Phil’s unlimited barefoot wonder diet

By popular demand…here’s what I was eating when I was losing about three pounds a week:

Breakfast- The easiest breakfast for me, because I tend to eat at work, is a packet of instant plain Oatmeal. It’s a little dull, but when you are diet hungry, even dull foods taste wonderful. Oatmeal, although a little carb heavy, is also good for cholesterol. More in line with most of the low carb diets is 2 or 3 ozs of meat and a bunch of vegetables, leftover from the night before.  So, I was mixing it up between the two. Vegetable omelets are great too; I usually just don’t take the time.

Lunch- Salad (about 8oz) including 2oz of chicken or hardboiled eggs with oil, vinegar and black pepper. This was really easy for me and continues to be my daily lunch. I’ve come to love the plain o/v dressing. We have a cafeteria at work with a salad bar, so after I exercise at lunch, I swoop in there and toss together a salad. It is completely satisfying. They come in a plastic container with a top allowing one to spread the dressing evenly by shaking and thus using less dressing.

Dinner- Basically, what I’d call a normal American dinner with a smallish meat serving and an extra vegetable instead of a starch.  4 oz meat or fish or occasionally three scrambled eggs and lots of vegetables: Three kinds, or two and salad. Often one of the vegetables was a stir fry of leafy vegetables like spinach, swiss chard or beet greens with onions and or mushrooms cooked in olive oil. Even in the winter we cooked a lot on the grill, often grilling squash, asparagas and other vegetables. Mashed cauliflower and sweet potatoes are great potato substitutes. One glass of red wine or a low cal beer. I found it a lot easier with my wife eating the same.

One book said “don’t drink calories” and there are lots of good reasons to drink water, so I was drinking it with every meal and forcing in total at least 8 tall glasses per day.  Oh, and snacks…I have a hard time not going right for food when I get home from work. Nuts, almonds in particular, are pretty good junk food substitutes. I eat a lot of almonds. Another very good snack is hummus on carrots, celery or cucs.

In the Four Hour Body, Timothy Ferriss advocates giving yourself a day off per week, and I pretty much subscribe to that. One reason is that it makes the whole effort more sustainable when you can reward yourself with the occasional off day. His main point, though, is that it keeps your body from downshifting a metabolic gear into starvation mode and thus actually helps to keep your burn rate up for the other six days a week. A day of gluttony can notch you up two or three lbs, but they come off quickly and you ratchet down every week.

When losing weight, I was also religiously getting aerobic exercise every day. I’m a lunchtime runner and typically do 3-5 miles. At my peak weight loss time though, I was wrestling with a pulled calf, so was instead walking that distance every day (listening to audio books made the time more productive). I also started mixing in some strength training.

The bad news good news is that having lost all the weight, I can’t go back to my old ways and not creep back up. But, the good news is that I don’t mind eating like this. In fact, I am convinced I overall feel better as a consequence. I never get that post-Thanksgiving dinner stuffed feeling, no matter how much I eat. Nor do I find myself crashing in the afternoon. Also, while I maintain the theme, I don’t need to be near as strict and usually go way off the reservation every weekend. Maybe this is how I will eat forever.

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6 Comments on “Phil’s unlimited barefoot wonder diet”

  1. Dolores Ricci Peck Says:

    Thank you for sharing this Phil! I am slowing trying to transition into it!

  2. Jennifer Says:

    This is a great, easy-to-follow plan. Thanks for sharing — starting this today!


  3. [...] the Barefoot Wonder Diet, you can lose weight without counting, and, in any case, don’t need to count forever, but it’s [...]


  4. [...] implications are pretty well aligned with the diet I’ve suggested for losing weight. But there are a couple of differences. First of all Taubes would take issue with [...]


  5. I too strongly believe in having ‘cheat days’ when it comes to dieting. Prevents our body from going into ‘starvation mode’ where it tries its darnest to hold on to bodyfat


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