Sunday, April 22, 2012

Getting Started: Step 1, Detox.

The following is an excerpt from my forthcoming book. Enjoy - Bryan.

When I think about the difference between how I eat today and how I ate before I went to the hospital 2 years ago, it is quite a change.

But it has taken a long time to get here. 

If you're looking to get started on a lifestyle change, I think it's rare that anyone could just flip the switch overnight, walking away from a diet of highly processed sugar, salt and fat and into a more healthy one. Your entire palate, all your life, has gotten very used to intense flavors.  Your taste buds are expecting that salt, sugar or fat rush with every bite. 

If food can be an addiction....and I believe it can be, with myself as an addict...then there has to be a way to go from terrible to healthy.  So, like an addict trying to stop abusing a drug, it's time to go through detox.  How do you do it?  Very carefully. 

This is the part where wanting all of the success right now has to fall by the wayside.  Remember: you're in this for the rest of your life.  You want long-term results, not a quick fix that is going to last a few months. 

Forget about losing weight.  Time to start re-programming your body to live on and want healthy food.  Time to start the detox. 

At this stage of the game, the foods that you eat are probably not going to be what you eventually wind up eating.  What you drink will not be what you wind up drinking.  But you are trying to come down off a very bad trip.  Think of this as nutritional methadone. 

Also forget about how much you're eating.  Again, the focus is on creating new behavior patterns that will last.  You may even overeat at this point.  It doesn't matter. It's all about being satisfied with the good stuff. 

Drinking Water
Somehow, some way, you have to start drinking water.  In the beginning, I mixed all my water with sugar-free drink mixes.  Also, you can buy fruit-flavored waters.  If you must, switch to caffeine-free, sugar-free colas.  Whatever it takes to get you from drinking soda all the time to drinking water all the time, you need to get there. 

Eating Often
If you eat anything like I used to, it could be a cycle of starving and bingeing.  That is, you don't eat breakfast then you wait all the way until you are ravenously hungry, then overeat.  This is a big problem.  You have got to space out your meals and your eating.  What worked for me is eating roughly 6 times a day, about 2 hours between meals:  Breakfast, Mid-Morning Snack, Lunch, Mid-Afternoon Snack, Dinner, Evening Snack.  That's it.  3 Meals and 3 Snacks.  Every day, day in and day out. 

Eat In Bulk
The problem with processed foods high in fat, sugar and salt is they are not very filling.  You wind up taking in a large number of calories and don't feel full.  The goal now is to fill yourself up on food that will make you feel very full, but not have anywhere near the calories of the garbage.  This means foods high in fiber, such as oatmeal, high-fiber wheat bread, fruits, vegetables, whole wheat pasta, etc. need to be worked into your diet as much as possible. 

One of the big substitutions I made was non-fat yogurt and frozen fruit taking the place of ice cream.  I can eat frozen fruit until I am ready to burst, and yet it's only a few hundred calories.  I eat Egg Beaters instead of eggs.  Make your own pizzas.  Your own healthy burgers.  Find creative ways to make better versions of what you used to eat. 

And one last thing.  Detoxing from an unhealthy lifestyle is going to have its own side effects.  You are bound to be cranky, aggravated, mad at the world and very, very unhappy.  This is normal.  I went through junk food and caffeine withdrawal in the hospital for a week and it was pure misery.

It could take you a couple weeks to detox, maybe even a month.  But it's worth it.  You just can't give up. 

1 comment:

  1. I like it and it's the same thing I did for the most part. One thing you might want to try is switching ground beef for turkey when making burgers or doing a half and half mix because than you wont be able to tell the difference as much.