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Anti Aging Diary- How I lost 35 pounds and gained 7 years

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            Anti-Aging Diary - monthly journey to youth, longevity and fitness from Reverse Aging Now, the anti-aging video

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      There is no greater tool to reverse aging than diet with no bigger controversy about how best to do it. While producing Reverse Aging Now, I interviewed Robert Atkins, MD, Dean Ornish, MD, Barry Sears, PhD, Roy Walford, MD, Walter Willett, MD and Nicholas Perricone, MD about healthy eating. It was hard finding common ground, so I took the best from all.

To lose weight, I had to consume fewer calories than burned, however I have always hated counting calories or going hungry.
Tomatoes by Cavell L.Blood                      

I also knew that although I had tried the weight loss effective Atkins diet as a temporary expedient, I couldn't stick with its lack of carbohydrates. With my heart issues, I didn't dare load up on its high fat content. The other extreme, the Ornish diet had always left me hungry. I didn't have the willpower to stick to it, although I knew Dean Ornish was right about the essential nutrients found in produce. Over the long term, Barry Sears' Zone Diet seemed like the best choice, but I had tried that as well only to get discouraged with its gradual weight loss. I wanted something healthy yet dramatic that would encourage me to lose more weight as my metabolism readjusted and my weight loss inevitably slowed over time.

My first component was easy: Eliminate empty calories.

  • Fat has more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins, 9 per gram vs. 4, yet fats are essential for good health. However, most of eat the wrong kinds of fats. I cut out all trans fats and minimized saturated fat by eliminating whole milk, cheese, ice cream and mayonnaise.
  • Meat is rich in protein, but I shunned fatty meats, processed meats, usually high in salt as well, and favored fish along with the leanest cuts I could find.
  • Although there are health benefits to very modest alcohol consumption, it is high in calories and contains no essential nutrients. I decided to forgo that for a month as well.
  • As much as I love sweets, I thought that fruits would be a satisfying substitute. I have to admit that there were times while food shopping when I had to resist the siren call of chocolate.
  • The nutrients in potatoes are better found elsewhere, so spuds went on my restricted list.
  • Grains are the foundation of most of the world's diet, but most of their nutrition is in the germ or, in the case of rice, the bran that covers the grain. I decided to eat wheat germ and fiber while putting a month long hold on grains such as pasta, rice and bread.

I had always been amused by reports linking pizza to good health. The good nutrition was in the lycopene of the tomatoes, the protein of the cheese, the random vegetable like the half an olive on the pie displayed and the wheat germ in the crust. By concentrating on the nutritious ingredients and eliminating the rest, I could cut a lot of calories.

Cheese by Knysna
Pizza by Noir  

My second goal was more of a challenge: Eliminate hunger. To a person, the doctors I had interviewed for my anti-aging DVD, had emphasized the role of blood sugar levels on hunger. The Atkins diet is a successful weight loss strategy because the plan is high in protein. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates. However as Barry Willcox, MD also emphasized to me, a diet rich in fiber also slows blood sugar absorption. My goal then was to craft a diet that was high in nutrients and low in calories, the essence of Roy Walford's anti-aging calorie restriction, but that was slowly absorbed. I also needed it to taste good and be easy to prepare. The diet had to be one that I could stick with for several months until my body showed a difference.

As part of my work on Reverse Aging Now, I had featured juicing and had even incorporated it into a story on superdrinks now on the Reverse Aging Now DVD. I soon learned that by designing a juice that that covered the gamut of vegetables and fruits and incorporated fiber, wheat germ, and protein, I could put together a solid foundation for a healthy diet.

This then became the essence of my anti aging diet:

  • Begin the day with a cup of coffee or tea with a touch of reduced fat milk for taste.
  • Once a day, drink the ultimate anti-aging juice.
  • Take the vitamins and supplements outlined in the Reverse Aging Now Interactive Longevity Workbook. A good multi-vitamin will do to begin.
  • The rest of the day when hungry, slowly eat moderate amounts of low fat protein sources, such as fish, very lean meat, non fat cottage cheese, non fat yogurt, light tofu, or hard boiled eggs, until hunger is gone.
  • For essential fats, sear meats, tofu or fish in a blend of olive and canola oil with onions, garlic, red peppers or another vegetable accent, with a bit of soy sauce. Have a few nuts as an weekly treat.
  • Eat a piece of fruit, when craving something sweet.
  That's it! That's all. The diet worked better than I ever anticipated.   Fruit by Pix Elle