The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

The Best Diet. Ever

Posted by thearrow on June 27, 2008

Eat Yourself Slim, by Michel Montignac. In Romanian, “Ma hranesc, deci slabesc.” This is something I can preach with more conviction than being a vegetarian, which I’ve been since 1994. Sort of, I have to admit, since I eat fish and seafood, but maybe once a month. But back to the diet.

It’s the most balanced, sensible diet I’ve heard of and, since the author is French, you can be sure you don’t have to sacrifice good food :). The beauty of it is that you don’t have to endure any kind of silly starvation, which Montignac is completely against. You do have to change what and how you eat, which is not necessarily simple but it’s not draconian. In a nutshell, you need to make those changes for the rest of your life, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll never eat cake again. You’ll manage your little abuses, so if you’ve had some forbidden food, you just eat more strictly the next couple of days.

The book is a lot of fun to read and the translation in Romanian was really good, from what I remember. My favorite part was when he explained how the French shunned the potato for about 200 years before they integrated it in their meals. Funny how now a lot of people like French fries (btw, are they really French?).

Anyway, I thought I’d make it easy for you and lay out the ground rules. I still advocate buying the book, though, because it give great explanations of metabolic processes and why you should eat certain things and not others. It gives you lists of good and bad food, good and bad carbs, fat, etc. It even gives recipes!

You keep the strict(er) diet for two-three months, depending on how much weight you need to lose, and then you continue applying these principles for the rest of your life if you want to maintain that low weight. Dieting for a few weeks and then going back to the fattening foods you’ve eaten before will never work. Another plus of this diet is that you don’t gain weight that easily after it. You really have to stuff your face with the bad stuff before that happens. I probably shouldn’t have said this but I’m hoping it can be an incentive.

Rule no. 1: No food high in carbs. This means no potatoes, pasta, white bread, corn, beets, beer, and liquor. Forget that these exist :). Also, no sodas or any kind of juice, really, other than freshly squeezed. Fruit is always better than juice because you get the fiber.

You can eat whole-wheat bread, but only two or three slices in the morning in the weight-loss stage. I’d say if you only need to shed a few pounds, you can add maybe another two slices to your lunch, depending on what you eat then, but definitely no bread in the evening.

You can also eat whole wheat pasta, depending on what you put on it; see below.

Rule no. 2: Don’t mix carbs and fat, which together are very fattening. This means no bread (even if whole wheat) and butter. No Romanian “mamaliga cu brinza” either (polenta and feta cheese). No steak and potatoes (not even just mashed potatoes). No Alfredo pasta and, in general, no cheese and pasta, which, I know, takes the fun out of it. You can have whole pasta with vegetables and marinara, though, and still have a very satisfying meal. So when you look at food next time, think if it’s in the fat category or carb category. If they have seen each other’s eyes, big no-no, ok? 🙂

Yogurt has both carbs and fat, but because it’s a healthy food you can eat low-fat yogurt by itself, for instance. I’d say even if you eat regular plain yogurt by itself, you’ll be fine. But those fruit yogurts are on the black list. They should really be called “jam yogurts” because they’re all made with jams, not fresh fruit, so they’re a big scam. Sure, if you want to eat one as a treat, that’s something else, but don’t fool yourself into believing it’s healthy. Because fruit contains some amount of sugar, you shouldn’t be mixing it with yogurt either. It’s probably not that much more sugar, so again it depends on how strict you want to be.

Milk also contains both carbs and fat, so Montignac recommends skim milk.

You can eat carbs 5 hours after you’ve had a fat- (or protein-) based meal. You can eat a protein meal 3 hours after you’ve had carbs. That’s how long it takes the body to process them.

You can eat dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cacao content. You can’t eat milk chocolate because the milk fat will plot with the sugar to get you a fat ass. The high cacao content makes the taste so intense that you can only eat a few bites; it has built-in moderation, so to speak. That said, I can eat lots of dark chocolate with whatever cacao content it is possible to have 🙂

Rule no. 3: no animal fat. If you eat pork, beef, chicken, you need to trim the fat or buy lean meat; no chicken skin.

Fish is the exception; apparently, the body processes it differently. So you can eat very fat fish and you’ll be just fine. The same for vegetable oils.

Other rules:

No coffee. It contributes to weight gain, particularly if you drink it mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when sugar from the digested food goes from your blood to your cells. Very interesting factoid, which he explains better than I. I wouldn’t be able to live without coffee though, so I try to have just a mug in the morning.

Eat fruit on an empty stomach. This might come as a surprise, since people usually eat fruit as dessert. Bad idea! Fruit is metabolized differently from regular food, so eating it after lunch or dinner will just make a big mess in your stomach and will ensure that nothing gets digested properly. I can personally testify that he is right. I could never eat fruit after a meal and didn’t know why until I read his book. You need to wait about three hours after a meal to eat fruit. Eating it on an empty stomach ensures a higher absorption of the nutrients, too.

Personal tips:

Try tahini (a.k.a. sesame paste) on bread for breakfast; especially since you can’t eat bread and butter and margarine is hardly healthful. It has a nutty, rich taste (which I absolutely love) and it’s just a seed, so it has to be good. I put salt on it.

Not having grown up in America, I like salty breakfasts, so cereal is not on my menu. This can be a big challenge for Americans, since cereal is such a breakfast staple here. Not sure what to suggest other than 1. get whole grain cereal with the lowest sugar content possible, 2. switch to oatmeal, and 3. find alternatives. I linked to the U.S. edition, though, which I’m sure has great advice.

– Eat very little for dinner. In my experience, eating late and a lot contributes to weight gain. This, again, can be a challenge in America. My impression was that Romanians are not that big on having a substantial meal for dinner; my family just nibbles on sandwiches, I don’t remember my mom ever cooking for dinner.

This is it, (sort of) in a nutshell. I’m telling you: it doesn’t fail. Quite a few of my friends lost just how much weight they needed; not more, not less.

And don’t forget those push-ups 🙂

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