I want to share my recent wake-up call surrounding nutrition and eating habits, as it’s been a real game-changer in my life. However, my weight and my body image have always been issues for me, so this is a very personal story. That being said, I think there are many people who could benefit from my recent eye-opener…..and the benefits are greater than the risks. So, here goes:
I met with my friend Jen in July- she owns the Crossfit gym I go to and also has a Degree in Nutritional Sciences and a Master’s in Food Science. I did a Nutritional Consult with her to try to shed the last stubborn 8lbs of baby-weight. She came up with a 2-part plan for me:
- Part 1: a two-week low-carb kickstart
- Part 2: adopting the Paleolithic (Paleo) approach to eating (think ‘caveman-style’, meaning no grains, no dairy, no sugar, but plenty of protein, fats, nuts, seeds, and veggies/fruit).
Part 1 was tough, especially for a carb-aholic like me. Jen wanted me to try to keep my carbs to 20g/day or less to put my body into a state of fat-burning ketosis. I think I managed about 50g of carbs/day, and still my body acted like I was in detox, complete with the shakes and the sweats. My brain was used to relying on the constant carbs/sugar that I fed it, and I was trying to teach it to use fat instead. But food quantity was unlimited, and I would increase my fat content if I started to feel really hungry. Each day got a little easier. I was still able to Crossfit and run, and I was already seeing visible results in how my clothes fit.
For the last 5.5 months, I’ve been doing a modified version of Part 2 and the Paleo diet. I didn’t cut out dairy, I still have sugar in my coffee, eat dessert periodically, and drink wine or beer occasionally. But I’m completely wheat-free and I’ve changed my diet to really focus on protein and fat. That’s been the biggest shift for me- I base all of my meals around protein first, and fat second, and then veggies/fruit. And I can honestly say that I haven’t restricted myself at all in the quantity of food that I’m eating.
Our July meeting was 6 months ago, and last week I met with Jen for a follow-up, including a body composition test to compare to my previous results. The test showed that:
- I have lost 14 lbs.
- I’ve gained 1.5lbs muscle.
- My bodyfat percentage has dropped almost 6%.
For those of you who have been eating this way for years, these results may not seem revolutionary. But they’re revolutionary to me. I’m your mainstream ‘healthy’ eater, who didn’t realize how much healthier I could be- this has made me rethink and reprogram my entire mindset surrounding nutrition. How did it take me 33 years to figure this out? This is what I’ve learned:
- Eat PROTEIN and FAT. Lots of it. For most of my adult life I’ve been stuck in the stereotypical-female-weight-loss routine of high cardio and a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Not anymore.
- Avoid wheat and other genetically-modified grains. I think I have a sensitivity to wheat that I was unaware of until now, and I think many others do too. Do you feel skinny in the morning and heavy at night? Guess what, that’s Wheat Belly bloat!
- Don’t buy food that has been altered to become ‘low fat’. Fat is good! And when food companies take the fat out of foods, they add in all kinds of unhealthy fillers.
- A diet shouldn’t be hard. If it’s hard, it’s not becoming your ‘new normal’. If it’s hard, it’s not becoming satisfying instead of depriving. If it’s hard, it’s not becoming a lifestyle.
- Nutrition is 90% of the battle, and exercise is 10%. Food is medicine. I feel so much better than I did six months ago; my energy is higher, I don’t get afternoon sugar-cravings, and no more uncomfortable, bloated feelings post-meal and at the end of the day.
Food for thought, isn’t it?