I am intrigued with the volumetrics research of Penn State nutritional scientist, Dr. Barbara J. Rolls. Who wouldn’t be?
So I did a little research of my own and created a caloric density table:
After studying the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Michael Greger I have come to a conclusion that satisfies not only my quest for optimal health, but also my desire to be a good handmaiden of the Earth and her inhabitants:
I believe in the science of a minimally processed plant based diet!
STOP… COME BACK… don’t run away! This does not have to be painful! Your transition from carnivore to omnivore to vegetarian to vegan may take years, as it has taken (and continues to take) me. And even if we do not transition 100% the final results are going to yield nothing but better health, beauty, strength, endurance, wealth, confidence and peace of mind.
Are these really things you want to be running away from?
Listen! Being plant based does not equate entirely to being healthy. For instance, living on a diet of french fries, beer and donuts is a perfect vegan recipe for disaster!
I began my vegan evolution in 1994. After peaking out at 240 pounds and perched precariously on the ridge between either extreme obesity on one side, or a pathway to vibrant health on the other… I opted for LIFE.
It’s been a journey, not an event!
Over the years I’ve seen weight oscillations, some positive results and some setbacks because I have never been fully committed. I have educated myself by searching online for information, attending seminars, reading medical research papers and books, but only recently have I been able to pull it all together into a program in which I have absolute confidence for success! Today I begin the full implementation of this plan.
I’m going to make mistakes, I am sure of that. I’ll be tweaking the plan as I identify my errors. I want you to join me on the journey… not by simply observing, no way! I want you to be my partners on this quest. I want you to share your knowledge, advice and opinions. I want you to travel beside me on your own journey. How about it? I’m done being a pudgy “healthy vegan”… pudgy for sure, but healthy??? Don’t think so!
This lifestyle needs to be consistent, but for YOU to follow it consistently you may need celebratory PARTY DAYS (Woo-Hoo!) (cyclic days of rest & reasonable celebration… or in a dieter’s vernacular – cheat days!) I take one per week without apology, but you may need more to start off. Be sure to space them in a balanced manner over the week, for instance on Saturdays and Wednesdays. These are opportunities to vent your frustration and postpone your cravings. When temptation arises during the week on your PROJECT WAISTLINE “clean-eats” day, simply brush it aside with a confident mental note, “Oh, I’ll just eat that next party day – Woo-Hoo!”
Coming off SAD (the Standard American Diet) I began this lifestyle transition making mistakes. My party days (Woo-Hoo!) lasted Friday through Monday, and they were full of binge foods… pastries, ice creams, fried flesh, kitchen-sink pizzas and all manner of meats! Junk food hangovers on Monday were the worst! I’d come off the weekend feeling captive within my own bloated body.
You can start off smarter than I did. On party days (Woo-Hoo!) you may elect to eat freely (as opposed to eating clean on our plan), but as time progresses you’ll see your definition of eating “freely” become cleaner and leaner, until finally you may well be 100 percent devoted to living life to its fullest!
THE PROJECT WAISTLINE PLAN
Since muscle has a higher mass density than fat, our PROJECT WAISTLINE program will emphasize WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO (WHR) over poundage (weight). There is no need to ever weigh yourself on this plan. To learn the reasons why WHR is a superior gauge of health and fitness please see Wikipedia.
Take your waist measurement and your hip measurement today. According to Wikipedia these locations vary slightly for two different body types, CONVEX WAISTLINE (apple shape) and CONCAVE WAISTLINE (leaner built), so please check their suggested measuring technique by clicking here.
Now grab a calculator and divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. This will give you your Waist-To-Hip ratio:
WHR = waist / hip
Our goal is to manipulate our waist and hip measurements to acquire a WHR somewhere near (preferably slightly less than)
- 0.7 for women
- 0.85 for men
In a fraction, such as WHR ratio, we can reduce the value of the fraction by either DECREASING the numerator (waist measurement), or by INCREASING the denominator (hip measurement).
I don’t know about you, but the idea of making my hips bigger in order to acquire better health and beauty intrigues me already! 🙂 The trick is, of course, to do this WITHOUT increasing my waist. So it really all comes back to focusing on our waistline.
In my MEAL & WORKOUT JOURNAL section of this blog I will post honest reports of my daily exercise sessions, and my daily food log. You may do the SAME in your comments each day on this site. When I take a celebratory party day (Woo-Hoo!) meal, or mess up, fall off the wagon and eat trash I will mark that entry with XL to indicate “uncommon, extravagantly luscious foods”. A friend once told me I should encourage others by sharing my screw-ups, as well as my victories. Okay pal, this one’s for you! And for me? Well… XL is a gentle reminder to me of the size of the jeans I will be wearing again if I choose to indulge consistently in such decadent food choices. 🙂
In my STATISTICS section of this blog I will be updating my measurements periodically. I am not looking forward to sharing such intimate details with the whole world, but if it’s going to help somebody else I’m ready to swallow my pride and tell it just like it is. My confidence is high. After all the research I have invested in PROJECT WAISTLINE I truly believe that if I stick to the plan the day will come when I’ll be able to look back at these statistics and offer a hardy six-pack-ab belly laugh at them!
