for the day, I'm 1120kcals under the amount theoretically required to maintain my current weight -if- you follow the kcals in vs kcals out model.  I have had a short run and a spin session today, but I'd usually get hungry after those and want to eat more anyway.

I'm not hungry at all.  Dinner was... experimental and based on an unprepared fridge; as in, I haven't done a grocery shop to match the experiment properly yet, so I did the best with what I had.  I'm not craving bread or potatoes (yet?) nor sugary things (I rarely do anyway), though we rarely eat pasta and rice (and when we do they're brown) so there's no loss there.  It is only the first day though.

To my previously educated brain, there's lots about that which looks awful; only 10g fibre, less than 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, but the protein amount looks great especially for the low overall kcals.  BUT.  I need to throw those ideas away for this experiment.  If you read Taubes' book "Why We Get Fat and what to do about it", you'll have a  fair idea of why those ideas have to go bye bye.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

I was accidentally right all along?

Thanks to Dr Tamsin SportieDoc, I am currently half way through reading a very interesting book indeed.  Since I decided to try to lose weight back in 2006, I've been very interested in food, nutrition and the sciency bits behind it.  And it seems like we've (Western society) been swinging to and from the more useful answers over the years: "fatty food is bad!" -> "carbs are bad!" -> "eating fat makes you fat" -> "refined sugars are more evil than crack!" -> "low fat diets!" -> "low carb diets!" -> "nuts are too fatty and make you fat!" -> "eat a handful of nuts a day!"...

When I decided to change my lifestyle and eat differently to firstly lose weight and then keep it off, I reduced my energy intake in the understanding that if "energy in > energy out", you put on weight and the converse of "energy in < energy out" and you lose weight.  And, in the process of doing that I accidentally did something right.  I ended up quite dramatically reducing the amount of carbohydrate I was eating (almost no bread, no pasta pretty much ever, not much potato/rice/starchy veg) and lost a load of weight.  Yes, I also reduced the amount of cheese, butter, oil I ate and had almost no nuts or seeds ever, but I also almost completely cut out alcohol and sugar too.  I also ended up eating quite a lot of nuts and seeds at the tail end of last year, in an attempt to get some more variety and hard-to-get minerals into my diet, which co-incides with another drop in weight and body fat levels.

This is not an image from the book,
but illustrates one of the main points
that insulin inhibits lipolysis (part of
how fat changes from stored
to usable fuel in the body)
I can't explain the theory in the same way as Taubes and nor could I in a few lines of blog post even if I were good at reducing things to simple facts.  The thing is that there's a lot of scene setting and examples that he gives in the book that get you thinking and questioning before he explains what (he and a number of people) believe to be going on inside the mammalian body with what goes in and the effects on body composition and overall body-weight.

I can recommend that you get hold of a copy either in print or digital form and read it.

Having listened to MrTOTKat talking about some of the endurance sports podcasts he listens to, where they've covered topics like ultra-runners running on very little fuel which is mostly not carb-heavy and teaching the body to use fat as a fuel for endurance sports, I was finally given that push by Taubes' book (though I'm only half way through so far) and I'll be testing out some of the theory over the next few weeks, in a very unscientific way, to see if by tweaking and refining my existing pretty reasonable diet I can better control my body fat and then maybe even reduce reliance on carbohydrate as a fuel in the longer term.  Let's see!  If the theories hold up, I should be able to do it with no genuine hunger at all (though I may well have cravings, but that's tough boobies and I can deal with that just fine).  If the experiment yields a positive result, I may well have to go and re-write a bunch of my pages on weight loss and maintenance.  I sincerely hope that is the case!

Monday 5 November 2012

Competition winner!

