Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Skinny Rules - A Review

As many of you know, I've spent the last year and a half trying to lose weight. I've upped my workout 150% and been eating better than ever. Yet nothing has happened. And then spring came in late February with the worst allergy season on record in Illinois (so far, as it is still going and going and going...) and I couldn't cope with feeling miserable all the time so I started eating desserts. I still stuck to my rule that I could only eat homemade desserts. But what does that matter when you are starting to eat dessert after EVERY meal, even breakfast? That post-breakfast dessert began when I couldn't run my 10k at the end of April, having been to the urgent care facility two nights earlier and the duty of running Prom the same day.

Then, at the start of May, I saw a post on Twitter by Biggest Loser trainer, Bob Harper. He had a new book out called The Skinny Rules. I was curious.

I read the exerpt on Amazon which outlined the 20 rules he says will get you skinny. And I read anything else I could find on the internet to feed my curiosity that had exerpts. It was like a lightbulb went on. These rules made sense!

I had read books for a while about how to tame insulin resistance, something I had found out about 1.5 years ago. Most of what I read suggested less carbs and more protein. Some even said to match 1 gram of protein to every 2 grams of carbs you eat. That's great but when you aren't sure what gives you protein outside of meat and nuts and eggs - you get sick of feeling like a guy's guy eating meat every meal and little to no bread and a side of veg.

At the peak of frustration came this Tweet. 20 rules. I needed clearer rules. Of course! Here they are:
#1 - Drink a large glass of water before every meal
#2 - Don't drink your calories
#8 - Learn to read food labels
#10 - No more added sweeteners
#13 - Get rid of fast foods and fried foods
#14 - Eat a real breakfast
#15 - Make your own food and eat at least 10 meals at home per week
#16 - Banish high salt foods
#19 - Sleep right
#20 - Plan 1 splurge meal a week

Not bad right? Thats 10 rules I already stick to! (Well, except #20 but that's an easy fix)

#3 - Eat protein at every meal
#6 - Eat apples and berries every day
#9 - Stop guessing about portion size and get it right
#11- Get rid of white potatoes
#12 - Make 1 day a week meatless
#17 - Eat your vegetables

All of these are doable. In fact, two of them are to eat more of something PLUS I already was attempting the protein rule. I just didn't know what else was a high-protein food! Portion size - no problem, that's learning. No white potatoes? I rarely eat them anyway!

So that's 16 rules I can do. That leaves four. And these are the tough ones.

#4 - Slash your intake of refined flours and grains
#5 - Eat 30-50 grams of fiber per day
#7 - No carbs after lunch
#18 - Go to bed hungry

Ouch. Essentially he says no more eating refined-flour foods. No bagels. No bread unless it is specifically whole grain (Harder to find than you think. Whole wheat does not mean whole grain). Lots of fiber? Even on his "detox" plan this week I'm getting about 20g fiber. Still below his target. Perhaps that is good since fiber and I are not best friends! Then there is the two biggest - No carbs after lunch (I eat pasta nearly every night because it is cheap and versatile). And go to bed hungry.

Now, at first, I was nervous about the go to bed hungry idea. I never do that. I used to. I used to think, heck, I'll be hungry when I wake up so what's the use in eating one more thing now? Turns out I was right back then!

So I've started the "Detox" to get all of these cravings, habits and tastes that I'm used to to diminish. I've been out to eat 3 times this week since I started and while tempted by things, I wasn't overwhelmed. I looked over the tortilla chips last night and the hamburger bun. I ignored (without problem) the fries, cheese sticks, wings, chicken fingers and other fried items at our faculty party today. And at breakfast this morning I passed the delicious bagels, biscuits, pancakes and granola that cover the majority of the buffet and instead got sausage, egg whites, berries and apple slices.

I've purposely not worked out this week. I wanted to see if these changes really did help me feel better and lose weight. And I proud to say it is - 4 pounds in 5 days. It comes down to loading up calories on lean meats, egg whites, greek yogurt, veggies and fruit. It's not my ideal and it's not going to be how I eat forever. I want to eat in a way that still allows the real world to be there and function in it. I know I can follow the rules. I just need to get over the cravings.

I'm excited about this journey. I'm excited to see my body function properly for what may be the first time in my adult years. It may finally snap that frustration I've felt about feeling like an athlete inside, trying to workout like one (on a continuous work schedule) but not look like one.

Thanks Bob Harper! And thanks to you, friends and family, who've supported me along this crazy ride.