Thursday, September 23, 2010

Interesting diet news

In the CNN article I linked to in the previous post, the author mentioned she had started her weight loss using a low-carb plan, although she didn't say which one or whether she continued in that direction. At any rate, one of the criticisms often heard about low-carb plans is that so much animal protein can't possibly be good for you.

Animal-based protein diets increase mortality rate

What the headline doesn't mention is that the study cited in the article yielded pretty good results for low-carb, high-protein diets where the proteins were vegetable-based. In other words, a vegetarian low-carb, high-protein diet can actually be pretty good for you.

So I was on the phone last night with a friend who had read my previous post and asked me how it was going (pretty well, for the record). We got into the specifics of what I was doing (paraphrased):

Me: For lunch I usually have a big salad with some chicken on top.
Him: It's not good to kill a chicken for your food. Americans and their fried chicken... (Ed. note: my friend is Indian)
Me (slightly defensive): No, no, it's not fried. It's grilled, so it's about as healthy as chicken gets.
Him: Yes, but the chicken was healthier before it was killed.
Me: *sigh*

You may be aware that many Hindus are vegetarian. This is because one of the core principles of almost any Hindu group is nonviolence (ahimsa in Sanskrit), and many choose to extend this to animals as well as humans. The Vedanta Society does not require or expect its devotees to be vegetarian (although many are), but generally, the food served at our functions is vegetarian, with the exception of the very occasional fish dish.

So if I can eat a healthy diet without meat, it's certainly worth considering. The plan I'm on has a vegetarian version, so it's certainly doable. I have to battle my inner Vincent Vega on this, though (NSFW, language, etc.):

Not the best quality video, but I'm sure you get the idea. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Confession with hypothesis testing

First, the confession: I've always wanted to be beautiful, and it bothers me (probably more than it should) that I'm not. Before any of my family, friends, or just anybody who preaches the gospel of inner beauty gets all wound up about this, let me clarify what I mean.

It is fairly obvious that society favors those who are considered attractive. For instance, I thought the movie The Invention of Lying handled this idea very honestly and effectively, although it wasn't the main theme of the movie. Generally, attractive people are rewarded more and get away with more than their less attractive counterparts. Society does not favor me in this regard, so I think it's safe to say I am not considered particularly attractive by society at large, which is what I mean by my initial statement.

This is not entirely for lack of trying. I've made improvements in the way I dress and even found a hair stylist who is good with curly hair. However, my weight is a problem. A few days ago, I encountered this article on CNN's website:

She drops 100 pounds, gains new world

The gist of the article is that this woman loses 100 pounds, and lo and behold, people start treating her better. Not just potential romantic interests, but more people want to be her friend, too. Even her professional life has improved.

As you might have guessed, I have a few things in common with the author of that article. We both come from deep-frying cultures and use humor as a coping mechanism. Like her, my social life isn't quite what I want it to be.

I've actually been thin before in my life, but I was such a mess mentally at the time that I didn't enjoy it. This time, I feel like I've done the inner work. I feel pretty good about who I am on the inside. Now I just want an outside to match.

Here's where the hypothesis testing comes in. I have a feeling if I am able to drop some weight, I'll have an experience similar to the CNN article author's: suddenly people who previously ignored me will find me interesting. There is other evidence to back this up.

I think I've chosen a plan, but I'm not going to discuss it here for the time being. One, I don't want this to turn into a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of this plan. Two, I want to make sure I get results before saying anything one way or the other about it publicly!

It won't be easy, but nothing worthwhile is.