15 or Bust….Phase Three….You Aren’t What You Eat
Over the years, I’ve done my fair share of fad dieting. In the mid-2,000’s, I gained a few pounds at my first office job, thanks in part to the Subway restaurant next door. In addition to all the other things Jared from Subway forgot to mention….a daily footlong sub loaded with extra mayo and extra cheese on white bread with a side of Cool Ranch Doritos….does not a diet food make.
One of my co-workers, a middle aged guy with horribly bad breath, suggested I give Atkins a try. He’d been a devotee for most of his adult life….long before the diet peaked in popularity. I gave it multiple attempts, but I was never able to get past the induction phase before finding myself on the verge of insanity by the mere thought of a carb.
Inevitably, I would end up in the drive-thru of a McDonalds where I would order the largest and most disgusting option available and then cram it down my throat at the speed of light. After that, I would spend the next few days carb loading like a marathoner preparing for a big race…. except the only marathon I was involved in was the Nick at Nite Marathon.
Shortly after I threw in the towel for what would be my last attempt at reaching ketosis, my co-worker was hospitalized with a serious illness that had something to do with his butt-hole falling out. Apparently, he wasn’t properly supplementing his fiber intake all those years and the result was, Butt-Hole Fall-Outis.
I’m sure there was an actual medical term for whatever was happening, but all I heard was “Its like his butt-hole is falling out.” Even though I didn’t really give much thought to my own butt-hole on a regular basis, it seemed the kind of body part a person would like to keep and so that was enough for me to hop off the Atkins bandwagon for good.
Other diets I’ve tried and failed at maintaining over the years have included Slim Fast….“A shake for breakfast, another for lunch and then a sensible dinner!”….The South Beach Diet, The Zone Diet, The Raw Food Diet, The 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, Eat to Live and the Cleveland Clinic Three Day Diet.
I always started off with the best of intentions….and a refrigerator/ cabinets chock full of the various and often expensive food items necessary for success. However, I was rarely able to make it beyond a few days before I would cave and end up wolfing down an entire box of Peanut Butter Cap’N Crunch….or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby….or both.
The only thing that has ever really worked for me, is old fashioned calorie counting. It seemed like such a novel concept when a friend of a friend suggested it as a healthy alternative to fad dieting. The idea that I could just set a reasonable per day calorie intake, incorporate some movement into each day and the pounds would come off, seemed far too easy to be true.
Dieting is supposed to be about suffering and the elimination of entire food groups. You’re supposed to eat things like grapefruit and sprouts for ten days straight or drink lemon water infused with maple syrup and cayenne pepper until you pass out. Weight loss is supposed to be earned….the hard and painful way.
Imagine my surprise then, when I gave it a try and it worked. The weight didn’t peel off at the rate of 10 pounds a week like the other diets had promised, but it did come off….and it was easy to keep it off.
I was also surprised by how easy it was to stick to the plan. Knowing I could essentially eat whatever I wanted….so long as I stuck to my daily goal….helped me make better choices throughout the day and allowed me a bit of slack when I needed to indulge….all without throwing the entire venture and my bodily functions, off track.
I also learned a lot about food….the differences between calories, carbohydrates and cholesterol….and the best way to give my body the fuel it needs to stay energized and lose weight in a healthy way.
Clearly, I don’t always stick to the plan….if I did, I wouldn’t be in the midst of Operation Dump the Frump….but, I’m back on track now! These last two weeks have definitely presented challenges….what with visions of cheesecake, triple-fudge caramel brownies and cookies dancing through my head and onto my kitchen table….but so far, I’ve managed to enjoy all the good stuff in moderation and without the holiday food coma.
I’m five pounds down since I started this mission a few weeks ago, but I’m far less focused on the number that pops up on my scale than I have been in the past. I just know I feel pretty good!
I’ve yet to find myself elbow deep in a jar of peanut butter with a soup spoon and a squeeze bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup in a desperate attempt to raise my blood sugar back from the dead, because the only thing I’ve eaten all day is the elixir of life (coffee)….and whatever I scavenged off my son’s breakfast plate before dumping it into the trash.
On the flip-side, I haven’t hit Dunkin for an everything bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, Chipotle for a steak burrito at lunch and a three-serving size helping of pasta and meatballs with garlic bread for dinner either.
My meals have become more balanced and consistent and I feel far less sluggish than I have in a while.
Kate Moss once famously said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I think her bony ass is full of shit….but, healthy tastes pretty good….healthy with a side of chocolate every now and the