I’ve had a weight problem almost all of my life; however, when I saw photos from a family Memorial Day event in 2011, I was surprised to see how big I had gotten. In my mind, I was around a size 14. In the real world, I was a size 20 and still going up. Surprised as I was, I was not motivated to make any kind of real change.
Oh, sure. I told myself I was dieting and cut out my daily Snickers bar, but that was really it. You see, that was kind of my life-long pattern. The Big Diet Lie, as it were. Don’t look at me like that. You know you’ve done it, too. “Oh, no more lasagne for me. I’m on a diet.” Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you scarf an entire box of low-fat cookies. Hey, but they’re low fat. Stop it. You know you don’t even believe that.
I had lost significant amounts of weight using both The Diet Center program and Nutrisystem when I was in my twenties. With the Diet Center program, I cooked my own food. Nutrisystem was just like it is now – super, super easy. I just wasn’t commited enough to myself to keep the weight off with either program.
When I made the decision this time to actually lose weight, I remembered the food list from the Diet Center program. Unfortunately, their store fronts have long gone out of business and the books are no longer in print. So, I went to abebooks.com (my most favoritest book site) to get a copy of the cookbook and of the program guide. The books are written by Sybil Ferguson who devised the program for her own health. I also bought a book called Your Body Knows Best about eating for your blood type, metabolism and heritage. I combined those two programs and came up with a group of foods that work for me.
The short description of the list is this: lots of fresh fruits & vegetables, no canned foods or premade sauces (they hide all kinds of sugar, sodium and preservatives in canned and jarred food – read the labels, they”ll scare you to death), meat-free Mondays (or just some day of the week), fish one day a week, no more than one diet soft drink a day (down from 6 or 7 cans a day!), and absurd amounts of water. A daily multi-vitamin ensured that my vitamins and minerals weren’t all flushed out by the copious amounts of water I drank. I also took flax seed and fish oil supplements to help curb cravings. My body craves red meat; so, I eat it. My dad had a calf slaughtered before it got into the meat processing system. The cuts are leaner from this grass-fed calf (which also hadn’t been treated with all those antibiotics necessary for cattle in stockyards); however, even with fattier cuts, I just counted the calories. A good piece of roast beef from time to time isn’t going to kill me and if it keeps me from craving worse things, then, in the balance, it’s the best move for me.
I ate three meals and three snacks a day, keeping my mealtimes as routine as possible. For me, this regular intake of calories kept my blood sugar steady which kept me alert and hunger pang free. I’ve read that the body often signals the need for fluid by making you feel hungry; so, if I found myself feeling peckish outside of routine meal times, I drank a large glass of water or a cup of hot herbal tea. If the water trick didn’t work, I brushed my teeth. That minty feeling often cut off hunger at the pass.
I do not buy sugar free cookies or candies since they actually contain sugar alcohol which, I have discovered, makes me hungry. For 110 calories, I can have two pieces of sugar free candy and be hungry enough to gnaw off my own fist in 30 minutes, or I can have a large banana and be satisfied for two hours. For the same reason, I rarely ate pasta or white breads. Any bread that I ate came from the store bakery, from the farmers’ market or from my own oven. Since the stuff sold on the shelves takes so long to mold, it scares me. I’d rather buy from a local baker, pay a little more, put some in the freezer to keep it fresh and know that I’m reducing the preservatives in my diet.
I would estimate that the first 40 to 50 pounds were lost basically to changing food choices and habits. It was phenomenal! But, did you notice how an awful lot of those habit descriptions involved the past tense? Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why.