Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thrifty Acres: I Can Make You Thin

Hello! Yes, my previous post was about the cookbooks I'd recently purchased. But now I'm switching gears to talk about another thrift store purchase, Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin.

I tend to gain weight over the winter, and this year was no exception. Perhaps I fooled myself into thinking that all the snow shoveling I did in February (we set a record for snowfall totals for that month) warranted hearty meals. Or maybe it's because "comfort food" just seems to hit the spot during the winter months. 

I wasn't happy about this winter's weight gain, especially since I weighed more than I wanted to already. So I bought a pedometer to encourage myself to move around more, cut out most sweets, and changed up some exercise routines. I lost 4.5 lbs over several weeks - not very fast, but at least it was a start. 

During this time I investigated information on what to eat. I came across a juicing "reboot" plan; looked interesting, but I don't own a juicer and didn't want to buy one if I wasn't going to stick with the regimen. 

The "clean eating" plan proposed by another person certainly looked healthy, but I couldn't get past the six egg whites she listed in her typical breakfast, nor all the chicken breasts for that matter. Her menus looked a bit on the monotonous side IMO. 

Then, a month ago I came across I Can Make You Thin. The name of the author, Paul McKenna, sounded vaguely familiar (I think I had heard of another of his books before), so I looked at the book more closely. "Includes Guided Hypnosis CD" was written on the cover. Well, considering that I was in a thrift store, I figured that the previous owner had removed the CD before donating the book - this has happened with other books w/CD's I've seen in secondhand markets. 

But I looked in the back - the CD was there and what's more, it looked unused. And the wallet-size card with easy reference to some key points in the book was still in place as well. In short, the whole package basically looked unused. 

The price was $2.00 (full price is $22.95), so I figured I had little to lose by purchasing it. 

Read the book from cover to cover - easy to do rather quickly, as it's not that long. Learned that the author takes a relaxed view toward diet and exercise, but there are four "golden rules" for eating: when you're hungry, eat; eat what you want, not what you think you should; eat consciously and enjoy it; stop eating when you're getting full. 

I was one to gobble down my food, I admit - and, like probably a lot of people, I had gotten into the habit of reading or working on the computer while eating. Consquently, I was eating more food than I needed to - without really noticing what I was eating! 

So right away, I began to eat much more slowly, putting down the fork or the sandwich between bites. I put down the newspaper, magazine and laptop as well. (this is the "conscious eating" component of the golden rules)

A sample of "success journal" pages is in the back of the book, so I copied those into a notebook to keep track of how well I was doing in following the four golden rules and other things like exercising and listening to the CD. 

I listened to the CD for three weeks; the author suggests using it for at least two weeks. I found it a bit contradictory at times as compared to the book. For instance, the golden rule "eat what you want", which the author insists he means: "From this day forward, nothing is off-limits to you. Ever." Yet during one part of the CD, he intones something along the lines that the listener will now eat healthy foods. What if said listener would normally rather eat unhealthy foods? 

Nevertheless, the CD is soothing and pleasant to listen to, and at around 26 minutes, quite doable as well. 

Both the book and CD have a number of self-improvement visualizations, which I think is a good thing, and the book also has techniques for dispelling cravings. 

So, is there any merit to any of this? Well, after one month I am seven pounds lighter. During this time I had several meals away from home: restaurant meals out with my family and several social occasions (picnics and a lunch gathering with relatives). There was also a hotel breakfast buffet during an overnight stay. 

At home, I enjoyed deep-dish pizza, barbequed ribs, even a couple of doughnuts. Doesn't exactly sound like "diet food", does it? 

I'm not saying it was all a breeze, though, especially at first. It can seem quite laborious at times to eat slowly if you're used to rushing through your meals as I was, and I would glance longingly at the newspaper instead of it being my breakfast companion. But I discovered something interesting: I was tasting my food much more thoroughly. This meant that some of it tasted even better than before, like the fresh lettuce I had just picked from my garden. (However, the store-bought tomatoes tasted much worse.) I realized I could reduce the sugar in my homemade banana muffins and should cut back on the seasonings in my homemade barbeque sauce. 

And of course, since I was eating much more slowly, I needed less food. That deep-dish pizza and barbequed ribs? They lasted much longer than they would have in the past: less eaten at dinner, so I had leftovers for several lunches. 

Most telling for me was the hotel breakfast buffet. We'd stayed at the same hotel before, so I know what the breakfasts there are like. Despite eating heartily enough, it seemed like I would still always be hungry before lunchtime anyway. However, during this last stay, I ate a bit less than I had before - but didn't get hungry as soon as I would have in the past!

I realize that some of you reading this may be thinking that you're rushed enough as it is and so you can't afford to take more time to eat. Yes, I take longer to chew my food now, but I figure it's not always as much additional time as it may seem. For one thing, I'm rarely going back for seconds, and am rarely eating dessert. So dinnertime isn't really much longer. And since I have more leftovers, I can eat those for lunch instead of having to take the time to fix something new. 

Eating more slowly also helps with the golden rule of stopping when full. I certainly know what happened in the past when I ignored feeling full and continued on to another helping or a dessert: heartburn, discomfort - and weight gain. 

I haven't always followed the four golden rules perfectly this past month, but I'm still happy at how things have gone thus far. Individual results may vary, but it has worked for me!

PS So why did I buy those cookbooks if I'm trying to lose weight? Well, I still like to cook and eat - I'm just eating less.

No comments:

Post a Comment