Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to Lose Weight Successfully With No Money

I have had my share of battles with weight. I have found that there are two systems that really work, and they can both be turned into a lifestyle instead of just a short term weight loss diet.

The New Beverly Hills diet, by Judy Mazel

This diet could also be called the pineapple diet. Judy Mazel's system is based on the fact that different foods are digested at different rates. Fruit, if eaten alone, is digested out of the stomach within an hour. Vegetables and carbohydrates take a little longer to digest. Meat and dairy can take many hours for the stomach to digest, around six hours for many meats.

Many days on Judy Mazel's diet are all fruit days. Other days are fruit in the morning and for lunch, then carbohydrates and vegetables or meats and dairy at night. By mixing the "food groups," the faster digesting food is trapped with the slower digesting food, so she recommends one "food group" at a time except for special occasions.

I had success with this diet as a teenager, and have referred back to the book several times since then. This is an expensive diet, as she fills days with expensive fruits, but the general concept can be practiced with frugal alternatives. It is also expensive because you end up eating a lot of food.

The Low Carb, High Protein Diet

My husband has maybe lost too much weight since we started going lower carb and cut out all the sugar from our diet. That is why he eats all of our dinner leftovers, which have a higher amount of carbs. He snacks on homemade sausage to stay full longer.

We eat a high protein breakfast, which keeps us full for most of the morning. Most of what I eat during the day is meat or eggs, with some carrot bread or an apple or banana. Then at supper, we have a somewhat more balanced meal of carbs and meat.

By eating protein throughout the day, I am full longer and eat much less over all than most people. I save most of the day's carbs for the evening meal. For my husband and I, the goal is to have half of our day's food be protein and the other half be fat and carbs, which includes fruit and vegetables.

I have taken what I have learned through Judy Mazel's system and applied it in reverse so that we eat less overall. Eating protein first in the day means you're stomach has food in it longer. Starting your day with carbs means you'll be hungry again soon. For us, even starting our day with a balanced meal of protein and carbs means we'll be hungry again sooner.

On a side note, my mother has been on a low carb diet for decades and only eats a large dinner. Occasionally she'll have lunch on the weekends and makes breakfast on Easter. This is an extreme lifestyle, in my opinion, but it works for her and goes along with the idea that you eat less overall if you eat more protien.

My Weight Loss

I just had a baby, so weight loss is on my mind. I gained far too much weight when I was pregnant with Daniel, my first, but lost much of it before I became pregnant with Bobby. With Bobby I didn't gain as much, but I became pregnant with Tommy before shedding most of that weight, so I have a little way to go.

I am already down to my pre-Thomas-pregnancy weight, though, and am confident that it won't be long before I am down to my pre-all-pregnancy weight. How have I done this? First, I didn't gain as much weight in this pregnancy, as I was still a little overweight to begin with. Second, I eat when I'm hungry and I don't eat when I'm not hungry. That's basically how I define grazing. Due to all the protein I eat, this means I consume a much smaller volume of food than most people. I drink a ton of water and my milk production hasn't been affected; Thomas is getting big.

Having to carry two babies, all of my general housework and cooking, and the walks we take give me plenty of physical exercise. If I feel like I need more, we have a small stepper I use in the morning before the kids get up.

I never deny myself when I feel hunger pangs for either budgetary or weight-loss reasons. I trust my body and know that it is better in the long run for both the budget and my weight if I listen to it now.


Simple in France said...

Emily--I'm curious to know, with your experience with midwives etc, how much weight did they advise you to gain during pregnancy or did they just tell you to eat as you were hungy? I've got no kids and am, therefore clueless. However, a friend of mine was told by her doctor during her first pregnancy to gain 40 lbs!!! I'm thinking that's a little excessive. In France, I have another friend who was told to gain anywhere from 15-30 lbs. It surprised me that this kind of decision could be 'cultural' since you'd think health is health. (I'm comparing the two women because both started thin--it's not like one had more body fat to begin with than the other). Just curious.

Also, I'm getting started on a week of our diet on my blog. It's funny because our diet appears to be nearly the opposite of yours--well, in some ways! But different things work for different people. I have noticed, however, that DH and I eat WAY too much sugar. I may have to see if they have stevia here and try some of your recipes--although I've always been kind of anit-sugar substitute in the past.

Emily said...

