Yup, it’s that time again.  I went to the gym on Wednesday for the first time in three weeks, and it was swamped.  The treadmills are especially popular in January, as people attempt to walk their way towards whatever weight-loss number they chose as a New Year’s resolution.  It happens every January, then by around April or so, the gym population is back to normal.

I’ve also noticed the usual shift in lunch choices around the office.  Several women have been dutifully putting their Weight Watchers Smart Ones into the microwaves, then dutifully pretending to enjoy the pasta with fat-free sauce.   I saw one woman eat a Smart Ones meal, then chase it with a small bag of fat-free popcorn.  Good luck with that.

For the first time in years, I’ll be joining the ranks of people starting the new year with a determination to lose weight.  As to why, I’ll give the short version first:  I gained 12 pounds in three weeks.

Now for the longer version:  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the food.  Yeah, I enjoyed stuffing and potatoes and pumpkin pie on Christmas and the day after, but that’s par for the course.  Same goes for the pizza on New Year’s.

The big difference this year was booze consumption.  I just flat-out overdid it.  After months of being in near-constant work mode (the programming job, the book, the blog, etc.), I gave myself permission to be a slug over the holidays.  I binge-watched some Amazon and Netflix series I’ve wanted to see, often staying up until 2 or 3 AM to do so, and indulging in good beer, good wine, or good single-malt scotch for the entire viewing session.

Alcohol, of course, is remarkably efficient at shutting down fat-burning.  The liver also turns the stuff into fat if it’s not burned away … and I’m pretty sure I didn’t burn it away while sitting in my easy chair and watching four episodes of Mr. Robot in a row.

So I knew I’d gain some weight, but waved the thought away with yeah-yeah-yeah, I’m going to enjoy this holiday break, then worry about that later.  Even so, I have to admit I was a wee bit surprised when I stepped on the gym scale for the first time since mid-December.

Twelve pounds?!  Seriously?!

Yes, seriously.  It’s a reminder of how easily I can gain weight if I don’t watch what goes down the hatch.

But here’s the difference between my resolution now and the resolutions I made in my thirties and forties:  I know what to do, I know it will work, and I know it won’t be unpleasant.  No little bowls of Grape-Nuts with skim milk for breakfast, no Slim-Fast shakes instead of meals, no dry toast, no rice cakes, no Smart Ones low-fat meals, and no trying to ignore gnawing hunger while waiting for the next calorie-restricted, tasteless meal.  I just have to get back to what I was doing before:  regular workouts and high-protein, low-carb meals.  Sausage and eggs, here I come.

I also know not to set an arbitrary goal, such as I’m going to lose 30 pounds by March!  That’s how people set themselves up for failure.  The way to lose weight is to stick to a diet that enables weight loss, then let the number on the scale take care of itself.

While I was binge-watching and scotch-drinking myself into needing to loosen my belt, Chareva was banging away on the book, trying to beat a Christmas deadline for finishing all the drawings and page layouts.  She missed the deadline by a few days, and apologized for being tardy.

I told her I’d briefly considered filing for divorce, but thought better of it.  We set the Christmas deadline as a motivator, and she was clearly motivated.   We’ve gone over the book page-by-page several times, and I have to say, I’m delighted.  Her drawings are the perfect complement to the text.  Now we’ll get preview copies out to a few people and go from there.

There’s plenty more to do – such as the film version — but I’m expecting good things to come of this project, which means I’m already jazzed about 2017, even with the extra pounds to lose.

Happy New Year, everyone.

63 Responses to “Happy New Year, 2017”
  1. I screwed myself over with sugar. Ice cream, some cookies, and dried dates. I find Lustig’s contention that the liver processes fructose in the same way it processes ethanol very interesting, and all too plausible.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Yup, there’s a reason people who don’t drink alcohol are getting fatty liver disease now. It’s all that sugar.

      • GrannyM says:

        Years ago every time I had blood work done the doctor would ask me about my drinking habits. I found it funny at the time because I don’t drink…back then I had maybe a glass of wine once a year LOL! Finally, in the early 2000s I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and in my panic and determination to not take insulin (dr said by the end of the year I would) I started doing research, read my first Atkins book and it completely changed my life! At some point I read about the liver connection and had one of those aha moments. I should note that at the time I was a vegetarian and ate pasta every day and tons of fruit! I gradually started adding meat back into my diet and can’t even fathom how I ever gave it up!!! I’ve been low carbing for about 15 years and am very healthy. I literally haven’t been to a doctor in years!
        Can’t wait for the new book/movie! Love Chareva’s art! Good luck with your extra poundage 😉

    • Walter Bushell says:

      Dried dates were the best of those, because fiber. Ice cream is probably the worst, because high fat and high sugar.

