"Fit at fifty" was a common dream of mine; therefore, in earnest I started to investigate how to accomplish that goal. I tried counting calories for the previous two years, and the result was a total loss of ten pounds and hunger for two years. However, I did learn several things during those years. First of all, when I ate more fiber I was less hungry. Secondly, the more sugar I ate, the less I could actually eat on my allotted one thousand calorie a day goal. High fiber, low sugar was the ticket. This translated into high vegetable, low processed foods and breads. However, this type of "diet" was unsustainable. As soon as the counting stopped, weight came back. One thousand calories a day for my 6 '2" 275+ pound frame was not an easy task. I needed fuel to function. I needed a sustainable long-term lifestyle change, not just a diet.
A visit with the family resulted in a discussion about how to combat and/or control diabetes. Juvenile diabetes is debilitating and life changing. Researching lead to the conclusion that carbohydrate control was the key to success. The carbohydrate management research lead to the Atkins Diet. The Atkins diet that I had known seemed to have changed since I had last heard of it. I was not overly excited about the plan, as I had heard that the founder dropped dead of a heart attack. Upon further investigation, I discovered that he actually died of a severe head trauma after slipping on some ice. Click here to read a USA Today article written by his widow.
The information that my wife and I found in the program lead to our researching glucose or sugar control. This is right up the alley where we needed to go to find out about controlling diabetes.
" Eating the right foods can improve your body’s metabolism, particularly how it handles fat. When you eat fewer carb foods—relying mostly on vegetables rich in fiber—your body switches to burning fat (including your own body fat) instead of carbs as its primary fuel source."
This is the golden information. Sugar is the poison. Food high in carbohydrates (which are converted easily to glucose in your body) is the enemy. Upon researching sugar, several other enemies of the body came to light. The next evil poison to come to light from this research was High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Inexpensive, and two to three times more sweet than sugar, this poison is in everything processed these days. Cheap non-food is what I call it. It is processed in your body similarly to alcohol and or other poisons. It robs your body of the ability to feel satisfied from eating. Listen to this video to hear more about HFCS. While researching HFCS and the body's trouble processing/digesting that substance, another poison reared its ugly head. Hydrogenated oil is the reason that more than half of America has a fat belly. It is processed oil that was designed not to separate, and to be "shelf stable". It is "shelf stable" in our bodies as well!
Having armed myself with this information, I set some new lifestyle change goals. Having my lovely wife jump right in and research, cook, and read a thousand labels and articles helped us get healthy this past year. "Net Carbs" is a catch phrase used by Atkins that started to make more sense as we moved down this path. Not digesting poison in any form is our lifestyle change. In our "eat-on-the-run" society, this can be a challenge.
From the 275 pounds that I weighed last year, I have lost close to fifty pounds in one year. I am not ever allowed to speak of my wife's weight, but she has had to change her entire wardrobe. Not bad for a lifestyle change. We just changed the way we ate with out trying exceptionally hard at all. We have done so without any pills, gadgets, or anything sold on the TV. We did not purchase an expensive gym membership or even workout very much, other than walking on occasion.
Preparing your mind is a vital part of a lifestyle change. If you do not diligently prepare your mind for success in this endeavor, you will most likely fail. A lifestyle change is needed. The loss of weight and a slimmer, more toned body are the mere results of the changes that you make in your everyday routine. I think that people focus too much on the results and not enough on the lifestyle change. This issue causes a short-sighted focus on the lifestyle change. Dieters get discouraged because they do not see immediate and fantastic results. Then they quit trying. Focus on a life style change, and there should be no disappointment. Set goals for yourself. A goal for me was not to eat sugar for a day, then a week, and then a month. Another was not to purchase or eat anything made with hydrogenated oil. Once I did those, I moved to High Fructose Corn Syrup elimination from my diet. A goal of walking two to three times a week was reasonable. Be realistic. Losing the weight slowly and the right way will be the result of a lifestyle change and not a quickie diet. If you were to lose two pounds a month, that would be twenty four pounds a year. I think three to four pounds a month would be a fantastic result. That is thirty six to forty eight pounds in a year. A better goal may be to follow this BMI chart provided by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
Make a plan for success. Our plan is simple:
- Stop eating poison (hydrogenated oils, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and sugar/high carb low fiber food). I simply started off with not eating sugar. I copied my son's girlfriend Katelyn's idea of not eating sugar for a week. I did not realize how challenging that was going to be, or how much it would change my life. Poisons also include diet soda and fruit juice. Yes, fruit juice.
- Always eat breakfast (I also eliminated milk from my diet as it hurts my stomach. I believe I am lactose intolerant). Dairy is not your friend. By the way, 99.4% of all "breakfast food" is poison. Please be careful. I recommend two eggs.
- Eat until full. Eat often. Prepare healthy snacks (apple, veggies) for when you get hungry between meals. Full equals fiber. Fiber is the antidote for sugar in the body.
- Treat yourself. Drink a glass of wine on occasion (Jesus made wine, it's OK.). Drink a beer on occasion, as long as it is a light beer like Michelob Ultra. Eat a treat on occasion. When I first started eliminating sugar from my diet, the treat eating was particularly important. Make sure that you have plenty of Atkins Bars or similar health bars on hand when you have a treat attack. Make sure that they are low in Net Carbs. I don't need those treat bars anymore, since I have beaten my sugar addiction.
- Eat organic as often as possible. Another reason that we steered away from the Atkins bars for treats was their long ingredient list. That teamed up with long words on an ingredient list is not a good thing. An ingredient list for an apple bar should read apples, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, organic flax seed.
- Purchase the tools. Tools for losing weight? I am not talking about some junk you buy on that info channel on TV. The tools of losing weight are:
- A scale that you will put your chunky butt on every day when you wake up.
- Food. Real food. No processed food. Food that is God-made, not man-made. Food free of hydrogenated oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and sugar. Yes, 86 sugar. Purchase food with fiber; white flour is junk.
- Shoes. Walking shoes and appropriate work out wear. Don't go crazy on this one. You are not on TV.
- Get a Posse. Help and encouragement are essential when making a lifestyle change. If you have a partner eating the same way that you do, it makes life easier. You will have less desire to eat junk if there is none of that junk to eat. Shopping with your partner and making wise purchases will keep you from "slipping". Talking about how you ate during the day will help you through the ups and downs.
Year one, check.