I told a friend last night that I’ve lost 12 pounds in 2 months on a diet and she asked me to send her the info on what I’m doing. Since it’s easier to type at my keyboard than on my phone, I decided to simply make a blog post out of it. I don’t know if anyone else will be interested, but here it is, with just a little bit of background for anyone who isn’t Kristine.
My husband, Wes, started the four hour body diet in August (http://fourhourbody.com/). He’s doing very well on it. I didn’t. The first week, I gained 2 pounds. The second week I lost one of those pounds. The third week I lost the other pound. The fourth week I lost 1/2 pound. So… by the end of one month I was down half a pound. I went nuts. I cried. I went to see my doctor and had a bit of a meltdown. I asked him to test my hormone level, my thyroid – something must be wrong. Because I was following this diet strictly and it wasn’t working. Wes had lost something like 16 pounds, and I’d lost half a pound.
All my tests came back fine. I decided that it was just the diet that wasn’t working and started “tweaking” it. I’ve had pretty good results and that’s what I’m talking about here. And remember – this is for Kristine, who specifically asked me to do this. I’m not “selling” anything. Kristine, by the way, lost a ton of weight already and looks awesome!! (Really, you do!)
So, in no particular order:
1. Eat Less, Exercise More.
I know, “duh.” But that’s the main gist of the whole thing.
2. Download “Lose It” for your smart phone
or a similar program. I’m not familiar with any of the others, but I like this one. You put in your age, weight, and how much you want to lose per week and it tells you how much you can eat. Exercise earns you calories back. You can scan bar codes to record food. It’s really cool. And If you’re strict with yourself, sometimes you’ll decide it’s too much trouble to record the food and then you simply won’t eat it. When that happens to me it usually means I’m not really hungry.
3. Cut out white flour
and basically flours as a whole. And potatoes. When you’re not eating breads, pastas, and such, you stop craving them. Instead:
4. Increase your protein intake.
Lose It has a great pie chart that shows you what you’re eating every day: how much Protein/Carbs/Fat. I try to make my pie chart equal parts, with the goal being that there is more protein than carbs, more carbs than fat. This is where I think the 4 Hour Body failed for me. The carb level was very low, but my fat intake was was out of control. I think that’s more of an issue for women than men. But I did keep some of his tips in mind, like
5. Don’t drink calories.
Water, water, water. No sodas, except an occasional diet soda. No juices. A glass of red wine is okay, once in a while.
6. Find foods that work for you.
I started buying protein bars because I’m on the road a lot. I don’t have time to pack a day’s worth of food before I leave in the morning. I’m just not that organized. I like my food to be easy.
Eating out is always a challenge but, in a restaurant, you can ask for extra veggies instead of potatoes. Fast food isn’t totally off limits, either. I found that the McDonald’s grilled chicken salad isn’t bad. KFC will sell you a single grilled chicken breast. Subway sells salads (with tuna, if you like). And you can always run into a grocery store during the day and buy something simple to eat, which leads me to:
7. Allow yourself one serving per day of fruit and/or dairy.
Grab a pint of blueberries, a banana, and/or a greek yogurt for lunch. I used to see people eating this for lunch and wonder how they weren’t starving in an hour. Meanwhile I’d be eating a tuna sandwich on wheat with a small bag of chips, and I’d still be hungry in an hour. Once I cut the flour (no cravings!) I found that fruit and a yogurt really do fill me up.
The four hour body cuts fruit and dairy out of your diet entirely. That made me crazy. I was eating nuts to stave off hunger, and they’re high in fat. Instead, a banana fills me up. Carbs, but no fats. If I’m hungry at night, I have a small glass of skim milk to insure that I don’t wake up at 3 am and sleepily raid the fridge. Another dairy option is the sugar free Jello Pudding cups, which also satisfies my chocolate addiction.
8. Find an exercise program that works for you.
I’ve done the gym thing more than once (join, go faithfully for a month, stop going – but keep paying til you finally admit you’ll never go back). I’ve tried Curves. I tried walking 3-5 times a week, which the dog likes, but I started to hate. For me, it’s dancing. Dance classes don’t feel like exercise. I need more of them. At least I’m up and moving. If, in your mind, exercise = work, you probably won’t do it for very long. When exercise = fun, you’ll do it.
9. Set attainable goals
and reward yourself in non-food ways. Get a new haircut. Buy a new pair of pants. Or shoes.
10. Have a cheat day.
In my opinion, this is the most important one. I can do anything if it’s not forever. I make notes during the week if I’m craving something. On Saturday, I can have it – if my craving isn’t gone by then. The first week, I ate four blueberry pancakes for breakfast, with lots of syrup. Then I slept for four more hours. The carb overload made me crash. The second weekend, I had two blueberry pancakes. The third, I had one. (Who knew I had such a thing for blueberry pancakes?? But that’s what I was craving!) Anyway, cheating once a week is important. Wes and I really look forward to our Saturdays!
But maintain some control. If you eat three days worth of calories on cheat day, you’re undoing some of your work. I’ve heard people say that a cheat day “reboots” your body. Keeps it from getting used to less calories. Whatever. I think the piece of mind is the most important part of cheat day.
No… I can’t have mashed potatoes during the week. But I can on Saturday.
No… I’m not going to stop at Carvel (or Ben and Jerry’s) on the way home today. But I can on Saturday.
Or Sunday. Or whatever day your cheat day is.
And, once in a while, maybe it’s a whole cheat week. Although, I’d almost guarantee you won’t do that. By the end of cheat day on Saturday I feel lousy. Overfull. Sluggish. It’s amazing how your body wants you to eat well.
And that’s it. I’m losing weight slowly but not painfully. Hopefully that will be the key. I still have a looong way to go.