Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 2 - Switching It Around

Today is the fruit day. I am supposed to have one serving of something called "low energy density" fruit every two hours. According to the experts, that is fruit that contains the highest possible volume of water, fiber and enzymes. The lower the numeric value, the higher the energy density.

The acceptable fruits listed in the article were:

Fruit Energy Density

Strawberries .2
Raspberries .3
Watermelon .3
Grapefruit .3
Canteloupe .4
Honeydew .4
Papaya .4
Peaches .4
Tangerines .4
Oranges .6
Apricots .5
Pineapple .5
Plums .6
Blueberries .6
Apples .6

I was curious about how these values were derived, so I went surfing around the Internet to find out. I particularly wanted to know because I eat a banana every day to help my blood pressure. I was already missing my daily bowl of raisin bran with the sliced banana on top; I really didn't want to go three days without a banana. If the energy density of bananas fell within the acceptable values, I could see no reason not to include it in my diet.

After much searching, and I do mean MUCH, I finally found the answer I needed on a website called myfooddiary.com. Here's the formula:

Energy Density = calories per serving divided by the weight of the serving in grams.

I went looking for the calories contained in a banana and found:


This is an absolutely great site. It allows you to easily track your calorie intake meal by meal, snack by snack and day by day. Not only does it have calorie counts for just about every food and beverage you can think of, raw or packaged, home or restaurant-prepared, but it also allows you to enter caloric and nutritional values for foods you consume in your own diet.

For example, I favor this particular brand of organic popcorn that I couldn't find in the caloriecount site, so I entered it. Now, whenever I put a serving of this very healthy snack into a snack category, its correct nutritional and caloric values pop right into my daily food profile.

Anyway, I soon discovered bananas have an energy density of .6, the same as many other fruits on the acceptable list. So I made a banana my first meal of the day, and an apple my second. But just like yesterday, by the time lunch rolled around, I was so hungry that's all I could think about. The plan calls for me to have another serving of fruit for lunch. I knew I would be horribly uncomfortable for the rest of the afternoon if I did that, so I decided to switch things up a bit and eat my dinner for lunch. Scientifically, this has actually been proven to be a much healthier way to eat. When you eat a larger meal later in the day, your digestive system doesn't have as much time to process the food as it would if you ate that same meal for lunch. Eating big meals in the evening can lead to a variety of digestive problems like acid reflux.

So, I ate my dinner at lunchtime. I also didn't eat a huge 6-cup salad like the plan called for. I ate a one cup serving of a very healthy casserole I prepared with onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, olive oil, grass-fed organic ground beef and brown rice.

I know, I know. All the things I'm not supposed to have on this diet plan...meat and carbs. But you know what? I feel satisfied and full. I will be able to get some work done this afternoon without the distraction of overwhelming hunger.

For the rest of the day, I'll do the fruit every two hours thing, then at dinner I'll eat a 2 cup salad, not 6 cups. I ended up throwing out about half the salad from last night because I simply couldn't eat that much food in one sitting. If there's one thing I hate more than being fat, it's wasting food. Now that I think of it, that's probably one of the reasons I am fat. In the past, when I thought something was going to waste, I ate it. Now, even though it hurts, if it can't be refrigerated for the next day, I just throw it out.

I know I have probably blown the whole thing. But I can't stick to a program that is making me feel physically weak and cranky. I did lose 2 pounds overnight, going from 204 down to 202, but I don't fool myself that it's a real or permanent weight loss.

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment.

Planet Fat Cat

Monday, August 4, 2008

The First Day of Many

So, today was the big day. I started on a new diet plan. It's from the June 30th, 2008 issue of First Magazine. The cover headline reads, "Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Days," which is mild for these magazines. I've seen magazine covers that say, "Lose 50 Pounds in 3 Minutes Just By Blinking Your Eyes!!!" But when you open them up, you either can't find the article or you discover that in order to achieve the suggested results, you also have to have gastric bypass surgery. And that 3 minutes? Turns out it was a typo. They really meant three years, you know, to give the surgery time to work. Plus, you have to give up proteins, carbs and fats. But you can chew sugarless gum.

The actual article I'm following is called, "Summer Fruit Breakthrough." It's not really that much of a breakthrough; I've been reading variations on this juice fast theme for years now. The first day, today, I have been drinking an 8 ounce protein shake made with Jay Robb's whey protein, every two hours. Then at dinner I was supposed to have a salad made with 6 cups of raw vegetables and 6 ounces of lean protein (I used sliced turkey) with a dressing made from 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of one lemon.

Here's how the day went. As time progressed, I got hungrier and hungrier. And I don't mean normal hunger. I mean, "Oh, my God! Why did I ever decide to be a contestant on Survivor? I've been on the island 7 days without a single bite of solid food!" hunger. It literally gnawed at me from the inside out. I've never been on a diet that did that to me, but then again, I've never been on a diet that was almost all liquid almost all day.

By the time dinner rolled around, I was ready to gnaw the legs off my coffee table. I made the salad and dressing but here's a weird thing. I could only eat half of it. When I thought about it logically, six cups is a LOT of food. I think it would have been smarter to eat a 3 cup salad at lunch and then another 3 cup salad at dinner. But I am nothing if not obedient, so I dutifully tried to chow down the whole thing. I only made it about halfway through, and then two hours later was ravenously hungry again. But by that time, the salad was dead. If there's one thing I WILL NOT eat, it's a dead salad.

Conclusion? Even though I have stuck to the plan, I don't like this diet. I have been obsessed with thoughts of food all day long, to the extent that I didn't get much work done.

Tomorrow the plan changes to eating fruit every two hours, followed by another of those giant salads, but with no protein in the salad, just another of those watery, totally unsatisfying protein shakes. So for two days I will have virtually no protein except for that one lone 8 ounce shake.

At the end of the three days, I'll report my results, then go back to eating my normal diet. I don't expect to lose ten pounds, but I would be happy with two to three.

Next Monday, I'm trying a different three-day plan. Come back them for the details.

Planet Fat Cat