Monday, February 11, 2013


Do you feel like the word diet has the word die in it for a reason? Me, too. I always have. I have a friend who likes to say she's not on a diet because a diet is something you go on and someday hope to go off of. I, on the other hand, appreciate the more traditional definition of diet, which simply means the food you eat. For example, my dog eats a diet mostly of dry kibble and an occasional tortilla chip that gets dropped on the floor.

It's all semantic, though, isn't it? Sure, but words matter. Words are the vehicle for our thought, and what we tell ourselves tends to become our perception of how things are. So, my friend's language preference is important to her because of the way she thinks about the word, and what she tells herself about that word (that she's not on a diet, she has changed the way she eats) creates her reality.

I've been thinking a bit lately about the word diet. Obviously. I've also been thinking about the words vegetarian and vegan, too. I mentioned a few posts back that although I have been vegetarian most of my adult life I don't like labeling myself as a vegetarian. I've recently also decided not to eat meat and to phase dairy and dairy protein out of my diet, but I don't plan to call myself a vegan. First of all, I feel like I'd be a hypocrite if I did. While I don't plan to eat those foods as part of my regular diet, I am not going to rule out eating my dad's amazing prime rib at Christmas dinner. A vegan wouldn't do that, but I would. Seriously, it's that good. There's another reason I've decided not to claim the label of vegan, though.

I was reading an interview with Rip Esselstyn the other day and he said that while he is a vegan he also doesn't choose that label for himself. He noted that vegan only means that a person doesn't eat animal food products. Being vegan doesn't mean a person eats healthfully. Rip eats only plant based foods, but also chooses not to eat processed oils, added sugar, and added salt. Rip says he eats "Plant Strong." Good for him. I would feel like a douche if I said that. (Not that I'm calling him a douche--the tone just sounds too gimmicky to me, like something I'd hear people chanting at a rally on Portlandia. It just doesn't work for me.)

If you're not familiar with Rip, you may know him from his best selling diet book The E2 Diet and the accompanying media blitz. You're familiar with his products if you've been to a Whole Foods Market in the past few months. (I highly recommend the E2 Cilantry Jalapeno Hummus--good stuff!) While I was aware of his E2 products, I didn't know much about him or his diet philosophy until I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. I was intrigued by his father's research as a medical doctor that indicates coronary artery disease and diabetes can be reversed by eating a plant based whole food diet. Given my heart problems and my desire to live long enough to spend my retirement investments on European holidays and handsome hired in-home staff (house boy, pool boy, sponge bath boy, etc), I decided to learn more. I'm not sure I'd enjoy eating the way Rip eats, but I have decided to take baby steps toward that type of diet.

I made it my goal this past week to eat only 3 servings of dairy and to reduce the added processed oil I consume. I actually only had cheese once this week, but I had two homemade salted caramels yesterday, and they had butter in them. I'd say that's a success. Though, I do have to admit that I drink a meal replacement shake most breakfasts and lunches. It's convenient. The shakes do have a protein blend that includes dairy protein. I bought them just before deciding to make these changes, so I am going to finish them off and then transition to something that is plant based. As for the oil, that was a success, too. I found a few more dressing options that cut the fat. The challenge there is that most of the low fat dressing options I've tried and like are ridiculously high in sodium. I sometimes feel like I have to pick my poison. . .

Of course, Dr. Esselstyn (Rip's papi) also recommends regular cardiovascular exercise. I've been sidelined for months with my arthritic joints and then with breathing difficulties, but I felt this past week like I was really just making excuses. I feel better these days. It's time to get my chubby ass back on the treadmill. I got three workouts in this past week:  40 mins, 80 mins, and 90 mins of incline treadmill walking, which is my go-to cardio exercise. It's easy on my joints, works my ghetto booty, burns a lot of calories, and gets my heart rate up to 70-85% of my max without making me feel like I may die. These are all good things. My goal is to get 4 workouts in this week.

So, there you go. Another Monday's worth of musing and ramblings.

Because it's Monday, it's also time to report what my friend, the scale, says about how I did this past week. Scale says I now weigh 269 pounds--that's another 5.6 pounds lost for a little over 16 pounds total so far. I'll take it.

And, since I began by saying that what we tell ourselves becomes our reality, I'm telling myself that my goals for this next week are:
  • no more than 3 servings of dairy (not including meal replacement shakes)
  • 4 or more cardio workouts
  • be fabulous
  • lose more weight
I already accomplished one of those goals. Damn! Now it's time to start working on the other three!


Marissa said...

I guess I don't like the word diet because for me, it signifies a beginning and an end. Healthy eating is a way of life. It's hard though, either way you slice it. Your accountability here is very admirable. Being on a health journey is so full of ups and downs, and documenting this will give you great reflection when times get tough! Keep going, you're doing great :)

A*Star said...

Thanks, hunty! That view does make sense to me. Fad diets are destined to fail because they're not changes you'll stick with and be able to live with for a lifetime. My diet changes are pretty extreme, but I think they're healthy changes that I can live with. I hope so. I'm liking the way I feel and the results I'm seeing. :)