© 2013 jen

Fit-tastic Update: Diet Trends – How to Lose Weight & Keep It Off

Do you want to know how to lose weight, keep it off, look years younger, watch wrinkles literally disappear, feel good – better than you can imagine, reverse chronic health conditions and have a tiny waistline to boot?

I am living this and want to share with everyone the secret to finding health, losing weight and keeping it off. There are so many weird diets out there and it hard to know which one is right.

I’m a person who has done almost every diet known to mankind.

When I was young I tried most diet pills. I did the “diet shakes.” I could go on, but you get the point.

I’m like a PhD in dieting and health at this point, but for years all of the misinformation left me just as confused as the next guy about what the f*ck would change my chronic weight problems.

I was a hardcore Weight Watchers person for years and that worked when I practically starved myself or if I stayed at least a little unsatisfied, but as soon as I stopped counting points, or ate like a normal person AND, if I wasn’t going to meetings – my weight was right back up again. I couldn’t seem to find anything that lasted or that was maintainable.

I felt like it was my fault. What was wrong with me? Why did I have so little self control when it came to food?

I started exercising more and then running and I was getting stronger, but I wasn’t losing weight. My diet and sick gut were making it utterly impossible for me to lose much of anything and my health continued to suffer.

Then I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I started eating gluten-free and the weight started to fly off of my frame.

I lived with chronic inflammation in my gut for most of my life, but I wasn’t aware of it, I just thought I had a poochie belly.

To fully heal my gut I had to remove more foods from my diet because my digestive system was so fragile and needed time to heal.

I had to cut out dairy and then all grains to get my digestive system back in full working order, and then I lost a ton more weight and all of a sudden I felt dramatically better.

After a lifetime of struggling to lose even a pound and having to practically starve myself to lose weight, I’ve found a way that I can lose weight, eat tons of delicious foods and maintain my weight without shakes, point counting or meetings.

My diet is totally manageable by me for the first time in my life!.

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My new burgundy jeans. Great jeans and bad hair – looks like that’s my style today.

So how did I get here? Let me give you some backstory first.

I want to give you a quick history of what is going on with diet trends in our culture – from the historical to now. Some of these ideas are from the movie called, The Perfect Human Diet.

In 1863 a guy named Harvey Banting wrote a book about a diet he was prescribed by his doctor, because Harvey was an obese man. The doctor told him specific foods that he should eat and others that he shouldn’t eat. Harvey, who could never lose weight all of a sudden had no problem losing weight. Harvey wrote a book about this and it became the first low-carb diet book. The medical community wasn’t sure about this diet, but then, over the course of the next few years, tons of anecdotal evidence proved that everyone who tried this diet was able to lose weight and reverse chronic health problems.

The Banting diet became the standard weight loss plan that doctors recommended for most of the next 100 years. It was well understood that things like bread and sugar could make you fat, and things like good fats; good quality meats, avocados, nuts, etc helped you lose weight. Of course veggies were always good, but it was recommended that fruit be mostly cut out.

This was true up until the 1960’s when big agriculture stepped in. Overproduction of corn, wheat and processed foods became the American way of life. Over time we forgot what made us fat in the first place. The big Ag folks told us,  “Fat makes you fat so take it out of your diet and instead replace it with sugar and high-carbs.”

We ate their processed foods and their GMO crops.

And we believed the hype.

We believed it was our fault that we were fat and we just needed better self control.

We paid for weight loss plans not realizing that until we changed the foods and our gut nothing will really change.

You don’t need better self control.

Here’s what you need:

Start by going low-carb, but it’s so much more than this, because you can eat low-carb and eat unhealthfully. I would say my approach to eating low-carb is more similar to the Paleo Diet.

I’ll start by saying not all carbs are created equal . . . fruit and veggie carbs are basically free in my world. I’m not a big fruit person, so I never over do it with fruit. (If you’re diabetic, don’t listen to this part.) I eat as much as I want of fruits and veggies. I eat plenty of foods with carbs and the only time I really try to cut back my carbs is with regard to grains. I try to eat as few grains as I can, and it keeps my system so healthy, clean and light feeling.

