Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Can a fat girl slim? Part 3 common sense
Diet talk can get a little dull, but I read an interesting piece in today's Times, which sums up my approach to weight loss and maintenance. A full and more detailed report on the same piece is in the New York Times
To summarise; despite sticking resolutely to a diet, weight will always stop coming off or may even start to gain. This is due to the remarkable ability of the body to adapt to survive, it will evolve to survive in the new conditions therefore all diets will ultimately fail.
The main reason, I think, that my diet/regime has succeeded, is that I surprise my body daily, so it is never quite sure what it is going to get and I never eat less than every four hours and less than 1200 calories (that's a guess as I don't count calories at all). I deliberately have days when I have 'treats' like huge slices of chocolate fudge cake (yesterday) and eat plentifully and with enjoyment. It is a bit like interval training, even when you slow down you still go at a pace, so that you never fall into the feast and famine trap which really destroys the metabolism.
Breakfast has always been a challenge, it is just about the only time of day that I don't want to eat. With my new regime I have been trying to eat eggs on toast, but can't stomach it. To kick start the metabolism we need something that is wholesome and calorific (to fool the body into thinking it is a 'normal' day). I eat about 100 grams of sunflower seeds, which I have just read on the side of the packet is 500 calories! I had no idea! But the calories really don't seem to matter. It gives me the energy to get out, walk the dog and then exercise like a loony for an hour at the gym.
Lunch tends to be a huge amount, but relatively lo cal, so I fry up (with very little fat) meat, onions, leeks, cabbage, carrots, whatever is around, and dress it with a dab of mayo and liberal amounts of Worcester sauce. The frying pan is full and I eat the whole lot. I have a HUGE appetite, which is why I got so big on 'normal' food. I am now resigned to the fact, and rather than pick miserably at lettuce leaves, I have adapted my buying/eating habits to reflect the truth.
In the afternoon I have tea and a small bar of Green and Black's chocolate (on a 'good' day), but on a day off, I have cake or biscuits or similar.
The evening meal tends to be fairly small, a piece of meat and some salad and veg and brown rice. I am rarely hungry (as long as I have eaten in the morning, if not, I am ravenous and would eat the sofa). To satisfy the 'fancy' something craving, I have a camomile, vanilla and honey tea by Twinings which is delicious and zero calories, I have managed to 'train' myself into believing that it is a treat by always drinking it and doing something relaxing, looking at blogs, reading books, listening to music that I love etc.
My only 'rules' on diet days are; nothing premade and prepacked, no wheat, very little pure (white) sugar, no dairy, nothing overly reliant on chemicals for taste or its existence.
On non diet days, because I haven't really restricted anything, there is no feeling of a need to 'blow out', it just means it's OK to have the huge slice of cake or join in with the rounds of cocktails.
It is a misnomer to label my regime as a 'diet' which might indicate a short term measure, it has to be forever, with a mix of strict days and free days. The ration is about 3:1, but the 'free' days are important in order to not fully adapt. It is like a maestro playing a concerto, the magic is often in the pauses.
Today's piece explains why, despite consuming, what appears to be rather a lot of food, I have lost more weight and successfully kept it off than my days when I starved all day, ate nothing but cocktail nibbles, exercised continually, was always hungry and was still the size of a house.
The worst thing is that this new study proves that in order to lose weight you need to eat less calories than you consumed putting the weight on. Ie if you added on 250 calories when you put on weight, you will now have to take off 500 calories to lose the same amount, so the real lesson is don't put on weight in the first place!