Great Ideas that Haven’t Worked. Yet.

I’m trying to lose weight. Many books explain that dieting doesn’t work, that people need to make permanent changes in their lives. This is what I have been doing for several years: changing my habits towards a healthier lifestyle.

This isn’t easy. I am a bad cook; I hate shopping; and I never have time. Those are strong limitations on developing new habits. But I’ve been a good girl and have made some real changes. Unfortunately, my aging metabolism is changing faster than I can adopt new habits. Despite my new and improved lifestyle, I am still gaining weight.

But I believe in my system. I believe that one day I will be over the tipping point and will start losing weight, and it will be permanent. Meanwhile I would like to share with you the great ideas that will work someday.

  • Declare some food non-food:
    • I used to keep a kosher kitchen. It was so easy to shop. I didn’t need to go to every aisle in the store because the kosher dietary laws excluded so many foods. Now I’m not kosher anymore, but I like the idea of restricting bad foods, so I created Tanya’s own kashrut rules:
      • Soda is not drinkable.
      • Only dark chocolate deserves to be eaten.
      • Corn syrup, artificial colors and sweeteners are poison.
  • Make healthy foods easily accessible:
    • I have Boston Organics fruits and vegetables delivered to me every other week. Initially they all rotted and I had to throw them out, but I am stubborn. Now I’ve learned how to make a turnip salad and how to enjoy an apple. I will soon switch to a weekly delivery.
    • When I’m in a restaurant, I have a rule that I must order vegetables. I do not have to eat them, I just have to order them. But since I do not like things wasted, I end up eating at least some of them. Now I’ve grown to like eggplants and bell peppers.
  • Make unhealthy foods less accessible:
    • I buy precut frozen cakes. When I am craving sugar, I defrost one piece. A while ago I would have finished the whole cake the day I bought it, but now, after one piece, I am usually too lazy to defrost another.
    • I buy fewer sweets now. Actually I buy exactly one desert item, as opposed to the half a shopping cart I used to buy. I used to rationalize that I need deserts to serve potential guests. Then I would eat all the sweets myself. Now I’ve decided that my friends will forgive me if I don’t serve desert.
  • Engage my friends:
    • Three of my girlfriends and I signed up for the gym together. Without them, I would have dropped the gym a long time ago. Natasha’s call inviting me to yoga often is the extra push that I need. Now, several years later, the habit is formed and when necessary I go alone.
    • Introduce other good habits:
      • I have a separate computer for games. I put it on top of my bookcase, so I have to stand while playing. This way I can’t play for too long, and burn extra calories at the same time.

    Bottles and a Toy DogI have many other ideas that for different reasons haven’t yet become habits. So I am thinking about tricks to turn them into habits.

    • Start every meal with water.
    • I keep forgetting to start my meals with water. Besides, I do not like plastic bottles. So now I’ve bought glass bottles with protective sleeves to carry in my car and my bag conveniently. They look so cool that I enjoy sipping from them.

    • Exercise every day.
    • I never exercise in the mornings, because I want this time for mathematics. But in the evenings I am often too tired and skip my scheduled gym sessions and dance classes. I often spend the whole day inside in my pajamas. So to help me to exercise daily, my friend crocheted a small toy dog for me. Now I pretend that it’s a real dog that needs to be walked every day.

    I have many more ideas, but I gotta run now. I need to walk my dog.

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11 Comments

  1. Sundayteatime:

    Some great ideas there. I order a fruit and veg box weekly and some of it does go mouldy but it’s getting better. Good luck with it.

  2. Felipe Pait:

    The ideas are brilliant. Mathematically correct, and engineeringly executable. As far as I can tell that is what people who don’t have issues with eating and weight do; better follow them than a legion of dieters, right? Also, no point coming up with a “great” plan that one cannot follow through. Good luck!

