thinking things through

April 5, 2009

I know that to be successful on a diet it is SO much easier to be at home, where you are in some control of the environment and can find the diet-friendly choices that you prefer.  To not be constantly surrounded by temptation.

But this year is one of enormous travel and little quality time with my husband, so when he proposed that I join him for a weekend in the Loire valley visiting chateaux because he had a meeting on the Saturday morning I could hardly refuse (plus I didn’t know I’d be starting a diet when I accepted).

It was a weekend with 3 luxury meals in gourmet restaurants, and breakfasts where the choices were between french bread w butter and jam vs croissants… I tried not to overindulge but I had a bit of everything all weekend.  I’d been careful all week, not dipping into my weekly points, but still…

The worst of it was it left me heading into the next week in bad shape.  Scale showed stable weight for the week, no loss (in week 2!) and I just was out of the groove.  I spent the week making some good and a few bad choices.  And not using my food diary (which was no doubt the biggest mistake).

I also have poor timing in choosing my reading material.  For several months now I’d been planning to read a book called “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes.  In my travels this year I always have a book with me because in airports etc I have a lot of time to read.  Well – this choice was a long, complex scientific book that totally makes you re-think basically all public health messages on nutrition, health and more specifically Weight.  There were lots of moments that really hit close to a nerve – including the fact that many of my diet attempts in my life the low-fat way have been extremely difficult to maintain.  And that I’ve been overweight forever & was born a month early because my mom had gestational diabetes and have always followed the studies that have basically shown that babies born in that circumstance are very frequently overweight kids and adults (as I am, contrary to my siblings – where my mother kept her eating and weight in very tight control her other pregnancies).

Anyway, the basic premise of his book is that 1) the evidence that makes up most of the health recommendations on diet and exercise today are rubbish, and 2) there is a reasonable hypothesis that insulin-generated hunger & fat storage contributes greatly to being overweight and difficulty losing weight.  If his second hypothesis is true (which of course today looks quite likely) then the way to approach managing weight for someone in that situation would be to focus on controlling the insulin response.  Which in turn leads you to low-carb eating or at the very least low-GI.

So now these ideas have been swimming in my head at the same time I’m starting weight watchers (which is pretty much a low-fat, high-carb, calorie-restricted plan).  So my committment to the approach has been faltering but I’ve yet to find the courage to attack low-carb or any of it’s variations (South Beach seems one of the most reasonable).

But every day I find myself thinking more and more about it.  I’ve done a fair amount of searching online.  And I’m starting to feel like giving it a go is a matter of time – in which case there is no need to wait.

Will keep you posted as I try to work this out.

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