Let’s get this year rolling on the right track. It’s 2020, and you’ve been partying like it’s 1999. And to make matters worse, that short period between Thanksgiving and December 25 was even shorter this year. I tried to diet between the two holidays, but it turns out the best I could do in such a small time frame was skip three breakfasts. So here I sit, sluggish and ashamed, with stiff, salty fingers, a flimsy aching back and a shiny, greasy complexion reminiscent of the spotlight reflecting off of a high school dinner theatre actor who let his jealous ex-girlfriend do his makeup. It doesn’t feel pretty.
Thank the Lord New Year’s resolutions come one week after we celebrate the birth of the savior or else we’d be porking it up into February. I know what you’re about to say, so let me stop you. We have Mardi Gras. In less celebratory environs you may read a fortune cookie that scolds, finger-wagging and all, that “summer bodies are made in the winter.” That’s for losers who don’t celebrate the Carnival season.
What Mobilians need is a quick fix of a diet that can stop and restart as quickly as a parade comes and goes. Pick your parties wisely and cheat during the important ones, but get back on schedule immediately. Diet is certainly the most important contributor to losing and maintaining weight, but don’t forget that exercise helps.
I have high hopes for low numbers this year. You do, too. Let’s choose the diet that works for us, but at the same time find one we can stick to. All diets work to some degree or you’d never hear of them. Not very many will condone the use of alcohol, so if you want to lose, avoid the booze. That may be difficult for some of you, I know. If you can’t ignore the sauce, maybe limit yourself to the weekend or only on parade nights. Even then, a vodka soda may be a touch better for you than a Jack and Coke.
Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ve heard of the ketogenic diet. This low-carb, high-fat plan starts off sounding amazing. “As much bacon as I want? Extra meat and cheese? I may have found a home!” Don’t get too excited. I don’t eat much bread, so I didn’t think I ate a lot of carbs until I got on this one. No more sandwiches, potatoes, sweet fruits, pasta, rice or starchy vegetables.
My issue was French fries and chips. When the only crunchy thing you can have is a pork rind, it quickly gets old. I admit to also feeling greasy from all the cheese and meat, but this isn’t the hardest diet to stick to because you aren’t starving to death. Pro tip: Try to starve yourself every now and again.
This diet works best for those who love bread. I’ve seen some lose 60 pounds or more. Standard keto allows for 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbs. A little bit of wine won’t kill you. Pounding beers will ruin the program.
Here is the skinny. Insulin brings sugar into our fat cells. If we allow our insulin levels to go down low enough and long enough, we will lose weight. We can do that through intermittent fasting (IF). Most on this diet stick to a plan of eating for only eight hours per day and fasting for 16. If your first meal is at noon, your last morsel should be consumed prior to 8 p.m. That’s not that hard, right? Right.
Bidding breakfast a tearful farewell is not easy. Watching your thinner family members sling grits across the kitchen is some Judaean Desert-level temptation once you add cheese, onions and sausage to the mix. If you can save the grits for lunch, you’ll be OK.
The problem with this diet is you get the false sense you can magically drink or eat anything in your eight-hour window. Not true. Stick to healthy meals, avoid snacks and don’t overindulge in alcohol to get results. You will lose inches.
Don’t Whole 30
First off, there is controversy concerning the dangers of Whole 30. I’m not endorsing or disputing claims of any sort. Whole 30 won’t work for us because it’s a program that is so restrictive it allows for zero deviation. If you blow it on one snack or meal, the entire program must restart. What’s the use of fitting into that ball gown if you cannot participate in anything at the ball? Balls aside, it restricts too many healthy things such as grains, dairy, legumes, peas and soy products. Zero alcohol is allowed.
Just plain eating healthy
This may come as a surprise, but my good friend Chad lost a tremendous amount of weight in a couple of months by running every day. He eats mostly salads and fruits (banned from some of these diets) and cheats once per week with some delicious fried chicken. Simple logic has to take over at some point.
I’m not giving up gumbo or red beans and rice for good. Nor should you. I’m blessed (or cursed) with taste buds that enjoy most everything. Tell me I can’t have something and it’s all I think about. My New Year’s resolution is to go very low carb, exercise more than I have been, hit the wine on certain days and not eat past 8 p.m. I need to think of calories as a savings account knowing I will spend a little more on Super Bowl Sunday, Joe Cain Day, Fat Tuesday and restaurant reviews.
There is no time like the present. I could be well on my way to being in shape by Mardi Gras. This lifestyle change starts … as soon as I finish off this Rotel dip. Welcome to the ’20s.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).