Simple in France, My midwives encouraged me to eat when I was hungry and eat good foods. They said a 30-40 lb weight gain was normal, but they only weighed me a few times through the whole pregnancy and didn't balk when I didn't gain that much. They felt my tummy all the time to see that the baby was growing and that was all they needed to know.

Anonymous said...

Maybe your husband is not getting enough calories for his size and what he does?

Have you read The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain? I was strict TF for a couple years and am now more PD. I have found both to be very healing diets though. -Cris

Tara said...

Eating when hungry - stopping when satisfied (not stuffed). Trusting the hunger signals and listening to our bodies, the way God made them. This is exactly how I've lost almost 60 lbs over the last 8 months. It works.

Congrats on the quick weight loss! You'll get to that pre-pre pregnancy weight in no time :).

Devon said...

Emily, do you take a multivitamin/did you take prenatals? Just curious since you are nursing.

SoMo said...

This is off topic, but I am curious about your cloth diaper use. I am using Bumgenius and prefolds. I am still using disposables for nights and outings, but hope to go all cloth very soon. My biggest problem is how to carry them in the diaper bag and what to do with the dirty while away from the car. I really don't want to go to a bigger diaper bag. The one I have now is the perfect size.


Rachel said...

I don't think there is an ideal weight gain for a pregnant woman. My daughter and I are both 5". I gained around 25 lbs. with each pregnancy, but my daughter gained about 50 lbs with each. She lost the weight quite rapidly, so obviously she just needed more weight for a healthy pregnancy. My dil had a set of twins, and gained about 20-25 lbs., and she was on bed rest the last 5 weeks. One baby weighed 5 lbs., the other 2 lbs.

One diet I like is the Readers digest. You have 2-3 servings of protein per day, 3-5 servings of fruits and veggies, 1 and a half servings of dairy, 3 servings of bread or pasta, and very little fat, like only a tbsp. But you can have 250 calories of anything you want at the time of day you want it most. It doesn't seem so restrictive as other diets to me.

Atheist Mama said...

I am so against diets it's not even funny.

Diets are completely unrealistic! No one sticks to them, which is why there is always a new best selling diet book!

It's a multi-billion dollar a year industry that is ultimately out to make us fatter and steal our money...instead of teaching us actual healthful ways to manage our weight.

A simple diet filled with the least amount of processed foods possible is the way to go. Eat until satisfied...not full. Snacking, as needed is okay.

Low carb's is one of the worst possible diets to go on and is so ROUGH on your body. I hate that low-carbers often brag about putting their body in "Ketosis" like it's a GOOD thing.

Obviously, I'm a vegetarian...so you might think that's why I'm so anti-low carb. But seriously, it's not the only reason. It's very very very unhealthy and can cause all sorts of issues (kidney stones! No fun...ask my dad!).


I guess I'm just throwing this out there pointlessly. People are so opinionated about food (as am I!) and there's just no changing certain mindsets.

Just had to add my 2 cents, as usual :P

Anonymous said...

AHHHHHHH! I'm so confused about diets!!!! One "diet" says to eat lots of protein, little carbs, and minute amounts of fat. Another "expert" says to eat vegetarian. Yet another will sing praises for higher carb diets. Who do you believe????? Emily, congrats to you if you found the right diet for you. As for me, I'm still looking:(

Ms. Lilly said...

I have done the diet circuit, too, and I've lost. I lost over 45 pounds on Weight Watchers and gained most of it back. I recently have begun reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, and I think it's been one of the most useful things I've read yet. Very much in agreement with what Atheist Mama says: Avoid processed foods, eat lots of vegetables. Also reinforces validity of the concerns of "confused anonymous" above me. There's no clear answer precisely because (wait for it) there's no clear answer.

Early Modern Mom

lexie said...

Has anyone heard of taking a tablespoon of olive oil a day to help loose weight? This sounded like a cheap and natural way to give your body a little push, as I was having a hard time controling my hunger. I have done this for two days now, and not even chocolate entises me anymore. My craving for it and many other things ( like homemade bread) have vanished so far. It just seems so strange that a tablespoon of olive oil would do this. I know,it does taste nasty:)

Elizabeth said...

Diets just don't work. Life changes do. A diet of just fruit for a day or week or mainly fruit just won't work, and is not healthy in the long run. Diets restricting so many foods are not healthy.
I joined TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) last year and lost 30 pounds with lifestyle changes. Changes that are not too restrictive and that I can stick to. I was just surprised to see you recommending such a fad diet as eating fruit as the main source of your food.

