I lost 25 pounds on a disciplined weight loss program last year, only to gain it all back over the winter. This has been a typical pattern for me over the years with different diets.
There I sat two weeks ago, at the morning breakfast table, trying yet another strategy to get back to my goal weight. This time I thought I’d eat a shredded wheat biscuit or two for breakfast each morning. Surely with the high fiber no sugar biscuits for breakfast I’d be certain to lose some weight, right? Looking at my wife’s breakfast, a chocolate chip muffin, didn’t help. Neither did my son Josh’s comment after he took a bite of shredded wheat on a dare from his brother. “It tastes like cardboard,” he said.
Josh was right. The shredded wheat diet wasn’t going to work. I shared my diet frustrations with my acupuncturist, and she suggested a different approach. A program called Naturally Slim (“NS” for short). I was intrigued. Instead of counting calories, weighing portions, and avoiding fat like I had done with diet programs of the past, Naturally Slim emphasizes changing when and how I eat, rather than what I eat.
“Inside of each of us is a thin person that eats the foods he or she wants and needs,” NS suggests. “It’s the bad habits we’ve learned…the societal and emotional tendencies to overeat—and the reasons why we do it—that keep us from being that thin person on the outside.” I liked the sound of this holistic approach to weight loss. I decided to give the program a try.
My first surprise came when the program actually recommended to skip breakfast! Eating a hearty breakfast had been a fundamental part of every other weight loss system I had tried. Instead, NS advises, drink a water/orange juice mix in the morning (7 ounces of water to every 1 ounce orange juice. The problem, NS suggests, is not that I am hungry in the morning. It is that I am dehydrated after a night’s sleep. The water/orange juice blend (called H2Orange in NS lingo) would rehydrate my body, and then I would not feel hungry.
I am only one week into the program, but H2Orange mix is working! I can see why one NS client called this Orange/Water mix “the nectar of the Gods”. In the past week I’ve mixed 32 ounces of the magical H2Orange formula each morning, drinking 16 ounces when I get up, and another 16 ounces mid-morning. I haven’t been hungry. My first meal of the day has been when I felt hungry (around 12 noon) – one hour later than my previous lunch pattern. NS stresses tuning into my body’s hunger signals and eating then, rather than dining at set meal times.
The H2Orange blend is only one part of the NS program. Another key part is adjusting my dining speed – the “how you eat” part of the program. “Eat for 10 minutes, savoring each bite, rest for 5 minutes, then eat for 10 minutes more” the program advises. I tried this (a free iphone app helps with the timing and meal tracking). While at first it took a little getting used to, I can see the benefits.
We dined at my favorite chinese restaurant on Sunday, and with this new eating technique I only ate 1/2 of my entree. After 25 minutes I was comfortably full! I took the leftovers home, and ate those for lunch the following day. Two meals for the price of one. Under my old eating patterns I would have devoured my entire entree, and the egg rolls my sons’ plates too!
After one week on the program I have lost 4 pounds. Will the Naturally Slim program lead to long term results? A healthy weight I can maintain? I hope so. One feature of the system I like is that are very few “forbidden” foods. Other than avoiding sugar where possible, most foods are OK. This will make NS easier to stick with when I am dining out or traveling compared to the weight loss systems I’ve tried in the past. And NS isn’t a “diet” – it’s a lifestyle change to a new eating pattern.
Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how NS works over the long haul. I’m optimistic.