Monday, October 15, 2007

Maybe I should write a diet book too

It seems there are way too many diet books out there right now and they all pretty much spew the same information. More smaller meals, good carbs, lean proteins, and go to the gym. Since my most recent diet has been working, maybe I should try to document it.

In 2 and a half weeks, I've lost most of the weight that I gained after going back to Hong Kong. My program has two phases that last about a week each, with about 1-2 days a week where I don't have to diet. Since it's too much of a hassle to cook, I buy all my food from restaurants or supermarkets.

I agree with the more frequent smaller meals theory about dieting, so I try my best to have 2 lunches, 1 snack, and 1 dinner a day. By separating normal meals into 2, it helps me to eat less per meal. One rule of thumb that I've been using is that if the meat entree from the restaurant (or pizzeria or whatever) costs more than $7.50 from a normal neighborhood place, then the contents should be split into two dinner meals. This is because the portions everywhere in the US are so big, we really don't need to finish the entire thing. The problem is that when I eat out, I always feel compelled to clean the plate, so I make sure to take home all my diet food. Also, when I eat out at a nice sit down restaurant, not only are the entrees themselves too much as it is, I often find myself tempted to make it a full 3 course meal (might as well since I'm already out). So one of the things I've had to give up for this diet has been eating out, but at least I haven't been forced to completely cook all my meals yet.

The first phase/week separates carbs and proteins. I tend to eat most of my carbs and fiber in the daytime and only protein at night. Right now I eat a salad (tomatoes, cucumber, a little onion, baby spinach or lettuce) with either some rice or bread (Turkish pide) for my two lunches. Some days I'll have a fresh fruit/vegetable juice in place of one lunch. This is followed by a snack that introduces some nonmeat protein. Right now I have some hummus with the bread, but I think a nice miso soup with tofu and seaweed will work well and be nutritious too. For dinner, I eat just meat. On some nights I'll get a skewer of chicken chunks from the Turkish place while on others I'll buy some sashimi from the supermarket (cheaper that way).

After this first phase/week, the second week consists of very balanced meals. It'll basically consist of two lunches and two dinners where I just split a normal lunch/dinner portion into two. I try to get some vegetable, protein, and grains into every meal. Right now the meals I've had include a Korean soft tofu soup with vegetables and rice, a lamachun (Turkish flatbread with ground lamb, kind of like a pizza) with some veggies, pasta in garlic and olive oil with chicken or anchovies and broccoli. Other options I plan to eat include club sandwiches (no bacon), egg white omelettes with spinach and mushrooms and toast, and saag paneer (Indian cheese in a spinach curry) with rice. Again, the portions tend to be half of what the restaurant ends up giving me.

During these diet days, I get my sugar from taking occasional sips of vitamin water. At least this way I get some vitamins when getting my sugar fix. I tend to finish a large bottle in about 3 days. On my rest days, I pretty much will eat whatever I like, but try my best to keep the food somewhat healthy and again split the meals into more frequent smaller meals.

So far the weight has come off, and I do not feel hungry or have cravings. The price of the food adds up quickly, but it's mostly manageable. I'll try to stay on this for another month and by then I'll probably have a much better idea how successful this would be. I feel the key to any diet lies in how long one can happily stay on it.

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