Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Response to An Endless Cycle of Failed Diets
Erik Piepenburg blogged in the NY Times yesterday An Endless Cycle of Failed Diets about going to the doctor year after year and weighing more each time. He talks about all the ways he's failed to lose. Now he's going to write about it and perhaps that will be his path to success. He's 39. I wish him luck. I'm 54 and I just recently figured out my path. It has nothing to do with "dieting." I sent him a comment, but who knows if he'll read it or if what worked for me will work for him.
There's an exercise I once learned in yoga class where you bend over with your hands on your knees, blow all the air out of your lungs and then suck your stomach in as hard as you can. When you stand up your stomach is as flat as it can get. It's an exercise that's supposed to be good for your internal organs. But first thing in the morning, in front of the mirror, I would just do it to see if for a few seconds I could get anywhere near a flat belly. Since turning 50, it was basically impossible. Even after I could do 200 sit-ups, my stomach wasn't flat. In fact it seemed larger!
My son the fitness center manager explained to me there was too much fat over my stomach muscles and I'd never have a flat stomach with exercise alone. After that a friend leant me The Instinct Diet and after reading three chapters, I stopped finishing leftovers when I did the dishes after dinner and started throwing them away. Seeing the food in the garbage would just make me shake my head and realize all the calories that formerly had gone into my mouth. Wow, I'd been treating myself as a garbage can. There's a nice measure of self-esteem!
I also stopped eating between meals and planned snack times, making sure there were 2-3 hours between times when I ate. This helped me relearn the sensation of hunger. Those two habit changes alone might have gotten me to where I am now -- I have only a little tummy bulge, and that's without sucking in at all. And my butt is smaller.
But I really think it's the new meal proportions I'm using that has made the most difference. I learned these proportions in July at a lecture on eating for disease prevention. The lecturer said, for every meal, divide your plate in half, then divide half of it in half again. On one quarter put your protein, on one quarter your grain or starch, and on the one half put darkly colored fruits and vegetables. I wouldn't call that dieting. I eat any food I want, I just eat it in the correct And I'm learning a lot of delicious ways to prepare fruits and vegetables so that they're the foods I look most forward to. You know the expression, "No pain, no gain." Don't believe it. Eating healthy isn't painful at all.