Sunday, September 20, 2009

"So, you should post some recipes from the Fine in '09 Campaign. What were you eating?"

I started this as a comment in response to a comment on the post below. It got so unwieldy long that it's now a post. I'm not sure I'd recommend anybody actually follow my method for reasons I'll elaborate on later. But, at the height of The Campaign, I did go on a diet of sorts for about 4 - 5 weeks. I stopped eating full meals, and instead ate high powered snacks over the course of the day. Stuff like a boiled egg, nuts, yogurt, etc... Sometimes I'd splurge on a whole avocado or some tuna salad (heavy on the tuna and pickles, very light on the mayo) with whole wheat, high fiber crackers (industrial cardboard, actually). Then I'd fill in the rest of the day with fruit and cut veggies. At night - every night for the whole period - I ate a salad, mixing up the veggies for balance and interest and adding in grilled chicken and Parmesan cheese for protein. Needless to say, the kiddos were pretty freaking tired of salad by election day. The theory was to maintain a fairly constant level of input to spur my metabolism to operate at its most efficient level. In the evening, when my energy needs spiked - because that's when I worked out - I took in more food, but the rest of the time my caloric intake was pretty equalized. Also, I figured that without eating full meals, I'd avoid a lot of the extraneous crap we all usually end up eating. I didn't want anything coming in that my body couldn't or wouldn't use. There were a ton of unintended benefits of the diet. I ended up almost entirely eliminating carbs and animal fats from my diet, without making a conscious decision to do so. I'm fairly certain I would have mentally resisted such a decision. I ended up with whole foods making up a pretty significant chunk of my diet and raw foods not far behind. Meal prep time was cut down awesomely and there was absolutely no slaving over a hot stove in the middle of the summer. I think the theory is good. But, in retrospect, I don't think I needed to be quite as strict about it as I was. Toward the end of the period, I started to feel a bit weak. Actually, on the spectrum of a bit weak to straight passing out, I may have leaned a little farther toward straight passing out. Which leads me in to why I'm not sure I would recommend the diet. I don't know how healthy it actually was - feeling like you're going to pass out is probably not a symptom of optimum health. Also, while I didn't find it particularly hard to stick to the diet - my somewhat obsessive nature kicked in and I kind of reveled in the structure of it all - most people aren't weird like that. I think an extremely rigid diet only works for certain personalities. Lastly, a temporary fix like this isn't good if you need to make lifestyle changes. Luckily, my normal eating and general lifestyle are pretty healthy, so a temporary change and then a return to normal worked well for me. In fact, I've continued to lose weight in the weeks since I stopped the diet. I'm starting to cut back on exercise now, because I want to stay pretty much where I'm at. So, that's what I was eating. Or not eating.

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