  2. Firebird7478 says:

    I took off two months to heal some injuries and it did me little if any good.

    What are you watching on Netflix? I highly recommend Canada’s “Murdoch Mysteries” and Australia’s “Doctor Blake Mysteries” (if the carry them). Dr. Blake is actually on PBS but I think it is on Amazon.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I haven’t heard of Doctor Blake Mysteries, but I’ll go find the series. Let’s see, I’ve been watching Mr. Robot, The Last Kingdom, Paranoid, Survivors, Man in the High Castle … there may be another one in there I’m not remembering. Like I said, it was quite a binge-watch vacation.

      • Firebird7478 says:

        Mr. Robot is pretty good. The others are Netflix only?

        • Tom Naughton says:

          We have Amazon Prime and Netflix. I think most of those are Netflix. I remembered two more series I watched: Glitch and Aquarius.

      • Firebird7478 says:

        Also Murdoch Mysteries. Plenty of tongue and cheek humor with nudges to present day things that weren’t invented yet. I just watched an episode last night where Murdoch’s Chief Inspector is in a pub in Buffalo and accidently invents Buffalo Wings. He goes home and cooks it up. His wife hates it. His teen aged sons love it.

      • GrannyM says:

        I must second the recommendation for Murdoch Mysteries! Netflix has, I think, the first 7 seasons but when you get through those see if you can find a way to watch the rest…I have an app for that 😮 It’s in season 10 now and it’s my favorite show. If you like mysteries, science and historic events this show combines them like no other!

  3. Renee says:

    I’ve been LCHF since April, down 25lbs. I indulged in my sister’s homemade Christmas cookies….so delicious…a few pieces of See’s candy, a little bit (okay…a lot…of champagne.) and three tamales. Surprisingly it was the corn in the tamales that gave me the most inflammation. I was up 5 lbs, but…like you, I now know exactly what to do. Ten days of back to LCHF and I’m down 4 lbs. So easy. I’m on track to lose the 25-30 more I still need to lose, but I feel so much more in control.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      That’s the difference between now and then. There’s no sense of panic or dread. More like, “Okay, you made a choice, and the choice packed on 12 pounds. So get back to what works.”

  4. bill says:

    You mean we can’t fat shame you? Darn!

  5. Jeanne says:

    I cannot wait to see the results of your work.
    Happy New Year!


  6. Dianne says:

    Welcome to the blew-it-over-Christmas club. But we know those twelve pounds will melt away like a Dallas snow because, as you say, you know what to do. I only wish I’d known what I know now back when all I needed to lose was twelve pounds — or 24 — or 48. Instead, I kept going to WW, losing a few, regaining many, hating my weak self, and starving all the while. MUCH better to enjoy a steak with a spinach salad, coffee with HWC, Coconaise on my asparagus, a clean conscience, a feeling of vitality, and a satisfied appetite! And the weight actually does come off! Not fast maybe, but it does come off.

    Chareva’s drawings are great as usual. So looking forward to the book!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I went through the same lose-a-few-and-regain cycle for years. Yup, so much better and easier to lose weight by eating real food with real fats.

      Chareva drew something in the neighborhood of a hundred cartoons for this book, and it looks great.

    • Firebird7478 says:

      The most I did was eat a dozen ravioli — and I did not enjoy it.

  7. Brian says:

    You might enjoy “The Anointed’s” recent idiotic move: a soda tax in Philadelphia (http://www.philly.com/philly/infographics/383217911.html) The taxation formula can make certain liquid volume/count packages cost up to 50% more.

    Predictably, people are outraged (http://www.grubstreet.com/2017/01/residents-upset-about-phillys-soda-tax.html) and many business owners have stopped selling the taxed beverages. Meanwhile, the consumers have just started buying the taxed items outside the city limits.

    What is notably stupid about the tax is that it also applies to beverages with artificial sweetners, which, by definition, have never made anyone overweight. It also exempts insulin-bombs like fruit juices and chocolate milk.