I will also be filming instructional videos for meal preparation, exercise sessions, and motivational interviews. Watch this blog for future links.
EATING ON THE PLAN:
Okay, fat just loves me. It won’t leave me! It likes to hang out and party (Woo-Hoo!) on my thighs, belly, bottom, underarms, chin. And who knows what mischief it’s up to around my inner organs! But if I don’t EAT the fat, I won’t party (Woo-Hoo!) with it… so let’s get started.
Today I am personally committing to the following Low-S.O.S. (Low Salt.Oil.Sugar) vegan lifestyle six days per week:
- Shying away from my precious VEGAN FATS (oils, nuts, seeds, soy, avocados, olives, coconuts, high fat vegan “fake” meats-cheeses-creams-desserts… never thought I’d see this day!!)
- Abstaining from my calorie-dense PROCESSED VEGAN CARBS (sugar, bread, cakes, cookies, brownies, sugary over processed cereals – excluding plain rolled oats)
- Skipping the added SALT
- Avoiding FANCY BEVERAGES and drinking nothing but pure WATER all day long, and doing so only in between meals
These four categories are fine for party days (Woo-Hoo!), but there is little room for them on the other Low-S.O.S. days.
STOP… COME BACK… It’s gonna be okay, I promise! It’s only six days a week (maybe fewer for you), and you’re going to learn so many cool creamy things that can be done (like sauces & dressings) with other types of food.
I’m keeping my party day (Woo-Hoo!) free-eats day (heck yeah!), but removing all animal products (flesh, feathers, scales, dairy, eggs) from my diet SEVEN days a week! My free-eats party days (Woo-Hoo!), as well as my six days of PROJECT WAISTLINE Low-S.O.S. (Low Salt.Oil.Sugar.), will include only plant based foods, thus I will be supplementing with vitamin B12, as per doctors’ recommendation.
So just what CAN I eat on PROJECT WAISTLINE’s Low-S.O.S. menu?
Oh, there are soooo many choices! My trick is to eat some leafy greens (most often raw) at EVERY meal, and bulk it up for satiation with starches and sauces. Let me offer an outline of my Low-S.O.S. eating plan:
* BREAKFAST (blended uncooked in smoothie, or steamed and/or raw)
– rolled oats (for satiation)
When raw-blended I add the dry rolled oats after blending and call it my gfo-(greens/fruit/oats)-smoothie. It keeps me full for hours!!
– raw fruits & veggies
* LUNCH / SUPPER
– cooked starch/grain
– veggie or bean or fruit based sauce
– huge bed of raw chopped veggie salad
STARCHES/GRAINS INCLUDE UNPROCESSED:
Beans (click here)
Lentils / Split Peas
Important fact: There are no portion restrictions on clean-eats (Low-S.O.S.) PROJECT WAISTLINE days. Since I will limit my menu to low calorie dense / high fiber foods it is reasonable to expect that I will find myself full before I over-consume.
The key is something called calorie density. This is a measure of calories per pound of each food item in the list.
(Longer version of table appearing at top of this post.) The items higher positioned on the chart have fewer calories per pound, so we can eat one POUND of the higher positioned items & be consuming fewer calories than eating the same amount of lower positioned items! You might tell yourself: ALL U CARE TO EAT, ABOVE THE GREEN LINE… AND ONLY OCCASIONALLY BELOW IT!
Some people eat what they refer to as S.O.S.-Free diets. It’s quite admirable and is actually the back-of-my-mind goal, but it would be disingenuous of me to call mine FREE of all salt/oil/sugar. Once in a while scant amounts of such items will surely weasel their way onto my plate. My realistic intention is to keep such weaseling down to a stark, almost insignificant minimum!
I will list my daily eats in the MEAL & WORKOUT JOURNAL section of this blog.
HOW MUCH WATER?
WebMD cites a daily recommendation of one half to one ounce of water for each pound of body weight. So we should
- weigh ourselves in pounds
- divide this weight by 2
- rename units from pounds to ounces
For example, let’s say I weigh 160 pounds:
- 160 / 2 = 80 pounds
- drink at least 80 ounces per day
EXERCISE ON THE PLAN:
Intense exercise is awesome, I’ll never give it up, I love it!… but after 21 years of observing too many hard exercising comrades at the gym hanging tenaciously on to those expanding waistlines (myself included), I am convinced that my main issue was/is an unhealthy relationship with my supper. I am, therefore, reprogramming my taste preference to life promoting foods so I can smile when I eat them, instead of grimacing :]
I saw three women who each lost over 100 lbs here
- One did it w/ running
- One did it w/ dieting
- One did it w/ weightlifting
I promote a combo of all three activities, with a huge emphasis on a diet of essentially all-you-care-to-eat Low-S.O.S. plant based foods.
