Wednesday, June 01, 2011

After a weekend of Sangria, back on the I-diet

Scott and I are back on the I-diet.

Two years ago, I heard Susan Roberts, a Tufts nutrition professor,  talking about her “Instinct Diet” on NPR.  She claimed to take the very best of all scientific research and roll it into one diet.  Now that’s the way to get me—I’m such an academic snob that waving scientific research from a top academic institution makes me trust you.  Also, one of my students went through the Tufts Nutrition Program and not only lost weight, but maintained the loss.  

So I gave the I-diet a try.

Now some of you may wonder whether I should diet at all since we all know that diets don't work and I don't look that bad for a 46 year old woman.  Good question.  

Apart from sheer vanity, my main motivation is my 60% chance of Type II diabetes unless I keep my weight down.  As I age, keeping my weight down becomes increasingly difficult.  Hence, my current renewed effort.

The I-diet posits that we have 5 innate food instincts that must be satisfied or else we’ll cheat.  They are:

·      Hunger
·      Availability:  if it’s available, we’ll eat it (think tortilla chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants)
·      Calorie density:  the more densely caloric a food is, the more we’ll tend to like it (think sugar & fat)
·      Familiarity:  Basically comfort foods from whatever culture you’re from (could be mac and cheese or potstickers)
·      Variety:  The more kinds there are, the more you’ll eat (you’ll eat more chips if there are 5 kinds vs. 1 kind)

Scott, always wanting to encourage me in my battle with the midriff while also affirming and loving me just the way I am (a quite delicate balance as you husbands out there know), said he would diet with me. 

“You’ll even give up alcohol?” I challenged. 

“Even alcohol,” he agreed.  So we started on July 6th because we wanted fried clams on July 5th as part of our 4th of July celebration.

The weight melted off.  As we measured our portions and ate high fiber with everything, we both lost about 10 pounds in a month.  And we didn’t get hungry or grouchy. 

I was able to keep 8 of those lbs off for 4 whole months.  And then Thanksgiving came.

Since then, we periodically restart Stage 1, the rigorous 2 week rotation diet, only to cheat because we just have to have a little wine, or celebrate with friends, or eat birthday cake. 

The problem with our privileged American life is that there are just too many delicious things out there.

So we’re back to where we were 2 years ago.

Because of our family retreat this weekend, plus hosting folks throughout the weekend, plus making a triple recipe of really good sangria, we decided we would eat and drink to our hearts’ content and start the diet on Tuesday.

But when I spent an hour trying on shirts and dresses in Marshalls on Monday while the girls shopped for art supplies, the sad sight in the mirror fomented a resolution:

I can’t buy any new clothing, no matter how good
the bargain, until I’ve lost 5 lbs. and maintained that loss for a week.

“Hey!  I thought you said you were losing 8 lbs!” said my loving husband when I told him of my new resolution.

Yes, but I'll need rewards along the way. . .

Since I won’t be drinking this for weeks to come, you might as well enjoy it. . .

Really Great Sangria
(from Cook’s Illustrated)

1 bottle inexpensive red wine (I use TJ’s 2 Buck Chuck Shiraz or Merlot, but Cabernet Sauvignon works just as well)
2 large oranges, washed well
1 large lemon, washed well
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup triple sec            

1.     Combine wine, sugar, triple sec and juice of 1 orange in a pitcher
2.     Thinly slice remaining orange and lemon, add to pitcher, mush it around to get more juice out
3.     Chill for 2-24 hours. 
4.     Serve over ice cubes


gr8god said...

don't know a thing about the i-diet, but want to cheer you on in the pursuit of a reasonable, sustainable weight, way of eating, and activity pattern. good on you!

my wife and i keep a close eye on our food intake and record it all at, which has been a huge help to us.

Kathy Tuan-MacLean said...

Thanks Brad--and I love Livestrong!! I've been doing it for 3 years off and on. When I'm "on" I do much better. . .

Irene said...

Kathy, Susan Roberts is the PI who headed up that aging and weight nutrition thing I did for a year! I'm catching up on your blog and having some good laughs (Ryan keeps asking what I'm laughing about) and just saw this. This reminds me the lessons she taught that I'll have to relearn. Chocolate with nuts has been a very constant companion during this pregnancy. Comfort foods are REALLY hard to give up.