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A Dieter’s Epiphany…

So, I’ve been trying out new diets, tweaking my nutritional intake, and generally just trying to solve the mysteries of obesity and overweight for a long time. My husband has made claims that I am just chasing fireflies and won’t figure anything out completely…it’s almost impossible. But I think I may be on to something…

I began another (yes, another) new diet at the end of August called the Fat Resistance Diet, by Leo Galland, M.D. with amazing results…results I didn’t expect. I had been suffering from chronic fatigue, bloat, and what I always called “puffiness” for quite a long time. These symptoms began to disappear almost immediately on the Fat Resistance Diet. I looked at what I had been eating and quickly realized I had not eaten any grains in a couple of weeks and had already lost 12 lbs. in the process. I continued on the diet for another week and lost a few more pounds, making my total weight loss for the first three weeks 15 lbs.

The weight loss was awesome, but that wasn’t the thing that really caught my attention. All the loss of energy and motivation I had been experiencing had disappeared and I felt better than I had in I don’t know how long. My energy levels were through the roof compared to what they were. Then, after a few more weeks, not really sticking to the diet, but laying off of gluten, the mysterious pain in my shins also disappeared. The rash I had on my scalp – a red, bumpy, itchy rash that I had been trying to keep in check for years with Neutrogena T-Gel – also disappeared. I felt like a whole new person.

I talked to my doctor about allergies and sensitivities to certain foods. I described what my symptoms were and that they had gone and he said to me, “people know the answers when they come in with these kinds of questions – if you eliminated this food and you feel better, what do you think the answer is?” He was right. As good as I felt there was no way I was going back to eating the things that were literally making me sick and creating pain in my body. It was as simple as that.

But the realization that I have an allergy to wheat gluten was just the tip of the iceberg. I also noticed that, along with the elimination of grains, I had added in a lot of dark green, leafy vegetables, healthy anti-oxidant rich dark berries (like blueberries and strawberries) and pomegranate juice and more fish. These were simple changes in my daily diet but the results were amazing. I wasn’t hungry! That’s what was so unbelievable…I didn’t have munchies and I wasn’t hungry all day long. I didn’t really feel like I was on a diet at all. And I’m still eating the same types of foods today and have the same feeling as when I first started the diet. I feel satisfied after eating and I’m not always wanting to feed my face.

Not too long after I began noticing these little improvements in my physical well-being, I picked up and read the book, Wheat Belly – Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, M.D. which is an insanely interesting read. I was really inspired by what Dr. Davis said and his book, along with what I had discovered with Dr. Galland’s diet, really started me thinking about the state of people in today’s world.

This is my belief – People eat food that has been overly processed and lacks nutrional value. That means that when a person eats this type of food, their body isn’t getting what it needs. It’s still hungry! So, this same person eats more processed food, still not giving their body what it truly needs nutrition-wise, which leaves the person feeling bloated and full but not satisfied. The brain is still sending the same signals to eat because it still hasn’t received what it needs. It’s a vicious cycle.

But it can be broken.

Just say, "No!"

The body is an engine and it needs fuel. If you put really bad, diluted gas in your car’s gas tank, what happens to the engine? It breaks down and quits working. If you put the supreme gas in the tank, it purrs like a kitten. So, why would you put crappy “gas” into your body’s tank? This is your engine. It needs to last a long time and it’s up to YOU to take care of it. You have to feed it the right fuels – lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, lean meats, nuts, etc. You can’t feed it doughnuts all the time. The phytonutrients you get from green vegetables and dark fruits just aren’t in there. Yet they are essential to your overall health.

Take this challenge – Go grain-free and “box” free for one week and see how you feel! That means you will have to spend some time in your kitchen preparing meals, cutting veggies, actually cooking your dinner. But that’s a good thing – your kitchen utensils have probably not seen you in a while. Don’t open a box from the freezer – instead make a hearty vegetable soup, or stew. Get out that crock pot and put it to some good use. Add some chicken or turkey into it for dinner. Make a healthy salad with some tuna on top. Grill some fish on your grill. But stay away from breads and pastas. Just give it a try for one week – I bet your body will thank you!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.


