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Friday, June 09, 2006

The Weight Loss Secret (for Busy Prima Donnas)

In my last post I expressed bemusement over the spate of weight-loss posts around the related blogs. In fact, having never had to lose 50 lbs., admiration and not bemusement is the appropriate response to Jeremy Zawodny's story of how he lost it.

I've noticed a lot of high achievers tend to brag about their fitness regimens. To those not into running in triathlons, that can be a bore. Everyone's goals are different, too. Triathletes take in as much as 7,000 calories a day when in heavy training. Not everyone's looking to lose weight. And what the heck are all these super-achievers trying to prove? :) But I'd wager that most of us are looking for ways to perform better... to optimize, so to speak. Or simply to lessen risk of heart attack and stroke, etc.

No one is perfect, so it usually is a matter of mutual encouragement. I think it's a good thing that people talk about what they're going to do even before they've reached the perfect lifestyle or ideal weight. If that provides motivation, so be it.

I couldn't help but notice in Jeremy's post how long it took him to start zeroing in on the nutrition aspect. It takes a long time for most people to get that down pat, especially in the behavioral department - cooking and preparing all that healthy food (to say nothing of bringing it home). There's no worse feeling than looking in a fridge full of produce you bought and didn't eat... and then surveying the landscape of your takeout containers. A victim of a busy lifestyle, again.

Shouldn't there be a way of getting straight to that result without having to know so much or think so hard... or cook for yourself? Of course, there is. For years, companies like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers have sold meals to their clients and coupled that with counseling and support.

What if you're more self-directed, though, and just want the meals?

The AdSense ad I saw below Jeremy's post gives away the game: "Toronto Diet Delivery: Receive Gourmet South Beach Meals Delivered Right to Your Door."

I began experimenting with a similar service - ostensibly to save time because I was finishing a book - last year. It's called In the Zone Delivery, based on the Zone Diet by Dr. Sears. I tried that diet myself a few years ago and found it left me with too little energy. Somehow though it's working better now. The secret is to add in more of the healthy fats, which add calories and reduce appetite naturally. If you're very active, I'd suggest throwing in "unhealthy" carbs as needed to get your mojo back.

With the Zone delivery service, three healthy meals plus two snacks come to your door in a cooler pack each day. My neighbors all make fun of me. It's great. One odd neighbor came over at 1 a.m. after the delivery to tell me what he'd seen, a suspicious character dropping off something that looked like a bomb on our front doorstep. :)

Their counselor interviewed me first and found that I weigh 185 lbs. and exercise frequently, so the meals come with x number of calories to take that into account.

Result? Although I never stay on the diet for more than a couple of months, the change from 185 to around 180 is painless and takes only a couple of weeks, and the next leg to 175 depends on how much cardio I do. :) I'm not really looking to lose weight, anyway, just to gain health. And I want to think less. I have stuff to do.

The change in weight is not the only side effect. I actually believe in the principles behind some of the diets that give you low-glycemic index carbs, and healthy fats, in proportion with protein, at every meal. There is no energy dropoff after a meal.

Because it's expensive, and because my wife and I are such stupendous cooks, I don't keep on this all the time. But it's pretty much foolproof. I'd even say there's a little "web 2.0 long tail goodness" mixed into this. You can simply log in, and get rid of the meals you don't find tasty and dial in one of your favorites. You can exclude vegetables you dislike. And the food preparation is supervised by a gourmet chef.

If you're a "Don't Make Me Think" person, and have had your interest in nutrition piqued by the blogo-weight-posts this week -- and you live in a larger city -- I can't recommend the In the Zone Delivery type services highly enough. As an added benefit, it plugs right into work. Either eat the meals at home, or take them with you and zap them.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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