I indulged in contraband last Sunday– an annual Superbowl event consisting of nachos, brownies, burgers, chips, and other things I should not have eaten. But, I did and I did it knowing full well what the consequences would be. Now, ordinarily, I eat breakfast and it carries me to dinner. I should eat 3 or more smaller meals, but don’t. Instead, I have a big breakfast, alternating fruit, cottage cheese, and whey protein isolate one day, and 2 eggs, some sort of meat (ham, herring, sardines, chicken, crab, ground beef, turkey, turkey sausage, or salmon), and an ounce of cheese the next day. I don’t get hungry again until maybe 5PM, and we usually eat dinner about 7PM.
After the Superbowl contraband, I was hungry the following afternoon about 3PM. Two hours later– when my appetite would be slightly increased, normally– I was famished! What’s more– and I find this quite interesting– is that the leftover brownies, chips, and nachos looked exceptionally tempting to me, and I succumbed to eating some of all of it that next night, though much less than before. The next day, the same thing happened, but more so. I woke hungry. I ate my normal breakfast but was hungry again at 1PM. I had to eat something, so I ate a mostly-nuts energy bar which held me until dinner. No more sugars and refined carbs! I didn’t expect to cave in the 2nd time, but I did. Wednesday was more like Monday– I got hungry again at about 3PM but held off until dinner. Thursday seemed almost normal and Friday, my appetite was re-tamed.
My weight increased by almost 5 pounds by mid week, then began dropping again. This is due to retained water, from salt, and glycogen which is essentially stored carbs and water. Although I ate 2900 calories that Sunday, and again on Monday, I dropped back to 1500 on Tues and 1000 on Wed. Thursday was 1400 calories and Friday, 1050. My normal intake is between 1000 and 1500 calories/day now so my eating and appetite are back to normal. It is 5PM as I write this and I am hungry for dinner, but it is tamed enough that I can easily endure it for a couple of hours until we eat. What’s for dinner? Cheeseburgers! Huh? Cheeseburgers are not diet food. Well, true, but I start with whole wheat “Sandwich Thins” which is like a thin burger bun. It is 80 calories’ worth of contraband, but with whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour, the glycemic index is substantially lower. For the meat, I mix a pound of ground bison meat and a 1.25 pound package of ground turkey breast, with some dehydrated onions and crushed red chili peppers added. This 2.25 lbs is divided into seven 1/3-lb burgers. I add lettuce, tomato, and onion to the burger and, of course, either one slice of cheddar cheese or two slices of fat-free cheese. This is approximately 365 calorie burger with 48 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbs. Contrast this with a McDonald’s Angus Deluxe burger (Approximately the same size) which is 750 calories, 40 grams protein, and 61 grams carbs, much of it higher-glycemic-index carbs, too.
What about alcohol, I am frequently asked. Alcohol is funny– it is like a carbohydrate but not really. It tricks the brain into thinking it is laden with carbs, and the body responds by producing insulin. Because it is not a true carb, the increased insulin drops the blood sugar further, stimulating appetite. When not watching my weight, I would enjoy a glass or two of wine several times/week. But, each is 150 calories and I sure don’t need additional appetite stimulation. So, I discovered Bud 55, Budweiser’s ultra-light beer that contains only 55 calories/12 oz. Now, I am not a big beer fan, but given the choice of a 55 calorie beer vs a 300 calories glass of wine (who drinks 50z glasses anyway?), I will choose this light beer.
So, you CAN “have your cake and eat it too” if you are willing to make small changes. If there is a food you just gotta have, maybe you can reduce its impact on you. There is a local pizza restaurant that makes a thin-crust, whole wheat pizza. Unless you overload that with excessive cheese and greasy, cheap meats, there is nothing wrong with that, even if you’re reducing. Sure, you don’t want to eat the entire pizza in one sitting, but if eat a modest amount– say no more than 1/3 or 1/4 (2-3 slices), it is not excessive. And, if you make it yourself, you can tailor the ingredients to suit yourself– just watch out for the thickness of the crust, mainly, and the amount of cheese you put on it.
Enjoy your pizza and beer– selected/made prudently, they CAN be weight-loss foods.