Wednesday, March 07, 2007

No Temptation Tuesday PHS Diet Club

This month's DietClub update and advice comes from someone who is doing very very well on her track in our International Ban-The-Butt Campaign across the globe. Here to share a few of her tips and secrets of success is Donna Alward.

When I was asked if I’d be interested in doing a diet club slot, I had to laugh. Yes, I signed up in January, and yes, I have lost some weight since then. But the e-mail came as I was in the middle of revisions. And as most of you know, the two WORST times to ask an author about her diet is during revisions or the week before deadline.

I have lost 7 lbs since the beginning of January and you know, it’s not stellar – I mean some members lost that much their first week – but I’m happy with it. It’s steady and it’s in the right direction. Considering I’ve had gastritis during that time and also have had both knees put up a protest, one deadline and one set of revisions, all in all I think I’m doing okay.

The problem with deadlines and revisions, or any time I feel the crunch of immediate stress, is that the food pyramid morphs into something like this: starchy carbs like bread and pasta on the bottom, a layer of dark chocolate on top of that, crowned with red wine. I can go on about the health benefits of all those items but we all know as a whole, this isn’t a sound weightloss type of diet.

So here’s what I know for sure. What works for me during a “regular” week.

1. Eat clean. I discovered this when I had gastritis. It was boring as hell. But it worked. Most of all I missed spicy stuff, so if you can eat clean and add your flavour with spice, go for it. I ate a lot of porridge, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, low acid fruits and veggies, no juice, no alcohol (sob! My grape!) lean, plain protein (mostly boneless skinless chicken) and low fat dairy. I also didn’t have caffeine. Now, I’m back on tea and the odd cup of coffee as a treat, and my wine on Saturdays. But for the most part – still eating clean. This means NO PREPARED STUFF. And another thing about revisions….you really start to appreciate convenience food.

2. Drink water. LOTS OF IT. You’ll go like a racehorse and flush out all kinds of nasties.

3. I make exercise regular and routine. Do it every day and only take one day off a week. If I have a day when my energy level is zip, I at least do 2 things. I walk the kids to and from school and I do a half hour of pilates or yoga instead of a full workout. I ALWAYS feel better.

4. I do three days of cardio and three days of weights. Muscle burns calories 3x faster than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’re going to burn simply when sitting in the chair creating your masterpiece. Now, with my knees staging a rebellion, I’ve had to stop running which is a shame because I enjoy it. I’m back on the stationary bike now for cardio, or walking on the treadmill. And on weight days, I warm up by putting on the boxing gloves and hitting the heavy bag for maybe 10 min.

And no girlie weights here, girls. You need to put enough resistance so that by the end of your set, your muscles are fatigued. I alternate upper body and lower body days.

Of course we all know that rarely do we have a perfect week, and sometimes we stop being diligent. That’s why I ended up putting most of the weight I’d lost back on. No one warned me about Writer’s Butt until it was too late. Diligence is key. And it’s probably why I’m happy with my seven pounds. Because it’s regular and shows I’m getting back in the routine of things.

Lastly…don’t forget the added calorie-burning benefit of AFTER HOURS activity! ;-) Now, I’m off to take my own advice….whole grains anyone?

Donna’s first Harlequin Romance, HIRED BY THE COWBOY hits shelves so so soon we can almost taste it. (It better be low fat and sugar free Donna!!)

She is also blogging about her writing process in a fabulous series called the Construction Zone. Check it out!


  1. I hadn't seen the cover yet! Congrats on that!!

  2. Since my diet has had more than its fair share of take-aways and chips this month, I believe it's best if I retain a dignified silence on my weight loss. In fact, after the first 4lb gain I haven't even bothered to step on my scales.

    But, lunch at the Savoy is looming. I *will* rally!!!

  3. Donna congrats to you on the seven and the book! :) I love your blog because it sounds like you're making all the right moves -- not a diet, a lifestyle change.

    I'm not part of the dieting group, because I'm not dieting, weight loss is not my goal. We had a bad shock in Jan when our BIL died suddenly at 54 -- it was tragic and avoidable. If he'd made the lifestyle changes that would have made him healthier 10 years before (our age now) there's a very good chance he might still be around.

    So, it was a serious wake-up call to eat better, make exercise a goal. It radically changed how I view my food consumption.

    What we did: we both go to the gym, and dh takes karate already, but we also bought nifty little pedometers that measure our steps every day -- even if we don't make it to exercise, 10,000 steps a day is about 5 miles of walking, and you can do it just around your house, grocery shopping, etc.

    Like you, we're eating clean, and eating less. We were never much for prepared food, but we're making better choices now and we also bought a nice digital scale to weigh protions of meat, etc -- you can't trust your eyes. You're right, prepared foods can be faster, but making (and eating) less food, and cleaner food, can also be very easy. And when you eat less, you can make larger meals and store smaller portions in the freezer -- there you have prepared food for another time. :)

    We still have a goody here and there, maybe at night, and we share. We take on pre-measured piece of key lime pie, maybe, and we cut it down the middle. A little is enough.

    What I learned most of all is that life is not about food. It's really not. Food, relative to other things in life, is unimportant except to get the right nutrition, and that's about it.

    Eating too much is not worth dying early for. It's not about dieting, it's about living.


  4. Ok so Sam I TOTALLY think YOU should have done this week's blog! LOL Good for you. Yes, it's not only about shedding pounds but living healthy. I'll never be tiny. I'm just not built that way. But looking after the body you've got is so important.

    I try to eat small meals more frequently, and blend carbs and protein. The protein keeps me fuller longer. ANd that also ensures I get more dairy which as a woman is important.

  5. Actually, I wouldn't have blogged on it at all, except I was really inspired by your words, especially the bit on clean food -- that is so important. It's great to hear someone making positive changes and being happy with their progress for lifestyle reasons, and sharing that positive outlook. It was a good reminder for me why I'm doing what I wanted to do. So thanks for that.

    I am lactose intolerant, and so I have very little dairy, but that's even had a good effect (I have to be careful to supplement). I think you are completely right on being happy with yourself, and being happy with how you eat. Happy is very important. :) It's really all about balance.

    Actually, I have to credit dh, too -- if I get complainy, which happens sometimes (PMS is killer) he just says, "it's not less food, it's just how we like to eat." It's how he quit smoking cold turkey years ago (before we met). He said he just woke up one morning and said "I'm not a smoker" and continued to define himself that way out loud, and that was that. It really does work.


  6. Congratulations on your loss, Donna.

    I've lost too, and you know what? I've only just discovered that protein fills me up for longer than carbs! I'm glad I made this discovery. Better late than never.