This is going to get somewhat personal, so please don’t make fun of me at any point.
It’s also going to get somewhat long, but I have to spit it all out. I don’t write here much, so I’d like this to be a definitive post describing how I was overweight and how I started to try becoming fitter, and where I am at the moment in that process.
I’ve been overweight all my adult life. Husky. Portly. Big. Obese, according to the BMI guidelines. A friend called me “jolly” once, “like Santa Claus.” I’ve never been hugely fat — not, like, spherical. Instead I’ve been chunkified all over, misshapen, ill-proportioned, big-boned, with a belly that sticks out in front and an ass that sticks out in back, and blobs of stubborn pudge here and there so that I’ve been socially awkward in terms of my physical shape for decades. I developed a whole series of bad tics and habits revolving around wearing layers of clothes and sitting hunched over in poorly lit corners because of this. I’ve been sick of it and embarrassed for all the years that I remember, but never enough to act upon the sickness and embarrassment with any degree of conviction.
That began to change recently.
People get fat because they eat too much and don’t exercise enough. I’m not talking about the personal shit that goes into why, like unfortunate addictions or habits stemming from psychological incidents or anything like that. I’m saying that’s just how it happens, physically: no matter why overweight people got there, the how = they stuck too much food in their faces and then didn’t exercise enough calories to burn it off. Until I was 30, I had a lousy pattern of eating too much and not exercising. So I got overweight. I don’t blame anybody for this except myself, because I was the person who decided to stick too much food in my face, and I was lazy about performing any kind of physical activity. My own damn fault.
I took up exercise more seriously in 2007, when I started running, and that’s where some of you met me: the 4 Feet Running podcast, whose early episodes saw me starting at week 1 of theCouch to 5K running plan and eventually developing into a guy who ran 5Ks, 10Ks, and up to half-marathons. That was fun for a while. Then it wasn’t. Here’s a dirty secret: it made almost no differencein terms of my weight and shape. Look at that chunky fucker on the left, in training for a half-marathon. That’s not a fit person — it’s a chunky fucker wearing fitness clothes, standing next to a fit lady. I don’t know how much I weigh in this picture. I gained maybe 10 to 12 more pounds after this. Here’s another secret: The guy in this picture is sucking in his gut.
I ran mostly shorter distances. But my weight — and more importantly my shape — never changed the way I wanted it to. Again, this is mostly my fault. The problem with running to lose weight is that running makes you ravenous, and unless you’re diligent about counting calories it’s very easy to overeat. So I’d go out for a run, burn a few calories, and eat too many more. It’s a typical runner problem, especially with us weekend-warriors — you ran a few miles (-300 calories), so you figure you earned a pint of ice cream (+900 calories). Stupid. Weekend marathoners usually gain weight during training because they get hungry and they have to feed the beast. So I’d check the scale every so often and wonder why I wasn’t losing weight with all the running I was doing. Then I’d run more, and get hungrier, and run more, and get hungrier, and the end result of all this fuckingwheel-spinning was that from 2007 to 2011 I transitioned from a porky guy whocouldn’t run to a porky guy who could run. But not very well. Because I was porky.
I’d bring this up to Nik occasionally, because she studies about nutrition constantly. She’d give me the same two pieces of advice — in fact the same advice she’d been giving me for years when I came to her, hat in hand, asking why oh why I wasn’t losing weight and getting any more badass physically. I’m going to put her advice in big type so you don’t skip over it:
1. count calories and
2. do exercise including strength training.
I never did (1.) because I was lazy and I preferred to lie to myself. I never did the strength training portion of (2.) because I was just lazy. So I’d nod and whine and make excuses and feel sorry for myself and stick more food in my face. None of these things were helpful, even if they made me feel superficially better at the time.
But Nik has bottomless sources of patience with me, and I’ve finally come around and made changes.
After having a piss-poor 2011 fitness-wise, I started (2.) in December of that year by joining a series of CrossFit classes. CrossFit is high-intensity functional strength training mixed with weightlifting and gymnastics, and it’s loads of fun. I started (1.) several weeks later, on Thursday, Feb. 23, after a friend of mine, AJ, told me he’d lost 75 pounds by counting calories. For years, I’d only had half of one of these two steps in place: the exercise part, specifically running. Once I had both in place, something happened to me. A switch flipped in my brain. I can’t explainwhy, and I’m not sure when or how it flipped, but I decided to take this experiment seriously — no more fooling myself, feeling pathetic, and no more fucking around.
