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It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle Plan

It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle Plan

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

Day 1 – Starting a new diet my wife wants me to try. So weak. . . need food. . . wasting away.

"It's not even breakfast time," says my wife. "Don't be so dramatic."

As if. Starting new diets are always hard. My body can sense when one is coming, and it fights with me, fights without knowing this is supposed to be good for me. I've tried being sneaky, not telling it when a diet is coming, but it always knows. Sometimes I think my body and my brain are conspiring against me, trying to undo my best efforts to get and/or remain healthy.

Today, it was grilled chicken salad with vinaigrette for lunch, a banana smoothie for a snack (ooh, snack?!), and stuffed green peppers with beef and rice.

"What is this?" I ask. (I like stuffed green peppers.) "I didn't think we were allowed to eat beef on a diet."

My wife says this is all about "clean eating." Basically, we eat foods that speed up our metabolism, and avoid foods that slow it down. Fair enough. Do hamburgers speed up or slow down?

Day 2 – It's been 24 hours on this new diet. I'm attributing the fact that I'm not dead yet to sheer force of stubborn will, and not the fact that this might actually be good for me.

"This isn't a diet," says my wife. "It's a lifestyle plan. You stop a diet after you reach a certain weight, but a lifestyle plan is something you do forever." My brain starts sending secret messages to my body about battening down the hatches and damning the torpedos.

However, she saves the day with red beans, rice, and beef burritos for lunch, and grilled chicken and pasta sauce for dinner. We also have a light snack after breakfast, and another after lunch. I think I like this die—er, plan.

The secret is to eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones. Your body's metabolism can more easily keep up, and you don't gain weight. Tomorrow will be the true test, however, when I go to work, and am left on my own to follow the new plan.

Day 5 – I don't think this is working. I've tried following the idea of eating smaller amounts several times a day. For breakfast, it's a bowl of oatmeal, because it lowers the cholesterol. Mid-morning snack, a small doughnut. Lunch, one large slice of pepperoni pizza — not two — with veggies. Mid-day snack, the other slice of pizza. Dinner, whatever we have for dinner at home.

"I gained three pounds," I tell my wife.

"Haven't you been following the plan?"

"Oh absolutely. Eat smaller meals more frequently." I tell her how I've been careful to only have the small doughnut, and the one slice of pizza for lunch.

Apparently, clean eating also means not eating processed food.

Apparently, doughnuts and pizza dough and pepperoni are all processed food. And apple fritters do not count as a serving of fruit

Apparently, says my wife, I wasn't paying attention to that part of the plan when she explained it this weekend.

I remind her how hard it is for me to concentrate when I'm faint from hunger.

Day 6 – Lunch consists of leftovers from dinner last night. I am no longer allowed to fend for myself until I truly understand what clean eating entails. I have also been warned that sneaking off to the doughnut shop down the block is strictly verboten.

Tonight's dinner is stuffed red peppers, this time with chicken and rice. I love stuffed red peppers too. Still, it would be great, if instead of peppers, we had steak, and instead of rice and chicken, we had garlic mashed potatoes.

Day 12 – I have lost four pounds. It's my first little victory. I suck in my now-slimming waistline, puff out my chest, and strut around the house for all to admire, "all" being the dog, since my wife took the kids to the health food market and organic co-op to stock up. While the health food market and organic co-op does not carry steak, they do have organic potatoes and organic garlic cloves, which I learned, does not have much effect on one's metabolism.

To celebrate my weight loss, I decide to reward myself with a nice dairy product: a chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream cone. Milk is considered a "clean" food, and small amounts of chocolate are supposed to help reduce free radicals in the body.

A few more of these, and I'll be as healthy as a horse. I just need to space them out evenly throughout the day.

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  1. I love your struggle Erik because I share it as well. I certainly understand the need to eat clean but doing it consistently is still a challenge for me. But I do love a challenge and keep trying. I look forward to the day, and then the week, and then the month where I can say I absolutely ate clean that whole period. Thanks for your honesty and great humor. :)

  2. Thanks, Kathy. I appreciate it, and I'm glad you liked it. It's definitely a challenge for me, because while the clean food tastes good, the "dirty" food tastes soooo much better.

    So, while I try to eat clean whenever possible, I do still treat myself once in a while. I just need to make sure the treats are once in a while, and not the actual clean eating.

  3. Yeah I know what you mean about the "dirty" food! I'm hoping if I can manage to stick with this long enough I can train my taste buds to stop craving the bad stuff. I know that if I do indulge now, I don't feel so good, physically or emotionally, after I eat an unclean meal or even a snack. So I guess that's progress!

  4. To try and keep on track, I say to myself-- would you put crappy gas into your Benz? Nope! only Supreme quality...So why would you put crappy food into your body.

    Your health & body is worth a lot more than your Benz! You are nothing without your health!

    That always puts me in check!

  5. Erik thanks for sharing this! Very funny and it hits home!

  6. This is awesome! If my daughter could write a blog post about what it's like to be introduced to Mom's new family diet - er, lifestyle plan - I'm sure she'd say something very similar.

    With much more emphasis on the weakness from hunger, of course; eight year olds starve so easily, ya know. ;-)

    Great column. FUN!


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