Eat to Live

Posted on July 14, 2015
Filed Under life | 33 Comments

Weight graph

I started a serious push to get my weight under control in spring of 2014. I focused then on mostly avoiding processed sweets and eating mostly high protein, low carb foods for two meals of the day. I would have eggs for breakfast and sausage for lunch then a fairly normal dinner with the family. This worked for a while, and I got from around 225 pounds to 195 pounds in about six months.

After that, I had a very hard time maintaining that, even though I was exercising the whole time. The first three months of weight loss were without any additional exercise, but the last 15 included multiple trips to the gym on most weeks. I spent that year in a band of 203 poounds, plus or minus 7. I wasn’t gaining too much, but I wasn’t losing any.

In early spring as a listener of Penn’s Sunday School and a backer of Director’s Cut I started noticing and hearing about Penn Jillette’s weight loss. Although he is working with a guy named Ray Cronise as his weight loss guru, he mentioned on the show that the core of his eating regimen is from a book by Joel Fuhrman called Eat to Live. I figured, “what the hell do I have to lose but weight?” I bought the book, read to the key parts. Like all similar books, there is only one or two chapters that really matter and the rest is filler to make it salable at book length. Once I read the best start, I hopped on the plan with very little planning or foresight.

From the beginning, I lost weight. The sleight of hand of any regimen that restricts salty food is that coming from a standard American diet, you will lose water weight almost immediately. I have lost 18 pounds in 19 days, but 7 of that happened the first two days. It is a neat trick, because from the very beginning it helps with the motivation to watch weight disappearing quickly.

Here is the real high level summary of what I am doing. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in this. I predict a high level of success for anyone following this plan.

For the first six weeks:

Unlimited: cooked and raw leafy greens; fresh fruits; cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc), beans

Desirable but limited to a serving a day: Avocado; raw and unsalted seeds and nuts; flax seed

Allowable but limited to a serving a day: Grains and grain products

Prohibited: Sugary foods; prepared foods; meat; dairy; salty foods; canned fruits; white breads; oils

After six weeks and for the rest of your life:

Follow the recommendations above but you have 200 calories a day you can splurge on any prohibited items. Whether that is meat, cheese or a cupcake you can have them and every day as long as 90% of your food intake follows the recommendations. Unlike having a cheat day, you can cheat every day but you have very clear boundaries.

At this point, I’m 2.5 weeks in. I will probably not go the entirety of the recommended 6 week initial period because my birthday is in there. For the day itself, I will allow myself one full day of eating whatever I want that day. After that, is is back on the plan but with the 200 calorie allowance.

As of last weekend, I fell under the lowest weights I had achieved in the previous 18 months of watching what I ate and exercising. It took right at two weeks for this to occur. I really haven’t considered what I am shooting for on the low end of this. I had 185 as my long term goal initially, and now I am 8 pounds from that with a long time left on this initial chunk. I hesitate to dream too big and bum myself out, but 180 seems quite possible. Is 175 too much (little) to ask?

One of the fun things I am doing is walking backwards in time. I have weight stamps associated with periods in my life. I spent much of the last decade around 240. After I quit drinking sodas, I almost immediately went to 225 and stayed there. In Chicago in the mid 2000s I was 240 and dropped to 225 when I started biking to the train station every day. In Atlanta, I was struggling to get under 220. In Portland, I was trying to lose from 209. In grad school in Louisiana, I was 190 at the low point. Prior to that, during my fitness kick in college I was more like a muscular and fit 165. As I lose weight, I get myself back to these timestamps. If I drop under 190, that will be a 20 year low. If I get into the 160s it will be a 25 year low.

These are still the early days of this plan, and I have given back this lost weight before. I will report back in periodically with my progress or lack thereof. For now, I am optimistic and not at all hungry. Have you ever tried to eat a pound of kale and romaine lettuce a day? It’s a lot of food, so not getting enough is never a problem. I hope to see lower blood pressure, which was getting problematic and maybe a host of other side benefits.

