Everybody has some theory on weight loss. Just yesterday I stumbled across an article on the top 38 diets, published in US News And World Report. I’m not opposed to any of these diets.
But I’m way too impatient to spend two weeks losing just 5 pounds.
So on New Year’s Day I decided I would stop eating for a while. That’s right, stop. Because I had just stood on the scale. It was 6:15 p.m. I had just eaten with the boys. I had a big chicken burrito at Chronic Tacos.
I looked down in astonishment. I got off. I let it reset. I got on again. Then I took this picture with my iPhone.
I had been feeling bloated for a few months. Heavy. Tired. I just didn’t feel good. I was exercising — Bikram and running. But I was eating too much. And I felt like the only way to feel better was to cleanse out my body from the fat and sugar and alcohol and starch and whatever other junk was in here.
Do you know that feeling? The feeling like there’s just too much extra junk floating around? In your fingers? In your face?
And all your pants are too tight. And you hope you had just washed them. And that they shrank. But you didn’t wash them. And they hadn’t shrunk.
One hundred ninety pounds. The heaviest I had ever been. Twelve pounds heavier than I had been at the same time last year.
Disgusted, I got in the car with Gina and Bree and went to a yoga class to burn 500 calories.
But this wasn’t a regular yoga class. It was a “sound meditation.” That means no yoga. No burning calories. No sweat. You just lie there and let the vibrations soothe you.
And the vibrations did soothe me. And brought awareness — awareness about how I didn’t like the way I felt.
So I lay in bed and I decided I would lose 10 pounds. And lose them quickly. In a week or two. Because the business of losing weight quickly isn’t new to me. And even though everyone will say it’s “bad for you” and that it’s “water weight,” I like the feeling I get when I’m really hungry.
Hurts so good.
I liked it when I was a wrestler in 9th grade and had to lose 7 pounds in 24 hours.
I liked it in 2009 when I walked into a hot yoga studio for the first time. Ninety minutes in 115-degree heat. Every day for a week. And only drank distilled water with organic lemon juice and organic maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I liked losing 15 pounds in one week.
If I’m going to lose weight, I want to lose a bunch of it, quickly. And after I lose a bunch of it, quickly, I keep it off by eating very little in the days and weeks and months ahead.
I know, I know, it sounds extreme. But sometimes I prefer to be extreme. That’s just how I roll sometimes. Pain motivates me. And when my body craves food my thought-life changes. I pray more. I’m more alert. I’m more aware.
My losing weight theory is pretty simple:
First, decide how much you want to lose.
Second, weigh yourself in the morning daily and always make sure you weigh less than you did the previous day.
Third, once you’ve achieved your goal, don’t let your weight go back up. Continue weighing yourself every morning for as long as you want to keep your weight. Whatever it takes, however much you eat or whatever you eat, just don’t let it go back up.
Next day. It’s been 24 hours without food. And I go to a 90-minute class at 5:00 p.m. on Monday evening. Sweat a ton. Feel a bit queasy. Go home. Go to bed.
Tuesday morning. Get on scale. Take this picture with iPhone.
Voice in head. It’s just water weight.
Answer to voice in my head with another voice in my head. I don’t care if it’s water weight.
I don’t’ care if it’s bourbon weight, either.
Don’t care if it’s Guinness weight.
I don’t care if it’s Trader Joe’s Pita Chip weight or porterhouse steak weight or penne weight or Camebert weight or cheeseburger animal style weight or chocolate ice cream at one in the morning weight.
As long the water weight or bourbon weight or Guinness weight or Trader Joe’s Pita Chip weight or porterhouse steak weight or penne weight or Camembert weight or cheeseburger animal style weight or chocolate ice cream at one in the morning weight diminishes from 190 to 186.1, it’s still weight.
And as long as my thighs and fingers and face feel fresh and light and confident, it’s fine by me.
Tuesday evening. All the kids are all home together. That doesn’t happen often. Bree leaves in morning back to college. I need to cook my famous chicken and pasta. For her. Like I always do. And the 7 of us. And I find it ethically objectionable to spend an hour cooking without sampling my creation. It needs to taste just right. And the only way to know is to eat some along with way. And I always must cook with wine. Meaning I must drink wine while I cook.
We sit together. I drink more Chardonnay. And I eat some chicken and some of the mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and some of the red bell peppers and some of the onions. And a few green beans. I stay away from the penne.
It’s Wednesday morning. I feel like I broke my big fancy cleanse. So I have two eggs for breakfast. No toast. Nothing else during the day. Lots of water. Then yoga at 5. A one hour class. Then for dinner some lean ground beef. Some broccoli. Some potatoes. Some orange juice.
Wake up this morning. Take this.
As for the list of the 38 best diets, there’s one that came in third. It’s called the Mind Diet.” I like the sound of mind diet. I like hard i sound in each word. And it says the diet has lots of science behind it.
Before you write off the Paul Martin diet as whimsical and anti-science, I remember hearing something on NPR years ago. Interviewing a doctor talking about the health benefits of depriving yourself of food.
“Intermittent fasting, which includes everything from periodic multiday fasts to skipping a meal or two on certain days of the week, may promote some of the same health benefits that uninterrupted calorie restriction promises.”
You can read the full article, How Intermittent Fasting Might Help You Live a Longer and Healthier Life, in Scientific American, here.