Sunday, October 29

Diet and Weight Loss Results via Calorie Cycling

Several months ago I started a calorie cycling diet. The particular version of this diet I'm following is where one day you eat a reduced amount of food and the next you eat a normal amount of food. To make things a bit simpler I declared both Saturday and Sunday as low calorie days, meaning I eat normally during Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I've been doing this consistently for a couple of months and I have some results to share.

Background Diet Research
First though, I'll point you to two posts that will provide more background information. Initially I created a post about a research study that showed there were quite a few health benefits related to calorie cycling. A month later I noticed some other research that shows that pinolenic acid (extracted from pine nuts) appears to increase satiety.

I thought perhaps supplementing with pinolenic acid would be an alternative way for people that are less disciplined than I to practice some type of caloric reduction. Many of us eat too many calories, simply because we live a sedentary life - we don't have to perform physical labor in order to earn a living or acquire or cook our food.

Weight Loss Results
Anyhow, to get back to the part about results, I started at a weight of 220 pounds with a belly measurement of 39 inches. I was not obese by any means since I do go to the gym and perform resistance training on a regular basis, but I was not as lean as I wanted to be. Approximately three months later I am at 210 pounds with a belly measurement of 37 inches. Anecdotally, my strength at the gym has increased over this period, so I should not have lost any appreciable muscle mass.

Oh, importantly, I have been lifting regularly and seriously for a couple of years now, so it was not an addition of exercise that caused the changes above.

Relevance to Frugality
You may be wondering what this has to do with frugality, but I have a very good answer for you. My food expenses have been almost halved since I started following this calorie cycling plan. On lower calorie days I eat very little, but enough to ensure that I am able to maintain muscle mass. This means I will make sure to eat a bit of long lasting protein here and there throughout the day - usually cottage cheese.

This type of diet may not be appropriate for everyone, but for those that are carrying some excess fat and who will eat nutritious foods on both normal and low calorie days, the benefits are clear. I've both saved money and lost weight over a period of three months. What more could a frugal guy want?

NOTE: The belly measurement is performed at the fattest portion of my midsection. This is a good indicator of fat loss. A woman may need to measure the largest portion of her hips if that is where she tends to accumulate fat. A simple tape measure and a consistent measurement method works wonders.

NOTE: Included in this week's Festival of Frugality post.

Saturday, October 21

Looking For a Pork Recipe

I found a good deal on pork shoulders today. At less than $1/lb I just had to pick one up and give it a try. So, I have a large pork shoulder sitting in my fridge that I have no idea how to cook. Sure, I could go search for recipies on the Internet and I'm sure there are tons, but I thought I'd do it this way instead.

What is your favorite recipe for cooking a pork shoulder? Personally, I am probably going to end up doing something involving a crock pot, but please don't limit yourself to that. If you have a good pork recipe on your blog or web site, then please leave a comment and post a link to it. Heck, even if you just have a favorite site for finding recipies then you could point me that.

Tick tick tick. Time is ticking. Some time in the next several days I'll have to choose a recipe and get cooking! Heh, leave a comment and link even if time has obviously run out, I'm sure I'll be buying pork shoulders again...

Note: Here's a recent post about buying a pre-cooked ham.

Tuesday, October 17

Sock it to Me

Okay, I should preface this with a reminder that I am a single guy, so perhaps this advice won't apply to everyone. However, there are some subtle strategies you can employ to save money on clothing which you may not have thought of. Thankfully, as well, I'm not talking about wearing your clothes until they are so worn and threadbare that they become see through or simply disintegrate. Hmmm. No, I won't go there.

Today's post was inspired by my sock harvest this morning. Yes, I am aware that gives you far too much information about the state of my life! Anyway, unless you are a fastidous bachelor, unlike myself, your socks will end up all over the place. You know, if you are about to lie on the couch and relax for a while, you have free up those little piggies for total comfort and relaxation. Besides, it's good for you, and I'm sticking to this excuse whether it's true or not.

Anyway, just recently I picked up a bag 'o socks while shopping at Wally World. Oh, and ladies, if you are shopping for your lazy hubby, don't ever, ever, pick up tube socks unless they have been specifically requested. They bunch up and torture the toes until they lose feeling completely. The person that invented those is a very sick person, even if they are a couple cents cheaper.

Today, after sock harvest, it was then time to fold up and put away the laundry. Yes, because I had eight new pairs of socks, it was time to splurge and reassign some that had holes or some that had stretched out useless elastics. Obviously, for money saving purposes, these things become rags, and are great for cleaning or more sacrificial uses if necessary.

However, the real secret, which I've been doing by habit for ages, is that you don't really want to buy white socks. The key point is that when you visit other people, and take your shoes off at their home, it is generally appropriate to have clean socks that don't have holes in them. White socks don't stay clean! Sure, you can wash the heck out of those buggers in bleach, but it isn't worth it. Also, no, you can't buy black socks, as those aren't generally casual enough to be worn with jeans or perhaps shorts during the summer.

The socks I generally buy are the grey socks. You can step in anything, spill anything, or even wear wet shoes and generally they will still look a uniform grey color. They are light enough to be casual and be worn anywhere unless dressed formally or for work. They are the exact same price as the short lived mayfly white socks that sit next to them on the rack. While socks are not an expensive item it is true that every penny saved without hardship or sacrifice is pure gold, isn't it?

The same principle can be applied to t-shirts and other very casual wear items. Yes, it can also apply to underwear as well. Obviously, for guys, tighty whities went out a long time ago, but you can still buy them. Honestly, who are these people that prefer to wear t-shirts with stained underarms and as for the underwear, I'm just going to leave the unmentionables unmentioned.

So, take it from a professional sock harvester who obviously spends most of his time casually dressed. Simple strategies can effectively double the length of time you can wear certain clothing items and over time reduce a few of your clothing expenses by half. I'm not kidding! Next time you absolutely have to buy some of these minor items, if you reach for the white, slap your hand and take my advice, buy some non-white items instead.

Note: Included in this week's Festival of Frugality post.

Thursday, October 12

Ham It Up!

Okay, with a holiday weekend over, guess what was on sale early this week? That's right, big fat hams. I had to pick one up. She was a big beautiful precooked spiral cut honeyed ham with about ten pounds of tender juicy fairly lean meat. Whoa, is it just me or does that sound almost erotic? Yikes!

Anyway, it is a lot less fun than it sounds. I spent the better part of an evening unraveling the thinly sliced spirals while trimming off the fattier portions. About an hour into the process I was getting bored. Sigh. However, I kept on trucking and finally made my way down to the end of the process.

I haven't frozen any yet, but I will be doing that soon. I've got these little saran wrapped plates full of ham. I'm sure it's not actually ten pounds after trimming and so forth, but it's a lot of ham, let me tell you. Of course, I did have to splurge and pick up some cheese and whole grain bagels. Oh yeah baby, that's on the menu tomorrow.

Anyway, the real moral of the story is to either avoid buying seasonal holiday items or else be prepared to go out and buy more after the event is over. You'll generally find a good deal, especially if the expiry date of the food items starts to get a bit closer. Oh hey, I've got some eggs sitting around too, I smell an omellete or two in the near future.

I shouldn't write when I'm hungry, should I?

Note: Included in this week's Festival of Frugality post.