One year it was Strattera.
Another year it was Seth Roberts and eloo.
Both Strattera and eloo seem to work, but eventually one of two things happens to people following any sort of diet regimen: either the effects wear off or your ability to stick with the program wears off.
This time around, I think it's possible I've found the secret not just to getting thin but to staying thin: quasi-veganism.
I adopted a heavy-duty vegan diet (no animal food, no added salt, sugar, or fat) at the end of September 2009. I didn't stick to it altogether, but pretty much.
Over the next
So I lost 11 pounds over the next
Then I promptly lost all desire to carry on eating all plant foods with no added salt, sugar, or fat.
So I switched to a quasi-vegan diet. Veganism (with salt, sugar, and fat) is my default setting, but I eat meat* when the spirit moves me, or when I'm out and about.
"Out and about" means "in a restaurant." It's almost not possible to be a vegan inside an American restaurant. Inside a restaurant, everything is meat. The appetizer is meat, the salad is meat, the main course is meat, the side dishes are meat, the dessert is meat. Just about the only things in a restaurant that aren't meat are the alcohol and the rolls.
If you want to know just how much meat everyone is eating, try opening up a menu and asking yourself what you would order if you wanted to be a vegan. Which I realize you don't. But try the experiment and you'll see.
We're eating a whole lot of meat.
When I switched to quasi-veganism, I figured: this is it. This is the point where I go off the wagon and gain everything back.
That was last spring.
Now it's Christmas 2010, and I'm still thin. (Which you can kinda see here.)
As far as I can tell, quasi-veganism works. We'll see.
The weird thing is: I seem to be the only person on the planet who knows this. Assuming I do know it, of course.
Also, I seem to be the only person on the planet who can even conceive of quasi-veganism being the Holy Grail of weight loss and maintenance. I'll be sitting around a table or a living room filled with middle-aged people who've gained weight over the years, and I will be obviously, manifestly thinner than everyone else except Ed, and when the topic of middle-age weight gain comes up and I mention that the reason I'm thinner than everyone else except Ed is that I have become a quasi-vegan, people stare at me blankly. Most of the time, no one expresses the slightest curiosity as to what I'm talking about.*
Which is weird, don't you think?
If two years ago someone thin had told me "I've found a diet that's easy to follow and works even when you're cheating" I think that would have piqued my interest.
Anyway, assuming quasi-veganism does work - or, rather, will continue to work for me - I have an idea about the mechanism or mechanisms:
- animal fat spikes appetite so you eat more and gain weight (the corollary being that plant fat satisfies appetite)
- plant food calories seem to be different from animal food calories: people eating plant foods consume more calories but weigh less than people eating plant foods
I binge on butter; I don't binge on peanut butter. That's what it comes down to.
If I eat one toasted English muffin dripping in melted butter, I want to eat another English muffin dripping in melted butter.
If I eat one toasted bagel dripping in melted peanut butter, that's plenty.
If I eat ice cream, I want to eat more ice cream.
If I eat a bag of potato chips before dinner, which I do, I spoil my appetite.
That's another thing. Remember when parents used to worry about kids "spoiling their appetites"? I have never uttered such a warning to my own kids because until I discovered quasi-veganism, I had never seen an appetite actually get spoiled.
I have now discovered that it is in fact possible to spoil your appetite, but not by eating ice cream. Ice cream makes me hungry for lasagne. Bring it on.
Junk food made with plant fat spoils my appetite.
Junk food made with animal fat does not.
These things may or may not be true:
- tofu makes you fat - no idea whether this is true, but when I come across photos of overweight vegans on the web, they seem to be of people who've put a fair amount of time and energy into knocking off fatty desserts using tofu as a substitute for butter and eggs.
Junk Food Makes You Eat More
* By "meat" I mean fish, chicken, eggs, meat, and dairy.
* No one except Susan S, that is. Susan S was willing to read several dozen emails on the subject of veganism during my phase of maximum obsession. Thank you, Susan!