My Diet - the Detailed Version

Previously, I gave a very brief summary of my diet. In general, it follows 4 rules:
  1. Be very persistent
  2. Do not eat sweets
  3. Reduce the portion size to half of  pre-diet portions. Add extra fruit and vegetables
  4. Do not eat anything except fruit after 7 PM 
These rules are relatively easy to live by, but each of them deserves a bit more discussion. So here is the experience of a person who has "walked the walk":

Intro: This diet assumes that the person who wants to lose weight does not have health issues requiring medical monitoring, and the main cause of extra weight is overeating or eating junk food and sugars. If you have any health issues, consult your doctor before embarking on this diet, and possibly do a blood test.

When to expect results: This is a VERY SLOW diet, and results will only become noticeable on your scale after 2 weeks of diet. I have used this diet for 2 years, and have achieved a weight reduction from 105 to 81 kilograms (231 lbs to 178 lbs). This diet will achieve at most a reduction of weight of around 1/2  kilogram (1 lb) every week, but sometimes less than that (winter, holidays, vacations).
There are two good thing about this type of diet:

  1. You don't deprive yourself of any food group that your body requires, just reduces the overall amount of high calorie food intake.  
  2. Since it takes long, effectively you don't diet, you actually change your food consumption regimen altogether. Once you reach your goal weight, maintaining is easier since you have already worked a long time on changing your eating habits.

There is one bad thing about this type of diet:

  1. It takes very long!
The actual diet
When you decide to start this diet, just start it at your next meal. NEVER WAIT TO START NEXT MONDAY. 
The first thing you do is set some ground rules for eating: 
High Fat Foods by
National Cancer Institute
  1. Put what you plan to eat on the table, and then remove everything else back to the fridge/oven/cupboard, or at least put lids on the pans of food. This will make it more difficult to add seconds, or just add some more to the plate, thus losing control of how much you have eaten.
  2. Forget about junk food, crisps, chips, burgers etc. No ifs ands or buts. 
  3. Forget about chocolate, sweets, cakes. Limit your sugar to what you put in your coffee/tea, and where possible replace it with honey.
  4. Forget about cola and fizzy drinks. If possible, forget about most juices, regardless of how 'natural' they are declaring themselves to be. You want a juice, buy a couple of oranges and squeeze them.
  5. Forget about snacking between meals. Especially food mentioned in points 2, 3 and 4.
  6. Forget about eating leftovers from kids (so it doesn't go to waste). If you plan to eat the leftovers, reduce your plate size, otherwise you'll end up dieting the eaten leftovers and throwing them out the hard way.

My suggested provisional meal schedule: One of the important things in this diet is to keep up regular meals, whole days of fasting is just terribly wrong for your body and will force you to overstuff yourself after. This is my provisional schedule of daily meals. It may look like a schedule of a small restaurant, but I have built a lot of slack in the intervals because different people have different daily logistical responsibilities. For instance, you can't tell your kids you won't drive them to school which starts at 07:30 because you are eating your diet breakfast at 07 AM.

  1. 07:00 - 09:00 - Breakfast.   Here are some ideas for a diet breakfast
  2. 14:00-17:00 - Lunch           Here are some ideas for a diet lunch
  3. 18:00-19:00 - Light dinner  Come back soon for ideas for dinner

Between meals: I drank any amount of coffee, water and tea (sweetened to taste) between meals, and if I got the munchies, ate a small salad or a piece of fruit.  It is much more difficult to keep from eating between meals on weekends, because you're at home, and the fridge is right there. Keep yourself occupied, take up a hobby or do a lot of sports with your kids and/or significant other.

Weight Loss Pyramid by ZooFari (Wikimedia Commons)
Amount of food per meal: Do not fight your initial habit on how much food to put on a plate. Fill it up as you wish, then return 40% of everything back. Limit your bread two maximum 2 slices per meal, and eat a LOT of salad. After you finish your plate, you'll probably be a bit hungry. Drink two large glasses of water, and wait for a couple of minutes. If you are still hungry, eat some more. I guarantee you won't be. After a couple of weeks, you'll have to notice that you are putting less food on your plate to start with. Once you start, do not need to mind the returning of food.

Filler food for when the crisis hits: Just as in any other diet, you'll hit a crisis where you'll crave food, usually in the evenings. The conventional wisdom is to eat fruit or vegetables. I will amend this with one item that helped me immensely: Soup. I found that sometimes you just want something salty, and fruit or vegetables do not help much. While soup is mostly water, it has small amount of noodles, oil and spices, and is an awesome filler when combined with a piece of cheese and a banana instead of a supper. You can also add a piece of cheese with the soup, to have a very nice salty meal before the fruit.

Sweets replacement: First, let's get one thing straight: there is no replacement for a great piece of cake or a bar of dark chocolate. But you'll just have to survive without them, because the amount of calories in sweets is amazing, as well as the amount of effort required to burn them. Instead of eating sweets, when you get the craving, eat a banana and some dried cranberries (no more than a handful). I found that dried cranberries deliver a very nice sour-sweet taste that tames the sugar monster, and the banana is a great filler.

Eating at night: This is not a great idea, but there are two scenario for which I have a different opinion.

  1. YES: If your schedule and work or family engagements may force you to skip your normal time meal. If this happens, by all means eat a normal meal, even if it later at night. Just be careful not to overstuff yourself, since you've been hungry for a very long time.
  2. NO: If you go out, get tipsy or plain drunk, you'll get the munchies. Resist this temptation, this is a sure recipe to add more weight. Consider that the alcohol you drank also carried a nice amount of calories, and adding a midnight meal after that is just a direct deposit into the tire around your waist

Weight-loss plateau: Since it is a very slow diet, your organism will adjust to the new regimen, and over time it will reduce it's energy consumption, effectively hitting the weight-loss plateau. So far I have hit this plateau at the following weights : 95 kg, 92 kg, 90 kg, 87 kg, 83kg. Since the diet is slow, it takes at least a month to notice that you have hit a plateau. Do not fear the plateau, just be persistent. First remember whether you have deviated from the diet (a party, some sweets, dinners out...), which merely means that you didn't have a calorie deficit for the previous weeks. If this is not the case, you've reached a plateau, so it's time to do something about it.
At the earliest plateau I just removed butter and spreads from my breakfast and that was enough. For the later plateaus, I began cycling and the exercise helped after a couple of weeks.

Breaking the diet: It is very easy to break any diet during the holidays and in winter. I have noticed that breaking the diet is not a huge deal, as long as you get up on the scale each morning to note and confirm that you have gained some weight. All you need to do is to reset yourself to the original schedule and amount of food. In my case, I have broken the diet at least 7 times, sometimes in periods lasting a whole month. As long as you maintain the persistence to go on, you will revert back to slow weight reduction. And if you've stopped eating chocolate and sweets, I guarantee you have the persistence!

Motivation: It is difficult to keep yourself motivated when things are going slow. I have found that measuring myself daily, even if showed no downward progress was a great reminder that I am still overweight, and must not succumb to the urge to eat more. Find somebody else to talk to you about your physical changes, achievements and failures. He/She is your support person, and even if you slip up, being honest and having someone to support you, you'll have an extra ounce of motivation.
You can discuss in the comments about your achievements, and I'll be responding to all and every one

I hope that some of you will benefit from my diet. What is your experience in dieting? Add your experiences in the comments?

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About Bozidar Spirovski

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