Here’s the other piece that’s important to know:

As a culture, the foods we eat – even if we’re not eating much in the way of processed foods – these foods are very high allergen.

These are the top 8 food allegens:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
  • Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
  • Soy
  • Wheat

Most of us have these foods everyday and some of us eat them for every meal. Most of us also grew up eating some level of processed foods too.

This is my theory after lots of looking and learning about digestive health. Most Americans have a little bit of a messed up gut, all the way up to an extremely messed up gut. I was one of the extreme ones.

Here are some signs that your gut is on the fritz:

  • Inflammation – You have secondary health problem such as, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, acne, rashes, hives, dry skin that can get scaly.
  • Mental health – if you suffer from either anxiety or depression the source of the problem is in your gut, where all the neurotransmitters are made.
  • Wattle with general puffiness – if you have skin hanging down from your neck and general puffiness. This could be a sign of gut problems. (I can’t prove this point, but this was me and I think it’s a facial sign that someone is sick in their gut when their skin on their neck is hanging there).

There are many other signs, but these are the most common.

Some of us have genetic histories – like me (Celiac disease) – others guts just became damaged from the American diet.

Years ago, my sister – while pregnant was told she had essentially pre-gestational diabetes. So she started eating low-carb. She lost weight during her pregnancy up until the end of the pregnancy (but my nephew gained weight just fine) and then she stayed on the diet after giving birth and through breastfeeding. She ended up smaller than she was when she got pregnant. She ate like a horse. She told me it was easy and I thought she was crazy!

My only experience with low-carb diets at that time was the Atkins Diet and I didn’t believe in that diet, because Dr Atkin didn’t focus on the healthier way to eat low-carb. He was all about meat, but the veggie, salad part – meh, take it or leave it.

I thought my sister was just doing an extreme diet that she had to do for medical reasons. I didn’t even consider that this could be a great diet for me.

Now, years later – 25 lbs of weight loss later, 10″ of fat gone from my waist, I cannot believe that I was so damned stubborn about the low-carb idea.

This is a diet that’s been around for over 100 years and it’s proven, time and time again that it works and if it’s done right it’s a healthy diet.

If you want to know how I lost all the weight then here it is.

How to jumpstart your gut health and weight loss:

  • Eat low carb  or Paleo-ish – focus on carbs in grain the most. Eat as little as you can of the grains.
  • Sugar – lay off the sweet stuff. This is another post, but eating sugar is the best way to get cancer. A high sugar intake diet is the same as smoking a lot of cigarettes for your whole life – maybe worse.
  • Eat good fats and Omega-3’s – olive oil, nuts, good meats, salmon, etc.
  • Green smoothies – drink green smoothies – it’s the easiest way to get regular veggies in your diet.
  • Fake food – stay away from processed foods and diet or low fat foods. These don’t work and mostly do the opposite of what they say.Here’s the criteria for processed foods: If it comes in a box and has more than a few ingredients. If it says “healthy”, “fortified” or “whole grain” or if it has sugar added – avoid these. Whole grains, fortified and healthy are buzz words that the food industry love to use to make you think it’s healthy, but really it has additives and extra weird stuff in it.

There are many other things you can do to heal the gut and lose weight. This is a good start, but there’s one other thing that would be great for you.

If you’re really serious about healing your gut, the best way to start is to do an elimination diet first before you start eating low-carb with your grains. Why is this? Because there is this weird thing where, if you’re used to eating something and especially if you have inflammation in your body, you can’t feel what’s making you sick.

It takes removing the possible allergens for 30 days, getting that inflammation down so you can feel what’s happening in your body and to know what is affecting you. Our bodies can mask the symptoms associated with the foods we eat regularly. So we don’t necessarily see it in a stomach ache, instead we see it in other secondary health issues – maybe psoriasis or diabetes.

It’s also good to get chronic inflammation under control because it’s the root of all sickness and disease.

Once you’ve identified if you have a food sensitivities you can start eating low carb/Paleo-ish.

If you skip the allergen elimination that comes with the elimination diet, you may never lose weight and your gut won’t get healthy.

