Saturday, April 06, 2013
Some of you have asked about my “diet” – my personal weight loss plan. First of all, I want to say that I believe everyone should “tweak” and “personalize” whatever plan you use (whether it’s Weight Watchers, mine, or anyone else’s) to “fit” you, personally. We are all different, with varying preferences and dietary and exercise habits. We all differ in what commitments we are willing to make, or to not make. This is what worked for me. Take what you wish from it; take what you know from other places. Throw out what you don’t want to do. And, create an individual plan that “fits” YOU!
I had a 3-prong plan. I didn’t use any of these strategies “as written”, but, tweaked them all to “fit” me.
I. Calorie Cycling
II. South Beach Diet concepts (“good carbs”; “good fats”)
III. IsaGenix products (absolutely unnecessary. But, they helped me to stay within calorie range on some of my lower calorie days. Other meal replacements would work fine. Or, choosing lower calorie, healthy foods on those days would work fine.)
I. Calorie Cycling
I set my target caloric intake for my “Enough Days”, my “Medium Days” and my “Hungry Days”.
1. I calculated my BMR. http://www.bmi-calculator.net/
bmr-calculator/. Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR); the number of calories you'd burn if you stayed in bed all day.
a. My BMR, when I began at 180 pounds in 2010, was approx. 1600-1700.
2. I subtracted 500 calories from that. One pound = 3500 calories. If you wish to lose one pound per week, you need to decrease your caloric intake by 500 calories per day.
a. 1600 calories – 500 calories = 1100 calories.
3. On “Enough Days”, you need to eat “enough”. If you eat too little, your body will go into starvation mode. If your BMR – 500 calories is less than 1200 calories, move your “Enough Day” up to 1200 calories.
Also, you want to have some days, each week, where you do not feel deprived or hungry. Don’t set your “Enough Day” too low.
a. My above calculation was 1100 calories. Not enough to avoid “starvation mode”. I set my “Enough Day” range at 1200 – 1500 calories.
b. I scheduled “Enough Days” 2x per week, and spread them out a little. Usually, Sundays and Wednesdays worked well for me, but, I was flexible and traded or adjusted days if “special event” days occurred on a different day.
4. On “Medium Days”, if you wish to create a larger calorie deficit, you need to eat fewer calories than you do on “Enough Days”. Also, one of the concepts in calorie cycling is that, if you vary the amount of calories that you consume per day, you’ll “confuse” your metabolism, and your body will not “know” that it should hang on to calories in order to maintain your weight. Your body “likes” homeostasis; it likes to stay the same. It does not “like” it when you try to make changes, such as losing weight. It “protects” you from changes, the way our ancestors’ bodies “protected” them from starvation when less food was readily available.
a. I set my “Medium Days” at 900-1199 calories. I, actually, found that, when I’m not in a “special occasion” or “buffet” kind of mind-set, this is the range where I was the most comfortable eating. I suspect that, sometimes in the past, I ate in this mode for far too many days in a row; and that “starvation mode” was a part of my weight gain problem over the years.
b. I scheduled “Medium Days” about 4x per week. I was very careful not to eat too little (such as a Medium Day or a Hungry Day) more than 2 or 3 days in a row. That is when our bodies begin to “worry” about starvation.
5. On “Hungry Days”, you decrease your calories a little bit more. Again, this increases your body’s calorie deficit, and allows you to lose weight, because you are consuming fewer calories than your body needs to function.
a. I set my “Hungry Days” at a 700-899 calorie range. And, I WAS hungry on these days. Some people follow the Alternate Day Diet, and eat 500 or fewer calories every other day, and eat “normally” on opposite days. 500 calories made me feel much too hungry and deprived. But, that works for some people.
b. I scheduled, usually, only ONE “Hungry Day” per week. Sometimes, if I wanted to “change things up” a little, I might do two in a week. But, not very often. I did not like “Hungry Days”. But, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” was always on my mind on these days.
c. To help keep the hunger at bay on these days, my personal strategy was to eat small amounts frequently. I would, intentionally, eat every 2 or 2 ½ hours. Often up to 6 or 7 times a day. Usually about 4 very small “meals”, and 3 snacks. One snack that I enjoyed was 6 almonds + 1 40-calorie piece of dark chocolate. I ate that almost daily (sometimes twice daily) during my weight loss phase. 4 oz of V-8 juice was an even lower calorie snack that helped tide me over on some of my “Hungry Days”.
d. I told myself: “You can eat more tomorrow. I can do ANYTHING for just one day.”