Aaaand the winner of the competition to win a £25 voucher to spend at Sport Pursuit is.... verity!  Her response; "My favourite bit of sportswear is my shock absorber sports bra which holds me in and stops wobbling whilst I do running and cycling. Wouldn't be able to do sport without it. For many years not having a decent sports bra was the reason that I didn't run!" reminded me how much female specific portwear has come on and enabled more women to take part, especially thanks to decent sports bras.  I often forget how "lucky" I am not to be that "gifted" in the boob department and how easy it is for me when it's pretty tough for the more generously endowed lady.  So, verity, if you'd let me have your email address I'll send you the voucher code - enjoy!

Thanks to everyone for entering and hope you save money on your sports gear by shopping at Sport Pursuit in the future.  I just saved a bunch (even compared with other online stores) on some better fitting base layers for running and cycling and looking forward to them arriving in a couple of weeks time.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Mirror mirror... who is the chubbiest?

Since Ironman UK this year, I've put on just under 4kg.  Now, given at the time of the race I was about 2-4kg heavier than what might (still don't know for sure) be a good "racing weight" for me at the time, that puts me now more than a stone over a good racing weight.  That's a lot.  And quite depressing.  In the off-season, it's recommended not to gain more than 4% if your total ideal racing bodyweight; 4kg is almost 7% for me.

OK, so I'm not a professional athlete and paying the mortgage doesn't depend on my athletic performance (or looks), but I revert to being a normal human being when I see photos of female pro athletes and feel utterly fat and inferior.

See here the lovely Lesley Paterson - two time XTerra World Champion and all sorts of other triathlon successes as a pro athlete.  My god she's buff!  Look at those thighs, biceps, calves and abs!  Now I know I have some pretty mean muscles myself (albeit a tiny bit depleted in the arms due to lack of being allowed to do stuff), but they're fairly well hidden under a layer of reasonably thick fat.

6-8kg fat is a lot of fat.  Really a lot.  Fat isn't particularly dense, so volume-wise that's quite big.  And that means I have problems with clothes that are in any way structural (e.g. bras, belts, things with waist-bands) in that the structural bits dig in to the fat bits and make it look awful (sausages!).  Plus, dammit, since I got fit, I got vain!  I liked looking almost good in clothes - sports or otherwise - I was hovering around the 20% body fat mark!  And 6-8kg of fat is, well, 6-8kg of extra weight to be schlepping around and slowing me down when running, for example.  (Hello Thames Turbo half marathon in less than a month's time.)
(is it me, or does Ms 30% look a lot better than Ms 25%?)
The answer is simple, yes?  I've done it before; losing weight.  But... it was different then.  I wasn't exercising at all and I was miserable and needed something to control in my life.  And as energy intake and expenditure is all a bit inexact on a normal day-to-day basis, the more exercise you do, the bigger the errors get.  I could compensate by assuming minimal calorie expenditure with exercise, but that could cause other problems like changes in how my body processes food and under what circumstances.  It's all so much more complicated now!  Add in the fact that for the last 10 weeks I've been unable to do a lot of the exercise I'd been doing that magically lost me 4kg leading in to the start of the season this year, and I'm still not doing any of that level of exercise and won't be for a while even when I am allowed to start rehabilitating the muscles in my arms.

And then there's the festive seasons... my birthday, Halloween, Bonfire Night, pre-Christmas, Christmas, post-Christmas, New Year... all great excuses to pork-out/drink lots but also great excuses to dress up in nice clothes that I don't look so hot in right now.  Wah!

So, do I call truce on myself and accept that I don't -need- to lose body fat at the moment as I'm neither unhealthily overweight (and inactive), nor does my livelihood depend on it, and the mental benefits of being less than strict might be good for me?  Or do I start to put some effort in, stick to calorie deficit, lock things down and drop those pounds?  (WLR reckons 3rd Feb to hit the top of my race weight window if I stick to 500kcals deficit per day and a 500g weight loss per week)  Given that I will want to focus a lot more and the mental effort required to do that 100% almost daily only lasts for so long (6-7 months in my experience) do I want to fritter that mental energy away now when I've got races up until the middle of November next year?

What to do?