The point of all this
I was 208 pounds when I started.1 It’s now been about 16 weeks since I started counting my calories every day, about 111 days. Here’s where I am today:
- I’ve lost 21 pounds, to 187.
- I don’t remember exactly the last time I weighed 187. At least several years.
- That’s over my goal of losing 1 pound a week.
- I’d like to lose about 25 more, more or less (see below).
- I punched a new hole in my belt using a drill bit.
- I eventually needed to punch a second hole, so I bought a smaller belt instead.
- I’ve shrunk at least one pants size. I can pull my jeans off without unzipping or unbuttoning them. I bought some shorts for the summer and had to go a size down, to 34. I literally am not able remember the last time I wore size 34 waist pants. Probably high school (1990-94).
- Size 34 pants are also too big for me now. I just noticed today I can pull off the new size 34 shorts without unzipping or unbuttoning them, too.
- I used to sit between L and XL T-shirts, depending on who made them. Now I’m firmly in L territory, and sometimes L looks too big — again, depending on who makes them.
- I’m 2 pounds away from transitioning from the “obese” BMI category to merely “overweight.” I may hit that in a week or so. Nice, but I have more work to do.
- I’ve gained a noticeable amount of muscle. As in, I can see things flex.
This is a chart I keep of my weight. I weigh myself about every day or two and log it. I try not to pay attention to day-to-day fluctuations, because it’s easy to panic. I try to watch long-term trends instead. So far it’s trending downward. So I think it’s all working well so far.
I’m not nearly ready to call this successful yet — that would be highly inappropriate. It’s only been a few months for chrissakes. I haven’t even gotten halfway to my goal yet, and I’d have to spend a few years in maintenance before I’ll be ready to say this is a success. I will say I’m happy with the direction it’s taking so far and I hope it continues.
As I said, I was chunky all over so I didn’t have a whole lot to lose. Around 160 pounds, I’ll think about transitioning into maintenance mode. I’m flexible about that number. I have a shape goal, not necessarily a number. That shape looks more or less like this badass motherfucker. It may take a long while, and I may never get there. If I keep losing pounds at the same rate, I’ll hit 160 around the time my daughter is born in September. The muscle and badass-motherfuckery will take longer. It took many years of diligent face-stuffing to get this pudgy, so it may take time to burn off the pudge and build muscle.
I’m enjoying the shit out of this, though.
I have many disorganized thoughts about this process — things I’ve learned, stuff I’ve noticed, revelations I’ve had, and so on. I thought maybe I’d share them for whatever reason. Here they are, only slightly organized.
Food tracking & theory
- I use the My Fitness Pal app to determine how many calories I should eat every day, and I use it to log my calories and exercise. I count every day, and I’m persnickety about logging everything except cucumbers and lettuce and celery, because there’s not much of a goddam point there.
- There are other apps one could use, but MFP happens to be the one I picked. I don’t know anything about the other ones, I’m sure they’re nice. For the love of god please don’t recommend a million of them to me because I’m not interested because MFP works just fine thanks anyway. I’m just saying. Sometimes I offhandedly mention things online, like “I really like x, I’m happy with it and it works for me,” and I get 14 people recommending I immediately stop using x and do a, b, c, d, e, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, y, and z instead. I happy with My Fitness Pal.
- I’m concerned at the moment mainly with calories in vs. calories out. So I don’t necessarily demonize certain foods. Sometimes when I hear people talk about losing weight, I hear them say certain foods are evil, or certain food types are evil, or certain ways of eating the food are evil. As if it’s the food that’s at fault and not you for overeating it. You could lose weight if you ate Twinkies all day, as long as you kept within a weight-loss calorie range. You’d just be permanently sticky and your farts would attract flies. The point is, it’s not the food’s fault you became overweight — the food didn’t crawl into your face by itself. You put it in there. Over the last 15 weeks, I’ve had some pizza, ice cream, Chinese take-out, butter, and ribs. But they’ve been rare treats, measured, reasonably portioned sizes and I made sure they fit into my daily calorie budget. I also didn’t do this very often.
