Sara loses 70 pounds in 6 months!

I have spent the last two summers teaching nutrition, culinary and fitness classes at Wellspring, an organization that specializes in weight loss. (for more info on Wellspring listen to this National Public Radio piece: http://www.npr.org/2011/12/12/142661672/school-transforms-teens-lives-one-pound-at-a-time )

Last summer I worked with Sara, a music teacher from Virginia who has spent years struggling to lose weight. Sara recently got in touch with me to share her continued success and was happy to have me share some of her story on this blog.

What a difference 6 months makes!

Of her transition Sara says, “I discovered how to conquer obstacles that seemed impossible before and was able to change my mindset on exercise, food, and body image.” Sara came to every nutrition workshop with an open mind and a ready pen. Her dedication paid off and by the end of her 6 week stay at Wellspring Sara had lost an astonishing 40 pounds. During the following 6 months Sara lost another 30 pounds for a total of 70 pounds. Sara also lost 55 inches from: bust: 9, waist: 17, hips 14.5 inch, thighs 8, arms 6.5.

Sara used no gimmicks, no pills, no juicing, and no fasting. Sara credits her success to monitoring her diet with daily journaling and following a strict low fat, high fiber,  diet. She plans to continue her weight loss and achieve her goal weight. Sara plans to celebrate her success by hiking in Yosemite with close friends.

 

 

 

 

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Our plan for weight loss: The Sober Plate Part 1

Thank you to my friend Kristy Simmons, who took my chicken scratch sketches and made them shine.

The Taoist philosophy of yin-yang is founded on the belief that darkness and light exist in a balance. Neither is good, nor bad; instead, both exist to bring out contrast in the other and to provide balance. Borrowing this philosophy for a diet design I divided food into two main categories: those that are heavy/weight promoting (proteins/starches) and those that are light/promote weight loss (non starchy vegetables). Again, neither is good or bad, it is only the relative proportion that dictates the meaning. Continuing with this reasoning I assigned the most potent weight promoting elements, the fats and sugars, to the smallest circles.

If you want to lose weight, eat accordingly, half the plate veggies, a quarter protein, a quarter starch. If you are happy with your weight you can divide the plate into three even parts and/or add fat. If you need to gain weight, well, let us just say there are a lot of options out there.

I was inspired to create this plate design from my experience with the plate method. The plate method was developed by the American Dietetic Association, as a blood sugar management tool for diabetics. I began using this diet years ago because it was so simple that I could teach it to the illiterate Latino populations that I often worked with. As I tracked patients’ diets and weight I noticed a variety of trends that correlated with both weight loss and weight gain. That information inspired me to research ways to overhaul the Plate Method to maximize weight loss.

A real life example – 1/4 plate protein (beans), 1/4 plate starch (rice, brown would be better but its hard to get in Latin America) and 1/2 plate of veggie, both stewed and as salad, lime juice dressing

Although the Plate Method is great for managing blood sugars there are several aspects of it that make weight loss difficult: 1) the lack of distinction between starchy and fibrous vegetables 2) the inclusion of generous amounts of dairy products (I count dairy as a protein or a fat, depending on the product) 3) the lack of any visual guideline on fats or sugars. Additionally the Plate Method does not discuss the degree of processing in the food, the water content, or the fiber content. I have made all these and more modifications. In the coming weeks I will post details about the diet and each of the seven categories: Proteins, starches, vegetables, fats, sugars, fruits, and beverages.

For now consider as a final thought: Our plate is both a mirror and a crystal ball, what we see on our plate reflects who we are now and who we will become in the future.

 

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