I’m back on my Unprocessed Food Diet (UFD). I had been maintaining my weight under 190 for a while, but over the past year, my eating habits deteriorated. My once a week cheat days on the slow carb diet became cheat weekends. Then I started eating badly all the time. It finally got to the point where I was eating fast food again daily, and my weight was going up every week. Add the holidays to the equation and well, I had to change things.
A few weeks ago, I started a fitness boot camp at my gym. As has sometimes happened in the past, over the first couple of weeks, my eating habits actually got worse and this Monday, I peaked at 198.8, at least 25 pounds over where I’d like to be. So I decided to put myself back on the UFD and continue working out. Continue reading “Unprocessed Food Diet (Again)”
A while back, I came up with the idea of the Unprocessed Food Diet (UFD). I had read The End of Overeating by David Kessler, and came to the conclusion that eating a diet free of processed foods would cause me to lose weight. I took it further though. I prepared my food in a way that was completely opposite of how chain restaurants do. I cooked single whole ingredients very simply and added no salt, no seasonings, no sauces nor other flavorings. Also, I didn’t mix things together. I might have a meal with several items, but I would eat them separately.
So I have moved back to Chicago. I’m renting a nice one bedroom condo. It’s definitely the nicest apartment I’ve ever had. It has central air and a washer/dryer in the unit. I feel almost spoiled now. I think it would be hard to go back to most of the closets I rented in Chicago and New York.
You might ask, why am I here? I’m here to get better. I feel out of shape as a performer. As an actor, I never really nailed down any particular process. I’d get a script, memorize it, go to rehearsal, try to absorb the blocking and direction, and try to figure out the best way to say my lines. It’s not a great process and it doesn’t seem to take advantage of all that early training which encouraged me to work off my partner. So the first priority was to find a studio, go back to class and figure out a process–a real process that starts with a script and ends with a full, dynamic, grounded and improvisational performance.
First off, I’m mostly over my cravings. I no longer feel like I did when I was quitting smoking. In the first week, I was a bit obsessed with food, and I never felt satiated. Now, I’m feeling much more in balance and less obsessed. If there is a sugary treat in front of me, I do find it hard to resist, but if none is around, I’m not thinking about it. Continue reading “The Unprocessed Food Diet – the first month”
I just finished The End of Overeating by David Kessler, former head of the FDA in the first Bush and Clinton administrations. In it he argues that the primary driver of our current obesity epidemic is the ubiquitous availability of large portions of hyperpalatable foods. What are hyperpalatable foods? Open a Chili’s menu or visit your local Panda Express or Cinnabon and you will see plenty of examples. These are highly processed foods with layers of suger, simple carbs, fats, salts and flavoring designed to be irresistible to consumers. They are foods that we crave, that we have become accustomed to eating in huge portions, that are dense in calories and often have strong flavors. The food and restaurant industries have become very good at making foods that we want to eat and the result has been millions of people essentially addicted to fattening foods.
For anyone old enough to remember when a Quarter Pounder was the biggest hamburger available at a fast food restaurant, this won’t really feel like news. We’ve watched the food industry evolve over the last 30 years first hand. Portions have grown, foods have become more indulgent, more flavorful, with more textures. Comfort food is everywhere, and eating it feels great, at least it does for the two minutes it takes to shovel it down our throats. What might seem like news is the extent to which the food industry knows and understands what they are doing. Continue reading “You should unprocess your food”
About two years ago, I tried a novel way of losing weight, drinking oil. It worked well, allowing me to lose about 40 pounds over about nine months (from 218 to 178 pounds). But then I stalled a bit and couldn’t get below 175. After reading some books on various topics related to food, health and weight, I decided to try a low carb approach. At first that worked well, too. At one point I hit 163 pounds, less than 10 pounds from my goal weight. But over time, I gained that weight back and for a while I was stuck around 175.
This spring, things started to go downhill, I gained about 10 pounds in a couple of months, due largely to an increasing amount of fast food and beer. I decided that I can’t give back all the gains that I had made. I started running in July, and slowly I made progress. Over the weeks, I’ve been able to run longer distances and my walks are now pretty brisk and long. I was getting a little fitter, but I wasn’t losing any weight.
It was time to give SLD another shot, to see if I could take off the 10-15 pounds I’d recently gained and to see if it could get me any closer to my goal weight of 155. So last week I decided to do the following: Continue reading “Shangri-la Diet Take II”
Harris said researchers looked at 13 trials of six months to three years duration in which pre- and post-BMI measurements were taken.
In studies involving nearly 10,000 children, primarily in elementary schools, none demonstrated a reduction in BMI with those who were assigned to the most phys-ed time, compared to those who didn’t have as much.
“School-based physical activity interventions do not improve BMI although they may have other beneficial health effects,” he said. “There are improvements to bone mineral density, aerobic capacity, reduced blood pressure and increased flexibility,” he added.
How often have you heard some variation to, “There’s no secret to weight loss, you just have to exercise and eat less.” The implications are clear, if you are fat, it’s because you are lazy (you don’t exercise enough) or you are slovenly (you eat too much). Obesity and the associated diseases are the wages of sin and the only way to overcome these temptations is through will power and virtue.
These ideas that obesity is the result of eating too much or exercising too little or both is treated as a self-evident truth. People invoke the First Law of Thermodynamics and people who argue otherwise are marginalized as not understanding the First Law.
But what if it’s wrong? What if the causality is all mixed up? What if you eat more because your body is getting fat? What if you don’t feel like exercising because you are already obese? What if simple calorie restriction is not particularly effective in losing weight? It isn’t and yet it’s repeated over and over again, “You are overweight because you overeat,” and “If you just eat less, you will lose weight.”
In this lecture by Gary Taubes, he does a great job of showing the fallacy of the conventional wisdom:
It’s a longish video, about 70 minutes, but it’s a nice introduction to his ideas. If you find it all compelling I highly recommend his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. It’s not a diet book, it’s a science book, and it sets out to demolish some of the conventional paradigms we have about diet, obesity and disease.
UPDATE: Changed the title because we don’t need a new paradigm really, we need an old one. If you watch the video, you will understand what I mean.