I know, I know, I am a total sucker for trying out new "diets" or eating plans -just ask my hubby. He is a good sport about it though and just keeps his mouth closed every time I buy a new book and make a shopping list. Some that I have tried include the South Beach diet, the Flat Belly diet, the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution, simple calorie counting and probably several others I am forgetting. I do try to make sure I select sensible diets that are healthy but usually they end up being too complicated to maintain and eventually I get completely off track and start eating my old stand by diet (and too many treats).
It's not that I don't understand what is good for me- I realize that when I choose to eat french fries or some frozen yogurt that I am not making a "healthy" choice. So I am not really sure what my problem is but if I don't pay attention to my diet on a very regular basis (daily) I get off track and my weight very slowly goes up even though I run and workout constantly. I must have the slowest metabolism on the planet because I seriously don't think my diet is that bad- but it is what it is and the scale doesn't lie.
When I saw that Bob Harper (from The Biggest Loser) had a new book out called The Skinny Rules- The simple, nonnegotiable principles for getting to THIN I had to have it! You can take a look and buy a copy of it HERE. I read through the book and really liked the whole concept but was too busy to actually put a lot of thought into it and implement the rules until after Ragnar was complete. Plus there were a couple of rules I was a bit worried about. Basically the idea is that there is a set of 20 rules that need to be followed rather than an actual "diet" so it actually allows quite a bit of flexibility in food choices rather than just specific recipes to follow. Much easier, once you get the hang of it!
So how do you get started on a new eating plan? Here are a few tricks that I have learned along the way to make your life easier:
1. Read the entire book, make notes and pick a "start date"- just make sure you give yourself time to go grocery shopping and clean out your kitchen and cupboards ahead of time
2. Go through the section of meal ideas and core recipes. Decide which foods/meals sound the best to you and pick 3 breakfasts, 3 morning snacks, 3 lunches, 3 afternoon snacks and 3 dinners that you want to eat on a rotating basis for the next 2-3 weeks and ideally have many of the same ingredients.
3. Write the meals down (including page number for reference) and hang it in your kitchen so that when you are hungry all you need to do is pick from your "menu".
4. Make a shopping list that includes all of the foods you need to make your core meals- and buy enough so that it lasts for at least a week. Organize your food, prep your fruits and veggies and prepare anything you can ahead of time.
5. Have a "water cup" of the day that you carry with you everywhere. I use my acrylic Starbucks to go cup and fill it with each meal so that I meet my water quota of the day.
6. Don't worry too much about calories for the first week or two. Bob would probably shoot me if I said that but if you are following the recipes and eating sensibly without overeating you will still lose weight (I have lost 4 pounds in 2 weeks and am not counting calories yet!). After you get used to eating this way you can focus on calories- I just don't see that it is that important in the very beginning.
So far I am really enjoying the skinny rules- they are simple and make a lot of sense. Plus one of the breakfast options is toast with peanut butter and a banana- hello runner-friendly foods! I could seriously eat that every morning and be happy. One rule I was pretty worried about is "no carbs after lunch" but it actually hasn't bothered me too much. I can still have an apple in the early afternoon and have been mostly eating a salad with chicken for dinner. So far it doesn't seem to be causing any problems with my energy during runs- but I haven't really done a "long" run so I will find that out soon enough.
Speaking of long runs- I am also not sure what to do with the rule that states "no more added sweeteners" and the one about "not drinking my calories". Hmmm- so between the no carbs after lunch and having to eliminate energy gels to fuel my running I think I may die once I really delve into my 30K training. Anyone else out there following this diet and an endurance athlete? Do you think it is ok to carb load and use energy gels when I do my weekend long runs which will be upwards of 2-3 hours long in the next couple of months? I have never officially "bonked" on a run and the idea of it scares me!!
Hope you are all enjoying our amazing weather this week- it is supposed to hit the 90's here which rarely happens so I think a trip to the lake might be necessary!