To be precise, I should say that over the year my
diet way of eating (the dieter’s PC phrase) has gradually evolved. While I remain committed focusing on behaviors around health (eating, physical activity, paying attention to my body, etc.), over the last 3 months what I eat has shifted. Time to revise my behavioral goals around food to reflect what I have learned as I went through a prolonged plateau, a battle with severe side effect from a statin medication that left me inactive for weeks, and a reconsideration of the role of cholesterol as a risk factor for me individually.
Going back to January 8, 2010 here were my behavioral goals:
- restricting my calories to 1500kcal/day on average in a week
- aiming for a balance between protein, fat and carbs
- spreading out my food intake throughout the day, which means eating breakfast
- no food after 7pm
- no red meat
- no ice cream (the ultimate trigger food for my binging)
- minimal refined grains and grain products
- adding at least 3 fresh fruits/vegetables per day
- shopping only for fresh produce
- limiting what is in the cupboard/frig to what is acceptable to eat
- no artificial sweeteners or drinks with artificial sweeteners – sweet stimulates me to eat more sweets
- monitoring everything calorie that goes into my mouth (I use the Livestrong.com site)
- charting my weight twice a week
- being physically active 30 minutes a day, beyond job and household activities
I believe that insulin is the big drive behind fat – getting fat and staying fat. There is much scientific evidence for support, and as a physician who believes in evidence-based medicine* I am not one to follow fads. My personal experience over the years has shown how sensitive my hunger, eating, and ultimately my weight are to foods (starch, sugar) that increase insulin. I cannot change my genetics, but I can change my food intake so fat is able to get out of my body easier and stay out forever. Also, I want to choose foods that decrease inflammation (because of family history of heart disease and because fat tissue produces inflammatory molecules); and I probably need nutritional supplements with vitamins given that I will still count calories.
Why count calories and not just low carb it? Theoretically one could just eat fat and eat little to no carbs, but eventually their body would stop drawing from fat reserves and use just what is provided in their diet. So calories do count when trying to lose weight – it is the quality of calories that count for mobilizing fat and maintaining fat loss.
Given all of the above and more information circling in my brain, here are my revised behaviors in an attempt to change the regulation of my fat tissue:
- No wheat, sugar (except that in natural foods), starch, or grains
- Emphasize quality protein
- Aim for ratio of 50:30:20 protein:fat:carbs in 1200 calories
- Limit fruits to 2 servings a day – mostly berries
- Veggies are unlimited (potatoes are not a veggie)
- Monitor all intake daily using software to account for above and review macronutrient intake every week
- Eat breakfast, ALWAYS
- Ice cream will always be off-limits, and the only off-limit food
- Eat if I am hungry – and figure out why I let myself get hungry
- Have acceptable snack foods available
- Weigh no more than once a week
- Engage in fun, physical activity at least 30 minutes/day
- Supplement with vitamins as needed to reduce inflammation
- Review the above list every week after weighing
Sound restricted? Yes, it is now because I have another 50 or so pounds to lose. Will I occasionally eat cake (or potatoes) – you bet, but just a taste and only in celebration. Should I exercise more? This is all I can manage now because of the myopathy from taking statins. My goal is to be able to do whatever I want without restrictions because of my weight and to keep my health optimal.
*Evidence Based Medicine is the integration of the best scientific evidence available with clinical expertise and patient values to reach optimal decisions for individual patients.