Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Birmingham Hospital Diet

It was 70 degrees today, and sunny; hard to believe that it is still February. A girl friend and I have challenged one another, and mostly ourselves, to lose a few pounds before the summer season fully heats up. It is time. I thought I heard my horse groan the other day as I pulled myself up. How embarrassing.

I got a copy of The Birmingham Hospital Diet from a girl friend two years ago and practiced it for one whole spring. In my defense, I typically eat pretty healthy food. My downfall is “portion control”. There, I said it. I am a decent cook, and I make enough to guarantee leftovers so I am not cooking every day. Sometimes I try and visualize my stomach as I fill a small plate with food. Surely that will be enough to fill my stomach … but it tastes so good that I go back for more. Argh!!

This diet has very specific guidelines for three meals a day for three consecutive days. You are not to deviate from it … at all. On one hand, it makes it easy to shop and I don’t have to spend any time at all planning meals. On the other hand, you starve for three days in a row. Okay, I know that it is gonna have to hurt a little bit to be effective.

Day One. For lunch they allow you one half cup of tuna, 1 ounce of cheddar cheese and a cup of black tea. I am into this so I bravely set my lunch on a wood cutting board and head out the back door to take my lunch in the sun, which I believe will be the only redeeming quality about this meal. Alas, I knock the board with the door and my little can of tuna lands on the sidewalk and bounces into the grass. I quickly bend to pick it up. I feel like the little orphan boy in Charles Dicken’s story. “More please.” Most of the contents have remained packed in the can, thank God, but a part of me wants to get down and lick the sidewalk. Those few morsels might be the difference between failure and success on Day One.

Breakfast on Day Two is one egg, one slice of dry toast, ½ a banana and black tea or coffee. In preparation I have hard boiled the largest eggs in the container. I slice one into 6 wedges and sprinkle them with pepper. Are there calories in pepper? I don’t know, but it is allowed on the diet, it is a healthy spice and I apply it generously for the sake of good health. I cut the dry toast into six tiny slices. I take very little bites and chew it slowly. This is doable; I am Queen of my destiny. Black coffee makes my stomach queasy, and you definitely do not want to be unnecessarily aware of your stomach when you are dieting, I mean, Duh! I tempt fate with a small shot of milk. Life is good!!

This diet does not allow snacks but you are allowed diet sodas, which I do not drink. I take a few supplements, fish oil and glucosamine for my joints. The label recommends that you take them with food but I save them till 2:30 in the afternoon. I use my gel capsules as a mid day treat, taking them with a glass of watered down fruit juice. Food, and pleasure for that matter, is in short supply for three days so I try and make the best of it. The juice feels like sinning ~ and it fills me up ~ so I allow it!

For lunch on Day Three I am allowed a cup of black coffee or tea, one slice of dry toast and a hard boiled egg. I try not to hurt myself as I lick clean the serrated edge of the knife holding droplets of egg yolks in its fold. I am doing well. I have only minimally modified the regime. But I make sure that no one is looking as I lean over the counter top to inhale the tiniest of bread crumbs. Standing back up, bending at the waist, could be considered an element of exercise. I don’t think about what I will have for lunch tomorrow, I remember the feel of sunshine on my bare legs in the summer sun. I Can Do This!

* annette

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