How to be a Lush and Still lose Weight (or how I lost over 30 pounds with my wine and cheese diet)

Good morning, dear readers! 

Or, at least I hope I am getting this posted in time for morning. My soul-sucking day job had me working overtime again, and then - after a single glass of wine! (I swear...and no cheese!) - I fell asleep until almost 9:00 pm. We have an Internet curfew of nine o'clock in our home, but my husband was working tonight and not around to keep me awake, so he has allowed me special dispensation tonight since I had promised to post this on my blog for Friday., many people have asked how I lost so much weight, and relatively quickly. If you scroll down to the lower left corner, you will see My Fitness Pal progress. Well, it used to say 31 pounds lost, but we had a lot of "events" that involved eating (anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Boxing Day {yes, that's a thing that we celebrate with friends}), and there was a lot of eating out when one of my husband's oldest/dearest friends came down for a visit, plus there was our "Cards Against Humanity" wine and cheese party, and I had an accident that kept me from walking the dogs for a while.... OK, so I'm making excuses; but even when I bitched about my weight gain to my shrink, he just shrugged and said, "Everyone gains weight this time of year." But I'm back on it! I had wanted to lose another ten pounds, and instead another ten pounds found me!

Yes, I know I have completely digressed with excuses, so let's get back to it.

Many people have asked about my weight loss, and I have mentioned my "wine and cheese" diet, so they have asked me to elaborate. Well, it all started with that "Twinkie Diet." You know that professor who lost 27 pounds in 10 weeks eating a bunch of Twinkies and Doritos. How did he do it? Counting calories. This made total sense to me since "calories" are a unit of energy. It's just like the MPG on a car. Energy in must be less than energy burned in order to lose weight. Like this guy said to the LA Times:
So weight loss is simple math — why is this big news? According to Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity specialist at the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa, Canada, Haub's diet made headlines the world over "because it hammers home one incredibly unfortunate fact — the world doesn't understand calories."
I have been fighting my weight since junior high school, and I tried it all: low-fat, Atkins, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, French Women, and on and on. I might lose a few pounds in several weeks, but nothing to write home (or blog) about. And it always came back - and then some. (Please refer to disclaimer/excuse above for my recent weight gain.) There were always these mantras of foods you could not eat or no eating after 8:00 pm or a bunch of small meals throughout the day or always eat breakfast.

The truth came down to two things: counting calories and a "diet" one could live with forever. (I really just added "forever" so I wouldn't end a sentence with a preposition.)

So what is my equivalent to Twinkies and Doritos? Wine and cheese! I cannot give them up and sustain any kind of long-term weight-loss plan. Also, that entire "eat breakfast" and "don't eat at night"  BS does not work with me or my life. I think even Weight Watchers tossed those ideas.

In any case, my internist/endocrinologist (I have a LOT of health problems) told me to limit my calories to 1200 a day. He's from India, so he's smart! He didn't tell me how, where, or when I should consume said calories. He does, however, run an enormous blood panel on me every few months to track vitamins, cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, etc. etc. etc.  On my wine and cheese diet - just like in the case of the Twinkie guy - my cholesterol readings improved and (my) level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, decreased as my weight came down. For a little while, my blood sugar was "slightly on the high side," which he attributed to my wine consumption; but then it was as if my body adapted because then it came down! I have the blood reports if anyone wants to see them. He literally wrote "A+" on my blood tests!

I am not a health expert (although as much research and dieting I have done over the last 30+ years should make me an expert!), and I am not advocating that anyone follow my plan. Everyone has to do what works for him and his real life - something that can be maintained. This is what has worked for me; thus, after many inquiries, I am making it public.

My Diet

First, let's talk about my schedule: To say I am not a morning person is a huge understatement. The last thing I want to do when I first wake up is "break my fast." It took me a long time, and for some reason I consider it a huge achievement - but about 15 years ago, I finally started drinking my coffee black. (I like my coffee like I like my men: dark and bitter {kind of like Mr. Darcy!}.  My daughter says she likes her coffee like she likes her men: ground up and in the freezer. LOL! Sorry, it's too late to call social services about my parenting!)  Also, I work from home, which allows me to have my meals when I actually feel hungry instead of when the clock tells me to eat. Next, my husband works a LOT of nights and doesn't get home until after 9:00 pm. Obviously, I want to eat with him; so that whole "don't eat after..." bit is shot to hell.

I start off the day with black coffee. (I used Stevia for a long time, which is fine, but I don't use aspartame, and, for the love of all that's holy, I would NEVER use Splenda! It's chlorine! I even have chlorine filtered out of my drinking water and shower, and I paid to have my daughters' pool converted to salt water. Believe it or not, because of long-term studies, it has been shown that the "preferable" artificial sweetener is saccharine. The rats that got cancer were eating double their body weight in saccharine. So unless someone is consuming 200 pounds of saccharine a day, any that is ingested just passes through the body without even being digested. And no chlorine!

BREAKFAST: (Eaten sometime between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm)
3 egg whites with a little crushed red pepper (supposedly an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster...whatever...)   
51 calories. Or you could have 4 egg whites for 68 calories, but I use a teeny-tiny non-stick skillet perfect for 3, which is perfect for me.

 "LUNCH": (Whenever I get off work, so usually between 4 and 5:30 pm)
2 Light Babybel cheese rounds and wine - but we'll get to the wine later.
100 calories for cheese. I slice it up and eat each little piece slowly and then take a sip of wine.

(Between 9 and 10:00 pm)
Lean meat or fish and veggies. 
150 - 450 calories 

We eat tuna, salmon, pork tenderloin, turkey or chicken breasts, tilapia, catfish. Even a 6 ounce sirloin from Outback with their plain mixed vegetables is fewer than 350 calories.


This turkey breast was so lean, I made a lovely spinach salad with feta cheese, almonds, dried cranberries, and balsamic vinaigrette. The salad had most of the calories - 270 out of the total of 450 calories.

Tuna steak & Normandy blend vegetables: 150 calories

Blackened Salmon & broccoli: 350 calories

Thus, on average, I "eat" 500 calories a day. So for my remaining 700 calories? Wine! That might sound like a lot, but remember this is a span of 6 to 8 hours.

Now I am red wine lover, and quite particular about my reds as well, so I would never consider diluting it; however, a Pinot Grigio is almost like Kool-aid, and I add club soda or fizzy water to make my own wine spritzer that I can sip on all night if we're not having red.

I measure and weigh everything and log it into My Fitness Pal, and believe it or not, this is actually a nutritious diet with perfect percentages of protein, fat, and carbs.(I just happen to get all my carbs from wine.) Plus I am always below the thresholds for saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. And for anyone who could not possibly give up rice or pasta,  
check out my experiment with Miracle Noodles.

Please note:  I do not advocate this diet for anyone (especially people with substance abuse issues). My husband is counting his calories, sugar, and sodium, and he chooses to use his calorie allotment on what he likes. I think that's the key: finding a way to "spend" calories in the best way for individual tastes without feeling deprived - whether it's wine or Twinkies.


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