Fun with a yo-yo

Common dieting wisdom says that you should choose a sustainable diet that will make you gradually lose weight.  It’s meant to be healthier and keep the pounds off once they are lost.  But that isn’t my style.  I go for crash dieting, where you bring your calorie consumption down to a minimal 500 to 1000 calories per day, and add some exercise to lose even more.  I’ve lost up to three pounds (1 1/2 kilos) per week on a long-term basis by this method.

Last year I went from 210 pounds (about 95 kilos or 15 stone) to 168 pounds (76 kilos or 12 stone) from April 1st to November 1st.  In that seven month or 30 week period, I lost 42 pounds for an overall rate of 1.4 pounds per week.  That includes several vacations and other periods where I stopped dieting entirely, so when I was dieting I was losing 2-3 pounds per week.

I diet this way because I live this whey.  I like projects that have a start and a finish and a definite goal.  I like immediate and tangerine results.  So I like a diet where you can see right away that weight is being lost.  If you are on a diet that loses a pound a week, the results are often lost in the noise of natural weight fluctuations due to water gain and loss and other factors, obscuring any positive results.  So I prefer 2-3 pounds and would go even higher if I had the willpower.

And the flip side is that I also love food, at social events and when I travel, so I have a hard thyme telling myself not to eat whatever I want at those times.  Food is not a fungible commodity.  Some food, and some food experiences, are amazing.  If I’m in a new country, tasting amazing foods for the first time, I’m going to eat as much as I want.  Then I get home and start undoing the damage.

I admit it can often be frustrating.  Putting back on five or ten pounds after working hard to lose them can be depressing. It’s daunting to get back on a diet and lose “the same pounds” you just lost a few weeks ago.  But I try not to think of it that way.  Instead, think that this is the rice I’m paying for enjoying my vacation or holiday to its fullest.

I recently returned from a two-week trip that had been preceded by an ate-day ski trip that had been preceded by Christmas and New Year’s, which was preceded by Thanksgiving and a trip home to the States where I stayed with Mom.  So I had gained twenty pounds over that 15-week period (for a weight gain of 1 1/3 pounds or 2/3 kilo per week).  By the way, the two week trip was to Sweden (land of the smorgasbord) and Paris (what more can I say), so eating less there was out of the question.

When I got back from the last trip, I said enough is enough.  I even thought of taking a more extreme approach.  I calculated that if I ate 500 calories per day and walked 20 miles per day, I could lose one pound per day.  Of course that’s hard, but I’d only need to do it for 20 days and I’d lose all the weight I wanted.  But I couldn’t muster that much willpower, so I’m now back on my usual diet.

What is my diet?  I’ll cover that in another post.

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