Like most American women I can be consumed with the “need” for losing weight. About 15 years ago I was given the news that my cholesterol level was too high. Back then I was a single parent, one child in college and one in high school. I got motivated. One thing that was helpful at that time was that the son in High School was an athlete and also a picky eater, basically grilled meat, macaroni and cheese, and lettuce salad. Since my daughter had gone off to college we no longer ordered pizza and Chinese food alternating weekends. I was free to make a variety of meals for myself. I found then that counting calories was the only way to lose weight along with waking 20 minutes at lunch each day, at least 3-4 days a week. I lost 27 pounds and 87 cholesterol points. Over the years I regained 15 of those pounds and 17 cholesterol points.
I love to cook; I love to bake. How does one lose weight? The weight is mostly on my belly so that is the least healthy fat to carry. My husband has the same situation. What to do? Well, last winter a colleague of hubby told him about the Zero Belly diet (David Zinczenko’s Zero Belly Diet ) and raved about it. My husband who has never to my knowledge embraced any diet plan stated that he would be willing to try this. So it is my responsibility to read the book and plan how to put us both on this diet. We found that for the week of learning about the diet, reading the book, and looking at the foods we eat, we both lost a few pounds. We spend a great deal of money on vegan protein powder, vanilla flavor. We did not know it at the time of purchase but this makes the shakes taste like mud.
This is just around the time of Lent so we decide to follow this diet for the 6 weeks and end by celebrating with a big Easter feast. I use the menu ideas but not his recipes other than for the Vinaigrette and the Shakes which make up most of the diet along with apple cider vinegar, no dairy, lots of citrus infused water, minimal alcohol, minimal carbohydrates except for whole grains, no refined sugars. So the various testimonials say that the exercise plan is not necessary but half the book describes the exercises. The first half of the book reads like an infomercial but I read the book from cover to cover and we follow the cleanse week exactly but without exercise. I lose 4.5 pounds, hubby loses 6 pounds. ½ inch off my waist; 2 inches off hubby’s.
We miss bread and we miss cheese and are not very happy. Our first cheat meal was spaghetti with meatballs, Italian bread, big salad, and red wine. That was a taste of heaven.
So I research how to make protein shakes without protein powder because that stuff is processed and the diet is to avoid processed foods. But the alternative is dairy. Slowly over the six weeks we add a bit of dairy and morph it into the “Mediterranean diet”. We are happier. At the end of our six weeks I have lost 10.5 pounds, 3 inches off my waist, and no cholesterol points. Hubby has lost 7.5 pounds, 3 inches off his waist, and unknown cholesterol points. He has since been started on anti-hypertensive medications. I already take those and cholesterol meds.
So here it is 5 months later. I have maintained my weight loss give or take 3 pounds and the 3 inches is back on my middle. Hubby is back at starting weight and waist is also back at square one. We are planning a Zero Belly cleanse for the next 6 days and will have a cheat meal next Sunday. I will make a chocolate cake with mint frosting from the DessertforTwo (by Christina Lane) cookbook. Not sure what’s for dinner. I wonder how soon we will add a bit of cheese this time?
I have modified the eating plan. The key to Zero Belly is protein, healthy fat, and fiber at each meal. We will use whey protein powder (in our budget), dairy and animal fat in addition to nuts and oils, and have cheat meals every week. I found that the original plan is not a natural way for me to eat or to feed my family.
According to the CDC I am 8 ½ pounds into the “overweight” classification. My husband is 25 ½ pounds “overweight”. I suspect that this week will find him with greater weight loss than me because it will be a more drastic calorie reduction. I also walk on a treadmill at the work gym for 25-30 minutes 2-3 days a week and have the opportunity to walk to work which I do not make a regular habit, unfortunately..
I am dreading this already! Here’s what we eat this week:
shake for breakfast, shake for lunch, fruit and nuts for snack, and then dinner:
Monday: Italian sausages with sauteed peppers and onions in homemade tomato sauce. What’s missing here is pasta noodles and a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the sauce.
Tuesday: Steak salad with avocado and feta. What’s missing here is a loaf of crusty bread.
Wednesday: the plan is for grilled chicken breasts with corn on the cob and leftover salad.
But…I quit…I quit!
On Tuesday we gorge ourselves on watermelon and peanuts after our meal. I’m lying in bed dreaming about baked goods and am haunted by the thought that food is meant to be enjoyed. Sure a protein shake for breakfast is okay but not again for lunch. Yogurt with fruit and honey would taste so good. What’s wrong with a scrambled egg in a wrap with a piece of cheese? Irish soda bread fresh out of the oven with a bit of butter and jam? Banana muffins made with whole wheat four? The more I feel deprived the more I am likely to over indulge.
I quit in the middle of the night and the next morning I feel like a quitter which is not how I see myself. So I will take the yogurt for lunch. It will just be an unassembled shake, and we will continue on the no carbs this week only. These are no carbs in the form of bread, pasta, or grains. We eat fruit daily. But come Saturday all bets are off. Well not really. So for dessert and muffins this weekend they will be from Dessert for Two so as not to over indulge. Now see there, I’m not a quitter!
Look at all this healthy produce waiting to be consumed!
Confession: On Wednesday both my husband and I took advantage of work provided lunch items including cheeseburger for him, and hotdog (no bun) and an ice cream sandwich for me.
Well eating healthy is not about following gimmicky diets even when those diets call themselves a lifestyle change and/or an eating plan. Let us eat, drink, and be merry!