LLU’s Lifestyle 101: Day 2 – Adventures with food

Today I undertook day two of the Lifestyle 101 course at LLU. You can find my Day 1 experience here.

A few usability notes at this point.

1 – I’ve been playing with the little application that tracks calorie intake, and I find it’s not the most intuitive thing in existence. I may be writing over food libraries and other stuff, and I’m not quite sure I’ve got it right overall.

2 – I expected I would get an email with a link to Day 2, but the only way I could get to the Day 2 video was to use the link I received to Day 1, and change the URL to point to Day 2.

Anyway, I made it to the Day 2 video, and here’s what I found.

Day 2: Video

This video is fundamentally about food and basic rules for eating. It’s chock full of great stuff, focusing heavily on the idea that success or failure of weight loss programs hinge primarily on the calorie intake portion of the equation, and that the goal of a diet is primarily to make weight loss easier (those are my words).

David G goes on to give his four rules for eating. These are:

Rule 1: It’s always the food. David G’s statement is that if your weight has stagnated, or has bounced up, or whatever … it’s always the food (and drink) that is causing the problem.

Rule 2: Eat mostly real food. Real foods are “old foods,” basic foods that have been around for centuries, and are generally able to be eaten on their own. Things like chicken, or vegetables, or an apple. Things that have not been processed. He uses the term “Frankenfood” to describe “foodlike” things, that are not “real.” They are engineered for maximum flavor and mouth feel, but hurt health and metabolism.

Rule 3: Eat foods that are hard to overeat. Remember calories = energy. You should eat foods that make it hard to overeat because they make us feel full early. Vegetables, whole fruits, lean meats, fish & poultry. These are hard to over-eat because they will Satisfied or full before we over-eat.

Ron’s aside: I note here that David G. uses calorie intake as the definition of over-eating. And all of this advice is focused on effective ways to limit the number of calories you absorb (hence working on the “calories in” side of the equation). These are things that make me scratch my head at the mantra that ELAMM “doesn’t work.”

Note that Rule #3 and Rule #2 are the exact same thing. In fact, Rule #3 is essentially the reason to undertake rule #2.

4. Chew calories, don’t drink them. You do this because it slows down the intake of calories and allows you to feel full before you over eat (take in too many calories). Water is the best drink. Eating an apple or an orange, for example, is better than drinking apple juice or orange juice.

Another Ron aside: I note that in other places around the LLU site, the program teaches total abstinence from alcohol since there is never any nutritional value to it, and it’s a calorie rich drink. David G. suggests, rightly, I suppose, that you can get the intrinsic health values of wine merely by eating grapes instead…which is far better overall.

I like that he ends the video by saying that you don’t have to be perfect, and that not every meal has to fit exactly into the rules … at least not immediately, I suppose. Almost all of my thoughts on success in any venue have to do with maintaining a positive mindset while working on hard things, and I think a lot of people quit projects merely because they get disappointed when they don’t do what they should have done (especially when you know you should have done it). Success is not about being perfect every day. Success is about having a clear end in mind and making steady progress in the right direction over time.

My take on the Four Rules:

In reality, we have only two rules here: Eat real food, and eat all your calories rather than drink them. The other two items on the list are not actually rules. The first rule (It’s always the food), is a diagnostic principle. And, as I noted above, the third rule (eat foods that are hard to over eat) is really just a rephrasing of the second rule (eat real food).

That said, this is a fantastic framework. It is exactly right, and it’s right for the exact reasons it gives–follow those rules and you’ll be far less likely to take on extra calories (which is, to me, the primary definition of “eat less”), and will still feel good throughout the day rather than subject yourself to the various problems you’ll inevitably run into otherwise. (You can, after all, still eat “poorly” and reduce calories, which will then result in near-term weight loss. But that approach will also cause you a lot of pain, which is why these things are unsustainable for most people.)

At this point I’m looking forward to Day 3’s video, which promises to be about the exercise leg of the process (nutrition, exercise, emotional health).

As a note, I’ve used the LLU site to create a “plan” that calls for losing 1 pound per week. Here’s my progress as best as I can figure using the site’s resources:

Daily Progress vs. Plan:

Day 1: Calories eaten 1907 (target = 1887)
Day 1: Calories exercising 778 (target = 429)
Day 1: Balance: 329 calories better than “plan”

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