Of course, I regularly drag my husband into my experiments as well, so here are his thoughts on our healthy days.
21 Days Later...
I’m always unsure how to begin writing something. If you are reading this, I’m sure you are following Tab’s blog posting, so you are obviously aware of our three week diet experiment. I followed a rule set virtually identical to hers, with the exception of having a higher calorie “budget”. On the whole this has been a very productive experience for me. I had roughly a 3% weight loss compared to Tab’s. Tab has mentioned time and again that it would behoove me to count my calories to become more aware of how much I am eating. This would be an especially useful habit to get into as my worst eating trait is bored eating. Having spent the past three weeks doing so daily, and getting an appreciation for how much I eat and how healthy this foods are, the calorie counting is something I plan to make a habit of going forward.
I was the one responsible for adding up all the calories that we were eating. I found caloriecount.com an incredibly useful resource. Most foods are on there, with the exception of restaurant fare. We tried to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables over the course of the three weeks, and all that nutritional info I obtained at caloriecount.
From a food preparation perspective this diet wasn’t a particularly large change of pace. We try to have most of our meals homemade, but the last three weeks had a lot more produce and a lot less pasta/dairy in it. It did kind of force us to try some more of our vegan recipes, as they tend to be by default healthier than even vegetarian recipes. The fact that we were on a calorie count kind of diet as opposed to a philosophy diet like Atkins or fruit cleanses or what have you allowed us to still have some indulgences. By aiming for healthier options and keeping an eye on portion control we had a delightful strawberry shortcake and coconut orange bread as deserts over the experiment.
As a mixed sort of experience on Monday of the 2nd week I hurt my back and was unable to workout. However, as a result of being on this diet I was still experiencing weight loss, which reinforced the notion that you can’t outrun your diet.
As we were on a calorie count, I definitely got in the habit of thinking of “spending” calories on certain things. It really reinforced the “expense” of things like bread and dairy based meals. Bread and dairy tend to be my favorite foods, and while I knew in an abstract sense their calorie/nutrition ratio, this placed it in a easier to see kind of format.
As I mentioned above, the back injury also reinforced the general value of a good diet. I normally work out Mon-Fri, and even while only getting 1 day of exercise I was still able to stay on a weight loss track.
One of the biggest aids we had during this was a digital scale that I have. Alton Brown, the host of Good Eats, has always been one of my favorite TV personalities. A few years ago I got a cookbook of his as a gift, and he lists all of his food measurements by weight, as that is much more accurate. We picked up a small digital scale after getting the book, and while I do use it when baking, it became invaluable during this experiment. My idea of what constitutes an oz. of cheese vs what an oz of cheese actually is can differ wildly. Being able to actually measure portion sizes out by weight was incredibly valuable.
Reinforcement is probably the best way to describe the lessons I learned while doing this. I’ve always had an interest in health/diet/exercise, and doing something like this lent some weight to certain ideas. I definitely plan on semi-regular counting of calories, and using the scale to measure out food.