Category Archives: Diet Friday

Diet Friday

This week on Diet Friday I have happy news to report.  It IS possible to fall off the wagon engage in controlled indulgence WITHOUT gaining weight.

This week started off with a Mother’s Day brunch at a San Antonio restaurant that features one of my favorite desserts,  a souffle-inspired dark chocolate cake with Nutella ganache and peanut butter mousse.  Oh my stars!  Here it is:

Peanut Butter, chocolate, hazelnut . . . what’s not to love?  And who could resist?  I didn’t . . . I couldn’t . . . I wouldn’t.  Resist, that is.  The good news is that I sampled less than half of this rich confection before I was completely satisfied and passed the rest over to my husband, who was only too happy to finish it for me. 

But wait!  There’s more.  Tuesday night was Bunco night . . . and I was in charge of bringing a bread pudding with N’Awlins flair in keeping with the Mardi Gras theme.  Well, you can’t very well make bread pudding without sugar.  Or bread.  Or Whiskey Sauce, which also requires sugar.  (Not to mention lots of butter and heavy cream).  Here it is:

Bunco ladies can cook, and there were many desserts to sample along with the gumbo and rice.  It would be impolite not to taste, wouldn’t it?  The good news again is that I limited myself to small tastes and didn’t overindulge.  Was it worth it?  You bet!  If you’re going to indulge, make sure it is something fabulous!  Bread pudding is comfort food, and luckily a little comfort can go a long way.  Look for the recipe posting soon!

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Diet Friday

A few of my kind readers have requested an update on “the situation.”   Don’t worry, “the situation” has nothing to do with New Jersey.  They are referring to the diet situation.  So here it is . . . back by overwhelming popular request . . . the reprise of Diet Friday.

You will be happy to learn that I did not fall off the wagon and gain back all 7 pounds plus another 8 just to keep the rebound theory going.  In fact, I am down a total of 10 lbs since the beginning of January. 

For those of you just tuning in, I decided to give up sugar as a 2010 resolution.  (Well, drastically reduce my sugar consumption, anyway.  Never say never).  I started out with Jorge Cruise’s “Belly Fat Cure”, which restricts sugar consumption to 15 grams a day from ALL sources (fruit, vegetable, everything) and limits carb consumption to 20 grams six times per day.  Although I didn’t lose weight very quickly on the plan, quick weight loss was not my goal.  I lost a few pounds, and most importantly, I lost my cravings for sugar and starchy foods.

Although I don’t follow the program any more by counting grams, I do still follow the guiding principles.  After I got over my sugar addiction, I also greatly reduced my refined carbohydrates.  I will have bread on occasion, but it has to be REALLY good and I enjoy it as a treat, not a staple.

I’ve been pleased with the fact that the weight has slowly but surely decreased in a relatively painless fashion.  I still eat very well, and I am never hungry.  My appetite, which used to be set to  “constantly ravenous”, is now under control.  So, while my “situation” may never be featured in a reality show, I see progress!

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Diet Friday

It’s a late post for Diet Friday; in fact it’s an extremely late post as I missed last week!  Thanks for your inquiries, all is well.  I’m working on some big projects at work (yes, I have a real job) which will take some more of my attention for the next month or so.  But enough about me, I know that what you’re really curious about is The Diet, so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.

Another pound down!  I am pleased to report that the slow but steady downward trend continues with almost no effort on my part. Here is what I’m doing”

  •  I limit the amount of sugar I eat, and try to focus on “good carbs” without actually counting carbs.
  • I focus on foods with high nutritional value
  • I allow indulgences of really good artisanal cheese, very dark chocolate and red wine. (in moderation)
  • During the week, I eat smaller, more frequent mini-meals
  • On the weekends, I adapt to the situation. 
  • If I’m eating out on the weekend and want to have bread (only the really good kind) I take a starch-blocker made from white bean extract.  (Only on weekends, I don’t make a habit of it)
  • Exercise is 30 minutes total body program on elliptical trainer at least 4x per week, crunches 3x per week.

Now please don’t think that I’m advising anyone to eat cheese as a health food; I happen to love it and it takes the place of a sugar-laden dessert for me.  I also don’t tout the health benefits of taking a starch-blocker.  Although the ones made from white bean extract are supposed to be free from any known side effects, certainly check with your health care provider to make sure it’s OK for you.  I only use it a few times a week when I want to enjoy a piece of fresh bread and although it works for me without any side effects, I wouldn’t use it on a regular basis.  The good carbs that I eat regularly are high in nutrition and I wouldn’t want them to be “blocked”.

