Diets (Ugh): Part I
To my dear friend Rachel – dieting stinks…
However, after receiving multiple emails from people I am happy to share anything and everything to help my friends succeed in their weight loss goals. It isn’t really possible for me to sum up everything in a single post (well, I suppose I COULD, but it would be a long one!) so I’ll break it up into a few over the next day or two.
My experience with dieting did not begin with our Biggest Loser competition. In fact, I didn’t even want to do the competition because I was a “happy” camper sitting at my desk with a good ol’ bag of chips. Having succeeded, failed, given up and joyously celebrated over diets in the past, I am no fool when it comes to this topic anymore. I have tried multiple things (including many fad diets), and while there are a couple of different methods I used to achieve my current weight loss there is one specific “diet plan” that I will continue to follow for the rest of my life.
We will call this the Joseph Plan, in dedication to my old personal trainer who endlessly drilled the importance of a proper diet into my brain day in and day out. I assure you, it works (for everyone).
Step 1 in the Joseph Plan – sign up for a free account at Livestrong.com (specifically due to the free account you will also receive at the Daily Plate, aka MyPlate). YES, there are other websites that track calories, NO I do not believe they are as helpful or as successful (for your reference, the Daily Plate is also available via the Livestrong App for iPhones).
Step 2 Do not rely on the foods that other people have entered – create your own. I always used my name so it was easy to find the next time (i.e. Abby’s Apple). I would gather nutritional data directly from the FDA whenever possible to ensure accuracy (or off labels if available).
Step 3 If you are able to do so, buy a food scale. You can find inexpensive ones very easily, although I do recommend a digital scale as the manual read ones tend to be a pain in the butt.
Step 4 Start tracking your calories – make sure you are on a calorie restricted diet (1300-1500 to start) and are eating healthy foods. This is where the Joseph Diet differs from standard “common sense” diets… you want to balance your caloric intake by 1/3 protein, 1/3 carbs and 1/3 fat.
Please allow me to explain – by carbs I do NOT mean pastas, breads or a Krispy Kreme doughnut… I mean veggies (vegetables are a great sources of healthy carbohydrates). I would also highly recommend cutting out grains for the duration of this diet (all grains, including rice).
By fats I do NOT mean ice creams, deep fried foods or a delicious Taco Bell burrito (…yummm….), I mean healthy fats like small amounts of olive oil and avocados (be aware… in tablespoon of olive oil has approximately 100 calories and a large sum of your daily allowance of fat).
Step 5 Balance your meals – have, at a bare minimum, three solid meals per day (breakfast, lunch & dinner) and in each meal, have one protein one fat and one carbohydrate. This will help keep you balanced throughout the day.
Familiarize yourself with the Daily Nutrition Breakdown pie chart on My Plate, which can be found on the right hand side of your My Plate screen:
This is a day from my own My Plate account – it isn’t ideal, but its close. You want to, ideally, have all percentages be around 33%.
Step 6 If you are a regular coffee drinker, stop. Yes, this is incredibly painful and if you are anything like me it will result in many many headaches for the first few days while your body goes through withdrawal. However, the caffeine in coffee can and will affect your metabolism – by cutting that out of the equation it will make your dieting experience much more positive. Caffeine free tea can be a decent replacement in the mornings just to make it a bit easier on yourself.
Step 7 Don’t eat the same foods/meals over and over and over again. Yes, a good salad can contain a protein, carb and fat… but I would not recommend having a salad every day for lunch because after one week you’ll probably be ready to quit all together. Mix it up, have veggies that you enjoy. Be cautious of fruits. In fact, other than apples & grapefruits I would advise against any fruit consumption as they are all very high in sugars and can spike your carb intake.
These tips are enough to get you started, but are just the tip of the ice berg. Dieting really is a science, but its like that class in Highschool that you’d really rather just sleep through or pretend to listen while you’re texting your friends. I will post Part II, III…IV, V… etc. soon, but if you have questions as we go please ask.
I’m no expert, but I do have a lot of experience. This isn’t the only diet I’ve tried, even recently or currently, but it is by far the most successful and healthy diet that I am aware of.
Happy Dieting 🙂