Friday, 12 March 2010

The Mary Whitehouse philosophy AKA Keeping it clean

I said the weight loss was under way again and that I'd update soon didn't I?

Well, with my customary efficiency here's the days later.

Without running to give me structure and discipline I'd been struggling not to gain weight again. Since October my weight had gone up through missing the expenditure of calories running gave and through the wallowing in chocolate fuelled self pity.

That maybe gives an insight into my character: one of all or nothing. Once running was off the agenda I went to pieces, and without some new philosophy to throw myself into I struggled to stick to doing the same old thing in terms of calorie control. Remember that, I'll return to it lower down.

I'd heard loosely about clean eating and was aware there were some adherents on that had had some really impressive results - see JAG's blog from the followers list (I know, if I wasn't a Luddite and/or lazy I'd have linked to it) - but the wholesome white picket fences, bleached teeth and apple pie on Sundays American-ness of the presentation of cleaning eating websites put me off looking further.

Towards the end of February I decided to look a little more and on the back of that ordered a clean eating recipe book and 'Clean Eating for Men'. They weren't difficult books to read and the principles could probably have been covered in a few pages rather than being wrapped up within the schmaltzy overblown presentation present in the second book, though I recognise the author has a living to make and books will make far more than pamphlets.

However, the core principles were something that appealed and I decide to give it a go - if nothing else as a kick start for a few weeks.

I immediately loved it. The recipes proved to be really, really good and got me using some new ingredients as well as creating some interesting new dishes. The eating 6 smaller meals a day proved easier to accomplish than I'd expected and meant I never felt hungry; in fact I seemed to be permanently in a state of having either just finished a meal or was just about to start one.

As well as the regularity of eating changing there was also the requirement to increase the amount of protein eaten as well as an avoidance of processed foods wherever possible. This meant eating more fruit (dried and fresh) than I normally would, nuts and seeds, wholemeal granary bread and brown rice rather than their refined alternatives, lots of unadorned cereals, lots of lean meat, lots of peanut butter instead of spreads etc.

In fact one really surprising feature was that many of the clean, wholesome foods I've been eating lately are exactly the sorts of things I'd have previously avoided because their calorie count seemed too high: dried fruit, peanut butter, lean meat. Instead I'd have had low fat crisps, weight watchers 'cookies', diet pop and squash, awful tasting 'diet' spreads, lower calorie sweets etc, none of which offered much nutritional value or proved very satisfying.

Having been struggling to sleep for a few weeks I also dropped tea and coffee at the same time, so I'm caffeine free now.

So, for the last two and a half weeks I've eaten 95% clean, with the other 5% being a Horlicks light or Ovaltine light as a late evening snack most days.

The results have been impressive. Firstly its enthused me, second its got me feeling better, thirdly I'm sleeping better, fourth my overall health seems better, and finally I've lost weight well:

After a week I'd lost exactly 8lb and the body composition measurements told me virtually all of it was fat. Second week the loss dropped to 2.4lb, again virtually all fat, and after 3 days of this week its down another 0.4lb but I suspect I'll see a sudden drop over the next 2 days. Clothes are markedly looser and I look far slimmer.

Remember I said I was all or nothing, in terms of character? Well, far from a kick start I can see myself sticking to a clean eating philosophy permanently. There will doubtless be days where I won't or maybe can't stick to it entirely but I'll work round those but sweets, chocolate, biscuits and the like feel like things I can happily move to the 'no thanks, I don't' list just as I did with alcohol.


Rachel said...

Impressive results so far!

I agree that there are a lot of websites/followers that seem very Americanised and a bit preachy about clean eating. When I think really, that its down to each person to define what it means to them. I can't claim to follow a totally clean diet, but I do cook/make 80% of my lunches and dinners from scratch, eat double digits of fruit and veg every day and drink as much water as possible.

Hope the weight loss continues as well as it has been :)

Running Rob said...

Cheers Rachel - and you too!

I think you're probably right about the need to personalise your approach - there's no one size fits all.