For me, limiting sugar intake is key.  I don’t avoid it completely.  Originally I was keeping my sugar intake under 15 grams per day.  I no longer keep track,  as choosing low sugar foods has become second nature.  I really (truly) have no cravings.  My hunger and appetite is under control, and I occasionally lose track of time and forget to eat.  (For those of you new to the blog, this has really never happened before!)  I’m not going for drastic weight loss, and if I lose only a few ounces every week I am quite pleased with the  steady progress. 

If you have any more specific questions, feel free to ask and I will be happy to anwer.

To all my blogging friends out there, I’m still reading; keep up the good work.  I hope to participate more actively when things slow down a bit!

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Diet Friday

This week marks the single biggest loss of this journey, with a weight loss of 1.5 lbs.

Naturally, this was the week that I really wasn’t focused on dieting.  I am no longer counting sugar grams or carbs, but my habits have become formed since I began limiting my sugar intake at the beginning of January.  I have continued the pattern of having only limited amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates.  I focus on foods that deliver a high nutrient value.  During the week, I try to eat small, frequent meals.  Although I do indulge a bit on the weekends, I think the process of eating smaller meals during the week helps to limit the amount I eat on the weekends. 

Here is my current favorite thing:

Endagered Species all natural 88% cocoa chocolate.  1/4 of this bar is more than enough for a rich, indulgent and satisfying chocolate experience.  Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and is thought to have many health benefits.  Best of all, 1/4 of a bar has only 2.5 grams of sugar and about 105 calories.  That, in addition to a few ounces of a good red wine, gives you a luxurious dessert for under 200 calories.

These bars are available through Amazon.com and come in a 12-pack of 3 ounce bars for $27.14.

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Diet Friday

Another week, another 0.5 lbs gone!

This week, I tried something new.  Most of my meals over the weekend were restaurant meals, and I basically ate whatever I wanted, with the exception of desserts.  Friday night’s dinner was a hangar steak served over polenta, Sunday brunch was a delicious chicken and spinach crepe, and it was all topped off on Sunday night with a delicious fried calamari.  Yum!  On Monday through Thursday, I ate 200 calorie meals every 2 hours.  That’s right, every 2 waking hours, for a total of 1600 calories per day!  I really expected to gain a bit.  As you know if you’ve been following this blog, I have failed to lose weight on 1200 calories per day.  So I was fairly certain that 1600 per day would send me over the edge.  I didn’t really put any restrictions on what I ate as long as it was 200 calories, although I tried to stay nutritionally balanced.  I ate lots of whole grains and very little processed sugar, although I did not count the sugar grams in regular foods.  At least one meal a day was a cup of plain yogurt sweetened with stevia and maybe a little fruit.  I did not count carbs at all.  My exercise level was the usual moderate; a few walks and a few sessions on the elliptical trainer.  I did set the elliptical trainer on the “total body workout” setting, which is a little more interval training.

It really is all in your head

I have been reading The Younger (Thinner) You Diet: How Understanding Your Brain Chemistry Can Help You Lose Weight, Reverse Aging, and Fight Disease by Eric R. Braverman .  According to Dr. Braverman,  when we have difficulty losing weight it is because our brain chemistry is imbalanced. He explains how different chemicals in the brain affect aging, weight gain and energy levels while outlining how different foods, spices and teas can help to bring these chemicals back into their proper balance.  Braverman discusses the brain chemicals dopamine, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and acetylcholine and explains how imbalances can affect personality, weight management, food addiction and aging.

The book starts with a series of quizes designed to help the reader identify which brain chemicals they may be deficient in.  Dr. Braverman also has a modified version of theses quizes on his website to help you get started.  The diet itself is sensible and well-balanced, emphasizing lots of vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices.  I’ve been following some of the suggestions to boost up the nutritional value of my meals.  Braverman’s work on brain chemistry is interesting, and it extends way beyond dieting into overall health, well-being and aging.  It’s a good read even if you’re not dieting;  can’t we all use a little more balance in our brain chemistry?

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Diet Friday

This week I had the most weight loss . . . 1 pound . . . of any in my 7-week dieting journey.  Here’s the kicker; this week I wasn’t dieting.

