The tales of two pernicious pugs and their doormat.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Best Diet Ever

Hello, all! At the start of this year, I began a new diet and exercise plan to shed the tremendous amount of weight I put on during my stint taking happy pills for the past two years. Now that I'm off the pills and my system is clean, I should hopefully be able to lose weight a lot easier (I mentioned in an older post the fact that losing weight has been impossible for me while on the happy pills, and I have tried - really hard. And everything I eat goes straight to my hips. After researching, I realized there are tons of people in the same situation). I know it's been only a couple of days since I started, but I've been sticking to it, and I'm feeling better - I've lost 4 pounds (I'm guessing mostly water weight), in the past week, so things are looking up. I've decided to blog about it, because not only will it help me keep track of my progess, but it will be some motivation to keep at it. I can understand if you're not interested in reading my future posts, and that's perfectly okay. Think of these posts as me talking to myself. You can skip this one too if you like.

First off, I should explain my diet plan. I grew up in a doctor/nutritionist home, with tons of friends and family who were also in the business, so since I was a kid, I've known exactly what I need to do to lose weight and keep myself healthy. The thing is actually applying it. I'm sure you all know that a calorie is not just a calorie - a calorie from a large McDonalds french fry is very different from the calories in a bowl of minestrone soup. Both food items are about the same in calories - about 500 or so. However, a large portion of the fries has fat calories in it, while the minestone soup has hardly any or no fat at all. And we all know that fat is what makes us, well, fat. When the body digests what you eat, it burns off some of the calories during the process. The better foods you eat, the more calories burned off during digestion - foods like vegetables, fruits, good proteins, etc. But fat - fat zips through digestion and goes directly into your problem spots. You really do not burn any calories when eating fat. So while eating fries or a bowl of minestrone soup may be calorie-equal, it's really not when it goes through digestion - say you burn off 20 calories on the minestrone, but zilch on the fries. Therefore, it's really a 480 calorie soup OR 500 calorie fries.

Okay, so that's the theory my diet is based on. The less fat calories I eat, the better for me. I've decided to limit myself to a 1,300 calorie diet. Most doctors recommend the lowest you go, while still doing some form of exercise, be 1,200. Below that, and you're not providing enough nutrition to your body, and your efforts will backfire on you. When you really count your calories, you realize how easy it is to eat ridiculous amounts of them (as I'm sure you all know). For example, I love smoothies. But not the ice cream stuff - I'm talking about just fruits and ice, basically. I make them myself most of the time, but when I'm out shopping, I occasionally buy myself an Orange Julius or Jamba Juice smoothie. Last week I was shopping with my family who'd come over for Christmas, and I bought a Triple-Berry w/banana smoothie at Orange Julius. It has different juices, real fruit, a little yogurt, and the banana, of course. When I checked the nutritional information at home, I was shocked to see that in total, I had consumed 610 calories JUST from that one drink. That's more calories than in large McDonald french fries! Sure, they're better calories, but geez! I'm trying to keep my caloric intake to 1300 or below - that's nearly half my calories for a day. Why is it so calorie-full? The reason is basically juice - juice and yogurt. If you haven't noticed, 1 cup of most juices is at least 120 calories, if not more. A 20 ounce smoothie is 2.5 cups, times 120 calories = 300. Plus the yogurt? I'm guessing another 100/200 calories. That's 500 right there. Plus the banana - another 100 calories. Yeah. It's ridiculous how quickly the calories pile up if you don't check out what's in the food.

So what do I do? Not eat out at all. When you've reached your ideal weight, it's okay to go out once a month, twice a month, and indulge, as long as you keep up with your good eating and working out, but when you're in the weight-loss part of the plan? No going out. Period. Unless you're eating steamed veggies all the time. And if I'm going to be eating that, I might as well be eating at home. It's much easier to avoid temptation when it isn't staring you in the face. So okay - I'm cooking at home. That's fine - I absolutely LOVE to cook, and I have tons of healthy recipes I can do. So that's what I've been doing. My basic diet is broken down as follows:
More veggies and fruits
Only 2 servings of carbs a day
2 servings of good protein a day
20 grams or less of fat a day
And count, count, count!

I'm a soup freak, so I start the day off with a cup of herbal tea (I'm also a tea freak), toast with VERY little margarine, and a grapefruit. Then for lunch I have some oranges. Then for dinner I make myself some soup, using only one serving for each ingredient - i.e. 1 celery stalk, 1 small potato, 1 small onion, 1 carrot, 1/2 cup of pasta, etc. You may think that's not a lot, but believe me, it is. It's soup. Soup EXPANDS. So I end up with a giant pot of soup that tastes great, fills me up, and is only about 500 calories. 500 good, healthy calories. Regarding fat intake, I use 1 tbsp of margarine in the morning on toast, which is 7 grams, and in the evening I use 1 tsp of oil, which has about 5 grams. So I eat 12 grams of fat a day.

As far as exercise goes, I've been lazy about dragging my butt through the freezing snow outside to get to the gym, so I've resorted to working out at home. I recently got a stationary bike, which is fantastic, because I love them, so I'm planning on using that as part of my exercise regime. 30 minutes on the bike, then weights and calisthenics for another 15 minutes. I wake up around 7 AM to get this done, since I don't need to be at work until 9, and I have plenty of to get dressed and eat my tea and toast. It doesn't seem like much fun for the first day or two, but you get into the groove of things, and it gets easier.

So, that's basically it. Eat healthy, limit calories, COUNT your calories (very important), and exercise. I know this is probably the longest posting I've ever made, and I apologize if you read through all that, but I figured I should lay it all out now. Like I said, it's only been about a week, but I feel better, I've lost some weight, and this diet seems reasonable enough that I can see myself implementing it permanently in my life, and just giving myself a few more calories once I reach my ideal weight. I'm excited, and I really hope my body works with me in getting back into my size 6 jeans. Ha ha ha... one can only hope.

If you've got any questions or comments or think I'm crazy, go ahead and let me know. Any additional information is definitely welcome. Thanks, and now I need to go pick up a boyfriend from the airport, to toodles to all!


Tam said...

I also want to try to lose a few pounds. It'll take me a little bit to figure it out, though, because of my insulin injections. Case in point: tonight I cut back on my dinner, but didn't cut my insulin enough so my sugar dropped and I wound up having to eat again. Crap.

Good luck to you!

Pug & I said...

If your pictures are any indication, you don't need to drop a pound. :) But with the whole insulin thing, dieting's gotta be difficult - I wonder if there are any diets tailored especially for people in your situation? That would be interesting to find out. Although I guess you're probably experienced enough to know what to do :) Good luck, and hope you figure stuff out! :)

PinkPiddyPaws said...

Congratulations!!! I know how hard it is to make an actual "Life" change like you are talking about but it is a way, way, WAY great thing!

I love soup too! Matter of fact, I just put a few soup cookbooks on my amazon wish list. ha..ha. (oh..and a bunch of "chicken" cookbooks!).

Me? I made ONE promise to myself. For every "non-plain water" drink I have, I will drink 8 ounces of plain water. That's a pretty darn good promise, I think! :)

Keep us posted!!!!