Wish me luck and less of myself.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments

There is a posted comment policy for this blog. Please respect the rules.

33 Responses to “Eat to Live”

    Comment Permalink
  1. Mikel Od Pfeiffer on July 14th, 2015 3:08 pm

    Mikel Od Pfeiffer liked this Article on facebook.com.

  2. Comment Permalink
  3. Mikel Od Pfeiffer Mikel Od Pfeiffer on July 14th, 2015 3:10 pm

    I will give it a try.

  4. Comment Permalink
  5. Mikel Od Pfeiffer on July 14th, 2015 3:10 pm

    I will give it a try.

    via facebook.com

  6. Comment Permalink
  7. PJ Cabrera PJ Cabrera on July 14th, 2015 3:32 pm

    I’m very interested in your progress, as I gained 20 pounds in the last 7 months. Doctors changed my diabetes meds to insulin 7 months ago, and when you don’t change anything else in a biological system but just add insulin, fat gain happens. But in the last month, I’ve added more exercise and cut carbs a little, but this hasn’t made much difference.

  8. Comment Permalink
  9. Dave Slusher Dave Slusher on July 15th, 2015 8:24 am

    PJ Cabrera This might help in you situation with a couple of ways. Going to only complex and high fiber carbs may help with the diabetes and it will certainly help with the weight. The case studies in the book have plenty of people with Type 2 diabetes that get off the meds as they begin eating in this manner, dropping the weight and the carbs that need metabolized.

  10. Comment Permalink
  11. PJ Cabrera on July 14th, 2015 3:32 pm

    I’m very interested in your progress, as I gained 20 pounds in the last 7 months. Doctors changed my diabetes meds to insulin 7 months ago, and when you don’t change anything else in a biological system but just add insulin, fat gain happens. But in the last month, I’ve added more exercise and cut carbs a little, but this hasn’t made much difference.

    via facebook.com

  12. Comment Permalink
  13. James Slusher on July 14th, 2015 3:37 pm

    James Slusher liked this Article on facebook.com.

  14. Comment Permalink
  15. Richard Musterer on July 14th, 2015 3:38 pm

    Richard Musterer liked this Article on facebook.com.

  16. Comment Permalink
  17. Ellen McGrail Ellen McGrail on July 14th, 2015 4:08 pm

    Thanks, Dave for your inspiring story. Good luck and I will try it too.

  18. Comment Permalink
  19. Gabrielle Wirth Gabrielle Wirth on July 14th, 2015 5:24 pm

    What about almond milk? Say I wanted to make smoothies and replace the yogurt with 1/4 avocado? I also just order a meal replacement called “Raw Meal”. Appreciate the advice and congrats on your transition to a healthier lifestyle!! I’m trying to get there myself!

  20. Comment Permalink
  21. Dave Slusher Dave Slusher on July 14th, 2015 8:29 pm

    Almond milk (as long as it is unsweetened) is allowed and the book has smoothie recipes that include it. When you were over I was eating the ranch dressing made out of silken tofu, which is allowed. That has been a key to helping me stay on the plan, is having that tasty dressing available.

  22. Comment Permalink
  23. Gabrielle Wirth on July 14th, 2015 5:24 pm

    What about almond milk? Say I wanted to make smoothies and replace the yogurt with 1/4 avocado? I also just order a meal replacement called “Raw Meal”. Appreciate the advice and congrats on your transition to a healthier lifestyle!! I’m trying to get there myself!

    via facebook.com

  24. Comment Permalink
  25. Gabrielle Wirth on July 14th, 2015 5:51 pm

    Gabrielle Wirth liked this Article on facebook.com.

  26. Comment Permalink
  27. Dan Conover on July 14th, 2015 5:51 pm

    Dan Conover liked this Article on facebook.com.

