8 weeks is up!

Picture of clothes too big for model

Finished 8 Weeks

I made it through the full 8 weeks of the 800 calorie Blood Sugar Diet (BSD) though I was rather lax in the last week! I lost over 10% of my starting body weight, more than the diet expects and managed to fit into my designer jeans that have sat untouched in my wardrobe for several years, YAY!

At the start of December, I could not do up my designer jeans. Over Christmas and New Year, they did up no problem, though I had muffin tops overhanging the waist. Now there are not even muffin tops.

But best of all, the chest problems that prompted me to start this diet have disappeared! That’s the best of all.

Keeping The Weight Off

Some nutrition specialists seem to be very sniffy and iffy about diets, whether they are based on low calorie, very low calorie, low carb, high fat, low carb, Mediterranean or paleo diets and all the other diets available, whether promoted by doctors, wight loss gurus or others. Their constant cry is “But it doesn’t stay off”, as if it were the fault of the diet for not being both a weight loss AND a weight maintenance diet at the same time.

Some diets are weight maintenance in a later phase, for instance, some low carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, provide phases of dieting, with phase 1 being weight loss which transitions gradually into phase 4 which is weight maintenance. The 800 BSD diet recommends 2 possible methods of keeping weight off after losing it; to move onto a Mediterranean diet, high in salads, good fats and fish or to gradually add calories back into your diet after reaching your desired weight, until you stop losing, so that you may move to a 1,000 calorie daily diet for one week, then a 1100 calorie diet for the next week, etc. There is of course the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet which will work whichever diet you used for losing weight. I have seen one recommendation that says a maintenance diet in terms of daily calories, is 10 times your desired weight in pounds. On this basis, someone who wants to weigh 140 pounds (10 stone, 63Kg) would need a daily calorie allowance of 1400 calories and someone who wants to weigh 145 pounds would need 1450 calories daily. Whether or not this works, I do not know, as I have not yet tried that. But I am coming to the place where weight maintenance instead of weight loss will be necessary – exciting!

5 Tips For Surviving On A Very Low Calorie Diet

Surviving Low Calorie

It may be good for your health to lose weight if you are overweight or obese but getting the motivation to stick to a low calorie or very low calorie diet can be hard, especially if you are having to deal with hunger, which can be a problem for the first 3 days. The benefits can seem a long way off, while that piece of confectionery or extra dessert is immediate and may be right in front of you.

Sometimes, we sabotage our own diet but other people can also cause problems for us, possibly jealous of our success in losing weight or through pity at seeing us struggle when we so obviously would love a cookie! Some people who do not need to lose weight do not seem to realize that “just one won’t hurt” or “a little bit won’t make any difference” makes it very hard for you to resist, especially when you would love to have some, or even a lot. They also do not realize that having that extra piece of food or a forbidden food can trigger cravings that will be even more difficult to overcome tomorrow.

There are also those who believe they are telling us to stop dieting for our own good. In some cases that may be true. A person with anorexia or who is below the ideal weight for their age, gender and height should not be on a weight loss diet. But others seem to believe that weight loss is bad altogether. They may have their own reasons for saying this or even believing it, including the fear that they themselves may need to follow a similar way of eating or because they have been fed misinformation or misunderstood something they heard.

So here are tips for overcoming the problems and staying on your low calorie diet.

1. Ditch the NaySayers

If you are having difficulties with someone trying to sabotage your weight loss diet, then ditch them, at least for a little while. The 8 week 800BSD is only for 8 weeks. If someone is trying to stop you from improving your health by losing weight with a recognized way of healthy eating, then they are not thinking of your health and you need to avoid them for a while or at least when you are feeling particularly vulnerable.

OK, it’s not always possible to ditch them, so if not, try to avoid conversations about food or diet or weight loss. If they say something like “you’re looking so thin!”, then remind them that you are not yet at your healthy target weight or that you still weigh more than you did when you both first met and that you were not exactly skinny then! They have a picture in their mind of you as being an overweight person. They need to adjust their picture of you to being one of a person at their ideal target weight. That will take them time.

It’s especially hard if the person who appears to be sabotaging your efforts is your nearest and dearest or your parent, who cooks your evening meal every day. They presumably have your best interests at heart but they also have their own interests to serve, even if they don’t acknowledge that. They may be proud of their cooking and feel hurt and rejected if you don’t eat it or not as much as previously. Try to get them on your side, so they are more concerned about your health than about their own cooking prowess. Try to get them to serve more salads and green vegetables and fewer potatoes or less pasta, bread and rice. Even if they are playing the guilt game “you don’t like my cooking any more”, try NOT to play them back, “you don’t care about my health”, but instead, let them know how thankful you are that they care about your health and that they take the trouble to make you a meal, which is much appreciated. Once they realize that their time and effort are appreciated, they may be more willing to make changes that can help.

