Path to Weight Loss: 254 lbs and the Diet that Got Me Here

One of the interesting side-effects of my recent digestive troubles the complete review I had to do of my diet. This has resulted, whether I liked it or not, in a drop in weight from the 276 lbs at which I stared this year to a current weight of 254 lbs.

I’m going up to Tampa this weekend to visit family, and my mom asked me to give her a list of what I can eat. So this post is for you, mom. Read it, enjoy, and remember that so long as the rules listed here are followed, I’m not limited to the foods mentioned herein. For the rest of you, here’s my very real, healthier eating regimen. It did not develop overnight, and every day I’m making improvements based on my research. Feel free to take what you like and discard what you don’t.

Now this post is all about food. I’m not talking much about supplementation. In fact, since my stomach is so weak these days (what, with the heartburn and all), I kind of have to keep that to a minimum, meaning that the bulk of my nutrition has to come from food. You’ll notice that some things are absent, like lots of beans and rice. That’s because I can’t seem to handle them well right now, but feel free to add these for yourself. What doesn’t work for me may work spectacularly for you.

Anyway, so, what am I eating these days? Well, what I’m eating is determined by a few rules which I’ll outline here, in no particular order:

  • Organic as much as possible. Seriously, if the cost of the organic and the cost of the “traditional” is close enough, why not spend the extra bit to ensure that no pesticides get into your body?
  • At least 60% raw foods. Obviously this means fruits and vegetables, but I just wanted to clear that up. Sure, I enjoy sushi, but that’s not part of my 60%. For those who can’t handle lots of raw fruits and veggies for one reason or another, steamed (and even boiled) are fine: you just won’t get all the nutrients.
  • Nothing fried. Ever. Period.
  • No artificial sweetners. This one I’m a little lax on, since sometimes it’s impossible to avoid them. Still, minimizing these as much as possible is the key. Between artificial sweetners, regular sweetners (honey, maple syrup, molases) and no sweetner, I’ll usually go for the no sweetner option, then the regular sweetners, then the artificial. High Fructose Corn Syrup is completely off the table, however, as is white sugar.
  • Lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich food and spices. Things like blackberries and turmeric have become staples at my house.
  • Avoid gluten as much as possible. Going gluten-free isn’t all that easy, and it can be expensive, but my health has improved many-fold since I started really limiting my gluten intake.
  • Avoid dairy as much as possible. Mostly this is to decrease mucus formation.
  • Try lots of different salads. Yes, lettuce, spinach, tomato, broccoli, onion, peppers, and carrots are good, but expand a bit. Try some of the different types of kale, for example, or collard greens. Shitake mushrooms are also very good for you, as are bean sprouts, alfalfa, and radishes.
  • Most fat should come from olive oil. That means increase olive oil and reduce other fats, not increase olive oil to the point where the total ingested is greater than the total fat content ingested via other foods.
  • Most meat is fish, and that only 3-4 times per week. As for protein, nuts, soy and beans do good.
  • Lots of papaya. It helps with digestion. (Taking DGL helps, too.)
  • Tea. Lots of it, but keep it caffeine free. Rooibos is my favorite, and it has all the advantages of green tea. Also, avoid coffee in all forms.
  • Make your own salad dressings. Seriously, it’s like 100 times better for you. And feel free to experiment. If you like mayonnaise and mustard, why not put them together and see how they taste? Need to water it down a bit? How about adding some vinegar or… well, water? And try a few spices out. In fact, make a game of it: get a few spices one day and start trying out flavors. Who knows, you might find something that’s utterly disgusting to everyone else, but which you consider heavenly.

Alright, now that those are out of the way, here’s what my basic diet looks like, and you can sort of see where these items apply:

Breakfast:

  • 6 boiled eggwhites. Sprinkle with turmeric, salt (potassium or sea), ground flaxseeds and olive oil. Accompany with gluten-free crackers and fruit for some extra flavor. At the very least, add some fruit: a pear, an apple, or both.
  • Buckwheat cereal with raisins, banana, and walnuts. This is eaten with either vanilla flavored soy, rice, or almond milk.
  • Papaya smoothie: Papaya (or frozen concentrate with chunks, which Goya makes), banana, strawberry, soy/rice/almond milk, honey and protein powder. Proten powder can be replaced with high-protein powdered multivitamin breakfast drink.

