Monday, April 24, 2006

Working Up A Black Sweat Part Deux

I've never been one to really follow a diet to the letter. I've always just flipped through a pile of diet books, found the magic bullet and then acted accordingly. Sometimes. Well, okay, hardly ever.

I've done the infamous Cabbage Soup diet and lost nine-pounds in one week, only to gain back ten the next. I skimmed through The Zone and The South Beach Diet and any number of liquid diets, but they only sent me to the nearest burger joint. I've also done the straight vegan thing: no meat, no dairy, no nothin' - but only because I became violently ill one night off of some bad Chinese food.


That's why I sympathize with Janet Jackson and her diet woes, especially because I feel like I've grown up with her: from her dead-on Mae West imitations to Good Times and Diff'rent Strokes right on through to Fame. I loved Young Love from her first album but had to forgive her for Dream Street. I exulted with her with Control (which was like a mantra for me, right along with Prince's When Doves Cry) and was a card-carrying member of Rhythm Nation 1814. I even copied her key-on-the-earring look, but had less success with copying her moves from The Pleasure Principle video.

Family Drama? The Super Bowl? Yo-yo dieting? Hey look, we all have problems. I have to say there is a part of me that loves the extra Janet in sweats and sunglasses. Yes, I know that yo-yo dieting is dangerous - who doesn't? But I've always chalked up Janet's apparent weight gains in-between-albums as a sign of rebellion. It's as if she's saying, "Hey look, I'm off-duty. Leave me alone!"


Some of my own ambivalence has been influenced by the realization of how differently people have treated me based on my dress size and there is still a part of me that wants to say, Screw you buddy! That's part of what I think I see in Janet (I think!) After all, she never gets obese. I have never been obese and most people never guess my weight correctly (muscle really does weigh more than fat.) I could definitely be wrong about Janet of course, but there is always something behind a woman gaining and losing weight - and it's not always depression and stress.

That said, I am seriously looking to lose weight for a variety of reasons. And that means, incredibly enough, that I'm going to have to get real about my coffee intake. I always like to say that I'm a night owl - and I am, but now I realize that drinking coffee after a certain time really will interrupt my sleep. I never wanted to believe this, but of course it's true (and I must note that I am writing this at 2:57 am even though I have a morning appointment.) Whenever I cut down my coffee intake, I sleep better, my skin looks better and at some point, you've got to face the facts. I'm still guilty of cherry-picking eating plans, but this time I've narrowed them down to just two: Nicholas Perricone's The Perricone Prescription and David Kirsch's Ultimate New York Body Plan. I like Perricone's plan because he recommends foods that I actually eat like salmon and broccoli and I like David Kirsch's plan because he is reasonable about food and has a cool, do-able workout. Kirsch recommends working out on an empty stomach to burn the maximum amount of fat, and then following the workout with a protein shake with your breakfast. If you workout at night, the protein shake would be your last meal of the evening. He says that you can have some green tea before you work out for energy if necessary, and it probably will be. The workout is 90 minutes, splitting 45 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes of cardio-sculpt. His meal plan is 1200 calories and adheres to his signature A-B-C-D-E-F formula: no alcohol, bread, starchy carbs (potatoes, rice, pasta, corn), dairy, extra sweets (including artificial sweeteners), fruits and most fats. He recommends eating high-protein meals every three hours with the last meal of the day 12 hours after the first.

So, that's the plan I'm trying to stick to. I get up and before I think about anything, I turn on my computer (I know, I'm incorrigible - but it's where I play my music), make a large cup of green tea and hop on the treadmill. This isn't so bad if I've got The View on mute or something, but usually I have early morning appointments which means it will probably be Today or GMA on mute. Or, it means that I'm in bed until the last possible minute staring at the treadmill and feeling guilty.

I have never, ever been an AM workout person - but evening workouts seem to work for me only when I work 9 to 5 - so wish me luck. Lots of it!

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5 Comments:

Blogger Miss Ahmad said...

i've been losing weight the old fashioned way, watching what I eat and eating less of it!

so far i'm down almost ten pounds, i eat what I want, just less than I used to and I work out as much as possible.

i was a huge dieter in my 20's i was down to a size 0 when in lived in NYC..I don't need to go there again, but i can say from experience losing weight takes work!

good luck!

April 24, 2006 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Nichelle said...

A size 0????

Chile, the last time I was a size 0, oh wait... I ain't never been a size 0! LOL!!

I've been eating less and working out too, but I found that I was only maintaining and I want to step it up a bit. I'm not in a hurry to lose a specific amount of weight though. I want to see what looks (and feels) good on me.

April 24, 2006 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Mrs A. said...

GOOD LUCK!! girl, last year, i tried so many different things, the liquid crap drinking that hot cayenne pepper mess, fasting, south beach, etc. but what really worked in the end was changing the food i ate and running. i never denied myself any specific thing cuz of course, you always want THAT ONE THING more than ever when your not "supposed" to eat it. so with balance and running...all was well! you'll do it. your treadmill will help you leaps and bounds!

April 25, 2006 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Nichelle said...

Whoa! Cayenne pepper? I think I vaguely heard of that one, but I'm not sure what it is.

Thanks for your good wishes. The treadmill is a big help. And I've got weights and a step that came with my Firm DVD.

April 25, 2006 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous bittersweetcocoa said...

Have you heard of the Shangri La Diet? I read about it in one of my techie blogs and told one of my sisters who is trying to lose weight about it.

I dont need to lose weight but I found that I lost some after starting pilates (only 5 pounds in a month but still...).

good luck. nice blog. :-)

September 6, 2006 at 11:54 PM  

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