Post #412 Dare I Eat That?

September 9, 2015 at 3:58 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #412 Dare I Eat That?

A joke went around a couple of decades ago that the word “diet” stood for Dare I Eat That?  Diets back in the 70s had very little to do with nutrition and almost everything to do with calories.  The fewer calories you ate, the more weight you would lose.  Trouble was, in most cases, you gained all the weight back again once you stopped dieting, usually more than you’d lost for a net gain.  I once watched my brother’s first ex-wife literally starve herself by eating only 900 calories a day and reduced herself to tears by the end of two weeks because she was so hungry.  Diets got a bad reputation because they were only effective in the short term.  The rank and file didn’t know enough about how diets work and how the body responds to diets to be able to make informed decisions.

By the mid 80s, more specialty and long-term diets were popping up and books by the dozens were being published.  Suddenly, every bookstore had a growing section on dieting.  There were diets specific to diseases, like the heart smart diet, and the diabetes diet.  There were diets specific to activities like the runner’s diet, the weight lifter’s diet, and the bicyclist’s diet.  There were diets based on places like the South Beach diet, and the Hollywood diet.  There were even diets based on specific foods like the Atkins diet which focused on proteins, and the Whole Foods diet with focused on low- or no-processed foods.  Slowly, good information was getting to the public and making diet gurus rich.  Dieting and being a dieting expert was suddenly good business.

By the 90s, dieting was more scientific.  There were medical procedures to assist those who couldn’t do it by themselves.  There were amazing drugs that dropped the pounds and kept them off.  Some of them caused other problems in the long term, but some were effective for the weight loss and other health concerns and are still around today.

In the late 90s, I had an accident and hurt my head and neck.  Overnight, my lifestyle had to change and I wasn’t allowed to be anywhere close to as active as I had been most of my life.  I didn’t exactly load on the pounds, but over the course of a year I went from 180 to almost 220.  Along with my sedentary lifestyle came some of those problems from overeating.  I had high cholesterol, but luckily only skirted pre-diabetes and high blood pressure.

It helped that I was already a fairly healthy eater.  I didn’t indulge in sweets too often, about once a day (not really.)  My alcohol intake then was very low.  No fried foods, ate loads of veggies, and stayed away from processed and fast foods as much as possible.  But I still moved up the weight scale till I started having to buy clothes out of the size I’d been wearing my entire adult life.  I didn’t like that.  No one does.

Then a friend told me about a diet and exercise regimen called Body For Life by Bill Phillips.  It was right up my alley.  Since I was still seeing a battery of doctors at the time, I talked with a couple of them about my weight.  It usually surprised them since I carry pounds pretty well.  One even re-weighed me to confirm the figure.  But they all said as long as I was smart about it, losing weight wouldn’t hurt me.  So my friend and I chose a date and started the course.

The thing about Body for Life (and its companion cookbook Eating for Life) is that it’s a long-range plan to make you rethink how you eat and what you eat.  It tends to go to the low fat extreme.  It allows you to eat low fat versions of traditionally fatty things.  Cheese, dressings, sauces, etc. are always low fat.  I don’t like low fat.  So what I did was use regular versions, but half the amount.  It also combines an intense exercise regimen which is right up my alley.  Every other day was a weight routine, exercises with weights or resistance bands, focusing on one body area.  Alternate days were devoted to cardio.  One day each week, your choice of day as long as it was the same day every week, was a “free” day with no exercise and you could eat what you liked.

There were three keys to the success of this plan.  The first was the frequency you ate your meals.  It was six times a day!  But there was a reason for that.  The body of every animal is designed to survive.  When the body recognizes that it’s not getting enough food, the first thing it does is send out hunger pangs.  When it realizes it’s being ignored, it starts hording what few calories its getting.  The only way the body has to store energy is as fat.  This is why you see so many people going up and down the weight scale like a yo-yo.  The final thing it does is start cannibalizing its own resources while hording fat cells.  Muscles will start to shrink, bones will get brittle, hair will fall out.  But your stomach may start to distend as the body hordes the fat cells in the abdomen.  Cool, huh?  By eating six times a day, the body is conditioned to expect regular intake of energy and calories and stops hording them.  It actually starts to shed the extra stored fat cells.

The second key goes hand in hand with the first.  You’re eating six times a day, but you’re eating smaller portions.  At first, I was forcing myself to eat that much, but as I adjusted portion sizes, it became easier.  Proteins should be no larger than a deck of cards.  Starches should be no larger than your fist.  Oils and sugars should be measured in drops.  Fruits and vegetables are the bread and butter of the plan.  You don’t want to go crazy with them, but you can indulge in them.  So you eat a quick small snack when you wake up with a glass of cold water.  Three hours later, you eat a reasonable breakfast. Three hours later, you eat lunch.  Three hours later you eat a reasonable snack.  Three hours later, you eat a reasonable dinner.  Three hours later, you eat a reasonable snack.  You drink a glass of cold water with each meal, and as much water during the day as you like.  You can substitute unsweetened tea or coffee for water if you choose during the day, but with meals, water only.  Keep in mind, your activity level is increasing too, so the calories are going to be burned off pretty quickly.

The third key is the exercise.  Now here’s where I deviate.  The original plan is designed to make bodybuilder quality bodies.  You know the type.  Zero per cent body fat; 8-10 pack abs; whipcord muscles.  However, if you adopt a less-rigorous routine, but keep it up every day (except your cheat day), you will lose weight.  You’ll lose body fat.  You’ll get healthier.

The whole point of this post is that we’re starting the routine again.  Last time, I lost 27 pounds in 3 months.  Partner/Spouse doesn’t recall how much he lost, but he remembers it was significant.  We’re both much older than when we first tried it, so we’re going to be more sensible and age appropriate.  We’re going to follow the diet meticulously, and do the exercise routine as it fits our schedules.  We will see a nice drop in weight.  I want to drop about 25 pounds and get down to 175.  That’s my goal and I’m sticking to it.  I don’t have a time frame, but I have goal.  It’ll work!  Anyone want to join us?

Enjoy

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