- I never say I can’t eat certain things. I just don’t eat certain things. The first option implies that you want to eat x, but that you’re denying it to yourself. I think that’s going to have a higher failure rate, because you’re making your brain act as both police and criminal. The second option implies that you just prefer not to eat x. That seems to work a lot better, but it requires you to change how you think about food. Telling yourself something is off-limits no matter how badly you want it will, I think, guarantee yourself a constant state of cognitive dissonance where one half of your brain is saying it wants x and actively trying to outwit the rest of your brain by rationalizing why you can and should have x, all the x you want — and the other half of your brain is calling upon previously untapped reserves of strength to defeat temptation to eat x and actively trying to outwit the first half. I’m not saying it can’t work — obviously people do that because they have food addiction issues and have to quit eating certain things cold turkey. It doesn’t work for me, and based on what I’ve seen I don’t think it works very well for many other people also.
- I changed how I thought about food by thinking of the cost in terms of calories and judging the benefits in terms of satiation. Doughnuts: I used to have one every so often if they were around. Now, for all intents and purposes, doughnuts are gone from my life forever. A doughnut is 250 to 350 calories of sugar and fat and nothing else. You can tear one up in about 4 seconds and there’d be no evidence it was ever there. A doughnut won’t fill you up — that’s why they come in dozens. You eat a doughnut and you’re immediately hungry for another. I’m cheap. So if I’m going to eat 300 calories of something, I want value for my calories spent. For the caloric price of one doughnut, I can eat a half-cup of cottage cheese, an entire pepper, a cup of cherries, and a hardboiled egg. That’s what I call value. And I’ll be more satiated, get better nutrition, and not have a sugar crash a half-hour later. So I don’t eat the doughnut. It’s not that I can’t have the doughnut — I don’t want the doughnut. If I really felt like having the goddam doughnut, I’d find the calories in my daily budget to have it. I don’t want to because it’s not worth it.
- I bought one of those take-and-bake pizzas from Costco once. Slap me if I do that shit again. It doesn’t have Nutrition Facts on the box, so I didn’t know until I took it home and looked it up that one serving = 1/12th of a pizza at 360 calories each slice. So I divided it carefully into 12 slices, each one 360 calories, which is a despicable calorie-value. I’d eat a slice for meals, with a salad and some fruit. It took days to get through the whole pizza, and by the time I was down to two slices left I was sick of it. I gave the last slice to the dogs. Couldn’t even look at it anymore. Fuck that shit.
- I’m much luckier than some other people, in that for one thing I don’t have nearly as much to lose, and I don’t have an addictive personality to contend with — and in the current phase I’m in, I’m becoming even less inclined that way. I’m perfectly happy buying a pint of my favorite ice cream and measuring out exactly a half-cup, eating it, and putting the rest away. I won’t touch it again for days, and it won’t bother me. I have beer in the fridge. It never occurs to me to drink any of it. Maybe I’m weird.
- I’m also lucky in that I was motivated to start, and seeing results has kept me motivated to continue — as opposed to becoming complacent and gaining it back.
- I feel very different, in terms of motivation. Meaning, I have it. A lot of it.
- I’ve learned that the suggested serving sizes on packages of food are usually correct. I used to think they were way too small. I was wrong. Junk food example: one serving of Cheez-Its = 27 crackers. Some people would say, “Who the hell can count out and eat only 27 Cheez-Its?” The answer: Me. I can. I can and have counted out and eaten only 27 Cheez-Its.
- This is my Costco shopping cart. Vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, and dairy.
- I don’t subscribe to any kind of diet or eating lifestyle. I’m not vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, primal, or paleo. I don’t do Atkins, low-carb, slow-carb, South Beach, or Hollywood Cookie diets. I don’t do cleanses, except when I take a shit. I’m not interested in becoming any of those things, either, thanks anyway. If anything, my standard diet sort of ends up skewing close to paleo-ish or primal-ish, mostly because I tend to eat a lot of protein and fats, and not a lot of extra carbohydrates. But it’s only a passing resemblance, because I eat dairy and no nuts, and some of that diet’s fringe beliefs smell like utter horseshit to me. You know what I do? I eat food, but not too much of it. I’m pretty sure that’s not horseshit.