2. Overcome Hunger

There are some foods you can eat without having to count them in your daily allowance. I have found fresh celery very useful. It’s only about 30 calories for 2 large stalks and that is very filling as well as providing useful fiber.  You can cut up some stalks of celery and keep them in the fridge when you just have to nibble. Cucumber is another useful vegetable. I buy a whole one and cut off a chunk every so often. I don’t count those in my daily allowance. Occasionally, I buy a single red chili pepper and cut it up along with the celery, to give it a bit of “bite” but I try to make the chili pieces last at least 2 days.

Sugar free chewing gum is another way of overcoming hunger. It doesn’t provide (many) calories but it gives your mouth something to do and overcomes mouth boredom which is sometimes translated as being “hungry”. Be careful with this though, if you are not used to it. Many of the types available contain phenyalanine which some people must stay away from and most of them can have a laxative effect, which may or may not be helpful to you.

Eat plenty of green veg or green salads with your meal. Spinach, green beans, cabbage and broccoli (and cauliflower, though it is not green) will all fill you up and provide more fiber, without many calories, as will lettuce, cucumber and other salady green stuff.

If you find you have eaten fewer calories than your daily allowance, make sure you have something quick and reasonable available so you are not tempted by cookies or candy. A small can of tuna has about 100 or 120 calories. A spoonful of mayonnaise has 100 calories, so you can make a quick snack of tuna and mayo to eat with a fork to keep you well fed and with no excuse for eating what you have chosen not to.

3. Renew Your Motivation

If you have a favorite book or article that prompted you to get started on your weight loss journey, keep a copy of it nearby and read it again, to remind yourself of why you wanted to lose weight. Fear; and feelings of doom if you don’t lose weight may not be the best motivators but they may be what you need in order to stick to your diet at times.

Get advice from your doctor. They may already have been trying to get you to lose weight. Some can be very helpful, though many were never trained in nutrition. If not, find a doctor with whom you CAN work and who will support you on your journey.

4. Work out your REASONS for losing weight

  • Do you want to get a beach body for a special holiday?
  • Maybe you want to get new clothing for an event, such as a wedding?
  • Maybe you have had a diagnosis of diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol and want to improve your situation?

Reminding yourself of your reasons and what you will get at the end of your diet will help you stick to it.

5. Record It

Keep a journal or a vision board. Write down your reasons for losing weight and find pictures that will show you how you want to look in 6 weeks or 6 months’ time. Maybe one of you at an earlier age or someone who looks similar to what you want to look like. Keep a record of what you DON’T eat when you are tempted and give yourself a reward for that. Even a check mark in a list can keep you going. You could always give yourself a small monetary reward for 10 check marks and save it towards something special, maybe new clothes or a special outing.

Keeping a record of what you DO eat can also be motivating. The very fact of having to record it, may help you avoid eating something on the no no list.

Keep a record of meals you CAN eat and enjoy and a record of calorie counts in case you are worried about going over your allowance or can add something extra in.

Fiber and Prebiotics

Chicory Root is a good source of Inulin

Chicory Flower

I have already tried adding fiber to my diet, because both low calorie and low carb diets can be a bit, or even a lot, low on fiber for those, like me, who need a lot of the stuff! Since I wrote those articles, I have been looking in great depth into how I can get enough fiber into my diet, so I don’t have to take any laxatives or use any suppositories. I prefer to keep my intake natural as far as I possibly can!

Prebiotics

While I mentioned prebiotics in one of my previous articles, I have now found out a lot more about these and also found a source for adding extra to my diet, which I am currently trying out. This is inulin, which I had not heard of before I started researching natural ways of correcting constipation when on a diet. Inulin is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables. It is a soluble fiber. This means it dissolves (soluble) in water, which bulks it up and also softens the stool. And just as important, it forms a food for the good bacteria that live in your intestine. These good bacteria, grow and multiply by fermenting the soluble fiber. They also form part of your stool and the more there are of them, the softer and easier your stool will be to pass. Increasing the numbers of the good guys also decreases the baddies!

Inulin

Inulin is found in lots of foods, such as onions, leeks and asparagus but one of the biggest sources is chicory root. I know that chicory was used for making faux or ersatz coffee during the second world war, when coffee beans couldn’t be got and has been used in this way for maybe 200 years. The taste of chicory root is similar to that of coffee, though it doesn’t have the caffeine, and some people got used to the taste and continued using it for their coffee drink, for instance in New Orleans, where cafe au lait is traditionally made with chicory. Apart from this, chicory appears mostly to be eaten as a salad leaf or a vegetable, rather than the root being eaten. Rather than try finding recipes for chicory root (although you can buy it on line), I decided to purchase the inulin powder ready prepared and see if it helped and whether it agreed with me. I bought a bag of inulin and added the recommended dose of 5 grams into my daily shakes.

Gas

It has the reputation of producing more intestinal gas. I found that to be true! But it did improve as my body got used to it. And it did help with the constipation, which was a big benefit.