Last night I ran into a friend whom I hadn’t seen since December. She was shocked at how different I looked. Since January 18, I’ve been following a program called The Alternate-Day Diet. I started at 225 lbs. (102 kg) and had a BMI of 33. A few days ago, I weighed in 202.5 lbs. (92 kg, BMI 29.9), a loss of 22.5 pounds or 10% of my starting weight in less than 13 weeks. And 20 lbs of my loss has been fat. I’m looking and feeling younger and I’m really looking forward to continuing the progress.
Why was she shocked? I’ve been obese now for a long time. I crossed into 200-pound-plus territory in 1998, never to return, except for a brief, ill-fated flirtation with the Atkins diet.
Until now, nothing else has helped me take it off. Several years ago, I tried Weight Watchers and found it decent for the strongly-disciplined, but I found counting points tedious and unendurable after a few months. Last year, I attempted the “mindfulness” approach described in I Can Make You Thin by Phil McKenna and The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel. It seemed dead-on in principle, but required a tremendous amount of time spent in mental conditioning, and the effort the constant mindfulness required was too difficult for me to keep with it.
The gist of The Alternate-Day Diet is to eat very lightly (really a modified fast) every other day. And on “up” days, eat just your usual amount. I’m keeping myself to around 500 calories on the short days … a few pieces of fruit and a protein bar, and another snack, like microwave popcorn or low-fat cottage cheese. I’ve found that as long as I spread my little snacks well throughout the day, I’m very seldom hungry unless I stay up very late.
The diet isn’t restrictive about what to eat at all… only that for weight-loss, you should limit your “down” days to about 25% of your typical intake. However, to use the diet simply for the benefits of the calorie restriction lifestyle, down days can be as much as 50% of regular intake. “Good” food is encouraged, of course, and the author says that most followers soon find themselves preferring healthier choices. That certainly has been my experience. On my up days, I tend to eat wraps and salads, heavy on vegetables, but often including eggs, cheese or fish. Sometimes I also enjoy a nice dessert. I’m losing my taste for many fried foods—I haven’t had or even wanted French fries since starting, and the thought of a heavy Chinese dish with fried rice actually repels me now. (On the other hand, I still have a weakness for tortilla chips!)
I’ve been blogging my progress on my review of the book at Amazon.
Since I’m training for a half-marathon in September, and I’m currently running about 10 miles per week, there’s a question of whether the weight loss is from the eating program or the running program. I believe it’s almost entirely from the eating program, because last fall I was training even more vigorously than I am now, and I didn’t lose a pound during three months of training. Seriously, my weight was as unchanging as a rock — 225, 225, 225 during the whole period, give or take a pound. More evidence is that in February, I was sidelined with an Achilles’ injury, and not running at all. I lost as much weight during that period as I did in March, when I resumed my running.
However, a mixture of cardio and strength training actually is part of the ADD, although it’s not emphasized and gets easily overlooked.
My goals? At first, I was thinking of shooting for a weight goal, 162 lbs (BMI 24), and possibly down to 145 lbs (BMI 21.5) which is where I stabilized when I got into great shape the first time. However, I’ve been reading about the advantages of Waist-to-Height Ratio over BMI as a fitness measure, and that, combined with the fact that I’m not being drawn to a low-fat diet like I was 20 years ago, makes me think a waist goal, rather than a weight goal, is more in order. My primary goal will be 34 in. (WHtR 49%), and then, I may decide to go further. We’ll see.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to many more celebrations along the journey: crossing the 200-pound mark, breaking 190, buying new pants, and so forth. But the main thing is just the newness, freshness, strength and vitality I feel. It frims!
9 thoughts on “Losing Weight, Gaining Life!”
First of all, a big congratulations!
Second, the ADD. I read it with interest, because it is very similar to what the Dutch Nutrition Centre teaches people to do when they want to lose weight. They call it “Balance Day”. They also advise men who follow a diet and exercise at the same time, to measure the waist rather than calculating BMI. Muscles weigh more than fat, so a man often doesn’t lose weight and might even gain weight in the beginning.
ADD makes sense to me. The objective is to change the eating pattern, but that is a gradual process. Our Dutch researches show that people are more succesful at changing their eating habits if it’s done one step at a time. People often quit diets precisely because they dread the prospect of not have their popcorn or other favorite fat foods. But it is unnecessary to stop eating those things, as long as you make up for it the next day. In time, the craving for high calory foods will disappear and is replaced by a craving for healthy foods.
I personally can’t do without a minimum of two fruits and 200 grams of vegetables a day and herring, but I do eat Belgian chocolates and other high calory foods as well from time to time. There is no need to give up any food as long as there is a balance. Wonderful, isn’t it?
Yes, it is wonderful! Thanks for the link. Balance Day definitely has some similarities here.
Hey Jon! So good to hear that you’re doing well on the Alternate Day Diet. I gave it a serious look one day on Amazon a while back, but never followed through.
I own Paul McKenna’s program and recently bought the book “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat” which I’m implementing. As you said, it’s more of a mind thing, but I think that is exactly what I need. I have got to develop a better relationship with food. It’s all about emotions for me. 🙂
I look forward to reading about your progress!
Great, Kay! Good luck!
Hey dude – nice going!
I’m up to a five mile run now… (yay) …sidelined this week by doing boat work. Six to eight hours of up, down, crawl, wriggle, sand, sand, contort, paint, scrape, paint, squat, climb, sand, wipe, clean… you get the idea. Ahm dun tuckerd aoht.
Sounds like you’re in better shape than me. Get some good rest. Nite-nite!
All I can say is keep it up. Some professional bloggers post few times a day on their blogs, simply because this endless addition of new content helps the criminals to get regular readers.
Thanks, BDP. I usually delete comments from companies, but I like the idea of your website, and left several comments there.
I have just started following the ADD diet and wondering if you have any advice, or an articles I can read about the diet?