By Michael W. Dean.
SO……I’ve lost 20 pounds in 6 weeks, and am eating lots of yummy food and not exercising any more than I was before the diet.
The following worked for my wife and I. It may not be for everyone, but we like it and it’s working. And we’re feeling more healthy and have more energy.
I’m a plump little one. I’m 5’5″ and I did weigh 189 lbs. when I started the diet on 8/21, and I now on 10/5 I weigh 169 lbs. I’m still not someone anyone wants to see with their shirt off, so I’m not providing shirtless before and after photos, but there’s some of my face above. The After photo is today, the Before photo is actually me at about 185 lbs. I haven’t felt like having my photo taken in a while, so I don’t have any of me at my top weight ever of 189.
I went from Body Mass Index classification of “obese” to below the top end of “overweight”, and I’m still dropping. Wanna know how I did all this?
I used to be skinny. Here’s me 25 years ago, at age 23 when I was on the heroin diet (which I don’t recommend) and my exercise consisted of doing hundreds of pushups on a different woman every night:
Here’s me at 27, a few more years into the heroin & girl diet:
When I hit age 30 I got clean, “put down the spoon and picked up a fork” and parked myself in front of a computer and lived there, changing the world from my bedroom instead of from the stages of gin mills in many states and countries. I’m now 48, and married to a woman who cooks well. I have gained some weight.
NOTE: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. THIS IS JUST WHAT WORKED FOR ME. CONSULT A DOCTOR OR NURSE PRACTITIONER BEFORE EMBARKING ON ANY DIETETIC CHANGES.
My wife has lost weight too, about as much as I have. We did this together, which is the way to do it. If one member of a couple tries this, it’s not going to go as well as if both do it.
As I said, my wife is a great cook, which makes this a lot easier, and more satisfying. She was always a good cook, but has been cooking almost every night and buying cookbooks and bought some great cookware which helps. Great cookware is often a big part of loving being in the kitchen and not dreading it. We took our old pots and pans out to the sticks and used them for target practice. We saved one pan for me to cook in when DJ’s not home. I’m not allowed to touch her other pans, and I’m cool with that. She’s rarely adamant about things, but I’m fine with her having complete control over her pans, because it makes her happy, and I’m not allowed to even clean them, which is no problem by me.
She loves her new pots and pans.
We started out wanting to do a Paleo diet, but realized quickly that would be too restrictive. So we modified a Paleo diet to the point that you can’t really call it a Paleo diet anymore. So I call it “The Feens Diet”, named after the podcast I do with Neema Vedadi, The Freedom Feens. Because I’ve been documenting my weight loss on the podcast.
WHAT WE DON’T EAT:
Our diet is less about what we eat and more about what we STOPPED eating. Our diet does allow for two “free meals” a month (what most people call “cheating”, but we just call a free meal, where we eat whatever we want, including pizza with everything and chocolate milk. Or lobster dripping in butter, with bread, baked potato and sour cream at Red Lobster, with cheesecake for desert). A “free meal” makes it easier to not feel sorry for yourself like you do if you never eat whatever you want. Feeling sorry for yourself tends to make you binge eat. But we keep the free meals to two meals a month. (Not two whole days of free eating a month!)
For more on free meals, get Lyle McDonald’s book, A Guide to Flexible Dieting. This book covers a lot of good stuff including Free Meals, and also re-feeds, which are strategic occasional carb-heavy meals to re-set your metabolism if you hit a plateau.
Other than the “free meals” every two weeks, we’ve stopped eating junk. No candy. No ice cream. No fistfuls of peanuts and cashews. No take-out. No drive-through. No peanut butter. No corn. (Corn is basically bird food and biofuel. It cannot be digested by humans.) We eat very little food with sugar added, and then only in condiments. (An ounce of ketchup has much less sugar than a pound of something with sugar being your full meal.) No cereal. No more drinking a gallon of milk a day, I just take a tablespoon of milk in coffee now. We eat no bread and for that matter, no grains, except an occasional bit of brown rice.
HERE’S WHAT WE DO EAT: Lots of cooked lean meat. Reasonable, but not tiny, portions….
….meat with steamed veggies…..
(We don’t eat fish, but it would work with this diet. We do eat lots of beef, chicken and lean pork)…
…Lots of salads with fruit….(A favorite dressing is Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Lite):
Lots of veggies….Not a lot of potatoes, but a few small red ones with a meal once in a while. Carrots and small amounts of ranch dressing dip for snacks. Bananas. (We got banana stands from Albertsons so the bananas don’t get bruised.)….
…Breakfast is a yummy omelet two days a week, with no cheese, but with mushrooms, green onions and bell peppers. We like and eat a lot of bell peppers…
…The rest of the time it’s either a banana, or plain non-fat yoghurt with microwave frozen fruit (fresh fruit tends to go bad quickly) and a dash of spices mixed in: ground orange peel, cinnamon and cardamom……
We eat nuts as snacks sometimes, but very small quantities of them. We also take vitamins, over the counter one-a-days (and with iron for her), plus she takes D, and we both take calcium and fish oil.