Another Great Way to Beat the Late Afternoon Sugar Craving

I’m no stranger to dieting, battling cravings, trying to fit fitness into a busy lifestyle, or any aspect of trying to balance personal fitness into my life. If there’s a popular diet out there, I’ve most likely given it a go at some point.

Over the years, though, I’ve learned there’s no short-cut to getting healthy. It takes work and determination has to become your new best friend. It’s a struggle every single day. And you will have good days…and there will always be bad days.  But I’ve learned a lot of things about me and my body and more specifically how to listen when my body is trying to tell me something.

One of the biggest things I’ve had to realize is I didn’t listen to my own body nearly enough before. In fact, sometimes I would actually tune it out, which is counter-productive to getting into shape and in-tune with your body. Obvious, right? But I didn’t realize I was doing it for a long time. It’s about reading the signals and deciphering them correctly.

If you are anything like me, you may have started a gazillion different exercise programs over the years and found that your body is more tired when you add a lot of exercise into your life. That’s normal. So, it’s important to make sure you give your body more time to repair when working your body so hard. When you add stress, physical and mental, to your daily grind, your body is in more need of repair. So, if you were getting 7 hours of sleep before you began your exercise regimen, you should probably bump that up to 8 or 8 1/2 hours until your body has adjusted.

But that’s not what I did.  I was still going to bed and waking up at the same time every night, same as I had done before. And I would wake up tired. I upped my coffee intake, which wasn’t that bad since I drink it black, but the added caffeine would deplete my waterstores. Then, I’d need to drink more water and couldn’t drink enough to overcome the caffeine. Plus, with the added exercise, I actually needed even more than that. It was like burning the candle at both ends. Not healthy at all.

Cupcakes. One of my favorite foods to satisfy a chocolate/sugar craving. Why is it that there are so many holidays where sweets are involved. I say we boycott them all! (Just kidding.)

The other problem I started to encounter is the late afternoon sugar craving.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had trouble with sugar cravings before, but these were serious monster-like cravings that I just couldn’t control. Every afternoon after lunch, I would pace like a prowling cat, wandering around looking for something to satisfy my craving. Once I found what I wanted, usually something chocolate and loaded with all the bad stuff and tons of calories, I would literally binge. This is the kind of binging that gives you tons of guilt afterwards. I would feel so badly after, I believed all the exercise I had done was for naught. And inevitably, I would eventually give up whatever program I was on and go back to my usual ways. Defeated again.

What I now understand is my body was trying to help me. My own body was trying to tell me what I needed and I interpreted the signals completely wrong. I was exhausted and water-depleted. My brain was trying to send signals for me to rest and drink more water, and I was interpreting those signals as sugar cravings. Most of the time when we feel strong cravings come on, it’s a sign that something is missing. But the secret is to figure out what it is you’re missing instead of going with your first feeling. Mostly, you body will not need sugar or chocolate, no matter how strongly you feel the urge to eat it!

Now, when I know the late afternoon is approaching, I’m very mindful of my food and water intake. I want to make sure I have given my body the proper nutrients and water before the cravings have a chance to sneak up on me. That’s the first step. Next, when I feel cravings start, I don’t react right away. When I catch myself pacing, I analyze what I’ve missed in my diet first. Then, I evaluate how much water I’ve had and how much exercise. If I’ve exercised a lot and haven’t had a lot of water, I make sure to correct that.

If, after all of that, I still have cravings, which I sometimes do, then I take a nap! This is my latest tool in the battle of the sugar cravings. If I’m having some bad cravings even though my diet and water are in check, then the last thing I go to is my sleep. I’ve found that when I’m tired my cravings shoot up and my resolve sinks to almost nothing. So, I lay down and take a power nap. Usually not for more than half an hour, but it works wonders on my brain and body.  It sounds simple, and it is, once you learn how to interpret the signals your brain is sending.

I’m still no expert on reading my body’s signals but I continue to learn every day. It’s nice to know that my body is looking out for me. Especially when I just thought it was trying to sabotage all of my efforts before. Still, it’s a continuous journey to health. The more I learn, the more I grow…healthier!

To a healthier, happier and longer life!