I should also say there’s a chance that some people could do this diet and they may not heal their gut or lose weight. This happens when a person’s gut is really, really toxified. For these people they have to stay on the elimination diet longer and they should consider looking at the GAPS diet. If you want to know more about the GAPS diet check out my friend Phoebe’s blog over at Unfuck My Gut. She’s been living and sharing about the GAPS diet for some time now.

Here’s what I’ll say to those who are still skeptical or who think it will be too hard.

Your life depends on you taking good care of you. If you’re eating like an average American then your diet isn’t good enough, even if you eat some organic foods. You have the power to change your life, by what you put in your mouth.

If you’re struggling with your weight stop doing what you’ve done before that didn’t work, or kinda worked.

For the die hard Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and other diet people, who think that these diets worked for them before and this time it will work again, so you just go pay more money to succeed for a while until the next time you fail.

Stop.

If you’ve gained weight back again, it’s not working. If you must be dependent on their system and can’t become independent in the future with your weight and health it’s not working. Stop banging your head against a brick wall.

Here’s the good news! It’s not your fault!

It’s your diet.

It’s making you overeat, because your gut isn’t healthy, because you believed the American (high-carb) diet wasn’t that bad for you – because grains and breads are on the Food Pyramid, because that’s what they wanted you to believe to keep you eating their poor quality food, because the foods we eat are over processed and high allergen.

It’s not your willpower that’s the problem.

It’s our food supply.

So much of our food is now GMO.

These are the top 7 GMO crops:

  1. Corn
  2. Soy
  3. Cottonseed
  4. Alfalfa
  5. Papaya
  6. Canola
  7. Sugar Beets – most of the sugar sold in the U.S. is derived from this source.

So, in other words, if you’re eating these foods in the non-organic form – which most Americans are eating at least a little non-organics – you are most likely eating GMO. Genetically modified doesn’t just mean that they take genes and splice them together. It often times means that pesticides are genetically implanted into the seed itself so that when the plant grows, it makes it’s own pesticide in the seed itself and then you’re eating that. This is true of most corn sold in the U.S.

You can see how eating pesticides could make a person’s gut sick over a lifetime. This is why even those people who don’t have genetic disease in their families are still ending up with chronic gut issues.

Now one thing I want to zero in on is grains. Not all grains are created equal either.

These are things to consider when you choose to consume a grain. You want to pick the organic version of any grain you buy to avoid the GMOs. The other thing you want to consider when selecting a grain is what is the Glycemic Index of that grain is. You can read all about what the Glycemic Index is, but essentially it’s a way of measuring the level of your blood sugar from a particular food. The faster it converts to sugar in the bloodstream the higher the number. Grains, generally are high on the Glycemic Index.

Here are a few grains/breads and their Glycemic Index (GI):

  • Coconut flour – 10
  • Quinoa – 53
  • Brown rice – 55
  • White rice – 64
  • Cornmeal – 69
  • Wheat flour – 71
  • Baguette – 136

You can look up more grains if you’d like to know more, but you get the idea of what I’m trying to illustrate here.

If you’re eating baguette and some other foods for dinner and then have some sugary dessert that’s a ton of sugar in your bloodstream. If you want to know how sugar makes it hard to lose weight and causes more weight gain, check this out.

Grains that convert quickly to sugar with high GI numbers aren’t really good for you- just from a glycemic perspective alone. This is true of the gluten and gluten-free grains. Too much sugar in any form is not good – even if it isn’t sugar until it hits the bloodstream.

The lower on the GI you eat with grains particularly, the more extreme your weight loss can be. When I cut grains out of my diet completely while I was doing the elimination diet for 30 days, I was losing an average for 4 lbs a week and eating like a horse.

About three weeks into being grain-free I was floored by my skin and waistline. I had already gone gluten-free and had experienced weight loss, so I didn’t have a lot of weight left to lose. After 3 weeks of being grain-free it was like my body just went into this completely happy place where I was even calmer than I was already feeling, with less wrinkles and the middle of my waist was all of a sudden teeny tiny!

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Evidence of the crazy small waist action going on here.

