The lightning36 Diet
1) Decrease fat consumption This was a major factor in the weight loss. I basically cut out red meat and processed meats from my diet. No more late night fast food runs to McDonalds or Taco Bell. No more hamburgers or ground beef. Surprisingly, I have not missed eating beef. I have had it a few times in the past 4+ months, but mostly I tend to eat chicken, turkey, and fish. I also decreased fat by cutting down on all the fat-based snacks I used to eat -- things like potato chips and high fat crackers.
2) Decrease sodium consumption This was among the more difficult things I had to do. I used to salt virtually everything I ate. My new plan included adding no salt from the salt shaker, buying, whenever possible, low-sodium foods, looking at food labels and choosing alternatives with the lowest sodium content, and cutting out all many of the salty snacks I used to eat. I tried using salt substitutes, but the ones we bought substituted potassium for sodium and tasted terrible.
3) Increase raw vegetable, fruit, and whole grain consumption This was fairly easy to do as I love veggies and fresh fruit. Breakfast would usually consist of Multi Grain Cheerios with fruit or oatmeal with fruit. Lunch would be a big salad or perhaps a wrap with healthy ingredients. Dinner would be something prepared with a low fat, low sodium goal. Lots of chicken, vegetables, and salads were consumed at dinner.
4) Increase exercise While not technically part of the diet, this was the necessary addition that helped take the weight off and even allowed a little relaxation of the diet after a few months. Shortly after my mild heart attack, I took part in a cardiac rehab program that consisted mostly of 40 minutes cardio exercise three days a week with exercise on our own encouraged for remaining days of the week. After the rehab program ended, I joined a local fitness center and usually do about four days a week of cadio work in 40-60 minute sessions. The machines I use are the recumbent bike, elliptical machine, and the treadmill.
The first six weeks or so I was very strict with myself. Once I had lost a decent amount of weight and was confident that my blood pressure had come down to an acceptable level, I allowed myself a little leniency. The leniency is important so that you don't become frustrated and go back to old, destructive patterns.
Unfortunately, I seem to have plateaued with about a 25 pound weight loss. That is pretty good in itself, but I would ideally like to lose more. This might mean taking a month or two and getting strict with the diet again, or perhaps consulting with some professionals who might help me get to the next level. The important positives, however, are that I have improved my health and look and feel much better.
Have a great week!