As cliché as it is to write this in the month of January, I am on a diet.
Mike and I decided to eat healthier and lose a little weight in the process, and we just happen to have a trip to Cabo on the horizon for that extra hit of motivation. Nothing like exposed flesh to make you reach for that proverbial carrot (or in this case, a literal carrot).
We have always been very active, running about three times a week and doing yoga once a week. But the more we researched, the more we realized that food and exercise fall into that most classic of rules: 80/20. It turns out that working out like a fiend while eating whatever one wants isn’t as effective as eating really well and working out moderately.
And let’s face it: any excuse to work out less is music to one’s ears, am I right?
So, after a few Bing searches for easy-to-follow diets, we decided on the 4 Hour Body. It’s written by the same man who wrote 4 Hour Workweek, which is a major bestseller, but from what I’ve heard infuriates a lot of people (the concept is so simple, yet almost impossible to apply).
We didn’t even bother to buy the book, since all of the rules were listed online. It really is quite simple:
1. No white carbs (we had to resist hosting a funeral to pay our respects to our favorite foods: rice, pasta, and bread).
2. No fruit (ouch. I usually eat two pieces of fruit a day).
3. Don’t drink your calories (sayanara, beer. Though you are allowed two glasses of red wine per day…clearly this is the life raft we cling to).
4. Eat the same meals over and over (well, when you can only have certain foods, you tend to repeat them).
5. Take one day off a week (sweet Moses Saturdays!! Sign me up!!).
We started on Jan 3, so it’s been three weeks. We’ve each lost a pound per week, which supposedly is the healthiest way to lose. We haven’t changed our exercise routine, though if we miss a workout we feel far less guilt, because we can easily turn to each other and say, “Who cares? We’re eating so well!”
Not that eating well is easy.
The two of us at a restaurant is not a pretty sight. A mere three seconds after opening the menu one of us says, “But, OK, like what if we traded this meal for one meal on our day off? That would work, right? I mean, really, what’s the difference?”
That’s when the other one of us has to turn into a drill sergeant and yell, “Pull yourself together, Reph! You’ll order a salad and YOU’LL LIKE IT.”
But honestly, it wasn’t until this diet that we realized how carb-heavy restaurants really are. If we’re looking for anything more interesting than a salad, we may be looking for a very long time.
Last week we ate out with another couple at a Thai restaurant (read: noodle universe) and Mike found the only way he could be satisfied is if he ordered half of a chicken. Nothing else. It was the strangest looking plate.
I ordered stir fry.
Waiter: And white or brown rice?
Me: (Gritting teeth, barely able to get the words out) Ahhhhhh, no rice.
Waiter: (Eyebrows raised higher than the ceiling) Um, Okaaaaaaay.
It’s reactions like this that motivate us to invite people to our house rather than accept their invitations to eat out. If we plan ahead, it’s really easy to cook according to this diet at home.
And even though it’s gotten easier (I no longer fantasize about a French baguette dipped in olive oil), it’s still not something I could continue indefinitely. We’re only planning on doing it for a month, and that’s because life without pasta, rice and bread is not a life I want to live forever.
…though since I do want to live as long as possible, I’m going to scale back the consumption of carbs even after the middle of February. I’m going to try to see them as treats, rather than the incomparable force of nature that they are.