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Wednesday, 08 February 2012 13:43

Confessions of a Weight Gainer -- and Loser

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scaleWeight has never particularly been a problem for me. Yes, I've weighed more than I "should" at various times in my life, but when I focused on losing it, the weight came off. In the last few years, however, not only has it been impossible for me to shed weight, I've also watched the scale increasingly climb to my highest number ever, sans pregnancy, and it was closing in on that record, too.

Yes, I hit a landmark age this last year (you can guess all you want), but I also exercise five days a week. So what was happening? Why did I finally buy some pants a size up, something I swore I'd never do but lose weight instead? What was up with this weight?

As I looked back to when I stated gaining weight, it was simultaneous with writing and editing our new herb course. I put much pressure on myself (and Michael and Anne!) to complete it within our impossible deadline, but at the same time I was also writing another book. In order to do both, I found myself on the computer in the early mornings rather than making breakfast, and working long afternoons, sometimes skipping lunch. I would always eventually have at least breakfast and dinner, but the hours became erratic and undependable.

To complicate matters, I had spent a good 30 years cooking and was tired of it. I wanted what many others had, when I finished my writing to pop into the kitchen and find a wholesome, balanced meal all ready and waiting for me. I won't say that never happened, but rarely enough to truly sustain my family or me.

Instead, I found myself "you got it" snacking. I snacked on fairly decent stuff compared to what most do such as organic, whole grain crackers, dried puffed veggies, nuts, sesame sticks and the like, but nothing truly nutritious or balanced. I also found myself eating out a lot, something I love to do, but with foods too luscious to turn down, such as dairy and breads. After two years of this you can predict what happened, and it did. Twenty more pounds later I no longer fit my clothes and knew why. It was obvious.

And so in an effort to start the new year off right and to cleanse, something else I needed, I began to cook again. There's no substitute for home cooking, there really isn't. Yes, I know the restaurants in town where I can enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal, but it's still not the same, particularly when it comes to losing weight.

No only did I start cooking regularly again, but I chose alkalinizing meals, lots of veggies, some protein and a small amount of quinoa or rice. The result? Weight loss, "easy" and simple. It actually wasn't even my goal to lose weight, but when I found my new pants too big, I knew something extra wonderful was happening.

So I thought I'd share this food plan with you. I know weight loss can be very difficult for some who have definitive metabolic issues, but for many, a change of diet is the simplest and most direct way to shed pounds.

How to Lose Weight

Eat lots of cooked vegetables, some fruit (cooked in cold weather, raw in warm), some whole grains, some legumes, and animal protein.

How to Gain Weight

Eat lots of flour products (crackers, cereals, muffins, toast, bread, crackers, chips, pies, cakes, cookies, bagels, pasta, tortillas, you get the idea), dairy (cheese, milk, ice cream, cream, sour cream, sauces and dressings and so on), sugar, fried and fatty foods, nuts and nut butters, tahini, alcohol, desserts and cold/iced foods and drinks.

Acid/Alkaline Diets

If you want to shift to a more alkaline diet, there are many charts online which delineate the acid/alkaline balance of foods. In general, most vegetables are alkaline except the nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and green bell peppers). Very few fruits are alkaline (sour cherries, unripe bananas, lemons and limes make the list), while some grains and legumes are alkaline, too (millet, quinoa, buckwheat, lentils, white beans and soybeans).

Now don't hold me to these being fully accurate because every chart I've seen is different! So check them out yourself online and make your own choices.

As we sail into Spring, energetically if not weather-wise (it begins any day now, according to traditional Chinese medicine!), a simpler diet may be your ticket to not only better health, but weight loss, too, should you desire that. Best of luck to you!

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