This is quite lengthy so I'll highlight the bits that are most important to me.
Over the past few months I’ve read a few different diet books, which have had varied approached to dieting; some things I like and have found useful and some things I don’t.
‘Real Girls Eat’ encourages exploring different foods and cuisines and cooking from scratch; eating a variety of foods for nutrition and taste. I like this idea; this is what food is all about.
‘The Chocolate Addict’ had a different approach, telling you to fully stock your cupboards with your sinful food and that eventually, you will get over it and eventually it will lose it’s appeal. It says to pause one minute if you crave a certain food and think about if your body really needs it or if you want it for some other reason. I do like this idea and found it very useful. It said, if you truly do want the chocolate, then eat it. I did find this useful; I don’t find banning any food is a good idea – when you make it off limits you tend to think about it more. If you know that you can have it if you really do want it – if you know that it it is always there if you want to have it, then you tend to be a bit more relaxed about that particular food, and food in general actually. There is no need to stuff your face with chocolate and tell yourself ‘this is the last time I’ll have it’ (I have started that approach countless times and it will never ever work; it is a ridiculous concept).
I fell in love with ‘The No Crave Diet’ and particularly enjoyed the scientific explanations in the book. Particularly liked reading about how it is important when you eat, as well as what you eat. Your body begins to burn your body’s fat stores after 3-4 hours of eating, and it can’t do this if you keep on eating. Sleep is an important time for burning calories so it’s also important not to succumb to eating late at night so your body can maximize fat burning time over night. I am feeling slightly hungry at the moment, but it is 10.11pm. I ate two hours ago, which means that in one or two hours my body will start burning my fat stores and will continue to do so until breakfast. Particularly around the 7 or 8 hour mark. So although I am a little hungry I won’t eat now, I will just drink water. (Ahh, that’s better!)
I would like to try and get back to eating three meals per day (although a lot of people seem to advocate ‘grazing’ but I am not going to go hungry. I think this is why that diet failed. There was a lot of emphasis placed on when you eat – ‘No Snacking’ was very important, and it said you would get over the hunger after a week. This sounds dodgy though. I am going to take the advice of my new book and have some healthy natural yoghurt for a snack or an apple.
So, I did like that aspect of the book but in general, the diet failed. It called for 6-8 weeks of no processed carbs, including cutting out cereals, and also, no snacking between meals. This diet was troublesome as I had to eat eggs for breakfast, which I soon tired of, and it also suggested protein shakes. I had no success finding the protein shake it suggested (with a specific sweetener) and ended up trying two varieties which I couldn’t even stomach! They were also very sweet so I became hungry very quickly after breakfast.
The diet also suggested taking supplements to help with weight loss. Now, I think supplements are good and I will probably continue to take some of them, but I think too much emphasis was placed on the supplements – almost as if, you couldn’t make it without them. I spent a fair bit of money on these.
I also had a problem with the no snacking rule. As a rule, I can generally last from lunch until dinner, and from dinner until breakfast without being famished; in fact I can do so quite comfortably. I usually have trouble between breakfast and lunch though. I found that eggs helped me last longer, but I can’t stomach them every day. Protein shakes, or any shakes for that matter, are tempting because it seems like such a simple concept: eat this low calorie drink twice a day and you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. I have been on a “Very Low Calorie Diet’ of Optifast shakes before and lost weight and I kept it off for 6 months. It did help me to reprogram my eating habits and to control my portion size. This was at a time when I was not interested in food and it perhaps suited my lifestyle at the time. In general though, I think shakes can get quite monotonous and don’t do anything to teach you to eat healthily. If I think about having children, I know I would be setting a poor example to be having shakes for breakfast and lunch, and this tells me it is not a healthy option. Perhaps they are ok if you are on the run – but when you have an hour long lunch break every day, a shake is not really satisfying. Food should be combination of nutrition and pleasure. Deprivation is not key and shakes aren’t the right thing for me right now.
