Thursday, June 04, 2009

My Cunning Plan

Since I began dating Ed, I have gained back the 65 lbs that I lost a few years ago.

When I told him this the other night, he asked if he had in some way influenced this, and the answer is, yes, but not in the way one might think. Ed does not ply me with bonbons or keep me from exercising. But I only lost all that weight before by concentrating on weight loss a whole lot, and Ed has been a lot more fun to concentrate on. As well, being in a relationship has made me happy and content in the usual way that often leads the newly married to gain a bit of weight.

I don't hate being fat that much. I'm not too self-conscious about my body, for instance, and Ed doesn't seem to mind (so the whole "how will I ever find someone to love me" whine is not really relevant, if it ever was). I am able to find clothes that I'm satisfied wearing. I don't go around feeling fat all the time in some kind of oppressive way.

But it isn't healthy, and it does make me much less fit than I could be otherwise, and I do notice those things. And, the thing is, I could kind of accept it, except that I keep gaining weight inexorably and I don't know where it would stop. It's easy to fall into the trap of feeling accepting of the current weight "as long as I don't gain any more" and ending up like the proverbial frog in the pot of slowly boiling water. (It is not true of frogs, by the way, that they will allow themselves to be boiled, however gradually one raises the temperature.)

I've tried losing weight here and there, but never been able to stick with anything longer than a few days. I seem to encounter a brick wall of non-caring pretty soon, and just revert to whatever I was doing before.

But I actually feel motivated right now, as though enough is finally enough, perhaps. (We'll see.) And I have devised an experimental weight-loss scheme, and this is the fourth day, and I can sort of imagine myself sticking with it.

grains, glorious grainsIn short, I have given up grains, potatoes, and sweeteners. This means basically bread, noodles, rice, cereal, french fries, anything battered, tortilla chips, sodas, and so on.

I am excluding grains that are invisible and inconsequential - I will not trouble myself over whether a sauce was thickened with cornstarch or whether spaghetti sauce contains some sugar or corn syrup.

Whatever I do for weight loss needs to be compatible with eating out and with convenience foods (like pasta sauce in a jar), and this diet seems to accomplish that. In restaurants it basically looks like a low-carb diet, but I have no intention of restricting any other carbs: it's open season on fruit, milk, vegetables, and beans, for instance. So this diet will probably end up being somewhat low in carbs, but not specifically by design.

It hasn't been easy so far - the things I've given up are some of the Very Best Foods - but I've managed it, and I think it's getting easier. It's too early to say whether I'm losing weight doing this, but I do find that a lot of my meals are the same size as before except without the starches, which would obviously cut quite a few calories.

I am attracted to the utter simplicity of this idea. And, of course, I have (probably fantastical) hopes that this one particular sacrifice will, by itself (or in conjunction with a moderate amount of exercise), result in some meaningful weight loss, without my having to strenuously guard my diet in other ways. (By "strenuously" I mean something more than just "no, two bunless bacon cheeseburgers is not an appropriate dinner").

I may allow myself one meal with grains per week, because I really do hate to give up some of the restaurant food that I love. But I'm not sure if I want to do that this first week or not.

Anyway, I'll try to post about how this works out. If you never hear anything about it from me again, chances are I lost interest and jumped back in the steamy frog-pot.


Susan said...

Nutritionists now say that our plates should be filled half with vegetables, a fourth with protein and a fourth with carb. If we actually did that we would all be healthier and probably weigh less.

Tam said...

Yeah, I think that's a really healthy way to eat, especially if you keep the plate down to a moderate size.

Debbie said...

I like to fill my plate half with grains, 1/4 with protein and 1/4 with dairy. So, only half my plate is good. And we haven't even mentioned that other small plate to the side with dessert.

At least much of my grains and proteins also have fiber. So I'm really only missing vitamins, minerals, flavenoids, and all those other magical things.

Good luck Tam!

Sally said...

I personally have found that limiting carbs does lead to reasonably easy weight loss (I mean assuming you start out with enough excess weight; I know how it works with 20 lb, not 5 lb), mostly by the sort of built-in calorie restriction that comes with a lack of desire to eat large quantities of the allowed foods. But I don't tend to like diets that restrict food categories - too many years on the Eliminated Diet perhaps? I'll be interested to hear how this experience compares for you with calorie restriction or mixed CR diets like Weight Watchers.

Sally said...

P.S. I like to fill my plate with pancakes, but I don't really do that very often.

Tam said...

So far I am enjoying it pretty well. It's difficult, but in a new and different way from anything I've tried before. I'm definitely not feeling much hunger despite often not eating much. And for once, I can buy fruit and I'll actually eat it!