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From: Craig ( -
Subject: Re: weight loss??
Date: November 17, 2006 at 1:15 pm PST

In Reply to: weight loss?? posted by Holly Sanchez on November 11, 2006 at 2:39 pm:

Hi, Holly,

Well, welcome to veganism. It's a lot of fun, I find. Before, I was content to eat the same old thing all the time. Now that I've taken a greater interest in what I eat I find so much more variety and chances to experiment that dinner is a joy, now, and not just something that I do because it's that time of day again.

Of course, since I don't eat as much as I used to, I find that the old Roman adage, "Hunger is the best sauce" to be true.

There's a short answer and a long one to your post. The short one is:

If you'd like to lose weight but aren't, you're eating too much. So eat less and move more. Make your meals nutrient dense and either smaller or less frequent. Pay attention to your belt and your scale.

Now, the long answer is:

The body adjusts its metabolism to fit the amount that's being eaten. If we eat more, we gain weight, then the body cranks up our rate of energy expenditure to burn it off and to have kids (In times of famine, our thermostat turns down so much that the reproductive cycle--read "monthly cycle"--turns off and the body saves energy to survive) and to chase away bad things.

So how much you eat will determine how fast your body burns calories. That means that, having lost some weight, if you want to lose more, you'll have to eat even less.

Sorry about that.

At the time I started vegetarianism (I reached veganism by steps, you see), I weighed 165, just a little over my "ideal weight," which was supposed to be 158. The doc mildly suggested that I lose a "few pounds," which at first I thought was a bit picky on his part. Then he told me that, while my cholesterol wasn't exactly "high," it could stand to come down a bit. So I began thinking about it. I got Dean Ornish's book, and then about that time I ran across some info that I had first read back in the mid-eighties about Roy Wallingford and his "calorie restriction" program, and began thinking about that, too.

Well, one thing has led to another, and with the info presented here through the Drs' videos that were offered (Essylstein, Campbell, McDougall, Barnard, and others), I' vegan and I have lost a bit over 25 pounds--I'm now just barely under 140, which is where I think I ought to be (I'm 5' 8." Not a giant for a guy, but I'm happy with it. I've been this most of my life). I'm right on the edge of being cooler than I used to be, which means that my metabolism is slower than it was and my blood sugar is lower than it was, too, and this actually makes me fell better than I did. I'm more energetic, a little more free emotionally (a rise in serotonin?), I run 20-30 miles a week (which I didn't do before), I feel great. In our church youth group activities, I run with the kids. Watch out for me when we play indoor floor hockey. The guys and I make it a contact sport. Since most of them are bigger than I am, body-checking them doesn't hurt them, and I have no better sense than to enjoy it.

But to do and to be this I eat less. A lot less. It does mean that I put up with some mild hunger pangs now and then, but actually I find that I am used to them by now. It doesn't bother me to eat a small breakfast and either no lunch or a very small one of fruit or a bowl of pea soup or something. Usually it's nothing. I don't recommend this for others, for it is fairly strict and even abstemious, but it works well for me.

The point is, even though you are vegan, you might still be eating a bit much if you want/need to lose a little more weight. You know of the "Rule of Ten," right? Choose your target weight and then eat ten times that number of pounds in calories each day? Let's see, 140 X 10=1400. Hey, even I can do this. If I eat just under 1400 calories a day when I'm stuck in the office "working," that maintains the weight I need. On running days I can/should eat a little more (at about 100 calories per mile), and the "Fighting Fear of Tofu" alfredo sauce with fettuccini is a great recipe--if you add basil and/or parsley to it--to add to my daily intake. You can find that recipe through your web browser, and I highly recommend it. But I have to watch what I eat. We all do.

I know some women who enjoy the program/place called "Curves" (I'm not really sure about this. I'm not allowed in, and I am suspicious of all such secret societies, even though I have a sneaking admiration for any club that refuses to admit me) and it has done them quite a bit of good in the weight & toning department. You might try that. Or get a good pair of running shoes and go walking in them. The good ones start at about $80 but they'll last for over 500 miles if you walk and not run in them. Running shoes are specifially engineered to be kind to your feet and to make up for your pronation or lack of it, so they'll save you pain and discomfort.

Does this have in it a measure of frustration? Of course it does. In order to do this one has to want to do it enough to put up with it. I still have a "pull" toward sugar, and if I eat a low-fat and sugar-free meal, which is most of the time, now, I still have that niggling little wish for just a little sugar, like a couple of Fig Newtons or something. The nine-year-old child in me still begs for candy. But even that is fading. Slowly and stubbornly, but it is fading. For dessert I've learned to stay away from teh ice-cream-adn-cake routine and instead to have everything from a bowl of Shredded Wheat to a bowl of cooked peas with dill (who says dessert has to be calorie-laden?), and if I give things a little bit I find that the desire for that sudden sugar rush goes away. Eventually, this kind of self-administered cognitive-behavior therapy will win. I'm a slow learner, so it'll take a while, but I am learning to eat well and right.

So there you have it: everything that I know. Good luck on your dinner and your weight. Eat well and may you enjoy the work and the health.

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