Saturday, December 1, 2012

Live and Let Diet

By request, here is an overview of the diet plan I used on my weight loss program.  Bear in mind that I basically created this on my own using bits and pieces of Atkins, and a lot of intuition and common sense (vegetables, good; pizza, bad).  That being said, I am not a doctor.  I can't guarantee that this is the safest way to go about losing weight (though I don't seem to have suffered any negative repercussions -- I was bald and ugly BEFORE I lost weight).  Before starting any dramatic change in your diet, you should probably consult your physician.

That should fulfill my daily dose of hypocrisy.

Also, you should know that I'm sort of unique in that I don't mind eating more or less the same few things every day or week.  I don't need a tremendous amount of variety, which makes it easier for me to stick to a program.  If you're the type who can't stand eating the same foods a few time a week, you might have to be more creative in your planning.

I didn't eliminate carbs, like you pretty much have to do on other programs.  You'll want to make sure that your carbs are "good" ones, though.  Whole grain wheat bread, brown rice, steel cut oatmeal, stuff like that.  White bread is out.  Rolls, cinnamon buns (really?), white rice are no-nos.  Mostly I kept track of calories and kept under 1500 per day.  Also, I was going to the gym five times a week, so that helps burn off quite a bit.  There's a great iPhone app called "My Fitness Pal" that lets you track your food and exercise, and factors in your weight and age to help you stay on target.  Get it.  It is TREMENDOUSLY helpful.

Anyway, here's what I ate.  You'll notice I'm a fan of convenience.  Lots of local and convenient restaurants were part of the program.

For each meal, select just ONE of the options:

- Steel Cut Oatmeal
- Greek Yogurt (Oikos is my favorite, but Chobani isn't bad either)
- Wheat Bagel

- Caesar Salad (low-cal dressing)
- Chef Salad (low-cal dressing)
- Steak and Eggs (from Taco Mi Hacienda which is probably not all that common . . . so you'll have to find a local food joint or make your own.  Very low calorie and filling, one of my favorite choices)
- Subway Club on wheat bread, no cheese, with veggies and mustard only (no mayo, no oil or vinegar)

- Special K Cereal Bar (I highly recommend the chocolatey pretzel flavor)

- Salmon, green beans, small salad
- Steak, broccoli
- Grilled chicken, mixed veggies
- Flame Broiler: Brown rice bowl w/ white meat chicken and green onions
- Chipotle: Burrito bowl w/ brown rice, salsa, corn, and cheese (obviously, suit your own taste here, but avoid the tortillas and go easy on the beans)
- Omelette w/ bacon and low fat cheese

- Almonds
- Pork rinds (I hate them, but my wife made them a fairly regular snack)
- Fruit (not too much though . . . hidden sugars!)

I always made sure to limit carbs to one meal a day.  For example, if I had oatmeal for breakfast, I'd have the salad for lunch, and one of the dinner options without rice.  If I was having Subway for lunch, I made sure to go with yogurt for breakfast and a carbless dinner (omelette, or salmon, etc.).

This is just the basic outline, you can always add your own preferences within these basic guidelines.  Remember, it's mostly about burning more calories than you take in, and avoid the stuff you know you shouldn't be eating anyway.

Cheat Days: We limited ourselves to one "day off" per month to eat whatever we wanted.  What we found is that we didn't want to eat too much.  A couple pieces of pizza, or an In-N-Out burger, usually satisfied the cravings and we were good to go again.

Challenges: I'm not going to lie to you, the first two or three weeks are VERY difficult.  You'll feel hungry quite a bit . . . so drink lots of water.  But then you'll see some results, your body gets used to the change, and it gets a lot easier.  After a couple months, we didn't even want the cheat days anymore.  Besides, you're eating steak, chicken, Subway . . . it's not exactly that "cabbage soup diet" that was all the rage a few years ago.

Exercise: You'll undoubtedly get good results by sticking to a diet plan, but an exercise program will speed up the process.  Experts say that if you have to choose between dieting and exercise, go with a healthy diet.  I'd have to agree with this, because there were a few guys at my gym who were really big when I started, and after almost a year don't look much different.  My guess is that they'll exercise . . . and then go to McDonald's or something.  Still, if you can stick to a diet and even exercise a few days a week (gym, walking, whatever), you'll get better results. 

So while we're at it, here's a sample workout plan (this is before I started the marathon training):

MONDAY: 30 minutes treadmill or elliptical machine, 30-40 minutes weight training (arms/shoulders)
TUESDAY: 30 minutes treadmill or elliptical machine
WEDNESDAY: 30 minutes treadmill or elliptical machine, 30-40 minutes weight training (chest and back)
THURSDAY: 30 minutes treadmill or elliptical machine
SATURDAY: 30 minutes treadmill or elliptical machine, 30-40 minutes weight training (legs and abs)

There are a LOT of different weight training programs to use based on your experience, fitness, and goals.  Go to for sample workouts.

So, um . . . yeah.  That's all there is to it.  I'm not telling you it's easy, and there are no shortcuts.  Just modify things as necessary to fit your lifestyle, and go for it.

Good luck, and if you're about to jump into a diet plan and change your life, I'd love to hear your story!

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So. Cal. Gal said...

Thank you!!! Your diet plan doesn't look that difficult (so says someone who loves flour tortillas). I need to buckle down and 'just do it'.

Another good site for keeping track of food intake is Not sure if they 'have an app for that' but it's what I use.

Empty Nester said...

Sounds like you did a lot of the same things I did- mine all led to my focus on fitness rather than weight loss and to ridding our diets of gluten and refined sugars. I also went totally organic- even with sugars and I've tried dextrose for sweetening to try and remove fructose...holy cow, it's EVERYWHERE! All of it has made such a difference! Have you read Ready, Set, Go! by Phil Campbell? It's a fantastic fitness plan that is so doable and works wonders to increase the fitness level. You're absolutely right that there are no short-cuts. Unfortunately. If there ever is one, though, I'm IN! LOL

Eva Gallant said...

I'm still in awe of you!

So. Cal. Gal said...

Haha! Love your 24 Hour Fitness and In-n-Out advertisements on top of one another. ; )

Mariann Simms said...

I need to put on as much weight as you are trying to get rid of. Maybe you can eat what I'm eating and I'll eat what you are? :)

Suldog said...

It's a good plan, from my perspective. That's because you're the one doing it, not me.

All kidding aside, it doesn't stray too far from my sort of "Spring Training" diet I undertake each year. The toughest part for me is skipping the bad carbs, of course. I adore white bread and stuff like that.

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