Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Incredible, Shrinking Woman

As you may know, I've been trying to lose weight for several years now. This year I'm especially dedicated because I have a big birthday coming up in December and I want to look fabulous!
Wanna know if I've found something that works? Keep reading!

There are many methods out there, but one that has worked best for me in the past has been Atkins. However, it isn't the best method for long-term, and isn't exactly practical for Africa.

Then I picked up Timothy Ferris's book: 4 Hour Body. Right after I arrived in the States this past spring I found t at the library. It's very thick, but it covers a few different topics. Read the introduction and zero in on the chapters most suited to helping you.

I am not a doctor, or a scientist, nor do I play either of those things on TV or the internet. I will be sharing my experiences and perhaps something will click for you. Read the book. Make an informed decision. Consult your doctor, yada yada. :)

I won't go into too many details about this eating plan, because you should really read the book, but it can be summarized quickly as being a Slow-Carb diet.

This boils down to no white food: potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, etc. Also, you should avoid dairy and fruit. And, it goes without saying (though I'll say it anyway): No sugar.

What you can eat is protein, vegetables and beans, beans, beans.

AND! a huge selling point for me: You get one day off each week to stuff yourself. Literally! Timothy recommends eating way more than your usual caloric intake. This helps to trick your body into thinking it's getting plenty to eat and therefore burns more calories. (or something like that--see above disclaimer)
One thing I like about having the day off is, it is easier to resist temptation during the week. I reassured myself that if I really wanted it, I could have it on Sunday. Sometimes the craving would leave me. But, if not, I ate it on Sunday.
Also, if I was out with friends and they offered me dessert or something off my plan, it was easier to say "I'd love to have that, but I'll wait for Sunday". It's often awkward when someone is on a diet, and turns food down, and then whoever is eating the food feels guilty, etc. Saying I would eat it--just later--made it less judgey sounding, I guess.Sometimes my hostess would send a plate of dessert home with me which I saved in the fridge for later, and enjoyed thoroughly and I was able to tell them how much I enjoyed the dish.

A big tip is to eat as soon as possible after waking up. This boosts your metabolism and gets it revving for the day.

What I've noticed since following this diet:

I'm more satisfied throughout the day. On a regular diet or even small meal plan, I am ravenous between meals. Because my meals now contain beans they actually help me to feel full longer as they digest slowly. I have been completely happy with only three reasonable meals a day.

My blood sugar is much more even. Because the carbs I'm taking in are digesting slowly and therefore releasing into my bloodstream more evenly, I don't have the huge highs and lows that I was experiencing before. My mood swings have improved and I feel so much better. I didn't even have a blood sugar issue (aside from being mildly hypoglycemic), but the improvement has been phenomenal.

I also have plenty of energy which is not always the case when following a plan to try to lose weight.

Another big reason for choosing this diet for me is that I can do it here in Africa.  Beans are readily available and I can get vegetables fairly easily. I'll write more next week about how I've fared on this plan since returning to Zambia. Also I will talk more about what I actually eat and what my meals look like.

And now, would you like to hear the results??

During the 8 weeks that I followed this plan in the States this spring, I lost a  total of 12 pounds. In the next few weeks after returning to Zambia, I lost another 4. I found them last month during my trip to Lusaka (oops), but they are coming back off again.
I introduced my mom to this plan as well and she has lost 20 pounds! I'm so proud of her!

When I was down in Lusaka I got a bunch of compliments about looking better and how people could tell I'd lost weight. It was very affirming!

People also said I had nice hair and I was coming close to getting a bit proud, but then I remembered that the internet once told me that the celebrity I most resemble is Drew Carey--the Drew of Whose Line is it Anyway fame, not the Price is Right when he'd gotten in shape. So, this keeps me humble.

If you have any questions (about the diet/plan--not my level of humility), please let me know so I can answer them in the next post.

Exactly One Year Ago: Reading Little House on the Prairie from Our Big House in the Bush
Exactly Two Years Ago: Birthdays and Reunions
Exactly Three Years Ago: High Praise

1 comment:

  1. It is very interesting what you write about your new diet, because it sounds like what you have basically done is changing your diet to an almost wholefood diet. Eating more complex carbs like in whole grains rather than processed carbs like sugar and white bread ensures a steady release of sugar into your blood, and having veggies and beans as the base of your diet ensures you simply don't take in these excessive amounts of energy that you do when you have a carb-based diet. I generally promote changing your general diet to a plant-based one with limited meat intake, and complex carbs. rather than going on a diet where you restrict yourself to only certain foods for a limited amount of time (it will make you crave for the foods you left out). That helps you identifying foods that are good for you (and making it a habit to eat just thosewill have a huge impact on your long-term health as well). These foods will become your feel-good food. And remember, having a sweet or dessert every once in a while is really not the end of the world, especially if it is not part of your every day diet but rather a treat. That takes the pressure away and you can relax.


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