Snack:

  • Yogurt, fruit, and/or vegetable.
  • If breakfast was not enough, a smoothie as described before is also a good choice, and very filling.

Lunch:

  • A full salad. In addition to veggies, I’ll add turmeric, chickpeas, and raisins. Dressing is usually a mix of 3 parts olive oil, 3 parts balsamic vinegar, a bit of apple cider vinegar (maybe 1/2 part, more if you can stand the acidity), 1 part turmeric, a bit of sea salt, and 1 to 2 parts honey. Adding some tempeh or fish here is also good, but not necessary.
  • Papaya smoothie is good here, too.

Snack:

  • Same as before.

Dinner:

  • Same as lunch. Just make sure it’s 3-4 hours before you go to bed.
  • Sushi, or even better, sashimi. Nothing tempura. This is rare though, both because of cost and because usually sushi is accompanied by soy sauce, which contains gluten.

Desert:

  • Peanut butter/jelly/raisin/banana mix with gluten-free crackers
  • Soy ice cream.

Obviously, the meals mentioned here pretty much all lend themselves to being split up into 6 or 8 meals, so for those with digestive issues (count me among your number) this can be a very easy diet to follow.

And you may be wondering about calories. Fact is, I haven’t really looked at how many I’m eating, though I’ll venture to say it’s probably around 1900. All I know is that I’m never really hungry, I’m eating lots of nutritious and delicious food, my blood pressure is now that of someone 10 years my junior, I have lots of energy, and I’m losing weight.

Now if I could only get to working out more often. That’ll be my next project.

4 thoughts on “Path to Weight Loss: 254 lbs and the Diet that Got Me Here

  1. http://www.imminst.org/

    read about some of the diets on the immortality institute, they can even say whats wrong with your diet, etc
    its a great place!

    yogurt has a high insulin factor, so it will get stored
    Most artificial sweeteners seem to be ok

  2. Actually, N/A, the yogurt serves as a snack, but it also serves another function. Because it’s so thick it covers the lining of the esophagus. At about “snack time” is when I start getting a bit of reflux from whatever I ate (I’ve been diagnosed with GERD and have biliary dyskinesia, meaning my gallbladder pumps very, very weakly). That said, I can’t believe I forgot to include the Immortality Institute! (Great website redesign, by the way.)

    For anyone reading this who’s not familiar with the work of the Immortality Institute, check out this film.

    Thanks for the dietary tip, though. I’ll go to Imminst now and check it out!

  3. Hi,
    I have struggled for years to lose weight (high was 245 lbs./ currently 215 lbs). Now I have been diagnosed with biliary dyskinesia and gallbladder removal is recommended. I would like to avoid this surgery. Have you found anything that reduces the symptoms (right ribcage pain and back pain)? Is it possible to reverse the condition with continued weight loss? (I do not have gall stones.) Thanks for any help.

  4. Hey Phil,

    As per my doctors, in theory it’s quite possible. But not likely.

    Unfortunately, I’ve not found anything for the dyskinesia. I’m currently at ~238 (+/-2) and due to my rapid weight loss I’ve formed stones. (Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.) I had some level of success with an acupuncturist, but I wasn’t entirely happy with that particular practitioner. (She was wonderful in some ways, not so great in others.) Symptoms got better, but things plateaued. I’m about to have my GB taken out (GB troubles run in my family), but I’m still looking for an acupuncturist in my new town (Land O’Lakes), not to save the GB, but rather to continue any improvement.

    By the way, later in 2008 I was diagnosed with something called gastroparesis. It might or might not be related to the gallbladder. Doctor’s say no, but no other possible cause has yet been found, so I’m hopeful.

    Good luck.

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