Tuesday, April 6, 2010

VA Review: The Abs Diet

I am starting a new diet. Of course, this is nothing new, I’ve struggled with weight my entire life. I think I’ve tried almost every diet that is out there, from Weight Watchers, Sugar Busters, Adkins, and I’ve even made up some of my own – the “Eat under 1100 calories a day” diet, the “No sugar, ever!” diet, and the horrible “Fruits and Veggies ONLY” diet. Of course, none of these worked. Sure, some of them would move the scale a bit, but none of them really had any lasting effects.

I lost a lot of weight in my first 6 months living in New York. It was a really popular diet, everyone was talking about it: “Recession.” Yes, I lost weight because I was walking everywhere and only buying the necessities for food. I was eating very little and walking a lot, not necessarily by choice.

When it really comes down to it, I gained most of my weight in my first two years of college. (Damn you, Harden Dining Hall and You, delicious Danieley wraps!) After the first two years, I moved off campus and didn’t walk as much (and I certainly wasn’t exercising!) Then, I was planning a wedding and had already purchased my dress so losing too much weight would have cost more money. (Stop diet!) After the wedding didn’t happen, I gained A LOT of weight. I went down to Florida with some family members and did nothing but eat and wallow. By the time I moved to New York, I was well over 30 pounds more than I should have been.

Let’s fast forward. I’m fat and I want to do something about it.

I am starting The Abs Diet today. Yesterday, I had a cheeseburger and French fries for lunch and giant artery-stopping fajitas for dinner. I drank soda and ate cookies. It was the final day. I essentially wanted to go ahead and eat whatever would tempt me in my cabinets so I could start anew.

I read the book, got an idea of what this “diet” entailed, and went shopping for food. 

The Abs Diet is a little bit hard to explain. In fact, this is kind of how the conversation goes:

“I started a new diet today.”
“Oh really? What is it?”
“The Abs Diet”
“Hm.. never heard of it. What is it?”

Here’s the problem: It’s not a “I eat only green foods!” diet. There aren’t really rules or restrictions placed on it. Essentially, the purpose of the diet is to change the habits of your metabolism and make small changes to make your body work with you, not against you. I am to eat 6 times per day.

8:15am – Breakfast
11:00am – Snack
1:00pm – Lunch
4:00pm – Snack
7:00pm – Dinner
9:30pm – Snack

With that food “schedule”, I am to include as many “Power Foods” in each meal or snack as possible. I’m not going to list the foods here, because I think that would be ultimately taking business away from the writer. But, they’re manageable, tasty foods – not anything that I wouldn’t eat anyway. Also, this diet allows one “cheat” meal per week. So, I would not be restricted if I suddenly got a craving for McDonalds or had to go to a birthday party. This is definitely a plus.

Instead of doing many blog posts, I will do a “Diary” of this diet. In the book, there is a 6-week plan. Though I intend to continue healthy eating well after 6 weeks, I will let you have a glimpse into this 6 week journey of mine. Let’s go.

Week 1 Beginning:

It was difficult to force myself to eat at these odd times during the day. At 11:00, I had to stop and go, “Oh, I’m supposed to eat now!” (Even though I wasn’t hungry)

I’m optimistic about this diet and I really believe in the ideals of it. The writer seems to be knowledgeable and realistic about what is to be expected and the inevitable results.

Week 1 End:

I am amazed. I haven’t once craved a cheeseburger (note: when I get cravings, it’s not for sugary treats.. it’s usually for meat. Like steak. Mmmm, steak.) or wanted a Coke. I’m astonished about how easy it is to stick to. The only problem I have (and it’s a small one) is that I have to grab everything I’m going to eat that day (including snacks) before I leave for work in the morning. It’s probably better, really, because I’m not getting to 4:00pm daydreaming about what I’d like to eat.

I am doing this diet with Meal Plan (oh, irony, you’re so silly.) He was the generous soul that bought the Women’s book for me and let me borrow the initial book that helped me get started.

It’s nice, really, to have someone to do this with. And, because he is slightly removed (like, not family or friends I’ve had forever) I feel more accountable to him than I would to, say, my mother. I don’t want to disappoint.

