My How-to-lose 100 pounds Diet: Fasting, religious diets, food swaps and more

In 2014, I lost 100 pounds and a lot of people have asked me, "so how'd ya get from <--- to ---->?"  I don't follow a specific weight loss diet because there's no one meal plan that hits everything I'm looking for.  Here are the basic tenets of my "how to lose 100 pounds" plan.

TAKE WHAT YOU CAN USE AND LEAVE THE REST

Al-Anon says "take what you like and leave the rest." My eating strategies are culled from a variety of weight loss programs. The Ketogenic (Keto) Diet, South Beach, hypertension DASH diet, paleo, Mediterranean Diet, Weight Watchers and more.

FOOD SWAPS

Some of my favorite weight loss tricks are food swaps. Using the "eat this, not that" and "hungry girl" concepts, I create recipes that trade fatty, sugary, salty, junky ingredients for healthier, low-calorie ones.

RELIGIOUS FASTS

I also follow many of the dietary fasts and restrictions of other religions. I'm not a Muslim, but Islam's halal foods are typically healthier. So are Jewish kosher foods. I am Catholic and observe Lent, but I try to do it all year-long. I try to live and eat simpler as Buddhists and Hindus do.

Even doctors recommend some fasting (I say "even" because I got very little help with weight loss from the medical community, aside from advice to get gastric bypass surgery. So I don't put much faith in traditional medicine.

VEGAN AND DIABETIC
Arguably, vegan or at least vegetarian is how we should all be eating. I'm by no means vegan, but I have tried to reduce processed foods. And I'm not diabetic but before I lost weight my glucose number was getting higher. I was tentatively diagnosed with pre-diabetes (aka insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome). So I try to avoid refined sugar as if I had Type 2 diabetes.

SUPERBOWL FOODS

"Bowling" is not only a sport but a trendy eating style just now. It just means eating food in bowls, typically based on salad and soup. I've begun eating less starch-based meals and foods on bread and swapped with vegetables. Our best meals feature high protein and lots of veggie varieties. And we love to make big pots of warm, nourishing soups bursting with herbs and low in sodium.


Exercise is good but diet is crucial in weight loss

A few years ago, a major carbonated bevvie manufacturer (Coca-Cola, I'm talkin' to you) tried to feed us line that diet wasn't the key to weight loss. No, no, they said. You don't  have to count calories (sic) stop drinking our pop, you just have to exercise. Well, I don't know how many execs at Coke are overweight but I was...over 100 pounds so. The image on the left is me in 2008.

And I'm here to tell you that I could have exercised all day but without amending my food intake, it would have done no good. I'd still be tipping the scales at over 200 pounds instead of the healthier 140 I am now (see pic on right). In fact, I might be heavier because all that exercise would make me hungrier and without the food limiting part, I would gain.

Where they found "scientists" to back up this malarky, I don't know. But I think we can see that Coke had a clear agenda to keep us drinking their sugary drinks. What is harder to accept is that their findings might not be true. Because I think most of want to believe in a plan that lets us keep eating the way we want and still lose weight. And many of us don't care that we are getting fat and fatter.

At this juncture, I'm going to digress for a moment. I know I said earlier that I hate the word "fat" when applied to people and that we shouldn't use it. But there's the reality component too: ya gotta look the issue in the eye and be honest before you can see what needs to be done. You can change the cadre: overweight, plus-size, large, heavy etc., but you can't change the problem. Obesity is a pandemic more dangerous than any we've ever seen. It took me looking in the mirror and accepting how fat I was, before I could begin the healing process.

Okay, so back to changing eating habits. Yes, I said that many of us don't care how fat we're getting. I'm talking to myself here too. There are many reasons for the downward spiral-- feelings of failure, despair, inability to see the problem, to name just a few. In my case, the cause of the apathy was that I was on an antidepressant after losing two stillborn daughters. It didn't make me less depressed. It made me emotionally deaf, dumb and blind. My senses were so dulled by the drug that I was unaware of my ballooning body. Or maybe not unaware. I knew I was gaining but I couldn't seem to stop it and I felt defeated. I knew what I needed to do but I just lacked the something-or-other to do it. The antidepressant pirated my mind to such an extent that I felt like a prisoner to it.

I had to quit the Paxil before I could make any significant change. I will blog more on that process and how horrendous it WASN'T later. Once I came out of the drug-induced fog, the path became a lot clearer. I discovered that I did have the whatever-it-is to shed the weight. It wasn't easy but it was nowhere near as difficult as I'd believed it would be.

I love you guys! Be well


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