Friday, June 19, 2020

Retrospective #489: When I was morbidly obese…

It’s been a long time since I weighed 375 pounds, or even 250. It’s also been awhile since I weighed 188 (“not half the man I once was,” my wife quipped), so I think it’s worth retelling what I ate when I started.

As I’ve told here many times, I started on Atkins Induction at my doctor’s suggestion after he tried it himself. Atkins induction is basically Very Low Carb, just 20 grams of carbohydrates a day. That’s a very strict regimen, but it only restricts carbohydrates. Atkins didn’t address protein or fats at that time, as I recall, but he didn’t have to because strictly eating VERY Low Carb (VLC) is all you have to do to start losing weight FAST.

I lost 60 pounds in 39 weeks (1½ pounds a week), following a regular 2-meal-a-day regimen, and then I retired. During those 9 months I ate a breakfast that I ordered from a kiosk on the street and took to my desk: eggs (2 fried or scrambled) and bacon (2 strips), plus coffee with half and half and 1 Splenda. Nothing else. Nothing. Period.

I didn’t eat lunch. I worked through lunch and wasn’t hungry because the protein-and-fat breakfast I ate, every day, was satiating. When I got home, our usual supper was roast chicken thighs (2 for me) and a large serving of a low-carb vegetable tossed in butter or roasted in the toaster oven with olive oil. Today, since I’m a little more than half the man I once was, I am satisfied with 1 chicken breast and a smaller serving of vegetables.

Why am I retelling the story of how I began to lose weight when I was morbidly obese? Because it was (is) not complicated. The guiding principle is VERY low carb. THAT’S ALL. That’s the secret. That’s all you need to know. There’s no need to count anything. Not calories, or carbs, or grams of protein or grams of fat. There’s no need to obsess about anything. You just need to be honest with yourself. Don’t rationalize, AND DON’T CHEAT. If you just follow this simple principle, you will lose a lot of weight…and be much healthier for it.

Of course, my own story did get complicated, but that’s because of my personality. I’m obsessive-compulsive about many thing, like recording things. I like numbers and tables and writing and learning, and they all helped me on my journey. But they aren’t necessary. Don’t let them be obstacles to your taking the plunge. All you have to remember is: Just eat VERY LOW CARB. Always. No rationalizing and no cheating. And if you screw up (as we all do), don’t beat yourself up too much (a little is okay). If you fall off, just get back on the horse and go forward
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Getting started with breakfast worked well for me. My job required that I put in a full day, so taking time off for lunch didn’t work. But if you’re not hungry in the morning (I never am now), you could just have coffee or tea with cream and a sweetener (not sugar). I always have. I now use pure powered stevia with my coffee or liquid stevia with iced tea. And then have a lunch of protein and fat. Not a salad. Salad greens are carbs. Eat an avocado, or olives, or cheese for lunch, or roast beef, turkey or ham slices. When I ate lunch after I retired, it was usually a can of Brisling sardines.

Supper got smaller when I got smaller. Conversely, when I was still morbidly obese (and started counting calories and protein and fat as well as carbs), I was always surprised at how many calories I ate and still lost weight. The reason was that I was used to eating large, “BALANCED” meals, but now they were VERY LOW CARB, moderate protein and high fat. But they didn’t even have to be high fat because if I didn’t EAT the fat, my body would break down body fat to use as fuel to maintain energy balance, so long as I ate VERY low carb.

Be conscious of your eating patterns. Do something else if you get the “willies” and have a craving. Nervous and mindless eating are things that you will have to control. When that happens, just remember: stick to the program: Eat just two meals a day, no snacks, and you will lose lots of weight, so long as you eat VERY low carb.

Bottom line: It’s not complicated: SO LONG AS YOU EAT VERY LOW CARB, you will have access to your body fat for fuel. And if you aren’t feeling hungry, don’t eat. Generally, don’t eat more than two meals a day and don’t snack. You won’t be hungry because your body will be in energy balance, so long as you eat VERY low carb.

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