January 2, 2009

Diet Ideas for your Post Holiday Detox

Here are a few suggestions that can help you recover from the holidays.

1. Do a Two Week Diet.

There are a lot of things you can tolerate for two weeks that are too daunting to contemplate for longer. And if you can get through two weeks, you will have broken the bad habits and rollercoaster blood sugars you developed during the holidays. Once you have a modest success behind you, you can set a second goal.

Too many people fail with their New Years diets because they are too ambitious. Instead of deciding to lose 100 lbs., try for five. After you lose those five pounds, you can work on losing five more. Do that twenty times and you've lost 100 lbs. But even if you only lose five, or ten lbs before you burn out on your diet, you'll have lost a lot more than most people lose on their New Year's Resolution diets.

2. Blood Sugar Control is More Important than Dieting for Weight Loss.

First things first. We'd all like to be slender, but if your blood sugars are out of control, the only diet that will improve your health is one that gets those blood sugars back down to safe levels.

Though doctors often tell people that losing weight will improve their blood sugars or "reverse" their diabetes, this is rarely true. The good news is that you can improve your blood sugars and prevent diabetic complications without losing a single pound if you follow the strategy you'll find explained here:

How to Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control

Once you have lowered your blood sugar to a safe range using the above technique--one that does not require you to restrict your food or work yourself into a state of deprivation--you can decide if you want to take on the much more stringent diet needed to achieve weight loss.

Many people will find it easier to lose weight once they get their blood sugars back in control because they will have lowered their insulin resistance or insulin usage. Flattening blood sugars also eliminates much of the intense hunger that leads to compulsive eating. Others of us will still have to struggle to lose weight, even with good blood sugars. Especially those of us who are older, female, or who have thyroid issues.

The good news is that with or without weight loss, if you are achieving safe blood sugar levels you can stop worrying about neuropathy, retinopathy and kidney damage.

3. If It Isn't There, You Can't Eat it.

The biggest mistake a lot of us make is relying on willpower to keep us from eating whatever it is we've decided not to eat as part of our new diet. This rarely works. So the first step to take if you want your new diet to succeed--whatever its goal--is to get rid of the foods that might derail you.

Go through your fridge and cupboards and remove all the foods you don't want to be eating over the next two weeks. If they are perishable, give them to someone who can use them without compromising their health. If they aren't, put them in a box in the basement out of sight.

If your home, like ours, is currently full of food gifts you don't want to throw out, give them to a family member and ask them to put them away someplace secret until the two weeks of your diet is over. By then you will have broken the out-of-control eating cycle and can decide what you want to do with them.

Along the same lines for two weeks do not go to restaurants where you know you'll be tempted to eat things that you can't handle. Do not accept invitations to dine with vegan friends or low fat dieters. For two weeks keep your environment as diet friendly as possible.

4. Stay Away from All Diet Foods No Matter What Their Labels Might Claim.

Eat real food: meat, cheese, nuts, and vegetables and leave the frankenfoods on the shelf. The foods, shakes, and bars sold as "Low Carb" are full of high carb additives that raise blood sugar and stall weight loss. Most contain soy which is thyrotoxic and bad for many of us. All are full of preservatives and other questionable chemicals. For this two week diet, shop the edges of your supermarket, avoid packaged food, and try to eat the foods your great-grandmother would had in her larder.

When you are back in control and have attained your first diet goal you can gingerly experiment to see if you can tolerate any of these foods, but for now, use the money you would have spent on them to buy fresh greens and vegetables filled with the naturally occurring nutrients your body will thank you for.

5. Ask Your Friends and Family to Support Your Goals.

People who love you may do the most to undermine you because they don't understand what is at stake. They want you to be happy and may associate food with happiness. So you must explain to them why it is important that you achieve your current goal and make it clear that you can accept nothing but complete support from them.

Be clear that you are NOT asking them to diet. Many times family members will sabotage your diet because they don't want to diet themselves and your dieting is confrontational. Just as you can't stop another person from drinking, you can't tell someone else what to eat.

In a calm and nonconfrontational manner, explain why this diet is important for you and what you need your family members, friends, or workmates to do to help you out for the next two weeks.

Suggest that family members buy snack foods, desserts and treats that you don't like. Not the ones that will call to you from the fridge. If family members are not supportive, print out a photo of a "diabetic foot" which you will find searching Google Images and ask them if they really want you to end up with one of those.

Right now is a great time to do an effective diet detox because everyone is thinking of dieting--at least for the next two weeks--and it is a lot easier to get going now than at any other time of the year. Expect the first two days to be tough and if you need help getting through them, visit one of the diet support groups or one of the online diabetes support groups.

You aren't the only person who has gone off the rails this holiday season. With this modest but effective approach, you may end up being one of the few who gets back on.


Anonymous said...

Some really good tips here. I was able to lose weight just by eliminating sugar from my diet completely & exercising. I realized after I quit getting all that unneeded extra sugar how much better I felt!

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd be strong over the holidays. But then we got snowbound for two weeks and I was stranded with eggnog, stollen, truffles and panettone. I gained 5 pounds.