The road to wellness isn't straight, clear, or predictable. It's a path you forge yourself.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weight Loss

I'm going to discuss here how my body loses weight (and gains it).  It is different than most conventional wisdom on the topic.  For instance, they say it's best to lose weight slowly over time.  Also, I've heard it said that you can't gain a significant amount in only a week or so.

My Body and Weight Gain:
In the week before my wedding (almost 7 years ago!) I found out that YES you can gain a significant amount of weight in less than a week.  When it got to be a week before my wedding, I had already had the last fitting for my dress and I thought, "Whew!  One week can't make much difference so I can just eat what I want!"  So I ate whatever I wanted that week.  Plus, I was stressed and carbs are something I crave when I'm stressed.  Um....well... let's just say my dress was really tight on the wedding day.  It had fit perfectly 5 days earlier, and on the day I thought I wasn't going to be able to zip it up!  (I sucked in and did, but talk about stressy!)

My Body and Weight Loss:
As you can see above, my body gains weight all at once.  As I later found out, my body also loses weight all at once.  Fast forward to September 2009.  My Functional Medical Practitioner put me on a Yeast-Free diet combined with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  This means that you either take the Yeast-Free diet and remove all the grains and potatoes from it; OR you take the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and remove the fruit and honey.  Basically, you can only eat meat and veg.  No grains, starches, fruit, or sweeteners of any kind.  Also no dairy because of the lactose (dairy sugar).  If you're thinking this is a crazy, impossible diet - you're right!  (Kinda)  My husband calls it "the worst diet in the world".  I found that after 3 days, it got much easier.  After a week, it's almost automatic.  Once you get used to making all your meals with weird ingredients, it's really not hard at all.

This diet is a corrective diet and is not intended to be used indefinitely.  I was also put on a lot of vitamin supplements for a few weeks before I started this diet and I believe they REALLY helped me stay on it.  I didn't crave things because my nutritional needs were being met.  Also, I got off of all the addictive substances I was on (like caffiene and sugar) before I started this. 

Well, I lost 20 pounds almost over night.  It was crazy!  It came off all at once over a span of about 2 weeks.  People thought I was ill!  I know conventional wisdom says that this is unhealthy, but I felt good doing this and my body became healthier overall.  The other 10 pounds or so came off over the next month.  I never lost this kind of weight on any other diet.  When I was on Weight Watchers, I was eating WAY less calories than I was on this diet but they were from a lot of sugar and processed foods.  This is a real foods diet and you cannot have processed food on it.  (NOTE:  This is NOT in any way like the Atkins Diet.  A lot of people think it is but it's not because you don't count carbs, you can have as many veggies as you want, and things like bacon and animal fat are not allowed!  Also things like Atkins bars and other products are forbidden on this because of all the terrible chemicals that are in them.) 

When I was on this diet, a typical day's food was the following:

Ultra Shake (rice protein, almond milk, nut butter, ground flax seeds, flax oil, and ginger)
OR 1/2 avocado with raw flax crackers

snack:  a handful of any kind of raw nuts (except peanuts)

canned salmon with frozen broccoli and lemon juice
or leftover supper
or chicken soup

snack: raw flax seed crackers with nut butter or tahini
OR veggies and black bean hummous

any kind of meat with any kind of veg
(example:  lamb chops with asparagus and kale)

As you can see, this is not a low-fat diet!  In fact, it is very decidedly high fat.  BUT - the fat is all good fat and comes from healthy sources.  I couldn't believe how well it worked.

I now realize that I need to go back on this diet for at least a week or two.  Right now I weigh 165 pounds and need to lose about 30 more.  My weight has stabilized and I haven't lost any more for a few months.  This is because I eat more carbs now.  (Not bad carbs like white flour and sugar!)  Just things like rice cakes, quinoa, gluten-free bread, brown rice, millet cereal, etc.  This is fine for maintenance, but I'm finding that in order to lose weight I must reduce carbs.  I recently read that a high-protein and good fat diet sends your body a "dump fat" message.  On the other hand, a high carb diet sends your body a "store fat" message.      

