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Long Post - Very Unpopular Diet that Worked....

Lab RatLab Rat Posts: 147
edited 7:52PM in Weight Loss Forum
Okay, please don't shoot the messenger on this.... ;)

Just as a prelude, I am no longer on this diet and am 35 pounds overweight.... :(

About 10 years ago I was reading the Home Brewers Digest (a beer making forum) when a poster claimed that he found a great new diet (Adkins) where, if he balanced his protein and fat properly, he could consume all the carbohydrates he wanted. He said (jokingly, I think) that if he ate plenty of Slim Jim meat sticks and peanuts with his beer he would lose weight!

Another poster countered with a link to a debate between Dr. Adkins and a Dr. John McDougall where McDougall basically proved that the Adkins diet didn't work long term.

McDougall's diet is completely (now don't pull your triggers!) VEGAN. No meat, fish, dairy, eggs, fat, oils, etc. It is based on primarily eating complex carbohydrates (starches) supplemented with veggies and a small amount of fruits. No simple sugars, soda, juices, etc. Strict McDougall eliminates caffiene and alcohol also.

McDougall's premise are that:

1. Biologically, human physiology has evolved eating natural foods that are not modified or "concentrated". He considers animal products a form of concentrated food.

2. Most of what we eat today is concentrated food. Consider how many ears of corn we would have to eat to get a tablespoon of corn oil. We would be full of corn long before we got that tablespoon amount of oil.

3. Human physiology is geared toward storing food for times of famine. Seasonal changes in the environment meant that food was more plentiful during part of the year and scarce in others.

4. Human physiology is not able to handle extended times of plenty. McDougall calls this "feasting". Once in a while it's okay, but not constantly.

5. The typical western diet of constant feasting results in excess food storage (excess weight) and results in physiological problems that manifest themselves as diseases (hypertension, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, heart attacks, strokes, cancers, etc.)

I needed to lose a few pounds, thought the diet made sense biologically, and was curious if I, a confirmed meat eater and grill fanatic, could stay on a diet like this.

I think I stayed on the diet for about 5-6 months. During the time I was on it I ate as much as I wanted and was never hungry. I ate stir fry, lots of potatoes (baked potatoes with ketchup - I know it sounds gross, but really was pretty good), and lots of pasta. I did drink coffee and beer, but no soda.

Without working out or feeling food deprived, my weight dropped down to my ideal weight on the weight/height chart and stabilized!

I looked "skinny" compared with my "normal" weight. But I realized that our vision of "normal" is really "overweight".

The downfall of the diet (for me), and why I eventually discontinued it, was that I got tired of making two meals every night - one for me, and one for the rest of the family. I was usually able to make my main course a side dish for the others. An example would be a vegan Spanish rice for me with fajitas for them.

One of the neat things about the diet was that when washing dishes, the ones used for my vegan dishes cleaned up completely with only water. The "normal" meal dishes required soap to clean the grease.

Now my dilemma is this: I have two awesome BGEs that beg me to cook meat on them! And I really do enjoy eating meat! But I also want to lose weight and be healthier.

Ramping up the routine exercise is a must. Eating healthier is a must.

I am looking towards more vegetarian meals to make on the egg and the sharing of recipes and techniques on this forum will be a big help!

Sorry for the length of this post...

Still eating meat, but trying to cut down,



  • SundownSundown Posts: 2,971
    Cooking veggies on the Egg is not all that uncommon. But, and here it comes, I believe that most of us can eat whatever we want if we do it in moderation.

    One of our forum member, MollyShark has some pretty good insights on dieting so I think she would be worth contacting in your case.

    Good luck
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Accurate post stike.

    A good friend of mine just started Atkins for the 4th time. He loves the diet but eventually after he loses 30 or 40 pounds he starts eating carbs again and eventually gets to an all-time high weight again before he starts Atkins again. Vicious yo-yo cycle.

    Me personally, I am going about this by eating more of the stuff I'm supposed to (fruits, veggies, whole grains, fiber) and less of stuff I'm not. I can still have a steak, just a small ribeye instead of the 24oz. Monster. I can still cook a pork butt, but only eat one sandwich instead of 2 (or even 3).

    It is not about deprivation at all - it is about proper size portions. Most people have no idea what a proper portion size is of most foods.