  28. Comment Permalink
  29. Sue Lecin Polinsky on July 14th, 2015 5:51 pm

    Sue Lecin Polinsky liked this Article on facebook.com.

  30. Comment Permalink
  31. Eve Cornell on July 14th, 2015 6:31 pm

    Eve Cornell liked this Article on facebook.com.

  32. Comment Permalink
  33. Chris Mowder on July 14th, 2015 8:09 pm

    Chris Mowder liked this Article on facebook.com.

  34. Comment Permalink
  35. Dave Slusher Dave Slusher on July 14th, 2015 8:30 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I was getting plaudits a year ago for the first 25 pounds but as you can see from the graph, it wasn’t a victory that stuck. Hoping this gets me much lower for much longer. It seems plausible.

  36. Comment Permalink
  37. Dave Slusher on July 14th, 2015 8:30 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I was getting plaudits a year ago for the first 25 pounds but as you can see from the graph, it wasn’t a victory that stuck. Hoping this gets me much lower for much longer. It seems plausible.

    via facebook.com

  38. Comment Permalink
  39. Bill Riski on July 14th, 2015 8:41 pm

    Bill Riski liked this Article on facebook.com.

  40. Comment Permalink
  41. Dave Slusher Dave Slusher on July 14th, 2015 8:48 pm

    Mark Rizzn Hopkins Weight Tracker ++ on android. It is manual entry and super simple, just what I want and no more. You can enter a single weight each day, it will track give stats and graph it for you.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jucdejeb.weighttracker&hl=en

  42. Comment Permalink
  43. Stan Stephens on July 14th, 2015 9:10 pm

    Stan Stephens liked this Article on facebook.com.

  44. Comment Permalink
  45. J Edward Wynia J Edward Wynia on July 14th, 2015 9:23 pm

    I bought a Fitbit scale a while back, which logs the data to the web daily (privately). I tried the phone logging and failed, but the automatic logging removed all but the most minimal friction. Got me weighing daily again.

  46. Comment Permalink
  47. Dave Hamilton on July 15th, 2015 12:23 am

    Dave Hamilton liked this Article on facebook.com.

  48. Comment Permalink
  49. Ian May on July 15th, 2015 1:57 am

    Interesting

    via facebook.com

  50. Comment Permalink
  51. Hugh Hubble on July 15th, 2015 5:12 am

    Hugh Hubble liked this Article on facebook.com.

  52. Comment Permalink
  53. Sharon Leslie on July 15th, 2015 6:54 am

    Good for you, Dave! And thanks for the update on Penn. Saw him on the most recent season of Fool Us and got worried. (Chris)

    via facebook.com

  54. Comment Permalink
  55. Dave Slusher Dave Slusher on July 15th, 2015 9:38 am

    Penn went from 340 to 240. That means his current weight at 6′ 7″ is around where I was hanging out at 5′ 8″ . Yikes! I have no excuse for not getting at least into the 170s.

  56. Comment Permalink
  57. Janet Edens Conover on July 15th, 2015 8:39 am

    Whoo! Go Dave! Dan & I do low carb. The real trick is in the guy’s title “Eat for Life.” You just gotta rethink food, and find a plan you can maintain. I’m so happy about your success! You need to be around and healthy for a long time.

    via facebook.com

  58. Comment Permalink
  59. Ken Kennedy on July 15th, 2015 8:45 am

    Ken Kennedy liked this Article on facebook.com.

  60. Comment Permalink
  61. Kreg Steppe on July 15th, 2015 10:50 am

    Kreg Steppe liked this Article on facebook.com.

  62. Comment Permalink
  63. Nev Okyay on July 15th, 2015 6:24 pm

    Nev Okyay liked this Article on facebook.com.

  64. Comment Permalink
  65. Lisa Richardson on July 23rd, 2015 10:42 am

    Lisa Richardson liked this Article on facebook.com.

Leave a Reply