Saturday, February 21, 2004

Diet Rambling

I've been trying to diet for the past week or so, and so far, I think I'm doing okay. I've been watching, though not counting, my carbs, drinking plenty of water, trying not to eat sweets, eating smaller portions of certain things, and eating lots and lots of salad, boneless, skinless chicken breast, and healthier stuff. I did as Serenity suggested, and read the Atkins book before I made any judgements about it, and there are a few things that make me think I wouldn't have any kind of long-term success trying to seriously follow this diet. The diet seems pretty good, overall, but when I read these passages, in particular, I had to stop and maybe reconsider trying to follow it:

..with the exception of sugar, white flour, refined carbs, junk food snacks, and trans fats, you can eat most everything else... What's left? There went my entire diet!

No conventional bread, backed goods, pasta, no added sugar, even no brown rice, sweet potatos, or lentils until you are near your goal.

I love pasta and bread. I love baked goods too, but have no control where they are concerned, so I just can't have them around, at all, if I'm gonna stick to any kind of diet.

....nutritionally worthless candy and sugary soft drinks are banned forever.

I don't like the idea of having anything banned forever..I think anything, in moderation as a once in blue moon treat, has to be allowed, or else you're just going to fail. It's unrealistic to think that you are never, ever gonna have a treat..ever. If you're like me, the moment you tell yourself you can't have it, you just want it all the more. You have to be able to work these things in, plan for them, and adjust your diet accordingly, so that you don't end up eating too many calories. You have to be the one to decide whether you want to splurge on a Milky Way once in a while, or opt for something healthier. That's why Weight Watchers is so good. They give you options and tools to be able to work things in. I don't care what anyone says. In the end, no matter how you slice it, the number of calories you consume overall, compared to the number of calories you expend during your day, is what will make you blow up like a Macy's Parade float. If an average size, moderately active woman requires 2500 calories, for example, per day, to maintain bodily functions and she consumes that many a day or less, she will maintain or lose weight. If she needs 2500 and consumes 3500, she's gonna pile the pounds on, as her body stores the extras for her. It's that simple. Fatty foods and sugary foods, and things loaded with carbs are higher in calories..thus, if you eat lots and lots of them, and don't burn them off, you will be fat. End of story.

Calories are fuel. If you eat too much "fuel" your body will put the extras in a storage tank..attached to your hips, ass, abdomen..just wherever it can find a handy spot.. Once you stop putting in too much "fuel", your body will use the reserves and the storage tanks will go away. If you skip meals and try to restrict your calories too much, your body will think you are starving, and will slip into starvation mode..and slow down your metabolism so it burns less fuel, and stores more fat for emergency purposes. All any "diet" is, is an attempt to manage and/or manipulate the amount you consume, and the method of keeping track and lowering that number, so that you will be able to rid yourself of your big, fat ass.

Heres a magic diet secret for ya.. shhh.. don't tell anyone I told ya...

Lower the number of calories you consume to a number significantly lower than the number of calories you burn, watch the number of carbs, fat, and empty sugary calories you consume, drink lots of water, and do some sort of exercise at least a few times a week, and you will lose weight.

This is, of course, providing you have no thyroid problems or other health related reason why this won't work.

I know..it seems kinda radical...impossible to believe it will work, but I'm tellin' ya the truth. Trust me.. have I ever lied to you?!

I know there are zillions of people on Atkins and having lots of success with it. It's no mystery, if you are following the diet plan as he explains it. A lot of carbs are sugars..we all agree that eating lots of sugar makes you gain weight. He explains how, if you don't give your body the carbs, it will burn off the fat for fuel instead.
It's not rocket science. Plus, you can have the butter and cheese and stuff, which is great, but a lot of the things you would normally put lots of butter or cheese on, you can't have, or can have very limited amounts of. Thus, you don't end up eating tons of it. The thing that put me off trying the low carb thing was I kept hearing you can't eat a lot of veggies or fruits..and I love veggies and fruits. It doesn't say you can't have them. It says you can't have certain ones during induction, and then, after induction, they should be limited and eaten only occasionally. You can have bread..you can have potatos, you can have just about anything other than candy, cookies, soda, crackers, chips, etc...in moderation, or low carb versions. It's actually a pretty sound diet, if you can stick to the limitation of the carbs. Most of the veggies and stuff they say you can have all ya like of are the same ones listed as Negative Calorie Foods

Actually, if you really think about it, it's all a matter of how much and how fast you want to lose the weight. If you follow the strict carb restrictions for just two weeks for the induction phase, and then do as Atkins suggests and gradually raise your daily carbs by 5 gm every week until you level off or start to gain weight, then cut it back by 5, and stick to it, eat as he recommends, and exercise, you will lose weight. Probably pretty quickly. If you just cut back your carbs, and try to keep them kinda low, eat lots of salads, fruits, veggies, lean meats, and protein, little or no sweets and goodies, and exercise... you will also lose weight, just maybe not as fast.

Although I know when you're dieting, or as it should be called "adopting healthier eating habits", you shouldn't have cake and cookies and chips and soda, and all of those things that gave you the GA (gargantuan ass) in the first place. It's so hard to stop yourself from reaching for them sometimes. I wish there was a magic way to cut all the junk from your diet, and conquer your cravings and the demons that made you eat that whole chocolate cake by yourself. I know you feel healthier and happier, and more in control of your life and your health when you get to the point where you can happily say no to that plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies, but it takes a while to get to that point. In the meantime, it's killer. Sometimes, its all I can do to not run to the store for a pint of Ben and Jerry's. A big, juicy orange or a bunch of grapes are yummy, and I really do enjoy them, but they just aren't the same as a tub of Fudge Brownie ice cream or a 3 Musketeers. I think I'm doing pretty good with it, so far. I did have a piece of chocolate cream pie the other day, but it was made with reduced fat crust, sugar free Jello pudding, and light whip cream...and it wasn't a big piece. I have had mashed potatos.. but maybe half a cup, instead of the cup and a half I might have normally. I haven't had a cola product in three weeks. I'm doing 4 32 oz glasses of water a day, on average. I have been eating my salads, and no sandwiches..except I had an open faced egg salad sandwich the other day, but I piled on lots of lettuce, and gave some of that one piece of bread to Jazmine. My pants are looser, my face looks a bit thinner, I do feel better.. so far, so good. I have no clue how much, if any, I've actually lost, as I don't own a scale and have no plans to buy one anytime soon, but if the clothes and all are an indication, it seems to be working, so far. I've got a long haul ahead of me, and I know I can do it if I decide to stick to it, because I've done it in the past...and I know how it's done, I just don't do the things I know I need to in order to keep myself from blowing up, but day by day is all I can do.
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