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Three score and ten or more

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Diet Guru—NOT ME

I mentioned, either on Facebook or here, that in the last year of so I had lost 67 llbs (now, a little over seventy-three score and ten or more) and was keeping it off, and I received three or four Emails or Facebook messages asking me to explain how I lost this weight and how I kept it off.

Now if I were going into the diet guru business, I would have begun this post with”Four foods that you should never eat”  ( or Four foods that you should always ear to get rid of belly fat) and this title would be followed by by a link to a browser page that would tell you about all the marvelous things I have done followed by a couple of other links dealing with my qualifications as a guru, and finally  with a link to an opportunity to pay thirty dollars to either subscribe to my magazine or download my PDF file.  (if this looks familiar it is because gurus of other kinds use it as well, including the guy who advertises his prediction for “an even that will change our lives, and what we can do to protect ourselves from the event.  He is selling subscriptions)

In my case, I began weight loss by subscribing to a weight loss program called Vitality for Life.  It is sponsored by Melaleuca company and has some interesting features.  When you first subscribe you subscribe for three months for a little over a hundred dollars, then for every day you log into the website  and post your food diary, exercise diary etc. (including your measurements and weight once a week) at the end of three months they refund six bucks so that at the end of three months, if you have logged in your info (and downloaded at no cost a bunch of menus and suggestions) it only has cost you six months a month.

What I learned that was most effective was the calorie count for all kind of   foods, including restaurant and fast food helping, the calories used in certain types of exercise, and the value of weighiing in systematically, and the habit of recording every thing that you eat (including snacks).  IN three months, I had lost twenty pounds and was into a routine that worked for me.

I have strong feelings about what one should do for  getting weight under control and keeping it there. ( Not all of them came from Vitality for Life.) :

1  record everything that you eat, both what it is and how much of it you eat.

2. No second helpings of anything (except possibliy un-buttered vegetables.

3 When you eat, sit down, and do nothing but eat.   No snacks.  Do not ever (well, maybe during the super bowl) eat anything while driving, watching TV, reading, in the movies, etc.  Snacks will kill you eventually, and add pounds almost immediately .  (I occasionally violate this rule while driving because it keeps an old man awake, but I limit driving snacks to raw veggies, craisins (dried cranberries) and things like that, No peanuts, chips , hotdogs, fastfood :or any of that stuff)

My weight loss has been influenced by some outside things that I didn’t know would have any effect on weight loss.  I had a limited number of teeth, and broke out one of my incisors, and the dentist convince me that, all things considered,  I would be wises to pull my upper teeth and get an upper plate.  I did this.  This affected my eating so that I ate a little less and a little less frequently, but shortly thereafter, two of my lower teeth “blew up” and I had to have them pulled. These were both molars in the critical chewing are of the mouth.  When they went away, I had  very little to chew with on the lower jaw.  The main effect of this was to slow down my eating process.  It took me twice as long to eat anything than it took any of my family or friends.

This was very embarrassing at first, but I gradually recognized that I filled up on a lot less food.  This in turn made an enormous and sudden difference in my weight.  I began to lose weight so fast that it made me nervous.  I lost fourteen pounds in one weekend, and it concerned me enough that I went to see my doctor about it.  He examined me very thoroughly and after that was of the opinion that I was just not eating very much. I was trying to eat more protein than carbs and lots of veggies.   I discovered that with limited chewing surfaces  eating most cuts of been was a waste of time.  (except hamburger).  I shifted my attention to seafoods, chicken, and  pork.  It was at that time that I realized how much I had been eating in restaurants, because, as a result of slow eating, I was taking home (in a “to go” box) at least half, usually more than half of my entre’s.  I fed a couple of my sons very well on my leftovers.

I have neglected to mention two other factors.  I am convinced that, to lose weight and still be healthy it is important to take some supplemental vitamins and to have some kind of regular exercise schedule to keep the metabolism up.  We do water aerobics almost every day for about an hour.  The aerobics class we attend is not one of gentle movement, but involves a lot of jogging in place and other fairly strenuous exercise.  It is strenous enough that our cardiologis, because Janet has a dissected aorta and has had aortal surgery (replaced five centimeters of her ascending aorta with a Dacron tube) that  she had to limit herself to walking back and forth in the pool and pulling water around with her arms.  (She does this so emphatically that I think Dr Shin would restrict her even more if he saw her in action).

When we first started our exercise we walked a couple of miles (briskly)on those days when we had no water aerobic class and worked pretty hard otherwise, but when we discovered that her aorta was swollen and distended from to bottom we had to give that up.  We were sent to see a variety of  thoracic surgeons by Dr Shin, but they were all very reluctant to mess with her aorta unless it was a total emefgency. 
The exercise in critical, and I can tell the difference quickly when we give it up to go visit our grandkids or anything like that.

The second factor may give you more information than you want, but, in 1955 I was diagnose as having a “spastic colon”  I never knew much what that meant at first because whenever they gave me medicine for my colon it created  in inflammation of the gall bladder that hurt so much I had to quit taking the medication.  I sat down with a doctor who explained what the symptoms of a spastic colon were, and it explained on ongoing problem.   For my entire life I have been “irregular”.  I average three bowel movements a week, all of which were painful and occasionally resulted in treatment for  hemorrhoids.  I have tried Probiotics of   a variety of kinds with pills, beverages, and Activia, never getting relief.  A little over a year ago, I discovered Organic Greek Yoghurt.  I eat at least three cups a day and am as regular, perhaps more so, as clockwork.  My preference is OIKOS, made by Stonyfield (They have shared the name and recipe with Dannon, but it aint the same stuff.  A number of other Greek Yoghurts seem to help.  I eat Cabot, and other Stonyfield things and I have retried Activia with little result. I guarantee that if you are carrying food around in your intestines for three or four days at a time,you are digesting the living heck out of your food, and it is going to be hard to lose weight without starving yourself.”

I have started reading a book by Daniel Amen (the health guru from Public Television) that deals with making your brain healthy (and your body) by being careful of your diets.  I really started this because I am very worried about my brain lasting as long as my body does..  So far, it has been helpful and validates most of my conclusions including the necessity of a food journal, using some good supplements and physical exercise.  along with eating a lot of protein and vegetables. (I think he generally favors plant protein, but I love black beans so I can manage.)

Anyway that’s my program” : No snacks  and no eating while doing other activities; Keep a food journal;  Eat slowly and limit your self to a reasonable (small) helping of everything.  Eat Greek Yoghurt of good quality:  exercise regularly;  emphasize vegetables and protein over carbs;  Dr Amen preaches against plastic food, which I will analyze later; and I forgot to preach about getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.