Girl Interrupted

Saturday, January 21, 2006

[+/-] Diet: The TLC weight loss program

After promising for ages to post about my diet program, here it is (no, don't have a hernia - I typed this post out ages ago, well before I decided on my Hiatus, and I just needed to email it in, so there):

The TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes?) diet program is, I think (in a nutshell), Atkins (low carb) cross weight watchers (weekly weigh ins).

[+/-] This is quite a long post. Click here to expand the rest of the post [+/-]
    It involves a batch of blood tests (mostly for blood glucose, thyroid function, liver enzymes, stuff like that) and a supposedly tailored diet plan for your specific blood profile, by a "panel of doctors". Most likely, the "panel of doctors" is a computer program, but frankly my dear, I don't give a damn, if it works. Having blood tests done eliminates the Get-Out-Of-Diet free card of "Oh, I'm sure I have a thyroid problem").

    It's mostly a low carbohydrate plan (in fact, almost no carbohydrate - some low GI carbs are allowed... this is to rid you of carbohydrate addiction, which I'm sure most people have), with a list of "allowed foods" - if the food is not on the list, you can't have it. I know Psychomuffin doesn't like this idea (she likes practising making the choice), but it makes things very easy for me. Plus, I have authority issues - no, the other kind of authority issue - I like being told what to do. I'm a bit of a sheep that way (funny that - seems that little animal quiz was accurate). I like someone in authority saying "You may not eat bread". "Well ok then, I may not eat bread. Done."

    Admittedly though, the allowed foods list is dismally small... It's almost like a food tolerance diet - cut back on everything, then slowly reintroduce foods back into your system and see what disagrees with you (I have a sneaking suspicion that I am intolerant to bread. White bread seems to exacerbate my depression).

    I don't believe its an unhealthy diet - lean meat and vegetables, fruit, yoghurt, 3 liters of water a day (min), multivitamins, cutting out/back on the milk, alcohol and refined carbohydrates. It's just in small quantities until the weight loss is achieved, and then in less moderation as a lifestyle change. I think that's a reasonable way to go towards building a lifestyle change - we all know we are supposed to have wholewheat instead of brown instead of white bread. We all know chicken skin is bad for you. We all know too much sugar is not good either, etc etc.

    I feel a need to defend the low-carb way as much as Psychomuffin feels a need to defend the low-fat way.

    As a biochemist, the low-carb way makes the most sense to me. The basic principle is this:
    Your body has two principle metabolic pathways - (1) carbohydrate and (2) fats & proteins. In order to burn fat, you need to promote pathway number (2). To do this, you need to inhibit pathway (1), since this is the "path of least resistance" for your body - given a choice of (1) or (2), your body will go for (1), since it takes less effort on the part of your body.

    So, how to inhibit (1) and increase (2):
    • lower your insulin levels, since this hormone inhibits fat metabolism (pathway 2) and stimulates pathway (1)
    • increase your protein intake - more protein means pathway (2) is switched on to break down those proteins, and hey, whaddya know, fat burning happens as a bonus...
    • rid your body of glycogen stores. In plants, carbs are stored as "starch". In animals, carbs are stored as "glycogen". When you don't eat carbs, your body will first try to use its glycogen stores (easiest energy source, as explained above). Once those are depleted, it will grudgingly go to its fat stores.
    So there you have it. It's not easy, I'll tell you that much. But it's working for me, and I must say, I feel a lot healthier in general having given up sugar, milk and bread.

    Anyway, I kind of see this as training for a lifestyle change - its all normal foods - essentially what I know I should be eating for a healthy lifestyle anyway (cutting back on fats and oils, cutting out the chips, chocolates, sugars, cokes, etc), just eaten in a very strict combination designed for me. If I can get into the habit of eating these low GI foods, lean meats, cure my coke addiction, my chip addiction, etc... that's a great start to a lifestyle change, in my opinion.

    I remember when I first became thin in high school when I started Figure Skating - I lost my taste for fizzy drinks and junk food relatively quickly, and then actually eating those things made me physically ill. If I ate a packet of chips, I could almost feel the oil swimming around in my blood stream , depositing itself on my skin, hips, stomach. That is what I am aiming for again... to get to a stage where my body's reaction to "bad food" is heard, and not drowned out by carbohydrate craving saying "gimme gimme gimme".
    Psychomuffin asked me " Why do you want to change? (A) Because you hate being fat, or (B) because you'd love to be thin?"
    Its both really - I can't separate the two. I hate looking in the direction of the mirror in case I catch a glimpse of myself in it. And, I fantasise about what it will be like to be thin again. And healthy (let's not forget healthy, because of course, wanting to be thin for the sake of being thin is Wrong and Succumbing to The Media).

    The psychological investment I have made in this program follows in a later post.


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5 Comments:
  • At Fri Jan 20, 01:19:00 pm GMT+2, Blogger thinblueline said…

    Hmm,
    Rather than change what you eat you shuold really be chaning your attitute to the foods themselfs

    Why do you eat what you eat is more important that simply what you eat!

    Once you understand why you eat certian foods and change that realtionship then it is far easer., and a lot more long term.

    Treat the underlying issues not the responce.

     

  • At Sun Jan 22, 07:34:00 pm GMT+2, Blogger dreamweaver said…

    did I not spend a whole post talking about lifestyle changes?

     

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