Emily said...

Elizabeth, I agree that it's about life changes. What I like about the Beverly Hills diet is that is has information that can be incorporated into an overall lifestyle, but it was not the right choice for me long term; a high protien diet is.

Atheist Mama said...

Lexie-people claim *anything* can make you lose weight. I'm not anti-oil in the least, and olive oil is a very healthy choice (as far as oil is concerned)


Losing weight is VERY SIMPLE. It's purely math. You must burn more calories than you eat. Simple as that.

Adding 120 calories and 14 grams of fat isn't going to help *anyone* lose weight...WHERE you got those calories from doesn't matter.

There is no miracle food that is going to melt away the fat. There just *isn't* and the sooner people realize this, the sooner everyone can quit making diet guru's richer and just get *healthy* instead of the constant yo-yo.

Emily - There is nothing in protein, other than calories, that gives a "full" feeling that lasts. FIBER is calorie free and it also helps people stay full longer. There is no fiber in protein (unless we're talking beans, or something...but meat is not a good source of fiber)...

argh! Kitchen timer going off...must...goooooo!

Emily said...

Athiest Mama, although I agree it is part of it, there is certainly more to it than calories in and calories out. There is a whole digestive system. Some foods digest quicker and some faster. If you eat a 300 calorie breakfast of fruit, you WILL be hungry sooner than if you eat a 300 calorie breakfast of eggs.

The psyche is one of the largest obstacles for most people in losing weight, myself included. Between comfort foods and emotional eating, there is so much more than calories in and calories out. I like having a fail-proof system, as my comfort food, pumpkin milk shakes right now, are super healthy.

I know you are anti-low carb, and I feel the same way about vegetarianism, so I hope we can agree to disagree on that one so we can stay bloggy buddies.

I agree there is no miracle food, but there are tips and tricks that really are helpful. I don't see any problem in highlighting what I have learned and what is working for me.

For the olive oil thing, I think the idea is to put calories in without stimulating your taste buds, which will cause you to eat more. I think there is validity to it, but I'm not trying it because my system is working pretty well.

Cheese said...

Have you ever considered vegetarianism as an option for your family? It's cheaper and healthier than being a meat-eater. If you're careful about watching what you eat (which, very obviously, you are), there's no need to worry about protein. Finding protein from alternative sources is a healthier option than filling your colon with rotting carcass (which is what meat does when you eat more than you should - which most people do), and imagine the money you would save on groceries! You'd be able to feed your family more fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing their immune systems. I've been a veggie for 10+ years, and I am strong, athletic, and am rarely ill.

This is a serious comment.

Sam said...

I agree Emily, for a lot of people it isn't just calories in calories out. I have a condition that causes women to gain a lot of weight that is subsequently extremely difficult to take off. A lot of times the women will basically starve themselves cutting calories because they too think it's "simple math" and eating less than you burn is the way to lose weight. For us anyways, it's about the food we're eating, the actual sources of energy. We need food with a low-glycemic index and plenty of protein. That's what our bodies respond well too. So, for our bodies it does matter from where the calories come.

Also, I agree that fad diets are not the right way to go. I think that some bodies require different diets, but that is something that you may need to figure out over time.

Cheese said...

Ahh look at that, I should have read Athiest Mama's post. Sorry for the repetition.

Veggie 4 life!!!

Anonymous said...

Calories in and out doesn't work for me. I cannot consume grains and sugar in any amount, even natural sugars in natural fruits, throws my body off. Unfortunately I am addicted but I'm coming off it all now as the doctor has finally ordered me to be gluten free, making everything else easier (I didn't know it was the gluten causing the other problems for me). I am morbidly obese yet horridly malnourished because of this; low fat dieting got me to over 400lbs and nearly killed me (I've since lost nearly 40lbs). Even when I wasn't dieting, I still ate less than my husband or my very young children.

