Tuesday 22 January 2013

it's not just about the bacon

No photo today, sorry. I think it'll be more like "Photo Every Few Days or When It Strikes My Fancy".

When you do a less "conventional" diet (or "way of life" as many call it), you spend a lot of time justifying and explaining it to other people. Which, to be honest, doesn't really bother me and people are simply genuinely curious. In general, conversations tend to go like this:

Person A: "I'm on a diet."
Person B: "Oh, which one?"
Person A: "Weight Watchers."
Person B: [some words of understanding/reference to self or family member who followed the same plan]

Whereas with me:
Me: "I'm on a diet."
Person A: "Oh, which one?"
Me: "Well, it's not really a diet plan as such. I don't eat sugar, grains, or high starch foods and I do intermittant fasting."
Person A: "You WHAT?" [or, more often, "Oh, like Atkins." accompanied by a nose wrinkle.]

It's interesting because if you broke down what I ate and presented it to someone without specifying that it's low in carbohydrates, they wouldn't bat an eye. Once I mention low carbing, the assumption is that I eat my weight in steak and butter. Which I could, I suppose, but then I wouldn't actually lose any weight and I'd be bored shitless.

There was a really good, informative piece on the BBC about intermittent fasting (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19112549) which turned out to be not really fasting (as you eat on your "fast" days) but the concept does work on the same level.  On my fast days, I wait as long as I can before eating (i.e. based on a genuine urge for food rather than habit) and eat a small amount that day. I tend to go around 18 hours from my last big meal to my first food on the fast day.

On my non-fast days, I eat low carb. I don't go nuts and eat whatever I want, but I don't count calories. Again, I eat when I'm hungry and I eat foods that I deem healthy. So today for example (a non-fast day) I had:
  • Breakfast: 2 sausages
  • Snack: a little nibbly thing of cheesy crackers from my Graze box
  • Lunch: leftover cottage pie made with cauliflower mash, with peas
  • Snack: another nibbly thing of dark choc and almonds from my Graze box
  • Dinner: duck breasts with a stir fry, topped with cashew nuts
And oh lordy, I'm full. My dinner was at 6:30ish, and I will likely not eat until around 2pm tomorrow. The kind of food I'm eating keeps hunger at bay and the fast days are generally pretty easy.

On a fast day, I might have:
  • No breakfast (OH NOOOO! It's the most important meal of the day! Did you know a cereal company came up with that tidbit of health-related information? Really.)
  • Late lunch: grilled chicken on salad, olives, carrots with a bit of hummus.
  • Dinner: grilled haddock, prawns, scallops with lemon squeezed on top, served on sauteed spinach and leeks
Doesn't sound too deprived, does it? I've lost half a stone (7lbs) in two weeks, although I know I always dump a lot at first. It'll slow down to a more reasonable level of 1-2 (or no) pounds from here on.

I'm not entirely sure why my way of eating requires more explanation than someone doing a low fat, low calorie diet. The criticism I hear most is that low carbing is unhealthy because you "eliminate an entire food group." (Since when was sugar a food group? I digress.) If you're on other more traditional diets, there is certainly some form of elimination (or severe restriction) going on in terms of fat.

I don't totally avoid treats, for the sake of my sanity. On my non-fasting days, I will have carbs and sugar sometimes (usually in the form of wine or cake) but like any diet, I can't go nuts with it. The fasting I think will work because I don't like to have to think too much about what I'm doing. And if I want to "binge", that's okay - because I can fast the next day. Psychologically, it just seems easier to me.

I'm not going all defensive and getting pissy about people asking me questions. I'm very happy to chat about food, whether it's about stuffing my face or trying to lose weight. I've learned a lot from many different people but mostly from trial and error. There are "tricks" I use on a low carb diet that I used to employ when I was on Weight Watchers many moons ago. It's all good and it's all about what works for you.


Phillipa Loewen said...

I was thinking of trying the 5-2 plan....5 days a week you have a regular amount of calories - I think I'm around 1400 ish, then two days you go way down....to 500. It scares me though as I have absolutely no will power.

Mrs Dee said...

Yes, that's what the guy in the BBC article/show does. I don't know if I could do 5 days of calorie restriction (and calorie calculation) then 2 days fasting, but I have a couple of friends who do this with no problems at all. It's just a matter of finding what works for you. Very best of luck!