Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Walrus Diet

bathroom scalesIt's really very simple. If you can't get your hands on fresh walrus steak, you don't eat.

Why are you looking at me like that? It would work, wouldn't it?

Okay, maybe not. In all seriousness, I have decided to go against my principles and go on a diet. But my kind of diet. And I fully expect it to work.

Why are you looking at me like that? Yes, you heard me right. Dieting violates my principles. Primarily the principle of not banging my head against a cold, hard wall. Let's face it. 99% of the people I know and know of who go on diets, especially the ones who get spectacular results, pack it all back on in record time, with a few bonus pounds as a penalty for deluding themselves.

The reason for this is simple. They haven't learned to eat properly as a lifestyle. They have the discipline to deprive themselves for a time, but not enough to eat only what they need for the rest of their lives.

I, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. My weight has changed very little in the last twenty years. I'm really quite good at eating healthily and in reasonable amounts. What I'm really, really bad at is depriving myself long enough to take it off. Exercise isn't a good option for me because of my chronic fatigue. More than a certain amount of exertion and I am too tired to do anything else. And guess what? Then I tend to eat too much. So while I do try to get moderate amounts of exercise for other health reasons, I can't step it up enough to make a big difference in my weight. So what's a gal to do?

Enter the next important principle in why diets don't work. Dieters tend to plateau after about three weeks, even if they are following their diet religiously. The reason for this is simple too. The body gets the message that it's famine time and slows down the metabolism. You burn fewer calories and get kind of slow and stupid. The standard way around this - and it's a good way too - is to rev up the metabolism through exercise. Again, not a good choice for me.

But then I got to thinking. Another way to beat this problem would be to quit dieting before the three weeks are up. And to make very sure that I didn't gain the weight back. And to do this repeatedly. Diet a bit. Lose a little weight. Go back to normal eating.

Sounds like a plan to me. So for the first fifteen to twenty days of every month, I will diet. For the rest of the month dieting will be strictly verboten. So will putting the weight back on.

To implement this, I bought a decent scale. (Like the one in the picture, but round.) I'd been using my clothes to let me know if my weight was going up or down, but that's not very effective at monitoring day-to-day progress in increments smaller than 5-10 pounds. I needed mathematical accountability.

My diet plan? Well, it's very simple. I'm eating smaller amounts, less often. The small indulgences I normally permit myself are out, for the most part. I keep my mind busy with writing and the Internet (and I do them as far from the kitchen as possible) so I don't eat out of sheer distraction. I started a little late this month, but so far I've lost almost four pounds. (If you think I am going to tell you what the starting number was, you are out of your mind.) I'll take it up to the twentieth, and then I'll eat my normal way, keeping a daily eye on the scales to make sure I don't slide more than half a pound either way from my new weight. If I keep this up, a year from now I'll be forty to fifty pounds lighter.

If you want to try the Walrus Diet, any healthy dieting method at all should do the trick. Just don't go over twenty days at a time. If you do, let me know, and we'll do some commiserating.

I'll make the occasional update, either in the comment trail or in new posts so you can find out if the Walrus Diet actually works. And so I have the extra motivation of not making a fool of myself in public.

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Janna Qualman said...

Well, my goodness, you've thought this through. :) Good luck!

Janet said...

I thought it through in very slow motion. I'm suspicious of Big Lifestyle Changes, so I let this one ripen for a long time. But I figure that a dieting plan that takes ADVANTAGE of my chronic inability to stick to new things has got a real chance of success.

Jim said...

You said:
"And so I have the extra motivation of not making a fool of myself in public."

Oh, yes, that's the peril of blogging about a diet. I hate to admit how many times I've started a new diet and a new blog. Heck, I don't even know how many times I've done it. But it's a lot. About the only thing I've learned is to not embarrass myself by saying, "This time, I'm going to succeed."

But this time, I really am going to ... oh, never mind!

Janet said...

Ah but Jim, this blog has been going a while now, and talks about "many things" so it's a little harder to roll it up and stick it in a dumpster. That's not an easy method of escape in my case.

What the heck is a polydextrose diet, anyway?

Jim said...

My "polydextrose diet" is going to involve drinking lots of polydextrose in the form of Kellogg's All-Bran Fiber Drink Mix. I mean huge amounts of polydextrose. Kind of a strange diet experiment.

Janet said...

Hmm, mind if I don't join you? Excess fibre and I just don't get along too well.

Creative A said...

Hey :)

Wouldn't work for me I don't think, but it sounds like it really will work for you. And I forgot where I heard this, but personalized diet plans are supposed to work better in both the long and the short run, versus name-brand diets with books and rules.

BTW, thanks for commenting on my blog, it's appreciated.


Ruth Cooke said...

Finally, sounds like something even I could do! Mind if I join you?

Janet said...

Ruth, please do. I got messed up by about four celebratory meals in less than two days - ah, the joys of family - so I can't serve as much of an inspiring example right now. Feel free to email me if you'd like to have an accountability partner.

Janet said...

Well, I'm starting October almost four pounds lighter than September, so that's good. The diet didn't go as planned. While I was supposedly dieting, my weight bounced up after the initial drop, and while I was supposedly just trying to maintain my now only two-pound loss, it insisted on dropping back down, to the point where I was actually trying to eat extra the last couple of days to respect the acceptable weight maintenance bracket.

It's funny. Feeling obliged to eat makes eating much less attractive. I've never felt obliged to eat before, so that was a new experience for me.

But it's now the beginning of October, and I'm going to start again. If I end up the month 2-8 pounds lighter, I will consider it a success.


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