I am turning to Nourishing Traditions too so I can turn this around and start getting healthy and nourished. I will just be doing it in a low carb way. Despite what people think, you can eat very healthy low carb. I had a great curry chicken for lunch which probably only had a couple ounces of chicken (if that as it was leftovers) and the rest were very yummy veggies and some coconut milk, so good! I drink bone broth for snacks, eggs for breakfast and healthy salads with an average sized portion of protein or meat with a couple of sides of veggies or soup or whatever, I drink kefir (1 cup a day) eat sauerkraut daily plus I go to T-Zone (vibration technology for whole body health). I am slow to start feeling better but I know it will come when the doctor can fully understand what is wrong with me :). I just know that I am grateful for the internet and all I have learned on it and support from like minded people!

Atheist Mama said...

Emily -

Hunger aside, calories in/calories out is all one really needs to know about WEIGHT loss.

Trust me, as someone who has struggled with many eating disorders (mostly compulsive overeating...ugh) I totally get the OTHER aspects of weight loss...but to keep it simple, it is just math.

The mental/emotion thing is another story which I could write a freaking book on, LOL!

Fiber is what keeps you full, 300 calories of brown rice or quinoa *should* keep you feeling full longer than 300 calories of eggs.

Although fruit has more fiber in it than meat or eggs, it's nothing compared to whole grains. Personally, I'd rather have eggs AND grains...I'm seriously addicted to eggs right now.

Oh! And a side of fruit, lol! I try to stay somewhat balanced!

No worries...we can totally agree to disagree...I mean, my father-in-law just gave me an autographed copy of "The Vegetarian Myth" on his recent visit! I haven't "disowned" him yet, lol ;)

Maybe I'll shoot that your way when I'm done with it...it's ticking me off...you'd probably love it, though! :P

Anonymous said...

Atheist Mama, I'm sorry, but you're deeply, deeply misguided on your notions about nutrition. Read Gary Taubes' extensively researched Good Calories, Bad Calories for an introductin to the subject.

For those who think vegetarianism and fiber are the natural, healthy way for humans to eat, consider this: plant, grain, and fiber-based diets were literally impossible to sustain before the advent of agriculture roughly 7000-10000 years ago, which is a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. The natural human diet is protein- and fat-based, with sparing amounts of fruit and vegetables.

Anonymous said...

I have a couple questions. Do you put your kids on this same diet as yourself? If so, how is that healthy for small children? If not and you feed your children seperate meals, wouldn't that cost more? I really don't see how being as frugal as you are and raising children go with your dieting techniques. I'm not trying to be rude, just wondering how it all works.

Emily said...

Anon about my kids, I wrote about that here:


It is hard to know how each of their diets will turn out ultimately.

Jill said...

Nice post Emily, and I've really enjoyed reading the comments.

First of all, you subscribe to the Weston A. Price foundation's stance on nutrition, am I right? My husband really loves them.

I have a book to recommend to you that I really do (honestly) think you'd enjoy if you haven't read it already. It's called "The China Study". (Atheist Mama - have you read it? You would adore it!!) Yes, it has some pro-vegetarian / vegan themes. But the studies are very convicting. First of all, the authors don't condemn animal-based protein as a whole. They DO condemn excess quantities ... which is the category your family would fall in. Sorry - not trying to be mean - I know you don't like the word "excess" or it's connotations. And they also exclude most fish. There is just so much nutrition in fish, and it has very little in common with other meats. Their main thing is this: Have cancer? Stop consuming animal-based protein, and studies have shown that the growth can stagnate. It's not limited to only cancer, but other diseases as well.

I do agree that protein is wonderful for keeping you feeling full. But, especially with you being so thrifty, there isn't a protein out there that's cheaper than rice & beans! And it doesn't have the side affects of animal-based protein. So it's win-win.

Side note: My husband just walked over and said animal-based protein is not bad for people. =) See? We disagree on nutrition, and we get along fine!

Some comments addressed weight gain during pregnancy. For me, personally, I gained too much weight (45 lbs.) & developed gestational diabetes. However, I was retaining quite a bit of water weight. One week after I gave birth I decided to weigh myself. Including everything - the baby (8.8 lbs), placenta, fluids, etc., I had lost a total of 28 lbs. So for me, a 25-lb. weight gain during pregnancy just wouldn't have cut it. Although I know I could've done fine not reaching the 45-lb. mark!

Whew, sorry for such the long comment. Consider it a compliment - Not only do I enjoy reading your blog, I enjoy contributing!

Pregnancy Fat Loss said...

Well all I can say is protein mixed with rich fiber food is equal to healthy body. I also followed same plan as you did when I wanted to wear my old collage pyajams.
Enjoyable blog.

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