That’s what my doctor told me. He even had a chart that broke it all down and explained it to me. 3500 calories is one pound. Cut back eating 250 calories a day, and take a vigorous forty-minute walk a day (averages to 250 calories) that’s 500 calories a day you get rid of. Do that every day, and you’ll lose 1 pound a week.
‘Cept it’s not true.
I’m living proof. I’m a NECI graduate, and a former pastry chef. I was schooled in how to cook, and how important fresh ingredients are. Ever since I graduated, I’ve refused to cook with margarine, or use “fake” sugar in my cooking. Fake ingredients at all, for that matter. “Everything in moderation” was – and is – what I’ve always said.
When I started trying to lose weight after my third child, and nothing was happening, I talked to the doctor about it. And got the spiel above.
For 4 years, I tracked what I ate. I stuck to his advice (“eat whatever your goal weight is, with a 0 tacked on the end” – so for me, I restricted myself to 1200 calories per day), stopped drinking soda and started drinking water. Occasionally a glass of tea. I lost 25 pounds. Then I gained 15 back. Then lost it again, gained it back, lost it…over and over.
I hadn’t changed anything.
I started working out more. My husband built a desk around my treadmill, and I walked at 1.5mph while I worked – some days that would be 6 hours a day, others 16. The weight stayed on. I added to it: I’d wake up in the morning and run for 30 minutes, then walk the rest of the day. The weight stayed on.
My doctor tested my thyroid, checked me for diabetes, and when my numbers came back fine, he told me to “stop eating off your kids’ plates at dinnertime. If it passes your lips, it counts.”
As if I didn’t know that, and hadn’t been logging every single morsel that passed my lips for the last 4 years. But would he look at my logs? No. He assumed that even if I were keeping a log, I was obviously lying about what I entered, otherwise, I wouldn’t be fat.
Everyone assumed I was lying. That all i was doing was lying around, eating bon-bons by the bushel as I watched every TV show known to man. “Get off your ass and move,” or “stop eating” were common bits of advice tossed my way. Which was funny, because I can guarantee you I ate healthier than anyone who’s ever said that to me, and exercised more.
But if I were telling the truth, then I wouldn’t be fat. It’s simple math. If I were actually doing what I said I was doing, then I would weigh less. So I must be lying. End of story.
Except I was doing exactly what I said I was doing. I wanted this weight to come off, and nothing was working. I even went on Weight Watchers, but I was obsessed about food. How many points was I eating, how could I eat less but feel full? I was constantly hungry, and always feeling like a failure. And the scale still didn’t move – or when it did, it moved up.
Then I talked to my mom, who is a diabetic. She told me that a diabetic diet basically meant cutting out sugar and carbs (carbs because your internal systems see carbs as sugar anyway). The only low-carb diet I was aware of was Atkin’s. So I decided to check it out.
That was 6 weeks ago. Today, I am down 15 pounds from just 6 weeks ago, and still going. I no longer obsess about food. I simply eat when I’m hungry. I pay no attention to calories (however, I do log everything I eat, so I am well aware of how many I’m eating – I average between 1500-1700 a day – and I’m full all the time), but I do pay attention to the amount of fat, protein and carbs I’m eating. My ratio: 65% fat, 7% carbs, and 23% protein.
Yeah, I said 65% fat.
And for the record, the Atkin’s diet is not “meat and fat.” I actually have to get the majority of my carbs through foundation vegetables. Butter, cream, cheese (and other assorted saturated fat sources) all contribute to the amount of carbs I eat, so even though I eat high-fat items, I limit the intake, because I have to get my veggies in.
Apparently, my body has stopped storing the carbs I eat, and has started burning the fat stores I’ve been keeping (I can tell, because I’ve dropped about 3 pants sizes already), as well as using the fat I’ve been eating as fuel. I have no more mid-afternoon slump. I have had the best night’s sleep every night for the last 6 weeks. I wake up at 5:30-6:00 in the morning with no alarm, fully rested and refreshed (and usually take the dog for a nice, long, vigorous walk). My skin and hair look fabulous (and my hair – which I had steadily been losing – has recently made an appearance), and my overall well-being has skyrocketed.
And my migraines are gone. Totally, completely, absolutely 100% GONE.
From now on, I’m going to be journaling about this program, because I believe it works. It’s working for me, anyway. I’ve been educating myself on the food pyramid, and you could call me a paleo-convert. I’ve been watching all kinds of documentaries on food consumption in the United States, and how the obesity epedemic is spreading worldwide (and why). Through all of this, I feel I’ve made the right decision for myself.
I have a doctor’s appointment in September – it’s a physical. I’ll be getting all my blood work done – checking cholesterol and stuff. But from what I’ve seen, even with all the saturated fat I’m eating, I expect the bad stuff will be low, and the good stuff will be quite high from my last set of numbers. I honestly can’t wait, because I’d love to see the expression on his face when I tell him I’ve been doing everything he’s told me not to do, and it’s working better than the last 4 years of following his advice to the letter.