It’s been six months since I last wrote anything about my health. I wrote about starting a low-carb diet and the various techniques I’d developed in the first three months of that process. It’s time for an update. First, the numbers: I’ve lost forty-two pounds since mid-June 2014 when I started consciously eating low-carb. That’s eighteen additional pounds since my September update. I achieved that weight loss in early December.

And then winter came. And Christmas with its cookies and pies and delicious mashed potatos. And then the trip to New Orleans. I didn’t stick very closely to my plan through the latter half of December and all of January. So I added about eight pounds back over that period. When we got back from New Orleans I went back to the process that had worked before and the additional weight all melted off by the end of February. That’s what I expected would happen, and it did.

Before I spend another 150 words describing what has happened over the past two years, look at this graph. The blue line is day-to-day weight, the red is a 30-day average.

Weightloss Timeline :: 2013-2015

If I look back at where I was two years ago in early 2013 in the height of my “eat less; move more” days. Well, I’ve lost a total of sixty pounds since then. Before the New Orleans trip, I went clothes shopping. This is not something I do often, but friends and colleagues had commented– more than once– that my clothes were not fitting well. I took some Christmas money and purchased a new winter coat, some long-johns, some nice shirts and new jeans. That’s when my eyes were truly opened as to what was happening with me.

My first problem was that my winter coat was way too big. So big that it was not particularly good at keeping me warm. It had served me very well for over a decade of Chicago winters, so when I replaced it with something else, something smaller, I didn’t feel guilty. Then I could not find shirts that didn’t billow like sails luffing in the wind. I went to a number of stores, got myself measured, tried things on, and several times I just awkwardly, apologetically ended up walking out with nothing in hand.

This was after Christmas and all the clothing stores on State Street were having some fantastic sales on men’s clothes: deals like 75% off or “buy one shirt or suit, get two free”. I eventually started looking at sizes and styles I had not originally considered: men’s slim fit and trim fit shirts. They fit. I was shocked. I bought a bunch. Why not? They were on sale 75% off.

Then came the jeans. Again, I was astonished. I knew I needed a smaller size, because they were bunching up when I did up the belt. What I didn’t expect was to go from a Levis 42×30 in 2013 to a 34×30 in January for the exact same style. But that’s what happened. I tried on the 36x30s. And then, emboldened by my shirt success, pulled down a pair of 34s. Just to see.

They fit. They fit very well.

This wasn’t just water weight I was losing. This wasn’t a trick. I lost mass. I lost volume. I feel better than I have felt in a decade. I still have a little ways to go. I’d like to lose another eight to twelve pounds and go down one more size in jeans to a 32. I think that goal is very much within reach.

What has continued to be astonishing to me is this feeling that the change came about not through some particularly brutal reworking of my life. I haven’t obsessed about every little thing I’m consuming. I’ve been conscious of the carb count, and disciplined about getting regular strenuous exercise. I swam over 275 miles in 2014, even with the loss of my Masters team. I’m on track to do the same in 2015. I walk to and from work every day, and that gives me another thirty minutes of activity.

Whirl and I have discovered a large number of really delicious low-carb recipes, and we continue to add more on a regular basis. It’s been a wonderful change for me, something I’ve worked on– unsuccessfully– for more than a decade. And now, nine months in, I’m starting to really see the benefits.

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