    I personally cannot imagine going even a month without eating any meat, or without any fruits, or without and breads. It makes no sense to deprive yourself.
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,805
    Good advice! I never will be without a "sweet tooth" and now I indulge with moderation. Instead of downing 10 oreos during a snack attack, I'm satisfied with 3 or 4 of a less-fattening variety. Also, I no longer buy ice cream in quarts or pints. Instead, I opt for those little cups that Blue Bell offers in multi-flavor, 8 or 10 packs. Yes, the unit cost is higher but I'm a winner because it helps me with "portion" control. Buying perishables in smaller quantities helps a lot as I'm less likely to sucumb to the "use it or lose it" frame of mind. Just my humble, Saturday afternoon ramblings.... Got some "lean cuisine" goin' out on the lanai... pork tenderloin rubbed with John Henry's pecan rub. Sure smells gooood!! 8 - ),,,
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i think short term deprivation is a potential problem. nothing makes you want to eat a bowl of ice cream like some "program" that tells you you can't have any ice cream.

    fat is a required part of our diet. fruits, nuts, too. but even salt and animal fat are good for you. but not in mass quantities.

    another thing to try is simply not bringing stuff into the house. you can't eat a double-sized bag of doritos if there isn't one in the house.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i have been doing what my dad did when i was a kid. he'd reach over and finish that last little bit of spaghetti on my plate because it was "too little to save, and too much to throw out". dangerous.

    you don't gain ten pounds in a week (unless it's a vacation!), and you shouldn't expect to lose ten in a week.

    i have become aware of my metabolism slowing down, and need to watch how much i eat lately.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Your post reminds me of something I read a while back. An interesting study was done on the Hopi Indians. Many of them are severely obese, so there diet was studied. It was discovered that their white neighbors had the same diet (and were not severely obese, just typical overweight Americans). The study concluded that the Hopi diet while they still roamed free was extremely low in fat, so the metabolism was very slow. Then, after switching to a diet like ours, they became obese. Your handle fits in pretty well with your post.
  • Lab RatLab Rat Posts: 147
    Well, since you all didn't come at me with tar and feathers or pitchforks and torches, I feel I can get away with one last post on the subject. :)

    Also, believe me, I'm not advocating anyone eating vegan. I'm not eating vegan now. I don't support PETA - except for the PETA Mad Maxx advertizes! I love olive oil and well grilled meats.

    First of all let me say I don't disagree with anything said; portion control, exercise, moderation in all things, etc.

    I'm possibly just struggling with what I believe is accurate (vegan eating is healthiest) with my desire to eat good grilled foods. My dilemma is that I can't refute what McDougall said or what my experience was.

    Atkins is easy to refute - you lose weight by inducing a state of ketosis where your body is forced to breakdown fat/protein in order to get the carbohydrates it needs for energy. You can't stay on Atkins long term without causing damage to your body. (Not to mention the lack of fiber which plays hell with your lower GI tract)

    When I was eating vegan I ate everything on the bottom 85-90% of the food triangle. The only things I didn't eat were the things nutritionists say we should only eat in very small quantities. I think I actually followed the percentages of the food triangle closer than under my current "normal" eating habits. Seriously, how many of us eat the recommended amount of grain, fiber, vegetables and fruit daily?

    I reached and maintained a healthy weight. I can't dispute that fact. While on the diet, I didn't crave the fatty foods, in fact, they seemed kind of greasy on the palate. One other thing was that without the fat in my diet, spices tasted more intense. I never thought of black pepper as "hot" until after I was eating vegan. The spicy/hot flavor really came out when it wasn't masked by the fat.

    Speaking of hot/spicy foods, which I love, I never got heartburn while on the diet. I could eat the spiciest stir fry and hit the sack without any trace of indigestion. The only thing that gave me heartburn - and still does - was coffee.

    Like I said, I'm not trying to convert or convince anyone. I'm not eating vegan now. I just can't get it out of my head that I should be!

  • mkcmkc Posts: 540

    Many folks thrive on a vegan diet, and certainly with MacDougall's ultra-low-fat design you can lose weight. Obviously you felt better eating more along those guidelines. MacDougall is awfully challenging to stick with (as you found) if you're not doing all doing it and if you feel deprived.

    Why not work in larger portions of plant-based dishes while decreasing animal based and cook a single meal for the entire family? Make fajitas with just a little less of the usual beef and add a grilled portabella and portion yours out biased to the mushroom? When you make grill steaks or chicken, also serve salad and make yours an entree salad with a little meat while others have meat with a little salad? The same dishes, yours are just using the meat as flavoring rather than focal point? You'd be surprised how far a small amount goes to tasting just as satisfying.

    From what I've read, that's how our most foodie president, Thomas Jefferson, ate :)
    Egging in Denton, Texas
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i can tell you that for kids, vegan is not healthiest.

    the brain and nervous system need fats. and there has been evidence that in elders, fat also is iomportant. don't go eating a side of bacon with a scoop of ice cream on it... but call me a skeptic.

    vegan is healthy. balanced is healthy. nuts and berries and all that stuff are healthy. but who really knows what's "healthiest"?

    one doctor says 'no wine', another says a glass a day has benefits. fish have beneficial oils, yet too much mercury. etc. etc.

    eat a little of this, and a little of that, and i bet you'll be fine.

    at least that's what i'm trying to do. see you all on the other side, and we'll compare notes
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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