Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dieting ... is different

I've started the South Beach diet. I've been playing around with this diet for a few months now; I incorporate various aspects of this diet from the books I read but I haven't followed it as it's meant to be followed. The diet consists of three phases:

Phase one is approximately two weeks of "retraining" one's body to process food properly. That means cutting back on carbohydrates, eliminating sugars (from all sources, so even yummy fruit juice), cutting back on starches, eliminating fats, and so on. This period is somewhat like a detoxifying, in that we limit a lot of the excesses we don't really need. It's not meant to last very long, and that means about two weeks, depending on the target weight.

Phase two lasts until we've reached our target weight. During this phase, we can reintegrate certain things we've eliminated from our diet on a case by case basis. For me, it will be pasta. When I'm ready to add pasta back into my diet, I'll do so slowly. I'll monitor my weight to make sure I'm not gaining it all back, and if that looks good then I can add something else that I've eliminated. The idea is to do this somewhat slowly while maintaining weight loss. If weight gain occurs, then once again eliminate those food items from the diet.

Phase three
is the 'maintenance' phase, and theoretically when we reach this phase, we'll be eating this way for the rest of our lives. By this time, we're simply maintaining our weight (hopefully, we've reached our target by this phase) with occasional treats. Something I like about the diet is that it's designed by a doctor, and wasn't created as a way to 'look sexy' or obtain a stick figure. Arthur Agatston developed it simply as a way to maintain heart health. I avoided the diet because of its name - it made me think of skinny bitches running around Miami Beach in their butt-floss not-bikinis and their big fake boobs. I'm glad I finally decided to look into it further, because I think it will make a very positive difference in my life (thanks Cymbelyn).

I've talked Jeffery into giving it a go, and today is our third full day on the diet. We both feel a little different, not really better. We've experienced a number of effects that surprised us both: heaviness in the limbs, weakness, lack of energy, lethargy.

I've gone through many periods in my life when I ate better than at other times, and always an improvement in food choices and quality left me feeling better not worse. The only thing I think might be causing these symptoms is the lack of carbs.

For dinner tonight we had oven-roasted veggies (squash, zuchinni, asparagus, onion, and orange and yellow bell peppers), sirloin steak (grilled), and an edamame/radish/cilantro salad. It was all very satisfying.

Snacks on the SB diet include cheese sticks (part-skim, low moisture), sugar free gelatin, reduced fat cheese wedges (we like Laughing Cow), peanuts, and some other nuts.

Something Dr. Agatston talks about in his book is not going hungry. I think a lot of people set themselves up for failure on a diet because they put unreasonable expectations on themselves; they can't maintain them for very long so they end up being very unsatisfied until they decide to go overboard and eat a box of donuts or a bag of chips to get the thing they feel they are missing. I cannot withhold food from myself; I can minimize portions, or cut out excess snacking, but something I just cannot do is keep myself from eating if I am hungry.

I'm not very good at this sort of journaling, but I'm going to try to keep up with my progress here.

As of Thursday, August 9th, I weighed 106 lbs. Today I weigh 104 lbs. That's definite progress.


Aerolin said...

All right. Someone has to do it. Woman, what the hell are you dieting for? You weigh barely over 100 lbs and that's completely normal for your height, if not on the underweight side. Eating healthier and changing your life style so to make it more nutritious is one thing, but I have reservations about this diet. Okay. I've said my bit. Here endeth me being older sister-ish. Love you to pieces.

Jade said...

I think it's decidedly unfair that you're being all older sister-ish! :D

To answer the question: I've gained about 20 pounds beyond my normal comfort range. I realize that my weight is "normal" for my height - but the "normal" for my height ranges from 92-124 lbs. I have outgrown all my clothes. My measurements are such that I am very disproportionate.

I do appreciate the concern, but please be assured that I haven't developed a self-image problem. I gained so much weight so fast, and I was very petite to begin with (okay, so my ribs showed when I stretched) that the weight is uncomfortable. My bras don't fit anymore; my pants don't fit. Jeans I could pull up 8 months ago don't come past my hips anymore. My comfortable weight is about 85-90 lbs, of course more when I've been working out more.

So ... I'm not trying to drop 50 lbs, just need to lose the extra 20 I've got; I know it doesn't seem like much, but remember how tiny I am - my frame just isn't big enough to carry any additional weight. In addition to that, the diet really is very healthy which is why I chose this one.

Love you to pieces too. :)

Aerolin said...

And she writes back! You love me being older sister-ish, who are you kidding? I can certainly appreciate the unpleasant feeling of not fitting into clothes (has happened to me several times throughout my adult life). There's something about this diet, though, that seems extreme to me. I think you like it for the structure. And is a temporary adjustment really best? A lifestyle change (which can be just as structured) seems like it could maybe be better for you? All right. Stepping down from my soap box now, though I reserve the right to revisit this privately. :) Love you!

Jade said...

I do like the structure, you're absolutely right about that! I'm curious that you find the diet extreme, and a temporary solution. I must not have explained it very well at all, because this diet is supposed to be a lifestyle change exactly. The point of the phases of the diet is to recondition the body to process foods the way they're supposed to be processed, and not in the way we force our bodies to process by over-indulging in certain foods over the course of a very long time.

For example, high amounts of sugars cause the pancreas to release high amounts of insulin to counteract it. When a person consistently over-indulges sugar, the pancreas overworks itself and begins releasing more insulin than is needed to counteract the sugar because of the high amount of sugar the person is eating. So, the first two phases are about minimizing the sugars so the pancreas isn't overloading the body with more insulin than it needs. The idea is, the body is 'retrained' to deal with that sugar because the dieter has spent a fair amount of time giving its pancreas that "break". So, when small amounts of sugars are gradually reintroduced back into the diet, the pancreas is now releasing normal amounts of insulin.

That's just one example, but there's the gist.

I am not a "dieter" - I don't like withholding food from myself, I hate fad diets, and I'm no barbie doll (my body and breast size notwithstanding), so I researched this diet a lot before I decided to try it. It was developed by a heart surgeon, with the help of a nutritionist and other field specialists. I actually feel pretty confident in the basis of this diet as a viable life-eating-plan and not a temporary diet to get into a swim suit or some such.

I respect your right to lecture me privately. You can even lecture me publicly. :)

Hugs and kisses!

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