- Nuts: I choose not to eat them because Nik is allergic to them, so I don’t want to have them in the house where crumbs and dust can contaminate things. Also I don’t find them satiating, yet they’re loaded with calories — so they don’t seem like good value to me. I think dried fruit is a scam for the same reason.
- There are 3 beverages I drink: coffee, tea, and water. I don’t drink soda of any kind. I don’t like the taste and the sugar in those things makes you hungrier. I don’t drink wine because it’s a lot of calories. I’ve had exactly two beers since I’ve been counting calories, both on the same night, at a bar with friends. I could very easily be 100% sober for the rest of my life. I don’t miss it.
- Some people count out and measure how much water they drink a day. I don’t. If I’m thirsty, I drink some water until I’m not thirsty. It’s not hard.
- I used to get coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks quite often and drink too many calories. That was one of my big problems. I almost never go there anymore, unless I’m treating myself and I have the calories in my budget for it. The kinds of coffees I like from those places are calorie-dense, loaded with cream and sugar. So I rarely get those anymore, and when I do it’s a smarter choice: instead of a grande whole milk peppermint mocha (370 calories), I’ll get a tall nonfat no-whip peppermint mocha (170 calories). Getting it iced is even better (130 calories). If I took my coffee black I’d be more inclined to go there, because black coffee is zero calories — but then I’m not sure why I’d bother spending the money on a simple black coffee from those places unless I was traveling. I don’t see the sense in going to a coffee shop if I’m not getting something frou-frou to drink.
- I hit a plateau in May. I’d been eating at a deficit for a while, and I suddenly decided to step up my exercise dramatically — from 2 hours of CrossFit a week to 5 hours. I weighed myself almost every day and the numbers wouldn’t budge. My body had decided I was starving and that I should start storing again. I became a little paranoid. Nik tells me this is common, and she helped me get around it by eating at a maintenance level for a week. I’m down 4 pounds since then. Now, I cycle my calories — meaning, one day a week I refeed by eating at maintenance. It seems to help. She knows better than I what to do, so I basically gave up and I’ll do exactly what she says, no questions asked. She’s my sensei. I should also thank Gordon (@vegandurance) for some email moral support. That cat’s a class act all the way.
I eat less
- I hate to even say “I eat less,” because it sounds like I’m starving myself. I’m not. I’m never hungry.
- All my meals are structured this way: protein + healthy fats + a lot of vegetables + fruit. Except for breakfast — I don’t eat vegetables for breakfast. Some people do. I’m not suggesting you eat this way. I don’t know everything. Eat however you want. This is just what I do and I like it.
- Breakfast: Most days it’s 2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon or half an avocado, a cup or two of fruit, 1 cup of coffee. If I’ve worked out hard, it’s more eggs, more bacon, more fruit. Or it’s an omelette with a quarter-cup of cheese, plus fruit. It’s an egg-centric meal most days. I eat the whole egg, though sometimes I use liquid egg whites to make omelettes, because I like the taste and texture of egg-white omelettes better than whole-egg omelettes. I just had a checkup at the doctor, and I’m healthy as a horse. I used to eat Grape-Nuts, but I don’t eat cereal anymore. It makes me sleepy and hungry after about an hour. It’s also not satiating. Before I counted calories, I used to have 2 slices of toast every day. Now I’ll have a single slice of dry toast about 2 times a week, and I’m thinking of giving even that up in favor of more fruit. Breakfast ends up being about 400 calories.
- Lunch: This varies, but generally it’s 3 ounces of protein and a lot of vegetables and fruit. I tend to make huge batches of protein, and I eat from that for days, plus about 2 to 3 cups, or more, of whatever fresh vegetables we have in the house. Example: we’ll broil 3 pounds of salmon and chip away at it until it’s gone. Then we’ll make 4 pounds of chicken or something. I generally don’t eat very many starchy carbs anymore, but if I do, I’ll have them at lunch, and not much of them at all. I’ll stick to small potatoes or sometimes rice noodles, which I prefer to flour noodles because I enjoy the chewy texture. I usually have fruit here, too. Lunch is about 400 to 500 calories.
- Snack: I plan for a snack around 5 to 6 p.m. It’s almost always 1/4 cup of cottage cheese, half a pepper or more cut into strips, and a cup of fruit. This ends up being about 200 to 250 calories.
