Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Rather Strange Diet [that works for me]

I’ve lost 22 pounds (from 202 to 180) in the last 24 weeks. I still eat the same bad foods as always, except for sweets.

Basically it’s been via the oldest method around – more exercise, less food. Interestingly, I’ve enjoyed the process.
I have one more pound to go, and then I’ll work on maintaining.

Here’s the story.

Every summer my wife and I eat everything in sight for 9 or 10 weeks. I pack on serious pounds, then work for 9 months to take it off. Of course that is not a recommended way to live. I shouldn’t use gorging as a reward; it’s self-defeating. And I assume my body would prefer to avoid such sugar spikes.
I know all that. But … I’m 71 years old; ask me if I plan to change.

All I can say is that when it’s time to shed, the following works for me.
Three things make it happen:

#1 -- Stop eating sweets
That doesn’t mean I’m fanatical about no sugar. If I eat out, I don’t inquire about whether there’s any sugar in the Italian sauce. But I don’t eat dessert.
Because sweets are my biggest downfall in the weight life, I usually tackle step #1 alone for 10-14 days before moving on seriously into #2.
Oh, another note. I haven’t drunk alcohol for the last 41 years, so those calories are not a factor.

#2 – Exercise
Usually this means walk 1-2 miles every day it isn't raining or I’m not playing golf. That’s it. I either do that or hit an elliptical and a stationary bike for 15 minutes each. Some days I do both (machines and walk).
Again, nothing fanatical. It's just important not to be sedentary.

#3 – Oh, this is scary territory, here, #3. But it is the KEY to my losing weight.
Let’s not name #3 yet. You’re not gonna like it. Unless you try it.
Let me first point out that I get migraines if I don’t eat regularly. That means that #3 is the LAST thing I would want to try. I can’t imagine how I got the courage to go beyond what most of you will say: “Oh, no. No way could I do that. Nope. Not interested.”
But I did this, tried it, accepted it, and now I LOVE IT!
Also, it works.

Ready? Here we go: Two days a week, I fast.
Calm down. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat. It means I eat a total of 600 calories. For the day. (Yeah, I know. In the summer glut, I spill that much in a sitting.)
For women it’s 500 calories, 600 for men. You can eat anything you want, as long as the calorie count is not above 500/600. (You could even have a milkshake for the day, unless you’re with me on step #1.)
The days are not consecutive. And on the other days, eat anything you want. Don’t go crazy, slamming fat and salt and crap into your mouth, and expect to lose weight, but don’t worry about it. (Not desserts, though; not for my method, anyway.)
The weirdest part is that I have never gone to sleep hungry or awakened hungry while fasting. I can’t explain why that happens. Yes, I’m hungry during the day, but that’s where the MASSIVE feeling of accomplishment comes from. I’m in control! I don’t spend my day thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if there’s anything good to eat in there.”
Also, pretty soon your tummy shrinks, and you don’t need as much food. You crave less; you know it’s OK to feel hungry for a few hours. Amazing, but true.
We eat because we’re hungry, yes … but also because we’re stressed, or bored, or someone just walks by and says “Here, want a donut?” Uh, sure!
When I’m fasting twice a week and never eating sweets, I simply decline those offers. And I feel MUCH better.

Twenty-two pounds isn’t cable-TV show-worthy, but it is great to have clothes fit better, tie my shoes more easily, etc. I sleep better, do yoga better.

Final note:
I assume some are wondering what a typical 600-calorie day consists of, what my meals are on those days. Again, you can eat anything you want as long as the portions keep you in the right calorie count.
I have several variations, but my usual is this:
Breakfast is 4 oz. of granola cereal with 2% milk.
Lunch is ½ cup homemade chicken noodle soup and a hard-boiled egg. My alternative lunch is ½ of a big delicious apple, plus a slice of Swiss cheese.
Dinner is 1/3 cup [measured unpopped] of popcorn cooked in a tablespoon of olive oil. No butter. Or, if I feel a need for protein, it’s ½ of a chicken breast [grilled] and some low-fat cottage cheese.
No snacks during the day. Hungry and happy.

Here are some links for this fasting approach:

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