So I’ve started a diet. Who doesn’t want to lose weight and get healthy when summer is approaching, right? But this diet is more than just that – it’s a way of eating that just makes sense, and it is actually maintainable. When most people go on a diet, they find an eating plan that they can maintain for a little while – enough to lose a bit of weight, but then once the weight is lost and those diet behaviors cease, the weight tends to come back. I don’t want that – it’s hard enough to lose weight in the first place; I don’t want to have to lose it more than once! And I am definitely not hugely overweight. I’m pretty average. But I know that I’m carrying a bit more on my frame than is healthy. So I had to find something that would work …
Enter the No-S Diet. This plan is simply genius. The S stands for snacks, sweets, and seconds – meaning, you need to cut these out EXCEPT (and here’s the sustainable part) on S days – usually Saturday, Sunday, and special days. That’s it! You can have whatever you want for your meals, as long as it fits on a plate. And of course, it helps if you make more healthful choices at meals, but it’s not necessarily a requirement. Just by cutting out snacking, hundreds of calories are eliminated. The same with sweets and seconds. As long as what you are having for your meal fits on one plate and you are having a reasonable number of pre-planned meals per day (typically 3, although some people are successful having 4 or 5 planned smaller meals per day), you are following this diet.
I tend to make healthy choices anyway, especially since the food I eat is always vegan. That cuts out a number of calories, as well as unhealthy substances, right there. But even though I was eating healthy food, I was gaining weight – or at least staying at a higher weight than what I wanted. I think that my problem came down to mostly snacking – and my snacks were typically half a wheat bagel or an apple, but they were still unnecessary calories. Now my meals themselves are actually bigger – because I am having that apple with my supper, along with some salad plus the main entree. But I am not eating as often, and I am not eating high-calorie sweet stuff during the week. As you can probably guess, eating healthfully 5 out of 7 days can do wonders for a person!
And those other 2 days? You can have whatever you want. If you want seconds of a particularly good meal, have them. If you want to have a few cookies, go for it. And if you want to follow breakfast with 11 a.m. brunch, no problem. Of course, if people let their “S Days” get out of hand, it will be harder to lose weight. But if you are only “getting out of hand” 2 days a week instead of EVERY day (or at least most days during the week), you are cutting out a lot of it. I even find that I do not want to go overboard on my S-days because I just don’t feel good after I eat a large amount of sugary food, or just too much food in general. I still treat myself, mainly because I know that I won’t get to for another week. But my treats are better than what they were when I started. At the beginning, I would plan to gorge on a whole bag of Twizzler Pull-N-Peels (have you ever read the ingredients on those? Ick), but now I’m more likely to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, have a few, and take the rest to work the next day.
Which brings me to another happy side effect: I am so much more aware of my food than I was before. Ok, I have to admit – I still eat dinner in front of the TV most nights, and I still tend to browse the Internet or read a book while I am having breakfast and lunch. So I am not totally conscious of my eating. But MORE than I was before, at least. I slow down, sip water between bites, and actually taste every bit of food that I eat. I used to look down at my plate, thinking I still had a few bites left, only to realize that my dinner was gone! Not anymore. I know when I am taking the last bite – and I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the first. When I’m done eating, I’m satisfied – I don’t really want to go browse through the cabinets around 8 p.m. wondering what there is to eat. When I DO feel like browsing the cabinets, I realize I’m probably just bored and should get up and do something instead of sitting around thinking about food when I just ate a satisfying meal an hour or two ago and should in no way feel hungry.
On the website, linked above, there is a forum as well as a handy tool called a Habitcal. This calendar allows you to mark when your S-days are, as well as your successes and failures. If you realize that you have been staying at the same weight for a few weeks, check your Habitcal. That will tell you if you’ve just had too many S-days or “red” days, or it might allow you to pinpoint something else. There are also testimonials from people who have followed the No-S plan for years now. They have some amazing stories, and they provide amazing support for other people on the boards. Reinhard, the creator of No-S, managed to expand his concept into a book that is for sale as well, although the website has the majority of the information there. The book is easy and quick to read, but it contains a wealth of information and answers to questions that people may have. It’s great for paging through here and there when you need some motivation, or reading straight through to get you started.
Anyway, to quote LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow – don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself!