January 6, 2009

More Post-Holiday Detox Diet Suggestions

I've finished up one week of my two week post-holiday detox diet and have taken off a surprising amount of water weight, which is good news. It looks like one reason I gained so much weight over the holidays appears to be that using much more insulin than usual increased the amount of fluid in my body.

I hope you are doing well on whatever New Years diet you decided to try. But if you are having trouble getting back on track here are some more ideas that might help.

1. Keep it Simple! One problem with taking on a complex new diet is that it forces you to think about food all day long. You spend hours hunting up recipes. You look at pictures of delectable foods that fit your new diet scheme. You count the hours until you can eat power snack number 4 with its glucommanan noodles, coconut oil and flax sauce. You make a special trip to Whole Foods to buy some "must have" supplement or magical weight loss promoting food and end up surrounded by an ocean of foods you must NOT have which makes it that much harder to stay on track.

This is a great way to sabotage a baby diet. When you are detoxing from eating too much food, what you really need to do is to STOP THINKING ABOUT FOOD. The best way to do that is to decide in advance what you will eat. Buy what you need at the store. Decide what you'll have for lunch in advance. Make those choices non-negotiable for the two weeks of your detox diet. And then eat only those foods.

No new recipes. No new ingredients. No fancy "miracle weight loss" supplements. Just eat the stuff you decided to eat at the start of your diet and the essential supplements you may need for health: B vitamins if you are dispensing with grains or potassium if you are doing a diuretic diet.

Simplifying your diet this way makes it much easier to stop thinking about food and when you do that, you are more likely to succeed.

Once you are through your detox diet and have broken the cycle of overeating, you can adjust your diet and work in some new recipes. You can buy novel ingredients and even throw away your money on miracle diet aids if you want to, though I'd suggest you use that money for high quality veggies, meats, or cheeses instead.

2. Solve Hunger First Then Start Cutting Back on Portion Size. All weight loss diets succeed --when they do succeed which is not all that often--because they get you to cut back on how much you eat. Physiological hunger is the biggest foe you face when you start a new diet and the one that derails a lot of us. But the worst way to start a new diet is to cut way back on portions when your body is still in raging hunger mode.

If your diet is one that cuts back on carbohydrates--and if you have diabetes, I certainly hope it is--there is a very useful trick that will save you a couple days of misery at the start of your diet. The trick is to allow yourself to eat as much and as often as you want as long as the foods you eat do not contain more carbohydrates than your target amount. You probably aren't going to lose weight doing this, except for the water weight that is common at the beginning of most low carb diets.

But you will lower your blood sugars in a way that after two or three days will give you the flatter blood sugar curves that eliminate physiological hunger except when your stomach is empty and you really need to eat.

Once you get to the point where your blood sugar is not rocketing up and down, you will stop feeling inappropriate hunger and it gets a lot easier to eat less. Once you get to that stage, you will have to cut back on portions. But it is a lot easier to eat less when you aren't hungry and aren't obsessing about food.


Kat said...

Thank you for posting these tips. I was trying to figure out how to go from eating everything to getting back into the LC lifestyle to try to control my blood sugars. I think this is a good way. thanks.

ItsTheWooo said...

All tips are excellent and this is exactly what I did to break the cycle of holiday over eating. I ate simply, and very low carb. I focused first on solving the imbalances, and only now am I focusing on restricting for weight loss.

I would emphasize the importance of deep low carb for a few days, to rectify the transgressions of holidays. My usual carb tolerance is 70s (if working) or 50-60 (if not) but this was insufficient to fix the blood sugar problems I had caused. I had to back down to borderline ketosis to get me back to a place where I was able to eat that many carbs without continuing the over eating/hunger cycle.

I also disagree that all diets work by calorie restriction. All diets work by liberating calories from fat tissue, and this does not necessarily require restriction or lower calories. I will not lose weight on x amount of calories if carbs are at a certain level. If carbs drop down, I WILL lose weight on x amount of calories (and X, by the way, is not low). I didn't believe it for a long time but I can't deny it at this point.

When I restrict cals, it causes metabolic conservation and doesn't logically translate into neat weight loss (reversible, but annoying - coldness and lethargy and crap growing nails / skin certainly sucks).
Cal restriction does tend to cause weight loss too, of course, but I find keeping cals adequate while restricting carbs further, and eating more fat/adequate protein is even better way to acheive this.

Nicky said...

Rather than dieting immediately to zap my excess holiday weight, I've just been rigorous about logging what I eat. Sure enough, the discipline is creating more mindful eating without actually going on a diet - and I'm down 1.5 lbs this week : ) I'll see how far this takes me before I actually have to get organised enough to do something formal about intake...

Unknown said...

I'm also finding it helpful to log my eating. I actually started a photo food blog, beginning with New Year's Day, and it's really helpful. It at least makes me think that if I eat something off plan, I'm going to have to admit to it in public!