Hell levels: I haz them.
Setting the way back machine to about 1999 I remember the “hell levels” I used to come across in Everquest. Playing as a Druid back then, I would see them at level 8, level 18 (teleporting right around the corner!), and level 30 (common for other classes as well). Somehow these levels always took longer to get through. It wasn’t always because some better spells were right around the corner and anticipation was building, such as at level 18. But just something in the mathematics in the programming that just caused those levels to suck. But perhaps those levels were there for a reason: make it harder for us to level up and eventually stop playing (as if anyone could quit EverCrack back then).
Anyways, I noticed that I have had “hell levels” when trying to lose weight.
- 191lbs and losing to drop below 185lbs
- 176lbs and losing to drop below 169lbs
- 158lbs and losing to drop below 151lbs.
There was also breaking below 140lbs, but when I hit that point I was more into maintaining my weight instead of losing anymore (although I was curious to see if I could get back to my High School Weight of 135lbs at graduation). So it may have not been a “hell level” after all.
Currently, due to a few factors such as my health issues and new relationship that got me out of some of my healthy habits, I am at 176lbs. So what I have been doing is essentially “grinding”. This past week I decided not only to make it to the gym more, and to push my routine higher than I have in previous weeks/months, but also to get on top of things diet wise as well. Only eating when I am hungry is one thing. Not “kind of hungry/could eat” and not “because it is (meal) time” but only when my body is truly asking for food.
I have also been tracking the food better. Opened the old AK Notepad on my G1 to keep track of every Weight Watchers point, like I used to when I had better results. Speaking of better results, I started analyzing changes in my diet over the past two years since my weight bottomed out and slowly climbed to find out what extras I have been taking in and such. The surprise, when thinking back, was more to do with not checking the packaging as much as I used to. Case in point: Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers.
Wow, I love these things. Put a slice of strawberry on them and they are simply amazing. I even put an Amazon link for them in a previous post where they are in a picture I used. In one night I would easily go through 8-10 crackers and half a bottle of wine with my girlfriend.
Well, I was in the grocery store the other day and was about to pick some up, but for once I looked at the back. Not good, not good at all. One serving has 80 calories, 3.5g of fat, and 1g of fiber which comes out to 1.7 Weight Watchers points. But here’s the kicker, one serving is 2 crackers! Talk about calorie dense.
So if I had 10 crackers and 2 glasses of wine I would easily hit 700 calories (or about 14-15 Weight Watchers points) in one night! So much for healthy wheat crackers with strawberries, and perhaps so much for the “hell level” theory.
Back in the EQ days, you could only hunt the same areas for so long before making a change. Camping an area until you are only getting high greens and low blues will only get you so far. Same thing with my dieting. Letting certain things in isn’t so bad, but after a while those certain things need to be dropped for the bad habit they are in order to produce real results. Those crackers/wine nights may only have happened once or twice a week for me, but throw in a few other “exceptions” here and there and next thing I knew I quickly transitioned from losing to maintaining to gaining weight.
Lesson learned. Perhaps there are no “hell levels”. One needs to stop hunting gnolls and camping bandits if they really want to level up. And I need to stick with the plan, make less exceptions, and read nutrition labels more often.