So it’s summer, which is incredibly awesome when you work for a school district. After a dark and bummer spring, it’s been bright and gorgeous and blowy. I’m out on the porch enjoying 81 degrees with a little wind and some puffy clouds. This is the time of year when being me is an awesome gig-- wholesome cycles of work and relaxation, lots more physical activity comes in naturally, and there’s nothing in particular at the moment, knock wood please God, hanging over my head. I get to just exist in a space of feeding my family, working in my garden, arranging helpful activities for my loved ones, a and snuggling with my SO. So, yay.
That said, I’m still too fat. My GERD has been better but it’s still a thing. I’m on thyroid meds now-- my 24 year old was diagnosed with moderate hypothyroidism last fall, prompting me to get mine checked. My TSH was a little high with some symptoms, so I’m taking Synthroid for it. Overall I think the Synthroid is a good thing-- not losing hair constantly, more energy, don’t have the burning eyes or weird muscle aches. Getting titrated has been a thing but I’m feeling good at this point.My weight is at the very tippy top, even though my behavior hasn’t been too out of line. I suspect peri-soon-to-be-menopause (cycles have been way off since I started Synthroid) and of course the thyroid stuff. I will be 50 in two months. How about them apples. Something needs to be done, and I’ve been kind of hemming and hawing. Five factor/clean-eating with cheat day is certainly a viable option, but I am kinda not sure the cheat day thing is the best in the long run. Anything highly restrictive or requiring lots of forethought is of course Right Out. I tried the 21 Fix in the winter, got rather hungry on it, changed it to clean eating and then sort of fell off while on vacation at my dad’s. So no lasting weight improvement from that-- not the program’s fault, it just didn’t match my needs that well. I was looking at some weight/health articles (always looking at some weight/health article) and I followed a thread for the Slimplate System, which is basically just portion controlled plates. While the plates are too $$ for me, I bought the book on Kindle and liked it quite a lot. I have read so much on weight regulation and dieting that my skepticism is highly tuned. I am particularly annoyed by claims that sound good but do not actually hold up under what we know about weight control, or haven’t been tested.
So two options I have explored this spring:
- Harley Pasternak’s Five Pounds
- Fat Me Not, by Myo Nwe and Sandeep Grewal
Harley’s earlier book, the Five Factor Diet, has been the only diet to get me below 185 pounds since I had a kid 24 years ago. I kept much of it off for several years, and only in the last year or two have I returned to my high weight. So I was anxious to hear what he had to say. His focus was on lots of gentle exercise (walking 10,000 steps daily), short, focused weight training (5 minutes of a single exercise daily), good sleep (shutting off the phone and getting the blinky red lights out your room at night), and of course clean eating. He has moved to 2 cheat meals instead of a cheat day. And that’s the part where I couldn’t really embrace it. I like my jam and my chocolate and I just can’t quite get behind eating those things only twice a week.
I like Myo Nwe’s book for a number of reasons. I like her pragmatic view of obesity: not as a personal failing, or a non-problem, but a metabolic disorder in which regulating mechanisms are not operating as they should. The goal of management should be to get all those metabolic processes in the gut, muscles, and hormones going in the right direction. She discusses a number of weight control studies, but the bottom line appears to be, eat less, especially less of the wrong things, and your gut biome and hormones will start pulling for you and not against you. So how do you consistently eat less, without counting calories, which is a pain in the ass, or restricting the type of food you eat, ditto?
Well, you eat off a nine inch plate, and you portion it, and you also drink an 8 oz glass of water with meals. There’s more-- you don’t eat more than 18 grams of sugar at a time, stick to real food to maximize the calorie burning your gut has to do, avoid artificial sweeteners, eat every 3-4 hours, take your time. But the bottom line is modest plates with normal food. She insists it’s not difficult, and that it works.
I’m on board. Let’s see where this bus is going.