The Summer Six

White Wine Hajnalka Ardai Mrs

"It's what happens when you sit outside every night, drinking wine." At least it's better than the Freshman 15, I thought, but is it? That goes on over nine months. This goes on over three, or four if you're lucky.

Part of it is an increase in alcohol, and part of it is the bad decisions that come along with drinking alcohol. Crackers and hummus before going to bed? Hummus is totally healthy. A second slice of cheesecake? We really don't want leftovers. Mini bar crisps in the bathroom while your significant other sleeps in the hotel room? Ugh.

As with most quickly-gained weight, the Summer Six is somewhat easy to take off. But it's not any fun. It doesn't allow for Indian Summer evenings imbibing along the Thames, and it doesn't allow for a bacon butty in the morning for recovery. (Of course, without one, you don't need the other.) But it must be done, so tomorrow, I'm starting the September Slide. No, not the slide into the gutter. The slide down the six. And I'm starting tomorrow.

A friend of mine recently did The Whole 30. The gist is this: no alcohol, no sugar, no dairy, no grains and no weighing yourself for 30 days. A very all-or-nothing person, she liked the strict diet that gave her no leeway. The Whole 30 also adds a psychological element, and is interested in helping its followers redefine their relationship with food. It also promises to 'reset' your body by cleansing it of all impure foods. She lost 13 pounds, and is now eating this way almost all the time.

While I also do better on all-or-nothing platforms, I'm not sure I'm up to this. So what about this caveman diet?

This one is similar to The Whole 30, but they have an 85-15 rule, which allows for three non-Palo meals a week. A good friend of mine was a hardcore Atkins eater in the late '90s, and gave herself one 'cheat day' each week. Every Sunday, she'd eat to her heart's content, but the rest of the week, she was a carefully-fed machine. It worked. With a ton of exercise and a strict diet, she looked like a million bucks.

So how is Paleo different from the Atkins?

My limited research highlights a few key points:

  • Paleo allows the full range of fruit and vegetables, while Atkins limits many in the beginning due to them being carbohydrates.
  • Paleo rules out dairy, and Atkins embraces it.
  • Paleo rules out butter, vegetable oils and artificial sweeteners, all allowed on Atkins.
  • And, of course, holier-than-thou Paleo-followers will emphasise their concern about where their meat and eggs come from (something everyone should be thinking about these days), and grandly end with the fact that Atkins was a fad, and Paleo is a way of life.

OK, I know what I need to do. And from this, I'm going to make my own September Slide to get rid of the Summer Six, and as a nod to the Paleo folks, (try to) make it a way of life:

  1. No alcohol during the week.
  2. Oatmeal for breakfast.
  3. Carb-free lunches.
  4. Carb-free dinners (except for twice a week, when I can eat pizza and pasta with my family).
  5. Minimal intake of guilty pleasures.

There's no question I'll be down six pounds by the 4th of October. And I will do this if only to keep myself from having to do The Whole 30.