- Dinner: Almost always about 6 ounces of protein mixed into a gigantic salad the size of a breadbox. I use different varieties of lettuce and spinach, usually chuck half an avocado in there, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, sometimes green onions, on rare occasions a quarter-cup of shredded cheese. My dressing is 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar + 1 tbsp of olive oil + 1 dollop of mustard, shaken not stirred. It’s incredibly filling and satiating. It’s about 600 to 700 calories.
- Other: There is no other. That’s what I eat. I don’t eat late at night because I’m still full from dinner. I don’t eat between meals because I’m still full from whatever meal I ate last. I’m never hungry, and when I finish my meals I’m pleasantly satisfied and never overstuffed. Even though I’m eating at a slight deficit, I don’t notice because everything’s so filling.
- I don’t eat sugary junk food snacks because they make me hungrier, and they’re a fucking waste. A Snickers bar is 280 calories, and despite the tag line it’s not satisfying. I’d crave more sugar afterward. One Oreo cookie is 53 calories. One. I’m fully capable of eating one Oreo cookie or two, but is it worth the effort? Remember the Costco pizza? Fuck no it isn’t. Leave that shit in the vending machine.
- I generally don’t eat anything that comes out of a box. About 80% of my diet or more comes from whole, unprocessed food. There’s almost no reason for me to visit the center aisles of the grocery store. I stick to the produce, meat, dairy sections.
- I go through a shit-ton of the following foods: eggs, bell peppers of all colors, avocados, cucumbers, lettuce, cottage cheese, bananas, strawberries. I go through bell peppers like a beast. These are fresh foods that spoil quickly, so I’m constantly at the grocery store.
- I could do all of the above better or differently — of course I could. But this is just what I happen to do at the moment.
I move more
- I exercise four to five times a week. I belong to a CrossFit box, so I go there twice a week. Two or three more times a week, I do CrossFit in my garage with an Olympic barbell set and a power cage. I lift weights that are heavy for me, and I mix that with intense intervals of hard cardio. In between CrossFit days, I walk my dogs for about 1 to 2 miles — I’d like to make that a habit every day. Maybe once a week, I’ll run 2 or 3 miles. I will occasionally cycle for 20 to 30 miles, and I’d like to do that at least once weekly and increase the cycling mileage. Cycling is a fast and fun way to burn calories like a motherfucker (though not as many as my Garmin tells me).
- I’m not saying I regret spending so many years trying to run. But I wish I’d tried CrossFit sooner. It’s unpredictable, functional, challenging, and very rewarding. I’ve grown to like strength training more than simple cardio. It also introduced me to weightlifting, which has been extremely helpful. The other day I had to move a heavy upholstered chair out of a storage space. I squatted, then cleaned and jerked the chair over my head. That’s what I mean by functional.
- When I’m not doing those kinds of exercises, I often do other things. On off days sometimes I’ll do pushups for fun. If I do 10 pushups after every time I visit the bathroom, I can get in loads of them a day. Some days at the office I’ll sneak into another room and do 20 pushups just because. It keeps me active and gives my arm muscles a nice pump. Yesterday I did 80 pushups at the office, snuck into 8 rounds of 10. Or I’ll practice air squats. Or (rarely) I’ll do a plank. I see friends online doing this all the time, so in the last few days I’ve decided to see how long I could plank for. I planked for 1 minute 30 seconds, then I got bored and stopped. Planks are boring. I’d rather do pushups. That’s a core workout that works your arms, shoulders, back, and pecs too. They’re basically one of the best exercises you can do.
- If I go two days without exercise, I get antsy. If I go three days without exercise, I get extremely annoyed. That’s especially when you’ll find me sneaking off into back rooms to do pushups or air squats, because I have to do something. I take rest days, because rest days are as important as workout days. But too many of them in a row and I have to scratch the itch. Even just a couple of months ago, I used to go a week or more with no exercise. I think I’d explode if I did that now.
- This is going to sound fucked up, but I regret very much not having taken pictures of myself in my underwear. I know I probably look a bit different now than when I first started getting fitter, and I’ve had people tell me unsolicited that I look different, but I don’t have evidence of it. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Or you can come over and feel my bicep. Just ask nicely first — otherwise it’s weird.
Conclusions, things I’ve learned, & things I like to do
- Hamilton Nolan says everything I could say about fitness, but says it better.