  8. Chris says:

    I did almost exactly the same (with even more carbs) combined with twisting my back and spending most of the days in bed- and put on 3lb (from my lowest weight for 15 odd years which was due to some intensive exercise and food watching and no alcohol). Anyway I say this only to highlight that two men of similar age can do exactly the same thing and have very different results – I’m in the ‘lucky’ zone so far as weight gain is concerned. Different responses to food is something you often note and here is a good example

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I don’t mind being reminded that I can gain weight quickly with a bad diet. Keeps me motivated, which will keep me healthy.

  9. Galina L. says:

    You know, some of is just a water weight. Not all, of course. It was so hard for me to lose mere 30 lbs , that I just don’t dare to get relaxed, besides, carboloading doesn’t feel good in my head.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I don’t plan on returning to a carb-nite protocol for a couple of weeks.

    • Mike says:

      Yeah, if you replenished your glycogen stores, I bet four pounds of that is water, and will flee quickly. The fit of my wedding ring seems to be good indicator of how much water I have aboard.

  10. j says:

    You could always blame Russia for hacking your metabolism..

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Oh, I do, believe me. They created an unfair influence in my metabolism by gathering actual facts about what I ate and drank and exposing them to the public. I have half a mind to stop using “password” as my password.

      • Walter Bushell says:



        Something like 91+% of passwords come from the top thousand. If someone just wants to steal from a random individual surely top 10-20 against a database would more than sufficient.

        Of course, the more valuable accounts may be better defended. We can hope.

  11. Rae says:

    Can’t wait for the book! I’ll be getting it for my little guy. Happy new year!

  12. Don in Arkansas says:

    I can’t blame Mr. Robot for my holiday weight gain, but I am hooked on that show. Back on track now.

  13. I lost weight over Christmas, but then, I was in hospital following a minor heart attack despite years of ketosis. At least here in France I’m able to stick to my ketogenic diet in hospital, and I was only there for four days anyway. I’m glad to see the back of 2016 and hope for better things this year.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Yeesh, sorry to hear about the heart attack. I hope you’re on the mend.

    • Bob Niland says:

      re: …minor heart attack despite years of ketosis.

      It would be a mistake to let that go by without some exploration. I would generally have presumed KD to be cardio-protective. KD enthusiasts always need to remain alert, of course, for any black swans.

      Are there one or more enabling factors in this particular case that may yet need to be addressed to prevent a recurrence? Apart from pre-existing conditions and medications, and with no data on the specific diet involved, a generic KD is at some risk of not attending to the following things that have CVD implications:
      ● microbiome (low carb can easily be too low in prebiotic fiber carb)
      ● adverse fats (adding ω6 linoleic and ω9 erucic fatty acids is a mistake)
      ● insufficient ω3 DHA&EPA, Vitamin D, magnesium
      ● uncorrected hypo- or hyperthyroid (and iodine deficiency)
      ● various other micronutrient deficiencies (aggravated if also vegetarian)
      ● protein deficiency is even possible, as is simple dehydration

      I’m not making any assumptions about Anne’s case, but she needs to discover a reasonable explanation for the etiology that led to the MI, and what she learns may be both restorative and of wider interest.

      • Galina L. says:

        My father did at 51 from a heart arrest, so I am interested in the subject. I would check the vitamin D status and supplement together with vit.K2. And some magnesium citrate as well.

      • The blockage that caused the heart attack seems to have been an anomaly as the rest of the arteries are in good condition. Five weeks earlier, I had a minor TIA which left the left side of my body numb, but with no impact on my muscles. Last August, I had a tooth extracted because of a persistent gum infection and I found a study that shows that one is at a much higher risk of stroke and heart attack within the six months following such an extraction. To complicate things further, I take immunosuppressants because I had a liver and kidney transplant in 2001 and I take medication for high blood pressure. I also have constant stress as I’m totally blind and getting around on public transport these days is pretty nerve-wracking, but I couldn’t bear to lose my independence. Also, my genetic heritage means that I have narrow veins and arteries. On the whole, it’s amazing I’ve made it to 64.

        • Galina L. says:

          As Lori Miller investigated, epinephrine which is usually an important part of anesthesia because it constrict blood vessels, depletes important minerals which are important for a cardiovascular health.”Getting a shot of epinephrine once again made me feel tired and gave me palpitations. At least this time I knew to pop magnesium pills (good ones ending in -ate) like candy. I now carry three magnesium pills with me in case of emergency–they don’t have any at hospitals.” I always ask to skip on it if it is possible because it gives me migraines.

