Friday, November 10, 2006

High on Bananas

I went shopping for a new suit yesterday. We have to keep up appearances working in "the City" and my current collection is ranging from the threadbare to the torn.

I thought that going to our local uber-shopping centre, Bluewater, would be easier than going to the centre of London which seemed potentially too stressful. It turned out to be ok and the big shops there had a suit that fitted me. However a brief visit to an "Italian Designer" shopped showed I am no longer the slim lad I once was.

Italian clothes no longer "suit" me. These clothes are made for a people who live on diet full of olive oil. I live on a City diet with too many coffees, sandwiches for lunch and then a proper meal cooked by Mrs. Donatella in the evening. My main exercise is walking to and from the station.

This lifestyle has come at a cost and yesterday I realised that I am now "portly". Not fat, probably not obese but a good stone above what is a healthy weight. In fact I know I have put on a stone and half in just over 2 years.

I have therefore decided to "diet". It sounds rather feminine so I am aiming for a "manly diet". Not in a half-hearted way but in a radical way that will loose a stone in a month or so. Then I can go back to normal ?:-)

There are health considerations here. I won't starve so I am trying to go on a fruit diet- the basic rules- you can eat as much fruit (or vegetables) as you want. You cut out "stimulants" (tea, coffee etc) and animal products. This is supposed to detoxify you and help you return to your ideal weight.

I will try it for a week and see if it has any effect. There are warnings that at the start that you might not feel good- as the body starts eating up all that unhealthy fat the process may make you feel ill. However if you stick with it you are supposed to feel fit and clean.

So far I have a mandarin for breakfast and 5 bananas together with some pumpkin seeds for lunch. I feel a bit light headed and my stomach is rumbling but hopefully some of my fat reserves are starting to be used !

Imagine if it was possible to live on just fruit and vegetables. How different things would look. I think we'd solve the recycling issue as everything would be biodegradable. I am not quite sure what would become of restaurants or even family meals ?

Still I am not aiming to change the world just yet. Hopefully a time without meat, potatoes and white sugar will leave me a little healthier than before. I may even be able to wear an Italian suit.................................

4 comments:

cw-patriot said...

Luis,

For whatever it may be worth to you, our daughter made the same discovery a few months ago (that she was 'no longer as slim as she once was'). She figured she was about twenty pounds overweight and that it was time to do something about it. So she went on ten-day cleansing diet, and has been very particular about what she eats in the couple of months since then as well. She feels so much more alert and energetic as a result, and she is planning to make this healthier eating a permanent lifestyle change (that kind of thing is difficult to do, but I'm hoping she succeeds ... and so far, so good).

She kept a record of her ten days on her blog at the time (as you'll see, there were some trying times :). For what it may (or may not) be worth, this is what she wrote. I figure that, if and when you 'hit a wall' as she did, reading about someone else's similar agony may help you get past it. :)
_____________________

I want...no...I NEED to get in better shape. After a few years of not taking care of myself like I should, I’m unhappy with what I’ve become. And it’s not just about appearance. It’s about how I feel. I just feel logey, you know? And I don’t want to feel that way anymore.

So here’s the plan: Starting today, I’m following a strict meal plan and exercise routine for the next ten days. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Only ten days? That sounds like a fad diet and they never work.” I couldn’t agree more. I have no faith in fad or crash diets because they DON’T work, at least, not permanently. But this isn’t about dieting. It’s a meal plan designed to cleanse my system of all the junk and impurities, to boost my metabolism, and to kick-start a permanent change of habits.

The meal plan details every meal and snack for the next ten days. As for beverages, it’s water, water, and more water. Coffee and tea are okay, but only a small amount of skim milk may be added to them; no sugar or sugar substitutes, no cream. Absolutely no Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. (Harsh, I know.) Also, no soda, juice, sports drinks or alcohol.

There’s one special element to the plan: A high-protein shake, which will help build lean muscle. The recommendation was a whey protein powder for preparing these shakes, but since I don’t have a blender available to me at work, I researched other options and (surprisingly) found the Slim-Fast high-protein shakes to be a good substitute.

And don’t forget the exercise! I’m moderately active, but not like I should be. So I’m scheduling a minimum of 45 minutes of high-intensity cardio every day, with strength-training every other day. As I’ve promised myself, the exercise non-negotiable. Period.

So I made my grocery list yesterday, went shopping last night, and now my kitchen is stocked with everything I need for the next ten days. (Interesting side note: While at the grocery store last night, I realized that the processed stuff – canned, boxed and bagged foods – is in the aisles, while the raw, natural stuff – produce, dairy, meats – surrounds the aisles. So if you want to eat healthy, stick with the outer rim of the grocery store.)

