No Fancy Name
Thursday, July 28, 2005
I started an official, structured diet yesterday. I have a genetically pre-determined body type (thank you, dominant Italian genes), but I still try my best not to end up looking like a gnocchi. Truth be told, I don't eat all that much—when I'm on a diet, I eat more than I normally do! I've always had a terrible time with diets. The 1200-calorie/perfectly balanced diet plus exercise several times per week? Gained weight. Atkins? Gained weight. That was particularly depressing, since my weight is carb sensitive—eat a sandwich, gain extra weight, eat pasta two days in a row, gain extra weight. I figured Atkins would be great since it's no carbs, but after two weeks I wanted to shoot myself in the head from lack of carbs and I had gained seven pounds. So, no more of that. Carbs are required in order for one's brain to function. I even went to the doctor for blood tests, actually hoping that I had some sort of thyroid issue that would explain my inability to lose weight, but I had no such thing.

The only diet that has ever worked for me is Nutrisystem. I did it for six months several years ago and lost thirty pounds. I've since gained half of it back, because I stopped following the regiment that the diet had beaten into me. While the Nutrisystem food is engineered in a special way, so that there's no one-to-one substitution between a Nutrisystem dinner entreé and a Lean Cuisine dinner entreé easily purchased at the grocery store, I could have changed my lifestyle so that I was eating in a Nutrisystem-like manner, but just didn't. I'm lazy that way.

But I'm also tired of being extra fat, so I ordered a month's worth of Nutrisystem food the other week and started the program yesterday. Nutrisystem food doesn't suck, and yesterday I ate more food during the day than I usually do, so my metabolism got a kickstart and I was hungry all damn day. By the end of the day I wanted to chew my own arm off (as my buddy said, "well, it is protein"). So I have my boxes of food plus my supplemental fruits, vegetables, and salad fixings. I dutifully ate my breakfast (cereal, banana), my snack (hard boiled egg), my lunch (rice and beans, salad), my snack (another egg), my dinner (a mini pizza, two veggie servings, salad), and my dessert/snack (a mocha shake). That's a ton of food for me in one day. There's a whole list of things you can have as your extra dairy/protein servings, and I usually pick hard-boiled eggs because I love them so. In fact, there's a long list in each of the "extra things you can have" categories but I stick to the same things because I am predictable and boring.

One of the best features about this diet is that they don't even bother saying "no coffee or tea! bad for you!" My theory is that Nutrisystem recognizes how painful/difficult it is to remove oneself from coffee or tea, and instead of adding that stress to the swirling thoughts and stress surrounding the start and continuation of a diet, they just say "whatever, just use artificial sweetener." It sounds silly, but the fact that I didn't have to detox off coffee and tea was a really big weight off my shoulders and made starting the diet even easier. Also important to me is the handy guide to eating in restaurants. Well, not so much the guide itself because it's not like I'm going out eating foie gras or a pound of pasta with a cream sauce, just the fact that they recognize that human beings go out to eat and it doesn't have to be a shitty experience just because you're on a diet. That, and under the "Japanese cuisine" heading the guide says "it's great! sushi and sashimi is awesome!" I paraphrased, but you get the idea. Nutrisystem is a low-stress diet plan with non-sucky food and it works for me.

(But I'll still want to chew my arm off at the end of the day, for a few more days.)


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