- The plan really is as simple as “eat less and move more.” It’s just difficult to do it.
- I used to think, That doesn’t work, because I’ve tried it. Bullshit! I wasn’t trying hard. More specifically, I wasn’t trying as hard as other people who have done that successfully. I looked at other people who have done this successfully, and I started trying as hard as they do. That’s when it started working.
- I used to operate under the assumption that, whenever I weighed myself, the scale just gave me a number. Like, I was playing the lottery — if I was lucky, it would be lower than last time, and if I was unlucky it would be higher. I didn’t quite understand that I’m the stupid asshole who’s responsible for that number, and I can make it go up or down. I’m a smart guy, but I never got that until recently.
- Paleo dieters and Crossfitters don’t like counting calories. Bullshit! If you don’t count your calories, you have no fucking clue what you’re eating. I used to say things like, “I’ll just eat better,” or “I’ll eat more vegetables,” without having any clear definition of what those things meant and no tangible way to put that into action. Bullshit! Count your fucking calories. That means putting food in measuring cups and measuring spoons, and writing this shit down and doing math. Apps like My Fitness Pal and so on do that for you. And don’t lie about it.
- The cheapest piece of equipment I have is a deck of cards. Here’s the Deck of Cards workout: shuffle the deck, put 15 minutes on the clock, and flip over 1 card at a time. Hearts are pushups, diamonds are sit-ups, spades are squats, and clubs are box jumps — or, if you don’t have a box, jumping knee tucks. You do whatever exercise is indicated by the suit, in the number of reps showing on the card. Face cards = 10, aces = 15, and jokers are 15 burpees. So if you draw an 8 of hearts, you do 8 pushups, then flip another card. Continue for 15 minutes with no rest and go through as many cards as you can. It’s fun, you’ll get a quick and intense body-weight workout with no fancy equipment, and I guarantee you’ll leave a sweat-stain on the floor. Afterward, bring the deck into the kitchen and use it to measure 4 ounces of protein for lunch.
- CrossFit is fantastic but outrageously expensive. If you’re interested, most CrossFit boxes have free trial days to give it a shot before you commit — and I suggest you do, even if you think CrossFit is a cult, because you deserve new and interesting experiences in life, particularly if they’re free. If you want to try it at home, most local CrossFit boxes and CrossFit.com post daily workouts online, so you can copy those. But if you want it to be truly CrossFit-like you’ll need at least some equipment — and I’m not sure that’s a good idea unless you spent some time at a CrossFit box working with a coach to learn proper techniques so you don’t hurt yourself in your basement or garage or whatever. I have a garage with a 240-pound Olympic barbell set and a power cage which I use often, but I still go to my local CrossFit box twice a week because I need to be coached on how to do things properly.
- If you have a membership at a regular type of gym, like Planet Fitness or what have you, it’s difficult to adapt CrossFit workouts to that kind of environment because those places are usually stuffed with machines, the free weights are generally only dumbbells, and there’s not a lot of room to do your thing. Also, CrossFit is intense so you’ll be grunting a lot and you may intimidate the baby-soft skinny-fat types working on 3-pound dumbbell curls for “tone.”
- Here’s something you can do at any gym with dumbbells only. Try dumbbell snatches for your arms and shoulders. Get two dumbbells and do renegade rowsfor core, shoulders, and arms. Turn those into manmakers and it’s core, arms, back, legs, and cardio. Get a heavy dumbbell off the rack and do goblet squats for your legs. That’s basically your whole body, done, with dumbbells only. Boom.
- I’m close to thinking I should buy a heavy bag for the garage so I can try some boxing moves. Really close.
- A support system is key. If Nik weren’t helping me, I don’t know what the fuck I’d do. Actually, this is what I’d do: I’d sit around cramming nachos into my face, getting fatter and feeling sorry for myself the whole time, and then I’d say, “Jeez, I dunno, I’ve tried everything and it doesn’t work,” when in fact I’d tried nothing. I’m lucky I have someone who knows a lot about fitness and nutrition and who loves me.
- Taken today:
- * Actually, at one point just before I started tracking, I weighed 212, the highest number I’ve ever seen on my scale — but I don’t count that because I’m using what I weighed on the exact day I decided to start counting calories, Feb. 23. ↩