Stay tuned for updates on my progress throughout the ten days....

DAY ONE

The first day was a piece of cake. Well, maybe not cake. It was a piece of broccoli. I missed my usual one or two cups of coffee, but I survived. Surprisingly, I wasn't even hungry when snack time rolled around in the afternoon, but the meal plan requires you to eat five times a day (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner), so I did. The only time I felt any nagging hunger was right before bed, but it wasn't unbearable, at least not until the pizza commercials came on.

I found I had plenty of energy when it was time for exercise. I did start to poop out toward the end, but only because it's an intense workout and I'm not used to it yet.

Ernie's benefiting as well. Besides our usual short morning and evening walks, and the longer 1+ mile walk after work, I'm throwing in another brisk 1+ mile walk right before bed. Then, I slept like a baby.

DAY TWO

A little tougher than the first day, but still going strong. I swear I heard the coffee pot at work calling my name, but I just turned up the volume on my iPod and let Ella Fitzgerald drown it out.

Before starting this, I never would have guessed that a lack of sweets would be so difficult to endure. But being limited to only the sweetness of fruit, I find myself really missing other sweet things. A little mint chocolate chip ice cream would be heavenly right now, but I’ll manage without it and look forward to that first bite, eight days from now.

DAY THREE

Smooth sailing today. The meal plan offered some tasty choices: an egg white omelet for breakfast, raw almonds and dried cranberries for a snack, half a turkey sammich for lunch, and a burrito with grilled chicken, brown rice and black beans for dinner. I had to go through the Arby’s drive-thru with KB to pick up her dinner (roast beef and curly fries…Mmmm), but I rolled down the car window to escape the delicious greasy scent coming from the bag and made it home without maiming her for a fry.

I may have over-done the exercise a bit. KB and I played racquetball for an hour, then did almost an hour of intense strength training. My knees are feeling a bit like Jell-O, so let’s hope I can get out of bed tomorrow.

DAY FOUR

I wasn’t sore from the extreme workout yesterday, but I started to crash about halfway through the day. By the evening, I had absolutely no energy. I wasn’t tired, but it took a lot of effort, mentally and physically, to get anything done. I hope this is a fluke. If not, the next six days will be torture.

DAYS FIVE, SIX & SEVEN

Things got a little hairy there for a few days. I had no energy and felt like absolute crap most of the time. I think it may have been some kind of withdrawal, perhaps from the limited carbs allowed in the meal plan. (When you’re used to consuming bread, pasta or potatoes at most meals, it’s quite a shock to your system when those things are almost completely gone.) Besides having no energy, I was getting the shakes between meals and had trouble concentrating.

A work luncheon was scheduled at a Thai restaurant on Friday. I was planning to skip it, so I wouldn’t be tempted to deviate from the plan, but all of my co-workers, including my supervisor, were going. My absence would have looked bad, and considering how lousy I was feeling, I thought a “real” meal might be just what the doctor ordered. So, I joined my co-workers, ordered a dish that was similar to what the plan prescribed, and had a lovely time. Sure enough, I was rejuvenated by that afternoon and have been fine ever since.

I’m noticing some surprising and pleasing results already. After just five days, a pair of jeans that were tight last weekend now fit perfectly. I weighed myself and took my measurements before starting, so I’m anxious to see the results at the conclusion.

DAYS EIGHT, NINE & TEN

After some ups and downs, I finally figured out how to read what my body is telling me. Once I did that, things started going much more smoothly. I feel good, I’m sleeping well, and I’m enjoying the food and the exercise.
_____________________

Good luck with your diet plan as well. Keep us all posted on how you're doing.

~ joanie

Luis said...

Thanks very much Joanie. Your daughter sounds more organised than me. I did not stock up with the supplies beforehand.

However things seem to have gone reasonably well so far. I did encounter the issue of how to be on diet and out to dinner- my solution was to eat dinner !

The idea of a fruit diet sounds very eccentric but from limited experience I can say it is a good way to get into healthier eating.

SimonHolyHoses said...

I've heard that fruit diets can have strange effects on your mind.

Luis said...

They can have strange effects on more than just your mind :-)

I wouldn't advocate a fruit diet for a long term (although a few would). However if you're generally feeling unhealthy (too much caffeine, food, alcohol or whatever) a fruit diet is really quite refreshing and allows you to quite quickly loose a bit of weight. Providing you like fruit it is not exactly unpleasant as you can eat as much fruit as you want.

However the effects of living on fruit for the long term might be a bit more uncertain !