The main thing I’ve heard over and over again throughout the years of my own personal battle has been the simple equation of:
Energy In = Energy Out (+ Body Stores)
So if you eat more food than you need, you’re gonna gain weight. Eat less, lose weight. Do more activity, lose weight, etc. What that simple phrase doesn’t tell you however is that energy expenditure means increase of appetite (well, it does for me—again EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT!) and emotional food triggers (for me: stress!) equals a damn hard time of keeping that simple equation throughout the day. Plus add an over abundance of pre-packed food designed to be extra delicious with added fat and sugar, convenient delivery or drive through food sources for the busy lifestyle, and the siren call of television, computer games, and the internet- it’s no wonder that a majority of us are fighting the bulge.
Several years ago I decided to make the switch to cooking a majority of all my own food – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. This has helped me tremendously, but my body wants to be at a certain weight. There are theories about everybody having a set weight point, but there’s also even more supporting evidence that once you’ve gone to a certain point of being overweight, if you lose weight your body thinks it has to get back to that weight because it thinks you’re starving. In short,
Your body wants you to fail.
Sure there are people who don’t have any of the issues above and who can eat whatever they want and maintain a perfect body. This series is not for you, and I hate you (because I want to be you.) For the rest of us, now that I’ve managed to get my extremely long pre-amble out of the way…. Let’s talk diets.
I hate diets. Fad diets, celebrity diets, anything that someone has to sell me to do, or is going to cost me money- hell no.
Here are some of the diets I’ve done:
Atkins – Eating a lot of protein and zero carbs. I had luck with this one, but it ultimately failed because I didn’t like eating a lot of meat.
South Beach – Starting out with a strict 2-week-no-sugar-or-carbs induction phase, then slowly graduation whole grains into the eating plan. I also had great luck with this one and over time slid back into my carb eating ways.
Vegetarianism – I was a vegetarian for about two years. I gained weight, despite living “clean” with a never ending supply of quinoa, kale, chickpeas, and eggs. Looking back on it now, I cheated a lot by buying processed fake chick’n patties other faux meats. Mmm, fake chicken nuggets…
Vegan – I was able to maintain a vegan lifestyle for about 48 hours before I caved to eating delicious, tasty cheese.
Here are some of the diets I flat out refuse to do:
Weight Watchers/Jenny Craig – Any corporate diet scheme that wants me to pay them to eat less and buy their chemical laden helper foods can go far, far away. I’ve had friends who have tried these sources and most of them didn’t have success. I’m not saying they work, because I’m sure they can be really helpful, but they’re not for me.
That stupid lame ass lemon/cayenne pepper/ flush bullshit – Don’t even talk to me about this. It’s stupid. Cleanses are a weird hippie lie. You’re flushing out water weight and starving yourself. You’re not helping yourself accomplish anything.
Juice cleanses – See stupid lemon/cayenne flush above, only now you’re adding a lot of plant based sugar to your body for a glucose high every time you drink because you’re starving yourself. Just stop.
So now that you see how bitter I am towards diets- let’s get me on a diet, shall we?
Upon talking to my coworker about this, I was given 2 books. The 4 Hour Body, and the Dukan Diet (made famous by a certain princess prior to her wedding day) – both diets seem to be a little silly, but this is all for entertainment’s sake right? I also was pitched Paleo and Keto.
4 Hour Body – Says one must eat “slow carbs” or, avoid white carbs/processed foods, no fruit, no sugar, and no calories in drinks.
Dukan – All meat all the time, then switch to meat only days and veggie and meat days. Also in there add a little bit of oat bran daily for fiber. (This part doesn’t work for me since I get violently ill with oats. Sadface.)
Paleo – The story/history/science of this diet is fantastically bullshit, but the eating part is pretty good- eating only what a hunter/gatherer would find in the wild: meat, veggies- nothing processed or sweet.
Keto – This diet is weird- switching your body to run in a state of ketosis; instead of running off of carbs and sugar, run off of fats. By decreasing your caloric amount and what kinds of calories you consume (read: no carbs), you burn fat in an efficient manner.
All four of these diets are pretty similar with the vein of no carbs, no sugar, nothing processed. The only difference is what sort of ratio of foods am I going to eat? This may sound like an unhealthy choice, but I chose keto- mainly because with that I could group my foods into macros for easier tracking, and I get to pee on a stick to figure out if I’m actually burning fat fuel or not! (It’s the little perks in life that count.) Paleo and 4 Hour Body both sort of fall in line with Keto so really the only one out is the Dukan diet, which means I’m going to start with the Dukan induction phase before switching to Keto just for entertainment’s sake. Either way…
Next Time: Explaining keto in depth a bit more because it’s not as bad as it sounds and I had to convince my nurse mother that it wouldn’t kill me and besides I’ve already lost 15 lbs on it!