Monday, February 24, 2014

The NO diet "diet"

Curtis recently asked me how many books I had read about diets and dieting and what I got from them. I was a bit embarrassed that I have read so many, and yet, have not had long lasting success with maintaining the weight that I want to be at; however, I think that each book has provided me with insight of some sort.

Not everything works for everyone. I have usually been successful losing weight when I exercise and count calories, but I always end up gaining it back. I feel like I have to diet just to maintain my weight. A book that I recently read, and enjoyed, called the Gabriel Method ( had some interesting things to say about this. Although not everything in the book rang true, it is quite "new agey" in some ways (he talks about past life regressions, sun eating and a few other things), there were several things that I am going to take from this book and try to implement into my life. I will try it out for the next 30 days at least. The methods he employs are slow moving; with the first month only focusing on a few of the items he discusses. I think this is so that you can start to create new habits and have them actually stick. It is much easier to change one small thing at a time than to try to change it all at once.

I just want to highlight a few of the ideas that I liked in the book:

  1. Use visualization / meditation daily to help you accomplish what you set out to do. If you are talking about a healthy body, then get an image of what your healthy body looks like. Look at this image first thing in the morning and just before bed for about 30 seconds. Then visualize yourself this way. His book comes with an evening meditation that you can use also. I have used it twice so far and plan to use it for the next 30 days at least.

    I picked an image like this because I want to be strong and active.

  3. Practice more mindful eating. Don't read, watch tv, play games on your phone, etc when you eat. Enjoy a meal with your family and really take the time to enjoy it. Also, make breakfast and lunch your big meals. 
  4. We are nutritionally starved even though we get enough 'food' to eat. He does recommend some supplements such as Omega-3, probiotics, and digestive enzymes on a daily basis. I don't usually do supplements, but I am going to try these for the next 30 days to see if I feel a difference.
  5. Drink lots of water DUH... Heard this one a ton. He recommends a glass before a meal/snack and during the meal/snack, plus lots of water in the evenings to help stop the late night eating (not really something I have a problem with usually.) 
  6. Add in more of the "real" foods everyday; foods like leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, etc. One of his suggestions that really hit home for me was to make every meal a salad. If you are eating lasagna then chop it up over a plate of greens. He says you can make ANYTHING into a salad. 
  7. Exercise in a way that causes your body/animal brain to think it is being chased. This helps your body to think that it needs to be faster, stronger and thinner to escape. It helps to turn on your fat burners. He doesn't come right out and say it, but his suggestions remind me of interval training type methods. Short bursts of energy intermingled with your normal cardio routine. 
  8. When you feel stressed, immediately do some type of physical activity. This will do the same as number six above. Your body doesn't know the 'reason' for the stress and if you immediately begin doing physical exercise, your body will think the stress is causing you to need to move faster ("flight") and thus burn more calories to make you faster and leaner so you can get away from whatever is chasing you. 
  9. Hide the scale. Your body weight fluctuates A LOT. If you are weighing everyday you may get discouraged and think things are not changing. This can cause you to start thinking negatively about everything and really derail your visualization.
  10. Physical cravings for bad foods stop when you are nutritionally fed. If it is a mental craving, he has visualizations you can do to make those foods less appealing. I know this works because I did it with cow's milk. I created a mental image of how disgusting it is and over time I lost all desire to ever drink it. Now the thought of drinking cow's milk makes me feel ill.  
  11. Overall, the basic goal is to stop eating the bad stuff by filling up on the good... eventually ridding yourself of the desire to eat the artificial, processed, fast foods.
There are many more things that he discusses, but these are the ones that really stood out to me. His suggestions for the first month are as follows:
  1. Use the visualizations every evening and start by looking at the picture you selected as your perfect body. 
  2. Every morning take 30 seconds to look at the picture again then close your eyes and imagine yourself this way. Then imagine the rest of your day going the way you want it to go. 
  3. Eat a good breakfast. It can be anything you want but he suggests that you try to make it as healthy and filling as possible. Allow more time to eat and do it leisurely. 
  4. Take the suggested supplements. 
  5. Have a "real" food afternoon snack. 
  6. Drink your water and try to add as much "real" food to your other meals as you can. 
There are no "Eat This" or "Don't Eat That" things in the book. If you are craving something, then eat it, but then try to add in as much of the healthy stuff as you can to your meals. I liked this idea. I think what I liked the most from this book was that this way of eating is not telling you to take away anything. Instead, over time, you add in the good stuff and force out the bad.