Over Christmas, I ate all sorts of things.  BUT - I didn't gain any weight because I made sure that whatever I ate was real.  If I ate a piece of cake, it was homemade with no artificial chemicals, transfats, or high fructose corn syrup.  We were in Greece this Christmas so I ate things like Baklava, tsoureki,  and candied oranges.  The good thing there is that bakeries in Greece do not use commercial chemicals and additives the way they do in this country.  Things are still made with real ingredients.  I KNOW this is why I could eat all those things and not gain a single pound back.  So:  If you're going to cheat, make sure it's REAL!

I'm sure everybody loses weight differently, but this worked for me.  What has worked for you?


  1. As you know, I did WW for awhile too, and while I was on it, I was biking to work. Lost about 17 lbs at a rate of 1-3 lbs a week. Which was great, but...

    ...winter came and I couldn't ride, and the weight started coming back. I got tired of the meetings and posting what I ate online. For awhile, I was doing OK, but gradually the weight came back, and I felt pretty defeated.

    By spring, I was fed up and wanted a lifestyle I got a dog. Figured if I HAD to walk the dog twice a day, I'd lose weight, right? took awhile for this dog to learn how to leash walk and keep up with me. But I still wasn't losing weight (in fact, I was gaining) and I felt like crap!

    I dropped gluten in January, and started to feel a bit better...but still no weight loss. I quit almost all dairy, alcohol and caffeine in late March, I've lost almost 6 lbs...not a lot, but it's something.

    The biggest improvement is that my cravings are substantially less (fewer?) and now I can tell my energy is better. I at least feel more hopeful that I'm onto a lifestyle change that might stick.

    I'm really enjoying your blog! It was part of my inspiration to try a diet change!

  2. Wow. Thanks, Kris! ....and good for you! Seriously.
    Yeah, weight watchers didn't work for me. I lost 5 pounds in the beginning but then gained it back. It was frustrating because the other ladies would weigh in and say "ooh! I lost 7 pounds this week!" and I hadn't lost any. Week after week after week. I guess each person has to find what works for them and there is no diet that works for everybody.
    Keep doing what you're doing. It sounds like you're on the right track!

  3. Sounds right to me. When you cut out refined carbohydrates (which make your body retain water) the results can be quite dramatic. It's hard to go wrong with natural, whole foods as long as you keep the consumption of white stuff (rice, pasta, white potatoes, sugar, bread) very low. I don't have a problem with milk, but then again, we live in Uruguay where the milk does not have hormones and other unnatural crap in it.

    Congratulations on your weight loss!


  4. Your post is inspiring me - thanks for that, we are trying to lose weight and keep healthy too. Me and hubby had success with the South Beach diet, which was not too far different from yours, except that we were able to include eggs and one cup of milk a day. Also, we did not do the sugar sub. that they talk about, we just didn't use any at all. The problem right now is that we are all on a fruit kick, I had picked up some fresh strawberries and tangaloes - and I think we need to slow down. Anyway, I am intrigued by using extra supplements the week before as well. I just wish that healthy food wasn't so darn expensive, funny that I never seem to see coupons for them either...This needs to change. Anyway, good luck with everything - and keep posting, especially those recipes! OH - any suggestions or ideas on other ways to eat avocado? Benjamin use to just gobble it up when he was younger, not so much now. Trying to find different ways to get him to eat it again. Thanks.

  5. Cool! My blog made it to Uruguay? I'm so excited! I agree - keep it natural and get rid of the white stuff. I wish we could go back to the simpler days where they didn't put all the hormones and crap in our food supply! Also, I'm reading more and more about how milk from grass-fed cows is better for you than the corn-fed cows. (Most of US dairy comes from corn-fed.)

    Nicole - I understand the fruit kick. That's one of the hardest things about my diet. It's temporary, but it's still hard. I did give in and get some strawberries over Spring Break.
    Too bad healthy food is more expensive. I see it as an investment in my health though. Hopefully the food people will get the message. As long as the government issues corn subsidies, the bad stuff will always be cheaper.
    Avocados hmmm. Would he eat guacamole do you think? Or maybe just mashed avocado on some toast. A friend of mine posted a link to an "avocado tempura" recipe that looked delicious, I'll try to find it.

    Thanks for reading!