We use Sriracha brand Sriracha sauce on a lot of things (and yes, that’s not a typo. Sriracha is both the brand and the type of sauce). It’s really zesty and tasty, and not too hot, so you can use a lot of it. Good on eggs, meat and any noodles or rice, if you eat rice, or eat noodles once in a great while. I don’t use Sriracha too much too often though, it’s got a lot of sodium.
DRINKS: We do drink diet soda, but less than we used to. It’s not really good for you. I drink a couple big mugs of coffee a day. We always have iced tea and filtered water on hand. We drink V8 juice (I stir in a bit of fresh-ground black pepper), and South Beach “Life Water Zero” and Glacéau “Vitamin Water Zero.” We buy those by the case. We also drink a lot of what I call “Daddy Juice”, which most people know as an Arnold Palmer. It’s cold-brew iced tea and Crystal Lite pure lemon-aid. We use three large Lipton cold-brew tea bags and two packets lemon-aid in a gallon of water.
Going from our old way of eating to the new way wasn’t as hard as you’d think. We still eat lots of yummy food three meals a day, and have some snacks here and there. When we were checking out at WalMart the first time we did our new type of shopping, the checkout lady actually commented: “Except for the cigarettes, I think this is the healthiest cart of groceries I’ve rung up in my years of working here.”
We used to only shop at WalMart, but now we shop there and at Albertsons. Albertsons has a little more variety in the fruits and fresh veggies area.
SPICES: Creative use of spices is essential. Learn about, and experiment with, many different spices. This will broaden your taste horizons without broadening your waist.
EXERCISE: I’m doing exactly as much as I was before the diet. Which is to say, not much. Once I lose a little more weight I’m going to start riding my bike again. And of course, winter’s coming, so there’s shoveling snow and such. I also plan to start lifting weights again.
ALCOHOL: We don’t drink, but didn’t even before the diet. I haven’t a drink since 1994, and my wife hasn’t had a drink since shortly after she met me, seven years ago. I had a problem, she didn’t, but she loves me enough that she stopped her very occasional social drinking in solidarity with me not being a drinker. I’m not sure how one would adjust drinking to fit the Feens diet. Maybe if Neema gets on the diet (which would make it truly “The Feens Diet”), he can do an update at some point.
WEIGHING: I weigh myself every morning, in underwear only, after a little coffee and a poop, and before breakfast. I don’t worry if I go up a little from day to day, as I go down overall on a week-to-week basis.
FOOD THAT DOESN’T FIT THIS DIET: We didn’t throw out any food. We bought good food, and ate it along with the food we already had in the house. We cached non-perishables. No way I’m going to throw food away. I just spent about a week eating non-diet food along with diet food until all the non-diet food was gone.
DOWNSIDES OF THE FEENS DIET:
–More cooking. This isn’t a fast food diet. It involves preparing every meal.
–Some initial investment in good cookware and knives if you don’t already have that.
–Extra dishes. You end up doing a lot more dishes, more often, with the Feens diet.
–Extra trash. You have to take out the trash out of the kitchen every day, no more skipping a day once in a while, because you’ve got more food smell in your trash can, especially if you use a lot of onions, as we do. Throw a little baking soda in your trash in the kitchen and then in the garage trash can can help in hot weather.
–Grease: from cooking meat. Make sure to drain it off, NOT into your sink, it will clog. We save coffee cans and yoghurt containers to put it in, then throw it in the trash.
–Cost. Our groceries bill is a little higher, but net/net it evens out, because we aren’t ordering take-out two or three times a week, and only go to a restaurant on our “free meal” days (days we eat whatever we want, twice a month) or maybe when family is in town and we’re taking them to dinner.
–Having to shop at two stores instead of just one.
–Planning. It takes more planning, reading labels and things like that. But it’s worth it.
UPSIDE OF FEENS DIET:
–Lose weight at a healthy rate, while eating a variety of tasty, filling food all the time. Worth the extra work.
–Feel healthier, have more energy. Worth the extra work.
–I can wear my gun on a belt holster again. I haven’t been able to do that comfortably in about two years. During that time I’ve been wearing a shoulder holster like some fat “chairborne ranger” 1950s detective.
BOTTOM LINE: All of this is what has worked for us. But ultimately, to lose weight, you restrict calories, and/or increase activity. While we have not really upped our activity (yet), DJ tries to plan for an average of 1500 calories per day for me, and between 1200 and 1300 for her. This is about as low as experts recommend for healthy adults.
COOKWARE DJ LIKES AND USES:
|Anolon Professional Hard Anodized Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
COOKBOOKS WE LIKE AND USE:
|Cooking Light Eat Smart Guide: 350-Calorie: Recipes – Hints – Tips: 90 Fresh, Quick & Easy Dishes
Editors of Cooking Light Magazine
|Cooking Light The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook: Over 350 Delicious, Easy, and Healthy Meals
CUTTING BOARD DJ LIKES AND USES:
|OXO Good Grips 12-by-16-Inch Large Bamboo Cutting Board, Brown
COOKING KNIVES DJ LIKES AND USES:
|Victorinox 8-Piece Knife Block Set
STEAK KNIVES WE LIKE AND USE:
|Victorinox 48792 Cutlery 6-Piece Steak Knife Set
KNIFE SHARPENER WE LIKE AND USE:
|Presto 08800 EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener