A week of dieting dangerously Or How I learned to stop worrying and love the broccoli

The title is a lie, there is sadly no danger involved so those who were hoping to read about my dieing in some extreme food related accident should move along. Alarmist title aside though I am once more embarking on the perenial penance of fat fuckers everywhere – a diet. So if you’ve always wanted to be with but were worried about not having a J,O,B, then I suggest you take your chance now while I’m emotionally vulnerable. Because obviously thin people have no problems with their lives. Moving on, everyone in the world appears to be doing the Slimming World diet. So obviously thats too commercial for me. Or alternately, I had a look at it but I just cant get on board because their documentation fails to properly explain their underlying methodology e.g. while I understand how the A&B choice works I dont understand (becuase its mentioned nowhere) the reasoning behind it. I also took a look at the Hackers Diet. While it does have some interesting material around accurately measuring body weight (which I shall be using) and is painfully straightforward it doesnt look like it would work for me. So my diet shall be a hybrid of Slimming World and Weight Watchers No Count, I may use the “Syns” (why the alternate spelling?) from Slimming World because their product lists are more locally comprehensive. As with my last diet speed and convenience will be the watchwords behind by meal plan.

Conception

As I mentioned above I tried various diet plans before and the two most successful were the Atkins and the Weight Watchers No Count diets. However the Atkins one, while I do believe its medically viable, just doesn’t feel “right” when you’re on it. It’s over reliance on meat was also going to be an issue price wise, as I shall be unemployed by the end of the month. The Weight Watchers No Count diet had proved quite easy to adapt to daily life, but the ever present points lead to weird patterns of hording and binging, as well as trying to “game the system”. A large number of people seem to be having decent success with the Slimming World diet so I gave it a look as well. Unfortunately in some ways it seems worse than the Weight Watchers one. The arbitrary unexplained A & B choices in conjunction with their equivalent to points is too fiddly for what I want out of a diet. However their food lists were more local than Weight Watchers rather generic ones so I think I may make use of their “syns” idea in some manner. So going forward I’ll be using the Weight Watchers No Count and the standard Slimming World diet’s as a rough guideline but tailor the diet to my specific goals of speed and convenience.

As I’ve mentioned before one of the main barriers to successful dieting for me is the issue of speed and convenience, when I come in hungry I dont want to spend an hour dicking about in the kitchen. I want something quickly and easily. This generally leads to less than healthy eating. This issue is further exacerbated by the fact that these days I spend most of my week commuting to Dublin (or working) so I dont have a lot of free time and what free time I do have I dont want to spend fuelling the machine.

So my first decision was to prioritise convenience over culinary exploration, as such I decided to go with a very small (or no) rotation of dishes for breakfast and lunch. My culinary experiments would be restricted solely to the evening meal. Though even then the meals would need to take less time to prepare and cook than their main competitors – take away food/pre-packaged oven meals. So my basic criteria were that meals should take less than thirty minutes to prepare and cook. The meal would also need to be more or less “free” on either Slimming World or Weight Watchers. With these loose criteria in mind I turned to the internet and began my recipe search.

The last time I tried something like this I locked in porridge for breakfast and a smoothie for lunch. I choose porridge for breakfast because it’s quick to make and fairly filling (and as we all know, eating breakfast first thing makes it easier to sleep). The smoothie for lunch was HAX as the kids like to say on the interwebs. One of the foundations of any healthy eating plan or diet (apart from the more fringe or esoteric ones) is your “Five a day”. But I’m not the world’s biggest fan of fruit and veg. Therefore I decided to compact all five portions of fruit and veg into one serving (and my colon be damned!). However, I find it tough to get going in the mornings when I get up at some ungodly hour to get a train, the last thing I want to eat is a bowl of porridge. The smoothie isnt too much of an issue I can just prepare that the night before. I cant think of an alternate for the porridge at the moment though. So with my two staple meals out of the way I moved on to compiling my list of dinners.

As I intend to comment on each day individually I’ll wait till then to further detail and discuss the recipes (I bet you can’t wait). I initially planned out a two week block as experience has shown me that mentally I find that easier to deal with than the a new eating plan stretching off into infinity and it’s also a realistic amount of time to shop for. However I thought that two weeks might actually be a bit too long so I cut it down to a one week plan. A trial if you will. This will allow me to tweak the diet’s parameters to better match my current lifestyle. Once I have it working as intended I will expand my meal plan back out to two weeks.

The last time I did this I used Mealboard, a meal planning and grocery app for the iPhone. I really can’t recommend enough. It’s only a little over a quid and it’s proved extremely useful. I use it to plan out my meals, store recipes and create/update my grocery list. It’s even more useful now that you can save and load from “the cloud”, which allows you to edit the recipes on the website and then sync them to your phone. It really is an amazingly handy tool. One which I have unfortunately been able to find a decent alternative to on the Android. Belive me I’ve looked, I think I downloaded every fucking meal planning and grocery app on the Marketplace. But none of them are as feature rich or as perfectly suited to my use as Mealboard was. I am almost tempted to pull my old iPhone out of mothballs to use simply for shopping. In the interim I’m using Mealboard on the iPad and emailing myself the grocery list/mealplan. Food Planner for the Android may be of some use, its the only one of the many android apps I downloaded that managed to stay on my phone. I shall test it further and see how it funcions “in the field”.

Preparation

As usual I planned to start this a few weeks ago and only managed to get going with it now. But I did buy myself a spur to drive me on. A rather expensive wifi weighing scales. A Withings scale to be precise. I’ve only used it twice but it is pretty fucking slick. As I mentioned in the beginning I took a look at the Hackers Diet (available free online) and found it had some pretty interesting stuff to say about determining real weight change. You can even use its free online site to do so. The Withings however should take care of all that automatically and the wifi means that I dont have to worry about recording my weight, or fuck it, even looking down to see what it is. Jump on, weight a few seconds, check my phone. I also bought it because its more money than I would usually spend on a weighing scales so I’m hoping a mixture of frugality and guilt will help keep me on the dietary straight and narrow.

I have made my grocery list and am now heading into town to fail to pick up half of it. Dundalk I love you.

Listening to: dEUS - Hotel Lounge

2 thoughts on “A week of dieting dangerously Or How I learned to stop worrying and love the broccoli

  1. I already know what the response is going to be. Something along the lines of “Fuck you Adam” or “It’s my body I do what I want” or ” I love you so much why can’t we be together” but I’m just wondering would you, or have you ever been tempted to add a bit of exercise to the routine. In the past you’ve dieted and occasionally done some exercise but the only time you did both (Atkins&Cycling to da fone) you lost more weight then I’ve ever seen you lose. Would you think about doing both again? I’m currently rocking a 3 meals a day and no coke or redbull and trying to get three swims in a week and its being going alright. Just a thought as I know you’ve mentioned that you’d be interested in swimming as an exercise and you are entitled to use the trinity pool as you did pay membership for it. To my knowledge you do usually have an hour or two to kick around with down there while waiting for a train.

  2. Ever since I read ye olde GI Diet I have been on board with the idea that exercise is pretty ineffecient in terms of loosing weight, I find it hard enough to stick to a diet without adding something else I dislike on top. That said, I am hoping to add some exercise in this time around. Though I know the only reason you want me to do it in the Trinity gym is so you can stand on Pearse St looking in and yanking the crank of yourself.

Vent your spleen