Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Special K Diet vs The Paleo Diet

1 month had come and gone since I had embarked on my commitment to lose some weight. Years of see-saw dieting and subsequent weight loss and weight gains in equal measure obviously hadn't caused my enthusiasm to attempt even more diet fads, to wane.

I chose to go on the Special K diet for the first 2 weeks. The diet was quite simple. I had a cup of Special K cereal for breakfast and a cup of Special K cereal for lunch. Dinner was a normal sensible meal and didn't require much culinary fanfare. I lost 1.5kg after 1 week, and my weight hit a plateau on the 2nd week. More importantly, I was extremely miserable for the 2 weeks that required my replacing 2 meals a day with what tasted like the shavings at the bottom of a gerbil's cage. I was irritable most of the time, became anti-social at the otherwise highly enjoyable lunches with the girls at the office everyday and by 3.30pm each day, the witching hour hit me. By witching hour, I meant the hour at which I start to display a semblance of "bimbotic" behavior. My colleagues' questions at meetings would be met with either taciturn replies or a blank stare from me.

After the 2 weeks of that Special K challenge were up, my personal trainer rejoiced, and secretly, so did I. He then put me on the Paleo diet. A Paleolithic diet is apparently the world’s healthiest diet, based on the simple understanding that the best human diet is the one to which we are best genetically adapted. It consists of balancing an active life of exercise with a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and grain-fed meat. I could eat as much as I wanted too for 3 meals a day as long as I didn't have bad carbohydrates like white rice, pasta, bread and noodles. I could have sweet potatoes though. They were apparently good for me and helped to break down protein.

Now, I could do this diet. It was simple, I need not have to be anti-social and I need not give up on my favorite foods, other than breads which I loved. After 2 weeks, I lost a paltry 300grams. However, the percentage of fat loss was quite high, and the percentage of muscle gained was high as well. Most importantly, I am no longer irritable and I feel fabulous each day. I realized this diet was one that required a long-term change of lifestyle and not a 2 week commitment to what was written on a cereal box.

Perhaps, my personal trainer was right after all, but I was too stubborn to admit it and let's face it, I do enjoy giving that Hitler of a trainer a hard time.

So I am encouraged by the results of the Paleo diet to continue with it for another few months. I had after all, made a pledge through my company's social pledge campaign, to lose 8kg by end July.

I do miss my Marble Slab ice cream though. A walk to the Marble Slab ice cream parlour was always a moment of joy for me. However, a very meaningful chat with my CEO at the office one day, changed my entire outlook about my trip to Marble Slab. He said it's not about the ice cream and it's more about my need to take a break from the office and have a walk to clear my mind from the daily stress. He said that next time when I am highly stressed and am short of hitting someone in the office with my shoe, I should just head out for a walk and back again without stopping by Marble Slab. He was right. I don't know when that actuary turned into a shrink but he was so right! Bless him. I have not had ice cream for a month now.

David is not falling by the wayside too. He had signed up for the Sundown race and the Jurong Lake Run, hell-bent on beating his best timing for the 10km category. He had started training twice a week too. I will just need to convince him now that beer, jelly babies and licorice all-sorts are not part of the approved list of foods in the Paleo diet.

Honestly I think the best thing I can do for my body is 1) get as much exercise as I can, 2) get as much rest as I can, 3) ensure my meals are healthy and balanced, and 4) add healthy doses of positivity and plenty of laughter into my life each day.

Oh, I forgot to add that as of last month, the doctor has lowered the dosage for my high blood pressure pills, congratulating me on having gradually put that high blood pressure under control.


  1. I was actually looking for advice on how to stay paleo while on vacation in Cambodia, and found this post. I assume you're the angry wife and not the crazy ang moh? Anyway, congrats on finding the paleo diet. It sure worked for this ang moh, and seems to be working for my not so angry, but occasionally irritable Singaporean wife. Good job and keep it up lah!

  2. Lol! Yup I am the angry wife. Would have been angrier if I stayed on that useless Special K diet! The Paleo helped me lose 4kg in a month. Best part of it is I can be a social butterfly again because I can eat anything my friends eat when we are out for lunches or dinners. They don't feel like they are dining with a cereal muncher like before when I was on special K!

    In cambodia everything is rice or noodles so do go for the amok fish curry and beef stir fries without rice and noodles.

    The only crime u will be committing is missing out on the USD1.50 beers. Sinful!