Alton Brown is one of those “ordinary celebrities” that I just adore! He is always upbeat, helpful and so much fun to watch. Needless to say I’m a big fan so I couldn’t help but notice him slimming down a few years back as I watched him on Good Eats. Yes my usual slightly chubby Alton managed to trim off 50lbs without dieting! (GOOD WORK ALTON. YOU LOOK FABULOUS!) I know that sounds impossible but that is exactly what he managed to do by changing what he ate on a daily basis.
We humans living comfortably in the 1st world have become accustomed to eating to please our palate instead of to fuel our body. Not to say that food that is good for you has to taste bad but there is nothing you can do to make kale and cucumbers taste like ice cream and cookies. The only thing you are able to do is change the way you think of food and its purpose in your life. Despite how much we all love food in all it’s warm, saucy, cheese covered goodness its purpose is not to make our mouth happy it’s to make our bodies healthy and in the words of Alton Brown if you put 20 gallons of gas in your car and only drove ten miles before coming back to get another 20 gallons of gas you’d need a bigger container. “Well, the same is true of your body. Energy-dense foods, like processed starches, desserts, most baked goods, candy, alcohol, and the like provide a lot of energy. And unless you use it by, I don’t know, running a marathon every day, you’re going to have to find a place to put what you don’t use, like here [gut], or here [back], or here [butt].” If you intake large amounts of calories/energy dense food without using them by exercising in some fashion then your body becomes a larger container in order to hold it… not a good thing at all.
But much like Alton, I trimmed a lot of weight off without dieting and it happened slowly which is a good thing for your body and skin. We all want fast until it brings with it stretch marks and sagging skin. I’m not a horribly vain person but I’m vain enough to want to avoid that if I can.
Alton gives the Plan of the Four Lists in the episode, Live and Let Diet, which you will see in the blue boxes below.
Some of these things were already in my diet but I never focused on the importance of their frequency. I plan on giving this a shot for 2 weeks to a month to see what happens. I’ll report back later with my progress.
He focused on the importance of breakfast in this episode too and I blogged and blabbed about my inability to force myself to do this last week so this is probably going to be my biggest hurdle. (That and the one drink a week lol)
I fully realize something like this isn’t going to look like a good idea to everyone but I think it’s worth a shot if you want off the yo-yo dieting wagon. I’ve tried several of the popular diets, South Beach, Atkins, PWLC, and Weight Watchers just to name a few and while they all worked to some degree they all had the same three shortcomings in the end. One, they did zero to teach you about proper nutrition and instead they focused on that ever present demon known as the scale. But what many did teach was near total deprivation of something in exchange for quick and (kinda easy) weight loss. That’s all well and good I guess but what I really needed to be told was quit consuming stuff that wasn’t real food (fish sticks, boxed mac and cheese, frozen dinners, fast food, etc. I honestly didn’t realize just how bad some of the processed stuff was for the human body. I knew it wasn’t good, but I didn’t know it was as bad as it is) and I also needed to be told to get off the damn couch and move some. Two, they never teach you how to not be on a diet. Yeah, not much is given to wean yourself off their restrictive intake. So what do I do when I don’t want to be on 1000 calories a day? What do I do if I want to have bread in my life again without gaining weight? Most of them just tell you to go back on the calorie restriction or go back through induction or whatever their hitch is but they never really tell you how to just be free of it. Like a lot of overweight people I had lost my will and my way somewhere on this road called life and I needed help getting it back. Thank the gods I love to read. Knowledge is power! Three, the backlash you go through once you go “off whatever diet”. And you will go off of it. No one does one of those things for life. No matter what it is, be it counting points, giving up carbs, counting calories, or prepackaged food. No one stays on that regimen forever and for a lot of people going off the diet is horrible. Most people experience gaining weight back be it some, all or in some cases people have gained back more than they lost. I’m sick of all of it.
What it boils down to is self-control. I figure if I can hang in there with how restrictive the 1000 calorie a day thing for PWLC was or the carb-less profile of the Atkins Diet for several months just re-teaching myself to eat within normal parameters again had to be easier… guess what, it has been and I still get to have bread, pasta, ice cream and if I go to a buffet one night it hasn’t totally undone several weeks’ worth of sacrifice LOL. But all kidding aside this has been a big relief. I think something in me remembers eating this way before but I had let things get out of hand for so long that making healthy choices again felt like new territory.
Can I have Ice Cream? Yes, why yes I can, just not a giant bowl of Southern Butter Pecan four times a week. Can I have pasta? Yes indeed I can, just not two plates full for dinner drowned in high calories sauce. Limits, Logic and Reason (LLR). I think we all know when we should stop eating things that aren’t so good for us, we just don’t. I don’t think there is a person out there that doesn’t know that three doughnuts is too much at one time (even in one day). I think we all know that eating an entire sleeve of Oreos in an afternoon or an entire party bag of chips with a jar of salsa during a movie isn’t good but we are slaves to our tongues and do it anyway because it tastes good and sugar has a drug like effect on the brain when consumed. I think for a good portion of people the overeating is emotional or done out of boredom.
I’m not falling into that pit again. I’m Stopping the Insanity (Love you too Susan Powter)
My usual day of eating looks something like the following:
A Yogurt and a Sausage patty for breakfast (if I eat it… lol Bad Tena)
Some sort of fruit usually an orange, apple or a banana as a snack (might even have 2 of those)
A salad for lunch with Tuna, tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, and shredded cheese (the real stuff) very minimal dressing usually oil and vinegar or Italian for me.
Snack is usually fruit again if not celery and carrot sticks with hummus or a smoothie.
Dinner is cooked using mostly the Halogen oven, crock pot, veggie steamer or rice cooker.
Lean meat and lots of veggies. Halogen oven “fried” fish with the cabbage steaks and summer squash is a good one. Grilled pork chops with green beans and baked eggplant. Stuff like that. So this lifestyle change is far from a starvation diet, I’m simply choosing not to snack on Cheetos and Fruit Loops. I still eat fried Chicken just not every week (or heaven forbid) several times a week. You just can’t loose weight or maintain a health weight with a sedentary lifestyle on top of ingesting fried greasy breaded meat covered in gravy… it just doesn’t work that way. Eat better move more. Plus just learning when to plain stop eating went a long way.