I did take on board the rule of cutting out refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and rice and I have found that I could do this quite easily. Now I can easily have chicken and vegetables for dinner without the pasta. Pasta and rice are not foods that I crave very often, not in the sense that I crave chocolate, for example. I am lucky in that sense and have not really missed the rice and pasta. They have become occasional foods for me. I do find that when rice and pasta are on offer, it is very easy to overeat! ‘The No Crave Diet’ told me that starchy foods and high-sugar foods (pasta included) actually generate more cravings, and I find this to be true. So that is something I will keep in mind.
I am currently reading ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’, which is about a French Woman who did get fat, and put on ten kilos, just like me actually (which is fantastic, as I feel like I have some affinity to her!) I have only read a couple of chapters but I am liking the style of the book as it oozes sophistication and it’s not extremist. It’s about eating well and enjoying food in moderation. It is telling me to cut out or cut down my worst offenders, but at the same time, is all about enjoying quality food.
I am going to incorporate aspects of everything I have learnt: thinking about why I am eating, watching the times I eat, the portions I eat, but not depriving myself. I do have to be careful though, because when I followed the Chocolate Addict’s diet, I began to fall in to the trap of thinking I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and that this way I would be thinking less about food because I knew I could have what I wanted when I wanted it. But, this is NOT what was being said. It is ok to indulge sometimes, but no always, and there’s no need to do this. You still have to eat with your head; and you can’t become blaze about food; eating on auto-pilot.
The Frech book suggested kick starting the diet with a 3 day session on leek soup!! I’m sure there’s some reasoning behind this but it does fall under the ‘extremist’ category to me I’m afraid and I would rather skip that particular part.
This section is a bit disjointed but I writing what comes to mind! I feel like ‘The No Crave Diet’ failed because of the title. It promised that cravings would be eliminated and the fact that I did crave simply made me feel like I was failing the diet! Too extreme.
I did like the advice that, if you have a slip up, go straight back to eating well. It said diets don’t fail on one slip up, but many, which is obvious and true. I guess it’s more important to have a tighter reign on the foods you’re eating in the stages you’re trying to lose the weight rather than when you’ve lost it and you’re trying to maintain, which is also a reason I failed. I started thinking, ‘I should just eat as normal’ – and that week, although I ate mostly healthily with a few minor treats, as in, ate ‘normally’, I didn’t lose. It was a comfortable week, I felt healthy, and not depraved. I didn’t lose weight though because to lose weight, you need to burn more than you consume. I think I need to remember that I am actually trying to lose weight and make that extra effort (not to starve or be extreme, but to be extra careful to try and cut out offenders and to jump immediately back to eating well if I do eat something bad).
I feel like I have kept failing as well because I can’t see the end of this. While 10kg is certainly a substantial amount, it’s not 15kg, it’s not 20kg and it’s not 50kg. It’s a very doable amount of weight to lose if I can eat with my head and just stay focused with my eye on the goal. I need to not be put off by the fact that no, I am not going to be at my goal weight this time next week. Yes, in two weeks I am probably still going to have trouble sitting in my jeans because they’re cutting into my gut. Yes, when someone takes my photo in three weeks I will still think I look chubby, yes I am still going to have rolls of fat on my stomach when I sit in the bath in a month and yes I am not going to have to hold of buying new clothes for at least a month. Yes yes yes but so what, who cares? Because, in two or three months, guess what? I will be at my goal weight, my jeans will fit nicely and they might even be a smaller size! I will look good and well-proportioned, my skin will be glowing, my hair will be shining, I will be looking and feeling great. Not trapped, like I am feeling now. So I do need to be patient; it will happen, it has happened for countless others, but it will happen gradually, over two or three months. I just need to trust in the process; I won’t see any changes right away (I will start to feel better though- I already do!) but the physical changes will happen soon enough. I need to just keep on and keep my eye on the goal and also not give up after a couple of kilos, which is another habit of mine!! My goal is NOT 68, or 66, or 64 or even 62 kilos though. It’s 60 or 61 so please, we do not stop, this is a re-working of my lifestyle and not a temporary mood lifter. It’s about achieving a goal weight that I can sustain and be consistently comfortable with!
Slow & Steady Wins the Race!
I'm imformed, committed & consistant. I'm loving my body & working towards a sustainable body, the healthy way.
Persistance will set you free.