Monday, September 14, 2009


This is the first installment of the diet tips series, in an effort to prepare me for my future without counselors and dietitians on call...

Handling Weekend Eating

1) Plan ahead.

Too busy to eat at home? Pre-pick out healthy choices out that won't break the calorie bank.

I have "regular" food items I order at typical fast food restaurants (which I know the calorie amounts- check out Calorie King). I also carry around bars with me so that I never get too hungry and make rash decisions.

That being said- sometimes you don't want fast food. Or you happen to pass by a new restaurant you've heard about and have been wanting to try. There is no easy answer for that situation.

Initially when I started the study I would mostly order salads out. That got old, fast. Now I order what I want (within reason) and try to not eat the entire entree (takes practice and is not easy-- I am not always perfect at it). I also offer to share my food.

2) Plan pleasures other than food and drink.

I know, not the easiest. It is fun to go out and have drinks with friends. It is fun to try new foods and eat out. Last year for my birthday, TE and I planned a camping/hiking trip with our friends. This year... I don't know. It is easier to just say- "let's meet at a bar" everyone can get what they want, come and go as they want... It takes a lot of effort to coordinate people.

That said, my tip would be for balance. If I know I am going out that night, I eat light (high fiber) meals during the day, and try to plan the number and type of drinks I will have. Also, I try to add in non-food centered activities for the day.

It does help though to try to change your thoughts about celebrations-- trying to do something active whenever possible is not only good for CR but it helps make you feel good about yourself!

3) Don't skip meals

This is an important lesson- getting too hungry is bad for portion control and for decision control. And getting too hungry is bad for keeping friends :)

Breakfast. Bars. Snacks. B.B.S.

So here are some of my favorite CALERIE tips for weekends, going out, etc.
-Do not arrive at dinner parties hungry
-Offer to bring a CR friendly dish
-Stay away from chips and dip (and for me: the cheese plates!)
-Do an alternate activity other than eating (taking pictures, doing dishes, set up, clean up)* This is my favorite, most used tip
-Drink light beer (I also alternate alcohol with seltzer/diet soda)
-Choose one "treat" and take a moderate amount (cake!?)

And these are the tips I am currently working on:
- Eat slowly, drink slowly, be mindful of what you are eating
- Fill up on low calorie items first
Reasonable?! I think so...
Just don't do as I am doing here: A pre-CR birthday celebrating Liz ("I will have one of those, one of those and one of those!!!" Haha!) So young, so naive!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thinking on my feet

I am not very good at thinking on my feet.

Wednesday was my interview with the NYT magazine reporter. He was very nice and is writing an article on CALERIE for the food issue which should be out the second weekend in October.

I prepped answers to some of his questions ahead of time- knowing that I ramble a lot, rarely making it to the point I want to make. So I thought that if I had those answers planned out, it would leave little room for my strange side tangents -- Of course that was not the case :)

I keep thinking about what I said throughout the interview though, and random thoughts hit me like "Oh no, I talked for 3min about how I was curious about my reaction to mosquito bites changing/improving by being on this diet." (Inflammatory responses are supposed to improve in animal models of CR) But really?! Yeah sure- that was a fleeting thought at some point, but not something I regularly think about.

Oh- and I said my least favorite test of the study was the glucose tolerance test. Really!? I know it is gross- but people do it all the time. It is essentially orange tang!! I have never been good at taking liquid meds-- but I don't think it is the actual test that I don't like-- it is the fact that on that day I can't eat until 2pm. The muscle and fat biopsies are much more invasive/uncomfortable- why didn't I choose those?!

Also- I got asked the one question that everyone asks me: "Are you going to have a big feast once the diet is over?" I do not have a good answer to this question. I was honest enough with him- saying that I hope not, but that my friends and family may have other plans/ideas. Then I rambled on and on about food as a reward and the focus of happy celebrations- and how I went on a camping trip for my birthday last year because that was fun alternative to the typical calorie centered "going out to dinner/bar" celebration.

The kicker was my answer to the big question at the end (I did not prepare for this one...): "Do you think this is a diet that most Americans can/will do?" I had and still have no answer to this question- but of course that did not stop me from rambling on and on about how "maybe the longer my friends and family see me living a "normal life" while doing CR the more feasible it can be" ...but really I only know one friend who actually wants to do the diet- so maybe not...

Then I made a reference to how on a day to day basis- it really is not much different than weight watchers (in terms of counting/measuring)- which led us into a big discussion about weight loss vs. longevity, motivation, and the intangible/immeasurable goal of a "long life."

Maybe there are no good answers. Maybe I should talk more about CR (ha!)...

But in the end, I guess I can relax a bit- the fact is that the reporter has interviewed a lot of participants between 2 different study locations, the researchers, nutritionists, and study coordinators. The chance that my random, rambling thoughts make it into the article are probably small.

It was a good experience though and will give me a lot to keep thinking about...