Though (and it does need to be noted that MP and I are in a relationship now, I know I haven’t written about that, but there it is.), I’m a little fearful about agreeing to diet with MP since our relationship is still in a very ‘new’ stage. Some of the time, it seems that all we talk about is food and recipes and ‘what are you eating’s. I know it’s week one and I certainly wouldn’t bring it up. But, I’m hoping the constant diet talk will die down and we can get back to supporting each other through this while also continuing to get to know one another, talking about other things, and working on our budding relationship.

Week 2 Beginning:

-1 pound.

1 Pound? Really? One pound?! Meal Plan lost almost 4 pounds last week! Ugh, men and their metabolisms!

Though it’s frustrating, I also have to take into consideration some other things that may be contributing to the minimal movement in the scale. (Note: I feel like it should be pointed out that I do not own a scale and have been weighing myself on a mail – freight – scale at work. This is classy.) **TMI ALERT** I started my period today. Lady readers, you know that when it’s time, you bloat, hold all the water you possibly can, and feel like a straight-up whale. Gross, mom nature. You’re a bitch.

I’m down, yes. But, still optimistic that all my work from last week will have paid off by next week’s weigh in. I’m keepin’ on!

This diet is 'spensive, yo! I've had to really splurge on a few things like getting a blender, whey powder (that stuff's 25 bucks!), nuts (incredibly expensive in NYC), and fresh produce - starting this thing is costing me a lot of money - I better be crazy skinny at the end of this, just sayin'.

Week 2 End:

I have to pee every 30 minutes. I wake up every day (even weekends) ravenous for breakfast at 8:30am (yes, even on the weekends). I'm ready for a snack at 4:00pm. I can't eat as much in one sitting as I used to and my portions are getting smaller naturally. My body is really starting to adjust to the changes I’ve made and I’ve started to see some results. First to go, the riblets. You know, those fat pieces that sit on the back of your ribs, yeah, the gross ones. It’s been two weeks and I can see my body is transforming (I’m amazed, really). I haven’t been hungry once, and I haven’t felt like I’ve been dieting, but my God! I’m getting thinner! My face is thinner, my ring spins around and hangs upside down most of the time, and my jeans are fitting better. Oddly, the place where I notice it the most is in my winter coat. I’ve really started to move around in there.

Though I wont weigh myself until Monday morning, I am hoping that it will show a significant drop.
Though you’re allowed a “cheat meal”, I haven’t used it yet. The diet hasn’t been difficult to stick to and I haven’t felt the urge or cravings to verge off the path.

Week 3 Beginning:

-2 pounds

I have had a headache for 2 straight days. I think my days of not having caffeine are catching up to me. I normally have two cups of tea each morning at work. With the snowicane that came through, I didn’t work on Friday and Saturday and Sunday I had no caffeine. One thing I have given up is soda. I’m pretty addicted to Coke, but I’ve discovered that flavored sparkling water gives me my craving of carbonation with sweet taste. But, there is no caffeine in it.
I’m going to have to come to a common ground with the caffeine. I can’t give it up because I can hardly keep my eyes open with these headaches.

During week 2, I began an exercise routine. Following it straight out of the book, I want to give an accurate representation of what this diet is. I do it for you, people. I do it for you! It’s a series of muscle toning exercises that target the abs, arms, and legs mostly. Supposedly, after 4 weeks, you’re supposed to start seeing abs. I do the muscle toning exercises on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with brisk walking or a quick jog on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s really easy for me, since I walk to work everyday. Once it gets warmer, I plan to walk to work (sans subways) on Tuesdays and Thursdays to give my “workout” a little extra oomph!

One thing I really am trying to focus on is my arms. I intend to wear a lot of strappy sundresses this summer and I want my arms to be in tip-top shape. Not Madonna shape, that’s gross.

Meal Plan and I have decided that when we get awesome abs after Week 4, we’ll name them Jersey Shore style. ;)
I’m the beginning of week 3 and I haven’t quit yet! But, I’ll be going out to dinner tomorrow night with a friend, so my stamina will certainly be tested. Make good choices!!

Week 3 End:

I think I did fine with ordering food online – Thai food was chosen – I selected a chicken curry dish that I only ate half of. Though, it’s difficult to determine just how many calories are in foods that are made in restaurants.
I went out for a birthday party and felt really fat amongst friends. I would say that my body image has certainly changed, now that I’m starting to see results. I’m not near where I want to be yet and I’m really starting to consciously notice that I haven’t made it there yet. I tried to stay away from drinks loaded with calories, but I did indulge in some vodka cranberries, which probably had a lot of sugar in it. Shame.