The most amazing part is that I lost weight in my waist and really all over, but in my chest, butt and hips I’ve lost very little weight. It’s as if this diet targets belly weight and then trims you down all over. I’ve never had this awesome of a figure with any other eating plan. It’s like the parts of me that are curvy are just as curvy as they ever were and if anything they are more accentuated now and then the parts that weren’t healthy have melted away.

Prior to going grain-free, I was feeling that I had plateaued weight-wise, but once grains were out, it was like a weight loss freefall.

Now I am eating some grains. Not many, but some. I eat quinoa, brown rice and occasionally some organic cornmeal or corn flour.

One of the cool things about the elimination diet is it really gives your body a break and when you go back to eating foods that are harder to breakdown, like grains, it actually works more efficiently once it’s had a rest.

I drink some alcohol. I eat some cheese. I eat some chocolate. I don’t deprive myself of things. If I wanted a high GI grain that was other than gluten I’d eat that too, but I would know that it wasn’t good for me and I’d try to get back on my plan: low carb/paleo-ish, low grain and good organic foods.

Now I can eat awesome food, I can feel satisfied and I can lose weight AND best of all I can manage it myself.

Here’s what’s funny though, it’s not just me. There are so many people eating this way and managing their weight, finding physical and mental health and feeling satisfied.

You can do this too if you’re ready to stop banging your head against the diet-trend wall. If you’re done with being told your weight is your fault.

Are you ready to lose weight & rock your gut’s world?

Are you already eating this way? Would you consider trying this for 30 days? 60 days? 90 days? Who doesn’t feel quite bad enough to change yet? All are valid ways to feel.

See you next week, when I’ll have more thoughts and more questions to keep you thinking about your health and lifestyle.

Much love,

Jen

 P.S. I never updated my weight, which is 192 today, but I pigged out on sushi and ice cream last night so one pound seems like it’s just fine (yes you heard me right, I ate ice cream like a champ. No upset stomachs! I’m back, fully on-board with the dairy train – toot toot!)

Comments

comments

6 Comments

  1. jenni
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 10:13 pm | #

    Love this! So many important points.
    Every time points from SAD (standard American Diet) start to worm their way in my brain, I remind myself: if the so called “low fat” trend really worked, why is this country battling an obesity epidemic like never before? Clearly something isn’t right.
    I am on day 25 of my 30 day elimination. I am on the Whole30 plan. Their book–“It starts with Food”…I think that pretty much sums it up. I haven’t weighed myself since starting. This is per the recommendation in the book, since the emphasis here isn’t weight loss, so much as making my life better entirely. I will say this though: my belt is 2 notches in since starting. Two! In 25 days! With end coming near, I can’t really say I will revert back to my old eating habits. Now, I WILL have a maple latte at Baker & Spice, and perhaps a croissant from Petite Provence on occasion. But I like how I feel now more.
    Anyway. Thanks for your update and this plethora of info. I’d say this post alone could be used as a starter for anyone interested in paleo/primal/low carb/better living.

    • Posted March 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm | #

      Jenni, Yes. Those old ideas do worm there way in! I know what you mean!

      On the weight loss front, it’s crazy how when you focus on health your waistline can be sooo affected. Thanks for sharing and keeping up with the blog!

  2. Posted March 16, 2013 at 10:47 pm | #

    You are such an inspiration! Since moving I believe I have been eating my worst in over 10 years. I can tell that I have less energy and my skin does not look great. I have not lost any baby weight since my second child almost two years ago. We move into our new house in two weeks. I am oing to follow your advice and be very mindful about what food I bring in there. Keep up the amazing work and keep sharing with us! Hugs!!

    • Posted March 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm | #

      Kerry, trust me, I know what you mean. I was like that not very long ago. I joking say it took me 12 years to lose the baby weight. Haha! Thanks for reading this and I’m so glad you found it helpful!

  3. Posted March 17, 2013 at 7:17 am | #

    LOVE IT JEN!

    This is so thorough, so well researched, and so personal. Thank you for the big ups, and keep on keeping on! Also, I think your hair looks great! It goes really really well with that dewy skin :-)

    • Posted March 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm | #

      Thank you, Phoebe! I’m glad we’re both out here writing, eating and sharing! Can’t wait to see you again, you fun, fun lady, you! xo