  14. Josh says:

    FWIW, I find that 4+ days of sugar and highly refined carbs rapidly puts on weight. I can easily pick up a pound a day. But…. I do believe it is mostly water weight. Once I move back to a lower-carb diet the weight falls off in about two weeks and I am back to what has become normal for me. Losing real weight (as in fat) takes a bit longer but I can easily drop 6-8 pounds run a month if I am honest about keeping on the lower-carb diet. I do plateau at some weight and that seems to be where my body is happy, so I don’t try to lose more though I am not quite the lean machine I was in my youth. For that I would need hormone injections. 🙂 Not going that route.

  15. bill says:

    Alcohol itself cannot make you gain weight. The body treats it as a toxin and spends a lot of time and effort excreting it. This is why, if you are stopped by the police, suspected as DUI, they take breath, blood and urine samples. I might be described as an alcoholic but I only drink spirits such as gin and vodka. You often talk about the fallacy of the calorie in calorie out; alcohol is a case in point. Go back to Banting, Eades and Atkins. Old school diabetes control allowed you to drink spirits red wine but nought else- I know my mother was a diabetic diagnosed in the ’60s. Beer is bread in a glass and enough wine will have a significant amount of carbs- if you drink it by the bottle. I only say this because I’ve been what is now called LCHF for 30 years, all that time I have been what, I suppose would be called a heavy drinker, I weigh the same now as I did then. Seek out a copy of ‘The Drinking Man’s Diet’. Written in the early ’60s it is very specific about this subject. By the way, the author died in his ’90, I am in my late ’60s now. Just my experience of course…..

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I don’t think alcohol makes us fat by adding calories, but it does shut down fat-burning. Alcohol you don’t burn is converted to fat, which is why alcoholics are prone to fatty liver disease.

      • Sky King says:

        Not to mention that alcohol can stimulate one’s appetite and also lessen considerably one’s willpower in controlling how much one eats especially while noshing on some junk food while watching junk TV. 😉

        • Tom Naughton says:

          True, but it’s more than just a loss of willpower. Alcohol suppresses the liver’s ability to tap glycogen stores to release glucose. So you end up with low blood sugar and your brain screams at you for a fresh infusion of glucose-producing foods. I once tested my glucose after a few drinks. It was 56. That will certainly trigger an appetite.

    • Walter Bushell says:

      RE: liquid bread

      Wo es eine Brauerei gibt, gibt es keine Notwendigkeit für eine Bäckerei.

      (Where their is a brewery there is no need for a bakery.)

      This has been recognized for a long time.

      Small beer is probably the least bad way to consume grains.

  16. Susan says:

    I was going to second the water-weight idea. After 6 weeks of “oh, what the heck” eating, between Thanksgiving, Christmas celebrations, and a quick trip to see my son and new daughter-in-law, I found my scale registering a shocking 20 pounds higher than it had been showing before the gluttony fest. But after only a week of getting back to eating right, my scale reading is down 14 pounds. I know I didn’t lose 14 pounds of fat in a week, so it must be water. Thank goodness. I lost 60 pounds since Sept 2015 and the last 20 were lost much slower than the first 40, so it’s good to know the eating with abandon didn’t really add 20 pounds of fat.

  17. Jessica says:

    Struggling with about 12 pounds myself. It’s extremely hard to maintain the ultra low carb I need to just maintain “fat” (185# @ 5’2″) over “obese” (198 🙁 ) when the rest of one’s household eats ice cream and other tasty things all the time.

    And, of course, THEY don’t gain weight from it. :: sulk ::

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’m married to one of those people. She cut the garbage from her diet to be healthier, not to lose weight.

  18. Ulfric Douglas says:

    This is the first Xmas since my high-FAT diet (fourish years) I’ve actually not put on a load of flab. I’m still in Xmas-mode of evening snacking, crisps (chips) and way too much booze including my excellent concoction of ginger wine with whisky. I don’t know what’s gone wrong/right but I’m about the same body fat comp as before and nice and strong… ?? Last year was totally different. I’m looking forward to a summer of buffed ripped adonis goodness. Yeay!!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’ve gone through holidays seasons where I didn’t gain an ounce, but I think the booze pushed me over this time.

  19. Alex says:

    I dropped 10 pounds after my wife’s cancer diagnosis and have put on 18 in the 7 months since her passing. The new year finds me on a diet as well.

Leave a Reply