Saturday, August 21, 2010

Home Cooking: The Most Successful Un-Diet Ever

Clear back at the beginning of the year, I started what I hoped would be a regular Saturday feature here on my blog. Although the stories I told were about food, I hadn’t quite focused on where I wanted these entries to go. I’d been inspired by the movie Julie & Julia, and I knew I wanted to tell about my own family food traditions, but after three entries, I wasn’t sure exactly where I needed to go.

The past few days I’ve been considering what I should do with several aspects of my blog. Trying to clean up the horrendously long list of labels among them, I decided to revisit the regular features I wanted to share. (If you read this blog on Thursday, you’ve already figured out that I came up with an entirely new series directed toward my family and genealogy.) When I looked at the feedback from my earlier postings for Saturday, I discovered that people really were interested in my stories about home cooking, so that’s where the new name for this blog feature has come from, and that’s where the focus will be.

Sometimes I’ll share stories. Others I may offer favorite recipes. I hope that somewhere along the way I’ll offer something that will whet your appetite. btu with that said, I think I need to say that I understand anyone who has a need to be careful about what they eat.

Back in April, I offered a post for another blog where I occasionally write (Pushing Past the Pounds) about the most successful un-diet I’ve ver been on. I thought maybe I should share that here with you, my regular readers, as well, so here goes.

ve known for a long time that I needed to be losing weight. My clothing size had grown. I could hardly walk from my car into my classroom each morning. When I looked into the mirror, I found a truly round face to match my round belly. I felt like Santa Claus, without his jolly.

The problem was that I was too tired to do much of anything about it. Ever since I had the radial head replacement surgery two years ago, I was having trouble making myself move. My arms hurt; my knees and legs still hurt from the fall; and my back was a constant source of ache and pain when I stood for longer than a few minutes.

My doctor told me to lose weight—but she didn’t have any advice how I could do it when I couldn’t walk, exercise, or breathe without thinking I was in the middle of a serious heart attack.

Then I found the answer. I’ve long been a fan of Dr. Wayne Dyer so when I saw him on QVC, offering an incredible price on his new book, DVD and CD series The Shift, I placed my order immediately.

Three weeks ago I was driving our sons to Big Water, Utah, to visit my husband on the set of a film he’s working on. Forget the advice we are given to spend time in the car talking to our kids. Mine don’t even consider it, and within seconds of starting the drive, DVD players and iPods were turned on, headphones in, and kids either watching, listening or sleeping, so I took advantage of the time and starting listening on my own to Dr. Dyer.

Much of what he talks about has to do with finding joy, creating spiritual wealth, and releasing our need for owning things, but one of his stories struck me as especially important. Dr. Dyer has recently been diagnosed with leukemia, and he felt it was important that he lose some weight to help with his treatment. He had spoken with a friend about a way to change hiss eating patterns and in less than 30 days, Dr. Dyer has lost 25 pounds.

Lost 25 pounds? That sounded like a great way for me to drop at least part of what I knew I needed to lose, so once home from the trip, I started the most simple and successful un-diet I’ve ever been on. Are you ready? Here it is:

Keep your sugar intake to less than 25 grams per day.

All I do is write down how many grams of sugar the food labels say are in a serving of a product, make sure I really am only eating one serving, and when I’ve gotten to 25 that day, I stop eating anything with additional sugar.

That doesn’t mean I’m necessarily done eating. I can still eat fresh veggies, fresh fruit, meat, cheese, eggs, and lots of things. I just don’t eat anything else with grams of sugar.

The result? By the end of the first week, I was walking into school without feeling exhausted. I could stand longer without my back killing me. My slacks weren’t quite to tight anymore. There was suddenly definition in my cheeks and neck, and my wedding ring could actually come off my finger without me having to pry it.

In the second week, my tummy was flatter and the upper portion of my arms weren’t as large and didn’t feel so tight. I could feel the bones in my cheeks and my thighs looked smaller.

You have to know, this had started to happen without any exercise. The only thing I had changed was counting the grams of sugar, and that in and of itself had been a surprise. The first day I had picked up my usually cup of healthy yogurt for lunch, only to discover is had 33 grams of sugar! WHAT?! Bread? 3 grams per slice. I looked at the skim milk I drink—6 grams per cup. I won’t even tell you what a glass of chocolate milk contains.

Just how much sugar had I been taking into my body that I hadn’t been aware of? I’d seen Dr. Oz haul out a wagonload of sugar on the Oprah show and say, “This is how much sugar we now eat in a year,” but I didn’t really believe him. I was trying to imagine adding that much sugar to my cereal in a morning and the thought made me sick. But once I started looking at the grams I was secretly taking, I was amazed.

And that alone was enough to convince me to stick with this program. But the bonus came when I visited the doctor.

I had been experiencing some symptoms that pointed to Type II Diabetes. My father had it; my mother had it; and both my older brother and sister had been insulin dependent. I was at a huge risk. Four weeks ago I had gone to the lab for a series of fasting blood tests. The results were not good and the diagnosis was in—I had also become a diabetic.

Of course, I didn’t know that yet until my actual appointment last week when my doctor had the blood tests rerun while I was in her office. And guess what, two weeks into my new way of eating, and all my levels had dropped enough to take me back into the pre-diabetic stages, and I’d lost at least 10 pounds since my last appointment in November.

With the addition of an hour a day exercise (okay, so I’m working up to that, but I’m already doing much more than I’ve done for the past two years!), and the continued change in my diet, my doctor thinks I’ll have this situation under control.

And I’m sure it certainly won’t hurt my figure!

It remains to see if I’ll make Dr. Dyer’s 25 pounds in 30 days, but so far I feel like that’s a reasonable goal, and after that—who knows!

That was my posting in April.  Now, here’s the good news. The un-diet worked! At my latest visit to the doctor, we discover that I had not only lost and kept off over 40 pounds, but my sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure had all returned to the levels that were normal!

And I’ve done all of this while still eating plenty of food. So, I know we can do it, if good healthy eating habits is what we actually choose to do. More thoughts on that in the weeks to come.

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