Week 4 Beginning:

-4 pounds

Well, there went the water weight!

I know it seems like I’m constantly complaining, and I should just be grateful that the numbers on the scale keep going in the downward direction. But, to me, I feel like I’ve lost more than the numbers are showing. I should have dropped at least 10 by now, right?

Week 4 End:

Cravings. Lots of them! I want cheeseburgers and bagels. Bad. But, I’ve come this far and I don’t want to turn back on it now. I will just have to keep pressing forward, blocking those cravings out.

I’ve stopped doing the “in book” workout. I wasn’t really feeling like it was doing me any good. (Any exercise is good exercise, I know, but I wasn’t finishing the exercises feeling like I had really worked out) So, I’ve started doing “at home” workouts with Exercise TV On Demand (Check it out, it really is amazing!!). I do much better when someone is yelling at me. It’s like she can really see me when she says, “Don’t stop now!” I did a 20-minute abs workout this week and REALLY felt the burn. (Like, serious soreness the next day) 3 of those per week and I should be pretty muscular!

The book says that you’re supposed to start “seeing abs” at the end of week 4. While I might have more defined ab muscles than when I started, you certainly can’t see them. I can feel them, on the sides, if I press against them, but there’s way too much cushion on top to see anything. Ugh.

Week 5 Beginning:

-1.2 pounds

I REALLY thought that I would have hit the 10-pound mark this week and I was really disheartened to see the scale didn’t reflect that. But, next week should be the breaking point. I’ve done pretty well to maintain a close to 2lbs per week loss, which is healthy for weight loss. Still, I’m impatient (I know I’ve said this A LOT) and want to see more results faster. I’m getting down to the end of my 6-week period and I want to show more results.

I had a little bit of a fall back last night, but didn’t succumb to the temptation. I was hungry around 10:00pm and stared into the cabinets and refrigerator trying to find something to eat. I know that habit can lead to bad snacking. Lately, I’ve been going into my bedroom after 9:30 or so to stop the urge to snack. Not being near the kitchen and food seems to help. I didn’t snack last night, but I did revert back into that “I’m bored, let’s see what there is to eat” realm.

Week 5 End:

I bought a bathing suit today. It’s a tiny, striped bikini. Yellow. Yes, bright yellow and white stripes. Did I mention it’s tiny? It was an impulse buy – a sale and the fuzzy image of me on a beach with 15 more pounds gone. On the one hand, it makes me excited, but on the other, I’m so nervous. Was purchasing something so “nice body required” a stupid idea? I’m going to think of it as a goal to work for instead of a looming terror.

Week 6 Beginning:

+1 pound

I gained a pound. So depressing. I’m trying not to let it get me down, because one pound is hardly anything. I gain and lose 5 pounds in a day, easy. But, it’s still hard to see the downward numbers to suddenly jump back up again. I do know that this week, I will have to work a lot harder to get past this. It’s possible that I have hit a “plateau” and if any of you have dieted before, you know that pushing past the plateau can be difficult.

Week 6 End:

I tried on the bikini. Terrible decision. Let’s just say that I have a LONG way to go before I’ll be able to wear that thing confidently. But, I was able to wear a pair of pants for the first time – I received them for Christmas and have never been able to button them. Major plus to the ego. Still, the image of that swimsuit on me isn’t something that I can easily remove. I have hung the bathing suit up so I can see it every day. It will be a constant reminder of my goal.


Final 6 week weigh-in
-0.4 pounds

Total 6-week weight loss: 7.6 pounds

While the 6-weeks have come to an end, I have not ended this diet. I have a new goal and will continue to work hard to reach it. If nothing else, I have a never-worn swimsuit that would really love to see the sun and sand this season.

So, do I recommend this? Absolutely. It’s non-depriving, easy to stick to, and it works!
Though I didn’t lose the 10 pounds in the 6 weeks, I surpassed it on the 7th week for a current total loss of 11.6 pounds

VA Rating: 10

Check it out for yourself, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The Abs Diet For Women : FIND IT HERE

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