  3. Έλληνας:

    Please see below my own rules of thumb. I sticked to them as if there were principles given by God and lost 10 kgrs in a matter of 2-3 months (I was 101kgr I then dropped to 91 and now -a bit over 1 year later – I am actually 84krgs – btw I am male )

    1) Decrease the amount of high glycemic value carbohydrates you consume by at least 50% (I used to have the whole 300gr-400gr pack of fresh pasta in one go – I now consume half pack of fresh pasta each time)

    2) Increase the amount of protein you consume by at least 25% (proteins make you fell full for longer as it takes comparatively longer time to get digested by the body)

    3) Jog outside for at least 35 minutes/4 times a week

    4) Whenever you feel hunger eat a healthy snack (such as fruits and low fat – high in protein- Greek yogurt)

    5) Twice a month you can afford violating the above principles

  4. swiety:

    Apples facilitate weight loss. I eat apples for morning and evening. Additionally, apple protect you against infarct and constipation 😉

  5. Ionica:

    It all sounds very sensible, good luck!

    You may also consider a threadmill desk
    http://www.amazon.com/Trek-TD-01-TrekDesk-Treadmill-Desk/dp/B002IYRBI0
    I know some people who actually use it when they are writing or typing, for me it would be very hard to think when I am walking.

  6. Count Iblis:

    I eat 3500 Kcal per day, exercise a lot and I weigh 60 kg. I believe the key to having a healthy weight is to eat and burn a lot of energy. To do this, you must make sure your food is rich in the essential vitamins and minerals. E.g. magnesium is very important, see here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_in_biology

    “Magnesium is an essential element in biological systems. Magnesium occurs typically as the Mg2+ ion. It is an essential mineral nutrient for life[1][2][3] and is present in every cell type in every organism. For example, ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main source of energy in cells, must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active. What is called ATP is often actually Mg-ATP.[4] Similarly, magnesium plays a role in the stability of all polyphosphate compounds in the cells, including those associated with DNA- and RNA synthesis.

    Over 300 enzymes require the presence of magnesium ions for their catalytic action, including all enzymes utilizing or synthesizing ATP, or those that use other nucleotides to synthesize DNA and RNA.”

    The less magnesium you have, the more time it takes for some amount of fat or glucose to be burned. This means that for some given metabolic rate, you need to have more energy reserves, so you will end up fatter.

    Vitamin D is also important:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19346976

    “Activated vitamin D (calcitriol) is a pluripotent pleiotropic secosteroid hormone. As a steroid hormone, which regulates more than 1000 vitamin D-responsive human genes, calcitriol may influence athletic performance. Recent research indicates that intracellular calcitriol levels in numerous human tissues, including nerve and muscle tissue, are increased when inputs of its substrate, the prehormone vitamin D, are increased.”

    Vitamin D deficiency will cause your body to save energy by cutting down on muscles etc. which then limits its ability to burn energy. That’s obviously not what you want.

    I take 10,000 IU/day in Winter, I have been doing this since a few years and I’ve found that it helps with recovery from exercise. A few years ago I exercised 3 times a week, 20 minutes running, now I do 45 minutes of running, 5 times a week. My resting heart rate has dropped from 45 bpm to 37 bpm.

  7. arghbleargh:

    A few other ideas that helped me:

    1) Practice allowing yourself to be slightly hungry from time to time, and eat more slowly. You don’t have to start eating at the slightest sign of hunger, and you don’t need to keep eating until you feel stuffed.

    2) Give yourself a “sugar budget”; e.g. you’re only allowed to buy 100g of sugar in all your groceries per week (only works if you’re cooking your own food).

    3) Make sure you have plenty of other stuff to think about to keep you distracted from thinking about food.

  8. Hi:

    These are some really clever ideas. However, one thing i wouldnt recommend is drinking water before every meal. Drinking water immediately before and immediately after a meal is bad for digestion because it dilutes the gastric juices. Instead, how about starting every meal with a salad or filling your plate with veggies before you eat anything else?

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