By The Restaurant Dieter

Tag: Weight Watchers (Page 1 of 3)

Why I am not dieting

About a year ago, I rebranded this website from The Restaurant Dieter to Healthy Restaurant I did not know at the time how wise that decision would be. I’m done with dieting.

And I’m no worse for it.

Yesterday, I weighed in at Weight Watchers. Without tracking and counting Weight Watchers points for two months now, I have remained in the same weight band I have been for the better part of a year.  How have I managed? I have engaged in mindful eating — not at all the same as a diet — and gotten some exercise. I’ve added more nuts to my diet, whenever I feel like it. And I’ve stopped eating when I feel full.

These are the wise conclusions in a revealing new book called “Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession with Weight Loss.” Author Sandra Aamodt chronicles her own journey, along with tons of peer-reviewed scientific research that shows why this is a losing battle. Most interesting of all to me is the research that shows the very act of mentally focusing on the weight battle wears us down and results in…more eating.

In a recent column for The New York Times, she wrote:

WHY would dieting lead to weight gain? First, dieting is stressful. Calorie restriction produces stress hormones, which act on fat cells to increase the amount of abdominal fat. Such fat is associated with medical problems like diabetes and heart disease, regardless of overall weight.

 Second, weight anxiety and dieting predict later binge eating, as well as weight gain. Girls who labeled themselves as dieters in early adolescencewere three times more likely to become overweight over the next four years. Another study found that adolescent girls who dieted frequently were 12 times more likely than non-dieters to binge two years later.

How credible is her work? Pretty credible. She has an undergraduate degree in biophysics, a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester and four years of post-doctoral research at Yale University, according to her biography. She’s also was the editor-in-chief of the scientific journal, Nature Neuroscience.

And her own journey will sound achingly familiar to those who have struggled with weight their entire lives.

This is no knock on Weight Watchers, which just this year changes to a new emphasis on eating mindfully, exercising and overall health. It’s called “Beyond the Scale.” In fact, though I am not tracking and writing things down, I am eating the way Weight Watchers recommends on its “Simply Filling” plan, which does not require the level of writing things down that the standard points-tracking plan does.

At some point, I might chuck Weight Watchers entirely, but not yet. I like being able to weigh in to keep my mind on my mindfulness, so to speak. And for a person just starting to get serious about living a healthy lifestyle, I’d still recommend it as a splendid way to get acclimated to eating the good food our bodies need more often.

Weight Watchers weigh-in: Up 2, but it could be a lot worse

Travel is hard. It shows up on the scale for nearly everyone. In my case, it was:

  1. A weekend in New York for fun.
  2. A week in Orlando at a company conference. You can’t set the menu, you can’t avoid the food. There are healthy choices, of course, but so many others and so much of it. And when the meetings start with breakfast and go through sponsored events until 9 p.m., it’s not easy.
  3. A weekend in Cincinnati with friends.

There’s always next week.

Weight Watchers weigh-in: A bad day registers a gain, but a good walk helps

The weather app said the temperature in New York was 18 degrees, but would feel like 1 degree with the wind chill. It did.

The weather app said the temperature in New York was 18 degrees, but would feel like 1 degree with the wind chill. It did.

The day before my most recent weigh-in was one of those days when one questionable decision leads to many. The result was on the scale: For the first time since October, I’d gained weight from one Weight Watchers weigh-in to the next.

I was up 1.6 pounds. It all started with a single doughnut hole. It ended with me snacking on shredded wheat squares out of the box just before bedtime, which a really bad idea with a weigh-in the next morning.

The new, more forgiving and Oprah-fied Weight Watchers is trying to squelch the self-recrimination that some people feel when they have a less-than-desirable weigh-in. That makes sense to me. Nothing encourages an emotional eater to eat more than guilt does. It’s more important to set it aside and refocus anew.

Which is what I did with a walk around New York, from our place on the Upper West Side to the Bryant Park-Public Library area and then to Times Square for a show. My weather app said it was 18 degrees, but felt 1 degree with the wind chill. So I bundled up and it was fine. And by mid-day, I’d already walked almost 4 1/2 miles.

We walk a lot when we are in New York

We walk a lot when we are in New York

Weight Watchers weigh-in: down to 207

Today’s weigh-in went well. I’m down to 207, a weight I haven’t been since the summer of 2013.

Now the question: How low to try and go? You can see my weight history below. My doctor had recommended a goal weight of 190, which I achieved and then went lower pretty quickly.

Then I went on a testosterone supplement, got off the plan and crept slowly back up.

I feel pretty good at this weight and always have. I was this size in high school.  So we will just have to see how it all feels.

My Weight Watchers weight history

My Weight Watchers weight history

A Weight Watchers take on Eater’s list of 38 essential restaurants

The website Eater just released its “National Eater 38: Where to Eat in 2016.” The list was compiled by Eater’s excellent critic, Bill Addison, whom I once tried to hire to write about restaurants for a major publication. Here’s my take on the three restaurants that I’ve sampled, two of them before The Restaurant Dieter launched.

Alinea, Chicago

This place was high on the husband’s list, in part because it’s been honored and celebrated like there’s no tomorrow. The chef is Grant Achatz, who has the distinction of being this genius chef — who lost his sense of taste due to cancer. Really. You couldn’t make this up.

Our meal consisted of like 19 itty-bitty tasting menu courses that might have been invented by a mad scientist. Each time one arrived, our helpful server explained precisely how to eat it. The little white ball in a green liquid was to be tossed back all at once, allowing the ball to collapse and merge its contents with the green liquid. Another dish was set on a pillow of scented air, which slowly deflated and added — we were told — to the sensory experience. Today I can’t remember a thing about the dishes, only the voluble instruction.

The scene was so ripe for parody that when coffee arrived, I asked the server: “Is there some special way we’re supposed to consume this?”

Gunshow, Atlanta

I was so eager to try this restaurant for several reasons: One, the chef was Kevin Gillespie, whose food, whose aw-shucks geniality and ginger bear modesty made him the fan favorite on Bravo’s sixth season of “Top Chef.” Two, I’d eaten at his Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, which was excellent. Three, the restaurant adopted a new serving style akin to Chinese dim sum. The cooks make the rounds with trays and carts; diners choose what looks good, as many or as few plates as they like.

You might guess what happened: Our foursome wanted to taste everything, often taking more than one of each. We wound up eating way more than we should have — not good for one watching calorie intake carefully. When the bill arrived, it was more than $400 — without alcohol. Gulp.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Las Vegas

This was my second visit to one of Joel Robuchon’s restaurants; I’d visited its twin in Paris. Both featured tasting menus, served at counters that offered a bird’s eye view of the kitchen doing the work. Every course was modest and crafted with considerable care. Were it not for the crusty French bread, it might have been a modestly healthy meal. But good bread is hard to resist. The full review is here.


Weight Watchers weigh-in: lowest weight in 2 years

Today at Weight Watchers, I clocked in at my lowest weight in two years. This despite the fact that the company potluck was this week, and I ate pretty well anything I wanted.  Toeing the line the rest of the week clearly worked.

Weight Watchers weigh-in chart

Weight Watchers weigh-in for Dec. 19, 2013

Weight loss is a journey and full of ups and downs. I’ve long believed that it’s not a matter of joining Weight Watchers, achieving a goal and letting life go on. In the society we live, there is only a permanent balancing act.

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