The exercise portion of our PROJECT WAISTLINE PLAN will vary from person-to-person, and from day-to-day. In a nutshell, just get up and MOVE on a consistent basis for at least 30 minutes a day. Get your heart rate up! Break a sweat! Have fun! Make moving a party-like experience (Woo-Hoo!)! Do you remember how impossible it was for adults to hold you down and keep you motionless when you were a child? They had to tie you to a chair to keep you still! What happened to all that energy? What happened to that boundless joy for life? That’s what the exercise portion of our PROJECT WAISTLINE PLAN will entail… regaining boundless joy and energy through daily consistent motion and at least thrice weekly resistance training (weights)!
Do not poo-poo resistance training. Building muscle will ramp up your metabolism and you will find yourself morphing into a fat burning machine… devouring fat as you sit still. Imagine that! We all have muscles, else we couldn’t stand/walk/sit. The problem is that they’re often hidden beneath layers of strategically located fat. When those layers start sloughin off as we continue eating clean don’t you want that muscular foundation in tip-top firmage? That’s going to take some resistance training. Adding consistent cardio routines (even as simple as power walking) will add fuel to your fat burning fire. It is a complete workout package, and we don’t want to cheat ourselves out of any of it.
Remember to get permission from your doctor before embarking upon any exercise or diet regimen.
I do not see any benefit in over-training. We are all at different fitness levels, and no one should honor that fact more than ourselves. My fitness goal is all about reveling in the journey. I cannot see myself doing that while running 26.2187 miles. So no, I won’t be running any marathons, but I’m sure going to have fun moving this body everyday!
I will list my daily exercise sessions in the MEAL & WORKOUT JOURNAL section of this blog.
SKIN AND HAIRCARE ON THE PLAN:
I have been plagued with very dry hair and skin for all of my adult life. It has very likely been a byproduct of my low hydration (water intake) and my SAD (Standard American Diet). Research suggests that good fats in our diets will benefit our:
Some go so far as to suggest that we need to eat fat in order to burn fat!
What a conundrum!
The truth is more complex than simple. There are multiple types of fat, some healthy and some not. I’m not denying our body’s need for plant based fats. They are present to varying degree in some of our low fat plant foods, and we will certainly enjoy them on our lovely unrestricted party days (Woo-Hoo!)… I am only questioning the amount of such fat that we need.
Visceral or “deep” fat wraps around the inner organs and spells trouble for your health. How do you know if you have it? “If you have a large waist or belly, of course you have visceral fat,” Whitmer says. [Rachel Whitmer, PhD, research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif] Visceral fat drives up your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even dementia.
Visceral fat is thought to play a larger role in insulin resistance — which boosts risk of diabetes — than other fat
Okay… so if I’m WEARING that nasty visceral fat on the outside of my body, you can be sure I’m lugging plenty of it around on the inside, as well! Not a good thing. But wait a minute… facial fat plumps-up my rosie cherub cheeks, which in turn diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and saggy jowls. What’s going to happen to my cute chubby cheeks when I reduce my Waist-to-Hip ratio via Project Waistline’s Low-SOS diet? And what about my (already) dry hair? And what about saggy skin, in general, after the loss of large amounts of body fat?
These questions make it clear that skin and haircare will be a component in the Project Waistline Plan. I will therefore be including a SKIN & HAIRCARE section to this blog where I will address natural low cost remedies & prevention of any potential ill effects to our skin and hair as we drop the fat.
GRATITUDE ON THE PLAN:
Let’s end with a few comments on stress-free living. When you come to believe that everything around you is a miracle, gratitude will dominate your life. Your need for other people’s acceptance, accolades, recognition, admiration, respect will begin to diminish. I am learning this now… I’m still learning this. It is uber-liberating. It liberates me to love people NOT for what they have to offer me, but simply for who they are. I do believe that such love defines the concept of grace. When gratitude dominates my life there is very little room left for negativity. I invite you to grow young with me and spend quiet time considering all the amazing gifts in your life and the miracle behind each one.
PROJECT WAISTLINE SUMMARY:
* Eat Low-S.O.S. unprocessed plant based foods (above the green line)
* Drink only water
* Don’t skip your (Woo-Hoo!) PARTIES! (dipping occasionally below the green line)
* Raise heart rate 30+ mins daily
* Lift weights 3+ times weekly
* Practice skin & haircare routines
* Be still w/ gratitude & grace
Coagulate with me, and let’s gel on this one.
* Say NO to corporate foods!
* Say YES to simple stress free living!
And I’ll see you on the project… PROJECT WAISTLINE! 🙂