That is how I calorie-cycled. There are other ways to do it. Google it online, and find other ideas. Tweak my ideas. Tweak their ideas. Come up with a plan you can live with.
II. South Beach diet concepts
1. “Good carbs”
a. This was really important. I didn’t consider my diet to be “low-carb”. It was not nearly as low-carb as Atkins, for example. But, I generally ate fewer carbs than my sister, who has Type I Diabetes, and has to watch her carbs closely.
b. I significantly decreased “whites”. White flour, white sugar, pasta, crackers and other snack foods with white flour, white rice, etc. I also decreased starchy vegetables, such as white potatoes and corn.
c. I did not limit healthy carbs.
i. I ate lots of fruits and vegetables, which have carbs. Fruits have more carbs than vegetables, due to their natural sugars, but, especially if it was not a “Hungry Day”.
ii. I didn’t worry about fruits either. I started most mornings with oatmeal, often with almond milk and/or Greek yogurt on it and also blueberries on it.
iii. I ate legumes, sometimes a few times per week, even though they are also high in carbs. I liked to make a 3-bean salad. I used a can of green beans, and a can, each, of 2 different legumes. I topped it with a T of pickle relish (because I prefer that, instead of mayo or oil and vinegar) and usually ate a cup for a serving size until it was gone out of the refrigerator.
iv. Brown rice was OK, but, I wasn’t much of a rice eater.
d. I discovered that some of my symptoms (diarrhea) that I had thought were MS symptoms (multiple sclerosis), were, instead, connected with gluten. I cut back on gluten to 3-4x per week (many people eat it 3-4x per day). And I took a gluten enzyme (available at health food stores or amazon.com) prior to consuming gluten.
2. “Good fats”
a. It’s been a long time since I’ve read “South Beach”, and, again, I don’t think I do this as suggested either. Again, I “tweak” ideas. I don’t worry about saturated vs unsaturated fats. I believe that “we need to eat fat to lose fat”.
b. However, I SERIOUSLY limit trans-fats, which are also called hydrogenated fats. These are so “fake” and un-natural; our bodies just don’t know what to do with them. They are found in many processed foods. The more naturally a food grows in the “wild” (and, the less “processed”), the more healthy it often is for us.
a. Again, I don’t remember if “South Beach” talks about this, but there are toxins in so many processed and un-natural foods. I try to limit those. One “vice” that I still have is my Diet Dr Pepper. But, sometimes, I’m better at substituting water or tea.
b. There are foods that help to remove toxins from our bodies. Our liver is the organ where the toxins collect, prior to being released from our bodies, so it is important to have a healthy liver. If our liver needs to work too hard to remove toxins, then it has less efficiency in removing fat.
c. A glass of water every morning, with lemon squeezed into it, prior to eating, is one way to remove toxins from our liver. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is another. My husband gave me a high-performance blender for Christmas, and I make green smoothies with fruits and vegetables, etc several times a week. Legumes is another. You can do some googling to find more information on foods that are healthy for your liver, or, here is a link to an article: http://www.globalhealingcenter
III. IsaGenix products
a. As I said, I didn’t “follow” their program either.
They recommend 2 “shakes” daily, followed by one 400-600 calorie meal. I believed this would not give me enough daily calories if I followed it every day. Also, I did not like to “eat” only a liquid diet for 2 meals a day.
b. Instead, on the days that I chose to use their products, I used less each time than they suggested, and I supplemented with “real” foods. One formula that sometimes worked for me was 3 half-servings per day (2, with a meal; one by itself as a snack).