Sunday, January 24, 2010

Diet # 2- The Flat Belly Diet

This diet comes to us from Prevention Magazine and is in a nutshell a lower-calorie (but not to the point of starving yourself /deprivation) diet.
As a sidenote, I really like the calorie-counting tool in the lower right quadrant of this page. You input your height, weight, etc., and it tells you exactly how much you need to do to maintain or lose.
No foods off limits, exercise encouraged and a plan given, but not "required". There are 2 twists though, that make this plan a little different: 1) the calories are spread over 4 rather than 3 meals per day and 2) EVERY meal is required to include a MUFA- monounsaturated fatty acid- The good news for me is that I like these foods- nuts, olives, dark chocolate...
Here are the pros & cons as I see them prior to starting:
-the plan looks easy and inexpensive to implement
-meals look tasty and I have choices after the 1st 4 days
-I don't think I'll feel deprived
-lots of useful tools such as an initial shopping list and 4-day jumpstart telling me exactly what to buy and eat
-there is an accompanying cookbook, which I bought- many of the recipes look delicious!
-the author lists health benefits of MUFAs, one of which includes an anti-inflammatory effect, which is one of my goals
-I can have a gourmet cupcake next weekend as one of my meals...wait, is that a pro or a con? Hmmmm...
-the diet is so-so in terms of healthiness- and since nothing is a "no-no" someone could theoretically eat a lot of crud on this one
-the reader is told that while exercise affects greater change, results can be acheived without it
This is a 32-day plan, so I'll check back in in a couple of weeks to report my progress and again at the end.

Last day- whew!

Today is the last day of the 7-day Detox, and I am really glad. On days 3-5 I had very little energy without grains or nuts. The really difficult day to get through was day 4- fast day. The veggie broth was really hard to down, and as a result I think I became somewhat dehydrated. That night as I tried to sleep I woke with a racing heart and dry mouth. The next morning brought- FOOD. I had never been so glad to see a bowl of sliced bananas & frozen blueberries in my LIFE. I did forget to mention that there is one other big PRO for this diet, however: it really attempts to address mind, body, and spirit. It is really integrative.
Hopefully at least my body is a little cleaner and prepared for the new diet I will start tomorrow- The Flat Belly Diet.
So, here are the vital stats for 7-day detox(1-5 scale):
My impression of the overall healthiness of this diet: 5
Ease of implementing : 1 (not so easy)
Cost of implementing: 4 (fairly high cost)
Feeling of deprivation: 4 (felt pretty deprived)
Energy level: 2 (not my usual level- found it hard to exercise and wanted to go to bed early)
Pounds lost: 1(hopefully not just water and/or poop :))

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 3

Well, I successfully and rather easily weaned myself from morning coffee by simply cutting down by 1 oz. per day the week prior to beginning this diet. The night before I started I went a little crazy though and gave myself something to detox FROM: whole wheat pasta(not allowed on diet) with cream sauce (not allowed), a hunk of yummy bread from a local bakery(not allowed), some local cheese(not allowed) and a half bottle of wine(DEFINITELY not allowed).
I am on day 3 of this 7-day plan, and I am better able to see some of the pros and cons now. I also have a question.
-Extremely healthy diet- no quibble there
-It takes up a lot of time! I am doing a lot of cooking and special-drink-preparing. Jordan called the mandatory 2x per day smoothies "putrid". The house is messier than usual. It's all worth it, right?
-I am again lamenting that meal plan/recipe choices are for the most part not included. I'm finding it especially difficult on the 2 days where I am ONLY to eat fruits & veggies- no nuts or grains even(luckily olive oil ok)! For lunch today I had a bowl of sliced bananas & frozen blueberries and a baked sweet potato with olive oil, salt & roasted garlic. Not bad. I'm running out of ideas, though...
-the diet calls for no dairy or refined sugar, but encourages the use of alternative milks such as almond or rice for the recommended smoothies- problem is, most of those alternative milks contain...sugar.

-If the sauna is supposed to help me "sweat out toxins", won't those toxins be right on my skin still when I'm done and have the potential to be re-absorbed? I can see taking a quick shower right after to get them off, but won't my pores be all open from the heat, allowing my skin to absorb ickiness such as chlorine from the shower water? What is the solution to this conundrum, I wonder? And why are there signs outside the sauna saying only short visits are safe, but this diet recommends 30-60 min.? Hmmmmm...

Tomorrow is the fast day- not looking forward to that. I prepared a special detox broth that I am supposed to sip throughout the day. Basically you chop up every icky vegetable you can think of, throw in a couple of decent ones for good measure, add water and boil for an hour. Strain, and the resulting liquid is the product. Did I mention that I am not looking forward to fast day?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Preparing for D-Day

I turned 39 last month, and in this final year before the big 4-0 I am determined to get in the best shape of my life. To that end, I am planning to test 4-6 diet/detox/exercise plans in 2010. I hope that my guinea pig status will benefit YOU by saving you some time, money and effort in avoiding the plans that don't show good result/effort ratios.
A few years ago I felt really good when I was on The Maker's Diet- no weight loss, but that wasn't my goal. But at this point, my ideal includes 1) losing 7-10 lbs. 2) losing dangerous abdominal fat 3) toning and building muscle- not quite "Madonna arms", but somewhere between where I am now and that...? Paul said he doesn't believe I can do a chin-up. Hmph. Maybe I can't NOW, but I so WILL. I'm gonna get all Sarah Connor from the original 'Terminator' movies. 4) Controlling my Lupus/inflammation. This is critical! Much of the literature I've read indicates that vegan and possibly gluten-free is the way to go to meet this goal, and some of these plans fall into that category. The first one does. It's actually only a 7-day detox plan. 4 days are vegan, 1 day is fasting, and the remaining 2 days I would describe as maybe... 'Vegan on Crack'?
While obtaining the plan itself costs you nothing, the recommended supplements do have a price tag attached, particularly in the case of "pectasol". I am on the lookout for cheap pectasol this week, so if you know of a good source, please comment below.
The website for this plan is www.fammed.wisc/integrative/modules You will see a number of patient handouts linked on this page. I will be doing the 7-day Detox plan.
Preparations to begin:
1) clear house of tempting, unhealthy foods not on the diet (by shoving them down my gullet)
2) wean myself of caffeine by reducing my morning cup of coffee by 1 oz. per day
3) create menus for the 6 days which fit the 'allowable foods' criteria, because only a few beverage and soup/broth recipes are actually included.
4) shop for supplements and recipe items
5)mentally prepare

What I like about the plan:
1) very healthy- sound in the recommendations, and very integrative
2) meets my anti-inflammatory needs
3) I can do anything for one week!

Concerns about the plan:
1) It only lasts a week- how much detox will actually occur?
2) I wish the creator would devise a number of recipes to choose from which fit the criteria. I am not normally a person who likes to be told what to do, but in the area of diet & exercise, the more "rules", structure, and guidance, the better.
3) The one recommendation I refuse to follow on fast day is taking an enema. Not. Gonna. Happen. Also this plan recommends a sauna for sweating out the toxins, and I do not have access to one. However, I sweat like a pig on my exercise bike, so maybe that will be sufficient?
I plan to start this diet next week, so I will report back during and after to share my results and thoughts at that time.