Wednesday 12 April 2023

The Bev Diet (part 3): The Necessary Elements


1. Weigh yourself daily: Knowledge is power so weigh yourself EVERY DAY!

As someone who went to Weight Watchers numerous times, the idea of weighing myself daily while dieting seemed counter-intuitive. Group leaders there basically warned you against using a scale yourself because your weight is bound to fluctuate and you would just drive yourself crazy with variations due to water retention, bowel habits, etc. But now I look back on that advice and see what it really meant: if you don’t have a scale (and they definitely advised against it), their having one gives them the power of knowledge over you. You (or maybe that should read “I”) had to go to their weekly meetings in order to find out how your weight loss journey was going…maybe all that has changed with the advent of online programming, but whatever: I WEIGH MYSELF EVERY MORNING.


I truly believe it’s the best way to keep myself totally accountable. And I know I’ve spent a lot of my life lying to myself as far as body issues go, so I certainly want to keep as honest in this diet endeavour as possible. And I’d advise you to do the same.


2. Measure what you eat: This means also that you’ll need a small food scale (they’re about $15-$30) and measuring cups and spoons. Because I measure everything (e.g., 2T of smoked salmon Philly cream cheese just about every morning) that isn’t prepackaged/portioned (e.g., Lean Cuisine chicken carbonara). I’d say that after 10 months of this, I know what a tablespoon of cream cheese looks like. But why tempt fate by estimating, when measuring is so easy?


One thing I don’t measure is salad foods (lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, shallots, peppers) because greens are about 9 calories per cup. So I estimate 2.5 to 3 cups in my salads. And I estimate about half a cup of milk (1%) in my lattes (two or three daily).


The great thing about a food scale is that you can eat anything (in moderation!), like challah or even an apple (because the bigger it is, the more calories it has).


And speaking of calories…

3. 1200 daily: I try to keep mine down to 1200 per day. I don't always succeed, and it's important to note that I can get off track one day and come back the next. 

Most people, on hearing 1200 calories, say what a woman friend of mine did over Facebook messenger when I finally told her (after a bit of skating around, because I knew how it would be perceived): “WoW (sic), that’s nothing!!!???”



Actually, it’s NOT nothing, and it’s probably a lot more than I used to eat in the bad old dieting days of low carb. Which, as discussed in a previous post, I’ve found unsustainable. I settled on 1200 empirically–which is a fancy way of saying by experimenting. This is what works for me. But I’m happy to find that the Mayo Clinic endorses such a number, even if it sounds awfully low to some of you. See here, for instance, where they mention 1500 to 1200 for women:

Listen, you might have a different biology, different age, activity level, amount of muscle, sex, etc. You may have to find a number that’s right for you. But I don’t want to have to diet forever (hopefully 18 months will be enough), though I will NEVER be able to go back to the way I was eating before.

4. Monitoring is vital: I use the Samsung Health app to monitor my food consumption, weight, and exercise. It takes seconds to record meals (I will post below images of my daily consumption) and it breaks things down into nutrients, so I can see how I’m doing. And by this measure, I’m doing okay, though I did start adding wheat bran a few months back to increase my fibre intake (recently switched to wheat germ because I can’t find wheat bran!). I occasionally take a vitamin C pill and have been thinking about adding a multivitamin with iron because I hardly ever eat red meat (though since I no longer menstruate, maybe this isn’t as much of a problem as it might be with younger women).

I’m sure there are other apps available for non-Samsung phones.

5. Exercise: I’m now spending about 2.5 hrs daily in low impact exercise. It’s definitely a lot, but it’s mostly walking. I do a morning (1hr) and evening (0.75hr) walks. And I bought a $200 folding bike from Amazon which I use while Netflixing at night…I spend about an hour on it. I’m not trying out for a Peloton commercial, either. I only really break a sweat after about 45 mins. The point is, you are expending a lot more energy than by just sitting on the couch.


I started this diet in June 2022, when I was still covid-sensitive enough to not want to go back to the gym (where I used to love Zumba and aerobics). Actually, I have covid right now (for the first time). I am starting to hanker to do higher intensity exercise so I can spend less time doing it. Maybe when I’m lighter, I’ll try jogging. But right now, since I have the time, I walk (I listen to a lot of podcasts, so if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears).


That’s it for today.