Pounds gained since Thanksgiving: 10
Pounds lost since last week: 5
How I did it: No carbs, no sugar, no alcohol. That’s it. This eating program is easier than it sounds. Obviously, since I always do things the easy way if possible. I have spent decades calculating and recording calories and fat in little notebooks, sweating with Richard Simmons, slogging through the January snow to the gym.
My simple plan requires none of the above. No calorie counting. No notebooks. No exercise. The best part is it works. Fast. Many years of gaining and losing plus dozens of diet/health/cook books analyzed and tried have taught me a few things.
- All calories are not created equal
- All bodies do not react to calories the same way
- Personality & inclination win out over willpower
This is why my diet may not be right for you. I’m pretty sure if you do it, it will work. There’s a boatload of science that backs me up. But not everyone wants to give up bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, cereal and sugar. It sounds too hard because these are the very foods we crave.
For me, it’s way more difficult to constantly monitor my calories, fat, and exercise levels. That’s just how I’m made. I’d rather do other things with my time and body than go through the torture of a traditional diet. Also, I have gone through the torture of traditional to trendy diets. Many times. I’ve detoxed and gone vegan, Weight Watched and South Beached.
And it was all I could do to keep the weight off. It took everything. It took, I finally realized, more willpower than I actually had left by my mid-50s. (I started dieting in my mid-30s). So a couple of years ago I did the easy thing. For me. I cut out carbs and sugar. It was also the healthy thing for me as all my important medical numbers stabilized: blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, liver function, iron levels.
Another reason it’s easy is because you really don’t have to think about it and you can eat this way on vacation, in restaurants, at other people’s dinner parties. You have the steak and broccoli and skip the bread and potatoes. You keep the oil and butter but omit the wine. After a day (or two) you won’t crave carbs or sugar anymore, you won’t obsess about what’s going in your mouth next and you won’t overeat. Snack on fruit, cheese and nuts if you’re hungry but after a few days, you won’t be.
If you’re like me. I’m impatient by nature, also indolent. This is a tough combo but the character is carved deep. I accept who I am and after much trial and error (I’m also stubborn) I have learned how to work with my core personality to (mostly) stay a healthy weight.
If you’ve been obese, if your doctor has said you are pre-diabetic, if you notice that you have to work way harder than some of your friends to lose pounds and maintain weight loss, if your activity is more cerebral than physical (I’m a writer and a reader and I love yoga more than zumba), you might be like me.
Not everybody is. My husband loves potatoes and rice and bread and cereal. Also cookies and cake. He works out like a fiend three times a week at his health club. He’s been the same size since we married 30 years ago. This is not a problem for us. In the past I would have to ban certain foods from the house.
But the beauty of the low carb lifestyle is that I can have all these foods in the house, I can even prepare them for him, and not be tempted to indulge. Because I know if I don’t eat carbs the number on the scale will drop approximately a pound a day. And it’s easy to ignore the mashed potatoes because metabolic magic takes away those insatiable cravings that make me feel like a weak loser with no willpower.
I love the feeling of being in control. I love zipping my jeans with ease. I love not having to think so hard about my body. But like I said, that’s just me. It might not be you.
Here’s the sugar lining: after I lose this holiday ten pounds, I will slowly add a few carbs to my diet. So I can have a glass of wine once in a while. I can have a little pasta or garlic bread or pancakes. And I will not gain weight. If I do…I simply cut the carbs again until I’m back in my skinny jeans. Well, skinny for me.