Monday, January 30, 2012

The lightning36 Diet

Recently Waffles, in his usual caring and compassionate way, tweeted this request for information on the diet that has helped me to lose 25 pounds over the past several months -- "Hey Fatty your Russel Crow diet is pretty good. Give me some tips. I do not want to try and die like you." I was not following any particular diet per se, but was really changing the whole structure of what I ate. These are some of the same common sense tips you will find all over the internet and in diet and health books everywhere.

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!


Blogger Cranky said...

Sounds like a very reasonable approach to weight loss.

Wasn't it eye opening when you tried to control sodium intake? You really have to stay away from prepared foods. Restaurant food is highly salt-laden. It's insidious.

3:58 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@ Cranky -- even most "healthy looking" fish choices at restaurants are loaded with sodium. About the best options I have found are Subway or salads where I control the kind and amount of salad dressing. Pathetic.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Great-sounding diet -- sensible, but one that a person could stick to. Good job.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

The only time I've ever lost weight is by following a very simple diet. Anything that tastes good, I don't eat. If it has any flavor at all, I avoid it.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Very well done Light, and have a great time in Las Vegas!

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That approach has worked for thousand of years....just gotta do it.

11:46 PM  

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