Don't call it a low-carb diet; it's really about high-protien!
Pictures to prove that this worked for me!
So you know how to eat...right?
Don't feel like reading one more word about losing weight and being disappointed? Okay, how about this? I just lost 72 lbs. in 10 months. No, I didn't do Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig, or South Beach, or some insane juice diet. I hate diets, they always fail me. I finally paid (a lot of money) to an obesity doctor to learn how to eat.
Learn how to eat? Does that sound silly? Not really. If I knew how to eat, I wouldn't have gained all that weight. Most people don't wake up one day and say, "heck, I'd like to be fat in 6 months please." We gain weight slowly, a few pounds a month, without noticing until we are buying a larger pant size and wondering how our jeans got so tight in the first place. I have always felt that food lies to me. Yep, I said it; lies to me. I am an emotional over-eater. Food says, "eat me, and you will feel better". I eat when I am bored, tired, hungry. I eat when my blood sugar is low, when I need energy because I haven't slept enough, and anytime the kids don't finish their plate, because I can't stand seeing food being thrown away if I paid for it. There are a million reasons to eat, overeat, and save some for later, just in case. And if that weren't enough, none of us were taught what our body actually needs. Think about it. You're just guessing about what is "good" for you, right?
We live in America. The food pyramid is supposed to tell you what to eat and how much. Right. So, 6-11 servings of whole grain a day may be good for your intestines, but not for your waistline. Actually they recently changed the pyramid to something that is so confusing and makes very little sense that it would take hours to read through, and develop a "plan" for yourself.
So, Mrs. Obvious, how do you eat?
What they didn't tell you in high school, or at your regular doctor's office is very simple. 1.Your body needs only a certain amount of certain things, and 2. It needs them many times a day! If you upset that balance, and don't use exercise to fix it, you are slowly going to slide over to the fat side of the scales.
Ideally, we should be eating 1g of protein for every 1g of carbs(or straight sugars). This is nearly impossible, even if you try real hard with a big bowl of whey protein on top. So the easier version is to attempt to eat a ratio of 1g of protein for every 2g of carbs (1:2). Some people will recognize this as a glycemic index diet! It is true. Our diabetic diets of today are what everyone should be eating to stay fit and trim, and not diabetic thanks to obesity. Go figure!
Now what about fat? The doctor's personal recommendation for me was to eat only 25-30g of fat a day to achieve weight loss. When I first began using a food log to see what I was actually eating, I discovered that I was consuming 50-60g of fat a day, without knowing it! Holy margarine, no wonder I was getting fatter and fatter.
I am sure that everyone's fat intake is going to be different, as is the number of actual calories your body needs in order to lose or maintain your weight. Sometimes just consciously becoming aware of what you are putting in your body, combined with discovering what it is that your body needs is all the motivation it takes to make a change. Did you hear me say food log? Yup! Try it for a couple weeks, you will be amazed at what you are really eating. Not how much you eat necessarily, but what is in the food. Track your calories, but more importantly, track the fat, protein and carbs you eat. It is shocking.
Here is a few bits of Need-To-Know information:
- Fat = 9 calories per gram
- Protein = 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrates= 4 calories per gram
So at this point in the hub you should be figuring out a few items:
1. How many calories do you want to consume in a day? Yes, stop and write it down right now.
2. How many grams of fat should you limit yourself to? Write it down, and calculate the number of calories that equals.
3. Calculate the remaining calories left to be used up by protein and carbs at a 1:2 ratio.
For instance, let's say you want to eat 1,500 calories a day.
Let's also assume you are going to allow 30grams of fat a day, which = 270 calories
1,500 - 270 = 1,230 left for protein and carbs.
1,230 divided by 3 = 410. A 1:2 ratio would mean you need to eat 410 calories (102.5 grams) of protein.
This leaves 820 calories (205 grams) of carbs a day.
So, simply put, on a 1500 calorie diet, you should be eating 30 grams of fat, 102.5 grams of protein, and 205 grams of carbs a day, which gives you the total of 1,500 calories.
Of course, the more protein you eat and the less carbs, the better, but have you ever tried to eat 100 or more grams of protein a day? I guarantee in is quite an effort. Plus it's expensive. You must supplement with protein powders, protein bars, and whatever else you can find that has protein in mass quantities. My new favorite is 2% cottage cheese. The problem is that in our great American food system, fat and carbs are cheap and easy to con volute into every imaginable wonderful tasting, albeit fattening delicacy. Protein is not cheap, and not quite as scintillating to the palette.
The big deal here is learning that your body needs protein. Every body needs protein, not just bodybuilders, and athletes. We all have muscle, whether you use it or not, and your body needs it to make most of the things in your body. We are so sick as a society because we don't get enough protein. Have you heard the word protein enough yet? Protein, protein, protein. And more protein. This is the true secret of losing weight, my friends. Every time I give this little protein pep-talk I am reminded of an old movie called Soylent Green from 1973 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/ If you are a sci-fi, or psycho-thriller fan, this is worth taking a look at for fun.
