Thursday, January 31, 2013

Macallan Fine Oak 10 Yr -- 186 lbs (-43) [21X]

Even though I'm on a budget, I'm allowing myself one basic single malt per month. Macallan Fine Oak upholds that choice by delivering a very distinct-from-blends, oaky taste. According to the box it comes in, Macallan Fine Oak is shuffled between 3 different types of barrels during its 10-year maturation: European oak seasoned with sherry, American oak seasoned with sherry, and American oak seasoned with bourbon. Jim Murray rates this a 90.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Mixing It Up -- 188 lbs (-41) [14X]

I tried fasting longer on work days last week, but I may have eaten more at night, so I'm not sure if there was a net benefit. Regardless, I macked out Friday through Sunday, once again ending up high for the week. Telling myself to pig-out less isn't going to make it happen--I need an actionable strategy to break my current okay-but-not-great seesaw pattern.

In the beginning of November, I cut wine out of my diet, and a couple of weeks later, I cut out beer. I thought that sticking only to whisky might be even more effective at weight control, because distilled liquor does not contribute any glucose to one's body. I also stopped mixing whisky, and since one can only consume about 1.5 oz per hour without getting intoxicated, drinking it straight-up leaves plenty of spare time for eating. Plus, it is not a good appetite suppressant by itself. When I started this diet, I had no issues mixing a cheap whiskey like Evan Williams with coffee, diet soda, light beer, or even noodle broth. By getting all esoteric about whisky, I may have lost an important regulatory function that mixing liquor, or drinking lower alcohol content beverages like beer and wine, serves.

So there is my new/old strategy to try in February: stretch my alcohol across time by mixing whisky/whiskey more and welcoming light beer and wine back into my diet. That may be the actionable key to less feeding frenzies at night and grazing on weekends.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Old Smuggler & Passport -- 184 lbs (-45) [10X]

Now that I'm in economy mode, I'm trying some new whiskies that come in the 1.75 liter size. This month it's Old Smuggler and Passport, two scotches that are rated reasonably well in Jim Murray's whisky guide (85.5 and 83, respectively).

Old Smuggler is supposedly the #8 best seller in the US and was popular during Prohibition--with a name like that, how couldn't it be? The taste is very smooth--not distinguished but not watered-down either. Decent stuff.

Passport has only been around since the 1960's, but it has a great smoky undertone like Teachers, so I'm diverging from Mr. Murray putting this one in my favorites list. It supposedly has a higher percentage of malt whiskies than most blends, which I can believe.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Happy Pig -- 188 lbs (-41) [12X]

I've been a complete pig this week-end. I thought I'd have better control after the holidays, but that isn't happening so far. I find myself playing a more fun version of the Whisky Diet Game where the object is to eat as much as possible without gaining weight. Being able to pig-out and stay under 190 lbs is making it hard to switch back to weight-loss mode, but I figure that a couple days a week of fasting longer or not pigging-out might be enough to tilt the balance, while staying a happy pig.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

6-Month Anniversary -- 184 lbs (-45) [8X]

Hard to believe I'm halfway through my one-year commitment--it feels simultaneously shorter and longer than 6 months. I've been within spitting distance of my goal of 180 lbs several times in the last 2 months, and with no parties or vacations in sight, I may actually punch through in the next few weeks. Also, I've mostly fixed my shoulder injury (theoretically through careful exercise and protein supplement), so I'm feeling pretty good all around.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Psychology of the Whisky Diet Game -- 187 lbs (-42) [13X]

It's tempting to think that just drinking a bunch of whisky over time will make you lose weight, but the reality is more subtle, complex, and perhaps a bit twisted. The key, for me, is distraction. In the absence of anything else, I would eat frequently throughout the day and night. Now, there are plenty of ways to distract myself from eating without alcohol, such as working, playing, exercising, drinking coffee, and chewing gum--which I do--but, without alcohol, food still manages to psychologically win out just enough to cause slow, steady weight gain until I have to go on some sort of hard-to-maintain diet. The Whisky Diet is really a game, of sorts, that gives me a distraction edge that results in gradual, easy-to-maintain weight loss.

