December 27, 2007

My Diet Plan: A Check In

This morning I stumbled on a diet website that’s almost exactly the plan I’m following: The DIY Diet. I have to say, I really hate diets like Atkins and South Beach. They’re just too “diet-y.” Weight Watchers is doing a promotion right now for how WW isn’t really a diet, and that’s what I’m striving for: to eat well but not have to eat large quantities of odd things or be deprived of my favorite things.

As you may be able to tell, I log everything I eat on DailyPlate. I mean I log everything, maybe even a bit obsessively 🙂 However, I can see a CLEAR difference in my weight ever since I started doing that. I’ve posted before about thinking you’re doing something healthy and then realizing that your choices were actually not as great as you thought, and I want to reiterate that. My diet plan involves understanding what you ate. Not depriving yourself of sweets and treats, but eating those sweets and treats with full knowledge about what you’re doing.

On Christmas Eve, I had a ton of food that I probably shouldn’t have had. However, as I was eating, I was mentally tallying it up in my head. I had a whole assortment of things: a few bites of this, a few nibbles of that. And yet – my mental tally turned out to be within 100 calories of the actual amount! I was proud of that because it means I’m starting to understand what goes into a calorie and how to avoid pitfalls when I’m someplace that I can’t look up calorie counts.

If you have a chance, check out the DIY Diet. All the tools on the right side of the page are basically what I wanted to say in my blog, but didn’t yet write. I think this is a pretty sensible plan, and I’m proud to announce that on my own version of it, I’ve lost 7 pounds so far!! I look and feel great, and it’s been noticed by family, friends, and coworkers. What’s more, this is sustainable. This isn’t a “next week once I’ve lost the weight I’ll gorge myself on forbidden foods XYZ” kind of plan. (Though sometimes I wish I could have a free week to just binge on everything, like I used to do when I didn’t pay attention to my weight). I eat everything I like in small amounts. Last night I had a few meringues for dessert; the night before I had a bunch of caramel corn; the day before that I had ice cream. I eat fun stuff – I just watch what I eat other times so I shouldn’t feel guilty about eating the fun stuff.

My only concern about this “diet” is that sometimes I worry that I’m getting a little obsessive about it. I feel gross if I eat way over my calories for the day (which does happen on occasion), or if I skip/miss working out at night. I’m a big perfectionist, so it’s frustrating to me when I mess up. I don’t scrap the whole diet, but I tend to approach it with a new fanaticism. Yesterday, for example, I went for a nine mile run in Central Park. NINE MILES. That’s a ton. And I try not to get in the habit of eating back what I burn exercising, but that’s about 1,000 calories burned. And yet – when I had the meringues after dinner (pushing me like 50 calories over my total calories for the day, but still about 900 calories under my net calories), I felt guilty.

Do these guilty feelings happen to anyone else? Am I the only one with perfectionist tendencies?


3 thoughts on “My Diet Plan: A Check In”

  1. No, none of that has ever happened to me, or anyone else for that matter. j/k. It’s so simple, really, burn more than you consume, but then creeps into my mind the “but you just burned x cals so eating just one won’t hurt, you’ll still be in the negative…” Evil, evil thoughts. One thing I’ve found is that sometimes cal counting is a double-edge sword. I don’t want to eat only processed foods, but sometimes those are the only foods with nutrition info listed. Then it’s hard to keep track of cals consumed, and so on. But you’re definitely on the right track. I threw all caution to the wind last week and just plan to get back in control next week. “One week never hurt anyone, right?”

  2. Topher, you should definitely check out Daily Plate: it lets you add lots of ingredients to create your own recipes from whole foods instead of just processed stuff. Also, for times when you eat a ta restaurant or buy something without a label, it usually has comparable items that probably aren’t too far off from whatever you actually ate.

    But yes, long runs are killer for making yourself not eat it all back right after 🙂

  3. I’m Constance, the author of The DIY Diet ( I’d like to thank you, Laura, for the kind words you’ve had to say about my diet program. As I said in a post, I got started preparing my own diet when I was on one of those diets where you get all of your meals. Three days of their food is about all I could take. I knew I could do better so before the week was over I had already calculated the calories in three days of meals I intended to prepare for the first part of the next week… Right now I’m struggling. Having all the holiday goodies around has taken its toll. I’ll be back concentrating on my eating this week… I’m just finishing up writing about some of the Low Cal Party Fare I like to include when I have cocktail parties. It should be posted in the next few days.

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