Now, you could argue that this is really a low-carb diet in disguise. I won't argue with you either. But what low-carb diet has put a real emphasis on the necessity of protein, and how important it is to your overall health? I'm not telling you to restrict carbs, I'm giving you a new tool, called protein, and putting your focus on obtaining it, and matching it up with the carbs that you do eat. Different mentality altogether.
Let's not forget point #2
As if this was not enough, we can't forget number 2 on my list of important changes you have to make to lose weight. You must now eat 6-7 times a day. Yes... a day... every day. Your body doesn't trust you because you don't feed it. Those extra rolls on your hips are your body's way of protecting itself - FROM YOU! You don't feed it, so it stores every little bit of extra energy that it does not have to spend on keeping you alive. I'm talking to all those people who get up every morning and skip breakfast, and then skip lunch and then eat a huge dinner, thinking it's okay because they didn't eat anything else today. The other group of people who have a mental block with eating habits are the ones who say, "I'm not gonna eat right now, 'cause I'm saving room for my dinner." Like, OMG, really? You make your body and metabolism suffer all day, shrink your stomach size by not eating, and then stuff yourself on purpose at dinner? Does that even sound healthy? NO! ( I live with someone who thinks like this...)
Here's the real deal. If you go more than 4 hours at a time without putting in at least 60-100 calories through your gut, you have just lost 50% of your fat-burning capability for the day. Why? Because trust is a fragile thing, and your body is not a rational, thinking entity. It is a machine, and it needs fuel. It is saving it's reserves because you are starving it, and it doesn't trust you. So, you must establish a trust system with your body again. Feed it regularly, but only the amount of calories you decide on, and in the ratios we already discussed, and it will reward you by burning the fat. Your body will not be getting all the calories it wants (because of the low calorie diet), so it will start burning the fat to supplement the needed calories, because it now trusts that you will feed it regularly. Magic!!
So figure out your schedule for the day. What time do you wake up? What time is lunch? What time do you eat dinner? Make your biggest consumption of calories when you are used to having them, like at dinner time, but limit this amount to about 400-500 calories for that one meal. The second biggest meal 200-300 calories should be for your lunch. The rest of your allotted calories should be divided up into the other snacks for your day.
Sticking with the 1,500 calorie example try this new routine:
- Breakfast - 150 calories
- Mid-morning snack - 100 calories
- Lunch - 250 calories
- Afternoon snack - 150 calories
- Dinner - 500 calories
- Evening snack - 200 calories
- Bedtime snack - 150 calories
Now take a sample routine like this, and make it your own by inserting specific times you will eat, and plan how you are going to spend your calories. Some of you are already thinking that you are always hungry throughout the day if you eat breakfast, and don't like the idea of being inconvenienced to stop and eat all the time. No problem. Just stay fat. That is the mentality that got you here, and that mentality will keep you fat. Your body needs to be encouraged and cared for with food multiple times a day to establish this trust relationship. If you love yourself, and want to be thin, then do what it wants, not what is "convenient" for you. You've already been doing that, and it hasn't worked in your favor yet!
The final piece of the pie...
If you haven't guessed already, you have to eat a little from each category (protein, carbs, and fat) at each setting to make this work. Truthfully, I don't care if you eat nothing but protein at most meals. Although this may be impossible in the real world. You need to have a starting point. Start thinking, "what protein am I going to eat?" and then add in your other elements. The only really big no-no is to eat a carb or a fat without a protein. Protein is the element that causes your stomach to hold onto the food, digest it slowly, and not spike your blood sugar. It is also what makes you feel fuller, longer, because protein takes so long to digest. People who think they know how to eat healthy, like I did, will eat a piece of fruit for a snack and believe that we are eating properly. This couldn't be farther from the truth, because that "healthy" fruit just spiked your blood sugar, and won't service your body very well in the end. Protein now must accompany every bit of food that goes into the body.
For most of us it's all mental. Learn how to eat first. Then conquer the biggest obstacle...your own self-talk. Come up with your own new mantra that you will repeat to yourself over and over when you are tempted to eat "wrong". My personal mantra is this. "I can eat anything I want if I find a good protein source to go with it and keep an eye on my total calories." That's actually the long version. The short version is "I can eat anything I want along with protein." After 10 long months of eating this way, I have been able to incorporate what I have learned into a daily/weekly routine that fits my life, and I don't even count calories anymore. The best part is that I am still losing approximately 1.3 pounds a week eating this way. Hey, it may be slower now, but at least it's steady, and I'm not gaining every week like before!
And finally, I give you permission to tell the other mean people in your life that it really isn't your fault you are fat/heavy/husky/thick, because you honestly didn't know how to eat before! Now you do. The secret has been revealed. Those other diets never worked because you didn't learn one real fact about food, or how it affects your body, or what to do when you aren't "dieting". This is the stuff that the diet industry doesn't want you to know. That you can be in charge of your food and your body. Once you learn to conquer your own habits with real knowledge, you can lose weight too. I'm rooting for you!