The game has a few simple rules/strategies:

-Put off eating as long as comfortable
-Eat as little as comfortable, with as little bad carbs as comfortable
-Drink just enough alcohol to increase comfort and maintain a low BAC

Alcohol has some properties that make this game more interesting and pleasant than, say, exercise or gum. First, there is the relaxation and mild euphoria of alcohol at low BAC levels. Second, there are the effects of alcohol on weight: adding alcohol to an existing diet will not result in substantial weight gain, and replacing existing carbs with alcohol will result in gradual weight loss. And finally, there are the risks: drinking too much alcohol can lead to overeating and/or dangerous activity from loss of control, and acute health risks at more toxic levels. From this, we get the following possible outcomes for a given day:

1) Weight loss if one eats up to a normal amount of low-carb food
2) No weight change if one eats a normal amount of food or slightly too much low-carb food
3) Weight gain if one eats slightly too much food or way too much low-carb food
4) Physical, mental, or social damage from intoxication

As long as the player does slightly more of thing #1 than thing #3 on average, and generally avoids thing #4, than gradual weight loss will occur.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Drink better with drinkwel -- 184 lbs (-45) [7X]

I started taking multivitamins pretty early on in this diet. It seems like common sense that one should compensate for key nutrients lost when changing eating patterns. I have actually been educating myself about nutrition ever since my first diet in the late 80's, and trying Atkins in the early 2000's forced me to take it even more seriously, because of the radical vitamin deficiencies in a super low-carb diet. Any such deficiencies can lead to some nasty diseases:

In starting the amazingly successful Whisky Diet, I ignorantly defaulted to my Atkins multivitamin routine, as I considered the Whisky Diet to just be a low-carb diet plus alcohol. But in reading about the health risks of steady drinking, I learned that some different nutrients were called for, and concluded that the drinking world needed its very own multivitamin. Luckily for me, somebody else came to this realization and went to through the effort of formulating a product and creating a brand solely for this market.

And so it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the drinking world's best multivitamin: drinkwel! drinkwel takes a two-pronged approach to mitigating health risks associated with alcohol use: a mix of vitamins known to be depleted by alcohol metabolism, and a concoction of herbal supplements scientifically corroborated to promote healthy liver function. How could any whisky diet (or other drinking lifestyle) be complete without this?

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Clan MacGregor -- 185 lbs (-44) [8X]

My spidey sense told me I would run out of whisky before my weekend superstore run, so I broke down and bought a bottle of the ultimate bottom-shelf scotch: Clan MacGregor. What possessed me to do this, aside from needing to cut back on my scotch spending (which has created my very own fiscal cliff), is a surprising rating from Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2013 (another lovely Xmas gift). He rates Clan MacGregor a 92 ("brilliant"), above other popular blends I've tried such as Chivas Regal 12 (83.5), Cutty Sark (78), Dewar's White Label (78.5), Famous Grouse (89), Johnnie Walker Red (87.5), and J & B Rare (88.5). And he has scored my cheap favorites rather high: Teacher's Highland Cream (90), White Horse (90.5), and Ballantine's Finest ... wait for it ... 96 ("superstar whiskies that give us all a reason to live"). Considering myself to be a person of no taste, I find it refreshing that my tastes closely follow those of the world-renowned whisky guru. Take that snobs.

That said, as much as I love Ballantine's, I wouldn't rank it so extremely high, unless price was factored in (which maybe it should be, if we are considering bang for buck). And I wouldn't rank Clan MacGregor over any of the above--it tastes like a weak Highland malt--unless again, price was a factor, in which case 92 is about right. At rock bottom prices and a smooth, malty sweet taste, I'd buy Clan MacGregor again in a pinch or to balance my budget.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Warm To The Bone -- 188 lbs (-41) [8X]

A couple of months ago, I wrote: "I'm chilled or freezing much of the time--not one of my brighter ideas doing this going into the winter". Since then, however, I've noticed a frequent warm cozy feeling on my insides, and it couldn't come at a better time. You see, I am a complete cold weather wimp. I grew up in upstate New York, which isn't exactly the coldest of places, but we had our share of below 20 degrees F. I have poor circulation in my hands, and on any such day they would hurt constantly, even if I was inside, to the point where I would think, forever briefly, of cutting them off. Anyone that has been "chilled to the bone" might appreciate being "warmed to the bone", and this is what whisky is doing for me now during the coldest time of the year. I know this is a false, deceptive warmth, due to increased blood flow closer to the skin and irritated organ membranes, but the deeply pleasant feeling is real enough--besides, rerouted blood flow and stimulated membranes are the same mechanisms behind sex, so how bad can it be?

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back To Work -- 190 lbs (-39) [6X]

I managed to alcohol surf through most of vacation and maintain my weight, despite an excess of cookies, cake, and other naughty, nasty carbs. I mostly flopped between 186 and 187 lbs, which is probably a good place for me to be, except I still want to reach more transformative limits this new year. I also did a little nose dive towards the end here--eight bowls of split pea soup is ridiculous and I'm tooting up a storm today.

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