People have been asking about what "I’m doing" lately, in regards to diet and all that. I’m apparently crossed the physical threshold where that is noticable and acceptable. Sadly, I have very little of interest to report, as I am just dieting and exercising. But I will expand on that, so that I can point people here if they ask in the future.
I am doing a combination of The McDougall Program and Weight Watchers. The McDougall Program is a vegan diet where you avoid animal products (obviously), as well as oils, breads, pastas (except whole wheat), and sugars. I eat so many fun, flavorful, and satisfying foods that I am always at a loss as to what to say when the next question after mentioning my diet is always, "So, what do you eat?"
The Weight Watchers component overlaps it, and I think I mainly use that socially (things that get me out of the house are good), but also it is the one moment where I weigh in every week and reflect on what I did right and wrong in the past week, and what the week ahead looks like. On Weight Watchers, I follow their new "Core" plan, on which you can eat all the fruits and vegetables you want, some oils (which I avoid), soy products, whole grains, beans. Basically, everything that is amazing and natural. The Core plan also allows for dairy, cheese, and meat consumption, which I do not allow on my program.
In addition, I go to the gym seven days a week and do 45 minutes of cardio. I alternate between the ellipticals (fat burning mode, resistance at 7 (presently), and I jack the normal program up a level or two manually), cross-trainers (cardio mode, and let the machine keep my heart rate at 147), and stepmills (fat burning mode, level 6 (presently).
As for WHAT I eat, the options are endless. Today I had shredded wheat, blueberries, and soy milk for breakfast; two Boca vegan soy burgers and corn for lunch; Indian spiced peas and mushrooms for dinner. I also had a grapefruit and apple as two snacks during the day.
There are many McDougall cookbooks on the market, which I recommend. And he has a monthly newsletter which has 4-6 recipes per issue, all of which are archived on his website.
I also eat out without much incident. At Pasta Pomodoro, I order their primavera dish, which automatically comes with whole wheat penne pasta, vegetables and a red sauce (I always refuse the bread and pesto before I even sit down). At Nirvana, I alternate between their vegetarian lettuce cups, ginger salad, and green papaya salad; although, on rare occassion, I do have the firecracker noodle soup with tofu (which has rice noodles instead of whole wheat). At Millennium, I eat anything I want. the bigger issue there is not filling up.
That is another new thing, which I attribute to Weight Watchers. On the Core plan, you are supposed to continually monitor yourself and only eat when you are hungry. Sounds simple, but most people eat based on emotional impulse, time of day, and a lot of other factors beyond hunger. When you do eat, you don’t eat to be "full," but rather to feel "satisfied." Only cure your hunger. In this modern age, no one should ever worry that they are unsure when they will get an opportunity to eat next.
So, those are the things I have been doing for half a year now. And what I will continue doing until I finish losing weight. And what I will continue doing once I have lost my weight.
There is no food that I salivate over and can’t wait until I eat it again once I’m finished dieting. Over the holidays, I actually had a rule. If I ever said "I can’t" regarding my ability to eat a food I was offered, I HAD to eat it… I realized that being vegetarian, I had no qualms about telling people I don’t eat sausage. But, I would say I can’t eat a cookie. I later lied in Weight Watchers when explaining this rule, saying it cost me a few cookies, but it was worth it. In fact, I never said can’t regarding food the entire time. The first few meetings after the holiday eat-a-thon were no time to be that honest. Stephen King always told interviewers that he wrote every day except Christmas, his birthday, and the Fourth of July, later admitting he wrote on those days, too, but it seemed to weird to people to be that disciplined.
This week, I went to see Dr. McDougall give a presentation about his diet. I went with two friends who started a new website called sugar-free vegan (which also has recipes), and he did his normal spiel. The most interesting parts were seeing people try and get him to exempt them from what pills they take, or how they eat.
One woman just could not get around the fact that you can eat olives on the McDougall plan, but not use olive oil. She said it is a healthy oil. He said all oil is fat. She said it was better than using other oils. He said that if she wanted the fat on her body to come from olives, that was fine to eat. It’s similar to Weight Watchers, where the Core plan does allow oils, and potatoes… but not french fries. If you’re looking for loopholes in this stuff, you’re only hurting yourself.
He also spoke out against taking any vitamin supplements (which I hadn’t heard him do previously). I have been VERY bad about taking mine anyway, so I guess it’s been for the good. He does recommend 50 micrograms of B12 daily if you are vegan, but that’s about it.
The day after seeing him in person, his new DVD set arrived at my door. Three DVDs of his lectures, and two additional DVDs about the biological addictions to certain foods, and vegan cooking. Haven’t watched most of it yet, but I can’t get enough.
I also received a book today called The China Study, which (my understanding is) will show the implications of diet and health, as well as spell out how powerful lobbies and the medical establishment are covering up important science in the same of profits.
I guess I seem a bit obsessed by this stuff. I think doing something like this diet for life is going to bring out a lot of guilt in other people. People who offer you something and you refuse to eat it because it is unhealthy (although you hopefully put it more tactfully than that) will still raise issues that it is unhealthy and make them wonder if THEY should be eating it. (If you ever ask yourself that question, the answer is always no).
Anyway, that’s what I’m up to these days…