Blog – Diet not as Simple as it Sounds

We all are in the same boat… winter fat and COVID fat, we all want to get rid of it, and we want it NOW… diet is the way to go.

I decided to write these posts as per our experience and after seeing so many ads on TV, newspapers and magazines. Loosing weight is not that easy. There is no pay and pounds are gone.

We were back from our 2019 winter vacation in Brazil visiting the family to find out that the pandemic (the infamous COVID) was way more serious than previously thought. My lovely wife and I were a bit concerned by our weight gain during the pandemic. It’s true that being couch potatoes didn’t help at all. Before the virus, we were quite active.

Let’s Diet

Time to do something! As they say on TV, we talked to our doctor who recommended a low, to no-fat diet, increase exercises and monitoring our weight loss.

We Googled the no-fat concept, and it’s controversial. Some educated sources say:

Ultra-low-fat diets and no fat diets have been thoroughly studied, and evidence indicates that they may be beneficial against several serious conditions.

Other educated sources say the complete opposite:

Your body needs dietary fat for many biological processes. You wouldn’t be able to live a healthy life without it.

Well, we are not educated sources so… we decided on the low-fat diet, exercises and lot of water.

Fortunately, our condominium has a gym and even with the new restrictions in place we could use it daily for 30 minutes, plus at least 20 minutes disinfecting.

We cleaned up the fridge, butter, out, bacon, out, fatty cheese (cheddar, Colby…), out. Not fun, but it was for a good cause.

Shopping became less “interesting”, not thinking about the next recipe but what is low fat.

Chicken or turkey breast or drumstick both skinless have the lowest fat content. Recipes are not that fun, but we can manage.

Diet

One month later, eating low fat and 30 minutes of gym EVERY day, the scale wasn’t too kind with us saying “not good enough.” My wife lost 1/2 a pound while I lost a huge 3/4 of a pound.

Guess what my first comment was: “it’s not working.”

Good friends went even farther with a no-fat diet: Steamed Rice, potatoes or green beans, boiled chicken to remove the fat and salad with no dressing. They told us “lunch and dinner are not fun at all, if you have a better solution, we are takers.”

Time to do some research. We both have PhDs and we enjoy researching that’s a pleasant hobby for us. Also, I had to do a physical and the blood panel wasn’t that good… borderline everything: cholesterol, glucose… not good at all. Really time to do something serious.

What is the most efficient Diet?

One, recommended by many is intermittent fasting diet – just by limiting food intake to 8 hours a day can/could/should/might (that all the verbs used in articles and studies) reduce your weight by 3% to 8% over 3 to 24 weeks.

Easy to do, breakfast, lunch and dinner within 8 hours, not realistic at all. If I take my brekky at 7am, I must have dinner at 3pm… no snacks, no fun…

Another one that sounded promising is a vegetarian diet. We tried it for about 3 months and the results were a bit mitigated.

A plant-based diet includes not only fruits and vegetables but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, beans, etc. A little meat is ok. It’s NOT vegetarian or vegan.

How does a Vegetarian Diet work?

      • Eat lots of vegetables. Making sure there are plenty of colors in choosing vegetables – half of the plate should be veggies.
      • Snacks with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.
      • Small amounts of meat, avoid if possible.
      • Good fats, olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are great choices.
      • Vegan meals at least several nights a week. These meals should be based on beans, grains, tofu and veggies.
      • Grains for breakfast. Things like oatmeal, buckwheat, quinoa or barley. Add nuts and fresh fruits.
      • Variety of green leaf veggies: collards, Swiss chard, spinach, and other greens daily. Steam, grill, or stir-fry to keep their flavor and nutrients.
      • Fresh fruit for dessert.

Why Vegetarian Diets are not perfect?

Well, it’s easy to understand. The changes in your diet are quite drastic. It took me a month to finally almost enjoy a meal.

Also, and more importantly, plant-based diets have risks of inadequate protein, vitamin, and mineral intake. This is a big problem as lacking iron, zinc, etc. Meaning you need to take supplements or choose the right veggies like lentils. Some beans are richer in iron and zinc but are not leafy greens.

In our case, and because of the lack of iron and B12 vitamins, we had to take supplements.

Also, we notice some mood disorder (slight depression) since we started the diet. Lack of good quality sleep was also an issue, but we kept going for 2 more months.

Our major concern was the weight gain – even going to the gym 30 minutes a day every day (our Covid limit) – my wife gained 3 pounds, I gained 4.

I had to do another blood panel test – follow up from my physical, and this time it wasn’t good at all – cholesterol was up, glucose was way up. Time to take medication to prevent issues.

Reading more about plant-based diets, we discovered others had depression issues, higher fat and glucose levels in their blood.

Maybe the solution is paid diet… that’s my next post

Continue reading about our journey to weight loss

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Please share your own experiences and ideas below.