I started the program outlined in Crack the Fat Loss Code, by Wendy Chant, on January 11th, 2009 and according to the bathroom scale I have lost exactly 20 lb in six weeks. Now this particular twenty pounds was twenty pounds that was put on quickly in autumn due to stress at work and great liquor prices at the store, so at this point it is less of an accomplishment and really just a successful repentance. And just as the weight was put on gradually, at first without noticing, so was it lost. I do doubt the figure of 20 pounds. I think I look like I’ve lost ten pounds, just as I thought I had only put on ten pounds a few months ago. But I choose today to trust the scale just as I was forced to months ago when it delivered the surprising bad news
The only other diet I have to compare with the Fat Loss Code is the simple economics of the good old-fashioned calorie counting and exercise diet. For me, at the six-week point, each diet has worked exactly the same. Now it should be cautioned that I did give up drinking entirely during this diet, which has always been a quick way for me to lose weight, but the teetotalism is actually instructed by the Code itself as part of the first six weeks of the diet, so it should be understood as an important part of the Code. .
The overall program consists of six weeks of portioning carbs and proteins to accommodate the speed by which the body consumes and turns them into energy. While protein is consumed and converted into energy within a single day the body can take up to 72 hours to process carbs. If you eat even a decent amount of carbs three days in a row you are taking in more than the body can process and instead of energy these carbohydrates are stored and converted into body fat. Thus is the thought behind the Code and by learning to evaluate the amount of each building block in each food you can manipulate your consumption to meet your body’s needs rather than your body’s desires.
I’m choosing to stop now, after six weeks, and to move on to calorie counting because I just can’t stand reading diet book mumbo jumbo anymore. I have no disdain for Wendy Chant or her book and am happy to be down twenty pounds but it can be soul sucking to consult a diet book everyday for six week. Plus, I ate so many egg whites and so much baked chicken I’ve been driven into a state of a yogurt loving, vegetable craving devoted pescatarianism. I plan to never eat, or even to participate remotely in jokes involving chickens again. I find roasted tofu more delicious than meat and I’ll forgo bacon from this day forward because I can’t be bothered anymore to use so many paper towels to absorb the grease. Plus without meat or alcohol my financial situation is considerably improved.
Beyond the food, the major issue with dieting is the approach one must take towards their body in order to choose to diet. First, in order to focus on loosing weight one must have, at some point, looked at their body with shame, disgust or regret and when choosing to diet you must use and channel that shame every day into the self-restraint and wise choices that make you pick yogurt over ice cream and tea over wine. Choosing tea over wine can be a pleasant choice, especially on a snowy afternoon, but when the tea is steeped with self-hatred and shame it tastes bitter and the sweet numbing siren’s song of wine is even more difficult to resist. Second, when evaluating your daily food intake and caloric production you tend to view your body as a machine or motor that you are consistently working to keep going. Even when you view your body with disdain or shame you at least still view it as essential to your self and as natural as your own thought. When I begin to view my body as a machine I begin to be concerned not just for its carb intake and caloric output but become conscious of its overall health and cannot stop contemplating its eventual expiration. I’ve unnecessarily ended up in an emergency room and several doctors’ office in the last six weeks because of my extreme concern for the finite machine that is my body. Every tick and twitch and tingle is a sign my engine is failing; every bit of soreness in my knee feels like an aging Chevy’s faulty carburetor. I’m twenty-five years old but the greatest difficulty in dieting is overcoming the paranoia that is stirred up by being forced to consistently focus on my body as something separate from my self.
But, if I think realistically, the only thing to worry about is the long-term affects of my large yet quite joyful mid-section and so I move on into a different economy of dieting and continue to try and convince myself that a good balanced diet is somehow directly correlated with a strong mind and healthy soul.
And as I move into the simple arithmetic, and book-balancing of calorie counting and jogging in hopes of losing more weight, I am actually more confident than ever before, and I have only Crack the Fat Loss Code to thank. The true benefit wasn’t the program itself but the discipline it forced on me. Normally, six weeks into calorie counting I’m ready to quit because reading the small print on varied cereal boxes exhausts me and I get sick of Google’s Calorie count program that refuses to give you information in anything besides Calories/Gram. Who knows how many Grams of Grapes I ate yesterday? And who owns a precise gram-measuring scale except for laboratory scientists and pot dealers? Nevertheless, Crack the Fat Loss Code trained me well and taught me to look at eating on a week-by-week basis rather than daily, which was easier and less annoying. Compared to calorie counting, which I would compare to a primitive haggling and bartering open market economy based on individual survival, the program in Crack the Fat Loss Code resembles more a socially beneficial complex financial-engineered, hyper-developed economy.
Of course, this is the major issue with intricately designed diet programs. Complex economies can make you a quick and easy profit simply by joining in but they always fail and crash to the ground and while we were rich off Qualcomm ten years ago we’re now being poisoned to death by our homes; eating steak and bacon non-stop for twelve weeks left you gloriously thin but the pride brought on by this easy weight-loss often leads to gaining it all back and a zero sum outcome. When you calorie count and barter your way down the BMI index, there is very little to lose, but it can be a slow and difficult life spent on treadmills and eating celery sticks and rice cakes and dry cheeseless pickle sandwiches on tough grainy bread. But this step is necessary and the discipline from the last six-weeks is, after all, a discipline of the mind that is worth continuing as long as is necessary.
So, yes, I am very thankful for Marta, who recommended this book to me because it has trained me well. Combined with Omnivore’s Dilemma (a must read for all) I am now a decently educated consumer and maker of food. I can identify foods full of fiber and how to combine those foods with great carbohydrates to increase metabolism. I can tell how yogurts from some parts of the world are great for building muscles and how yogurt from other areas will just make you flabby. I can identify good fats needed to lubricate tendons and bones opposed to bad fats only needed to keep you warm in the winter, if you’re sleeping in a cave. And I can make egg white dishes so well the blandness can only be detected faintly in the inevitable aftertaste. Plus, to everyone’s benefit, I can now confidently assume the role of the obnoxious person on the diet who criticizes what others eat all the time or just uses looks of disgust and silences to insinuate judgment.
All jokes aside, I am a happier person. Wendy Chant says not to pick weight goals but just to continue eating healthily and a healthy weight will come along. She says to pick other more personal goals to achieve like running a marathon or being able to wear a certain type of clothing. So I don’t worry too much about weight goals, but will venture into the supermarket tomorrow morning hunting for specific foods like a true Fat Loss Code summa cum laude graduate, trying to find my own way to be healthy and to lose weight and eventually to achieve my goal of looking fantastic naked.