When friends invited us to their home for lunch after church on Sunday, I certainly wasn’t going to pass up homemade fried chicken, cornbread served fresh and hot from the cast iron skillet, potato salad, sugary baked beans and greens.  And what was the secret ingredient that made that cornbread so yummy?  Our hostess gave us her Grandma’s secret ingredient:  a cup of white sugar.

On Wednesday, I really wanted sugar and scrounged around the pantry until I found some leftover Halloween candy.  Five pieces of Laffy Taffy and three Twizzlers later, She Who Will Not Be Denied was happy.  Very happy.  (Laffy Taffy, by the way, IS my drug of choice.  Particularly the banana flavor).

My 6-week journey with the BFC is over.  Although it’s not the right plan for me, I will be taking away some valuable lessons:

  • I will be much more aware of my sugar intake.  While I may not be 100% sugar-free,  I will definitely be limiting my intake.  When I do have sugar, it will be an informed decision.
  • I will completely avoid high-fructose corn syrup
  • I will use artifical sweeteners sparingly
  • Avoiding insulin spikes and maintaining a stable blood sugar is important for appetite control

The other valuable take-away is that this experience has spurred me into exhaustive and confusing comprehensive and intriguing research into diets, weight loss and the $60 Billion-per-year weight loss industry.  In the past month,  I have read over 30 weight loss and diet books, re-visited some old theories, and lurked on internet sites to read about tales of real people who have lost lots of weight on various diets, only to gain it all back and more.   In future posts I will share with you some reviews of my readings.  I will start by sharing this study:

  • Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer (PDF) by Traci Mann et al, published in the April 2007 issue of American Psychologist.
  • In the studies reviewed here, dieters were not able to

    maintain their weight losses in the long term, and there was

    not consistent evidence that the diets resulted in significant

    improvements in their health. In the few cases in which

    health benefits were shown, it could not be demonstrated

    that they resulted from dieting, rather than exercise, medication

    use, or other lifestyle changes. It appears that dieters

    who manage to sustain a weight loss are the rare exception,

    rather than the rule. Dieters who gain back more weight

    than they lost may very well be the norm, rather than an

    unlucky minority. If Medicare is to fund an obesity treatment,

    it must lead to sustained improvements in weight and

    health for the majority of individuals. It seems clear to us that dieting does not.

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    Diet Friday

    I’m going to just jump right in and get the hard part over with.  I did not lose any weight this week.  To answer your next question, no , I did not cheat or otherwise veer from the charted course.  I’m not sure what else to tell you.  Even if I had not been strictly on plan, I technically should have lost just on the virtue of the decreased calorie count.  So, I’ve been good and still haven’t lost weight.  Life isn’t fair.  Life can be rough . . . get a manicure and a good helmet and get over it.

    On the plus side, I have lost an inch off of my waist.  Yay!  And today, just when I was starting to get the teensiest bit discouraged, someone I hadn’t seen in a month asked me if I had lost weight.  (And she doesn’t follow my blog, so she didn’t know I was dieting!)

    This week, on his Facebook page, Jorge Cruise launched a new program for women over 40.   Many of the BFC women over 40 are complaining that they have been on this program faithfully for over a month and haven’t lost anything.  I give Jorge lots of credit for listening and responding.  He posted a “No Fail Menu” for women over 40 and asked women to follow the program EXACTLY for 7 days without exception.  I downloaded the menu and while I have no doubt that women WiLL lose weight on this program, it is VERY MUCH a DIET.  It is very restrictive and somewhat along the lines of South Beach.  Sorry, but this is Valentine’s Day weekend and I have no intention of taking Draconian measures this week, thank you very much.  But it is refreshing that he actually listened and took seriously the woes of the over-40 female dieter.  I’m just trying SO hard not to go on a serious diet.  If you’re interested you can download a copy of the 7-day plan on his website:  http://jorgecruise.com/join-my-free-newsletter/

    In the meantime, I have been doing mega-research on hormonal balance, the endocrine system, insulin levels and weight.  My UPS man either loves me (for keeping UPS in business) or hates me (because he stops here daily) due to my frequent Amazon book purchases. 

    I’ll probably be tweaking my plan a bit soon.  I’ll keep you posted on what I have learned and what does and doesn’t work for me . . . the cliched over-40 female dieter!

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