I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve finally started losing the weight I somehow never lost from being pregnant with Harris. (He’s 15 months old…. that’s kinda sad that I’m just now losing it!) I’ve said here and on Facebook how this is the easiest and greatest way I’ve ever lost weight before, and I’ve had several people ask me more questions about the details, so I’m gonna go into a bit more detail on what I’m doing.
And please know… I really don’t mean this in a “I’m super woman who knows all the answers of weight loss and I’m losing weight, nanny nanny boo-boo!!!” kind of way. Seriously. And I also don’t want anything I say to be a discouragement to someone who might have a few more pounds to take off than I have (I’ve lost 8 and I have about 5 more to go before my pre-pregnancy weight which is my immediate goal). Losing weight can be a hard and very depressing process, so I please know that my hope is to be an encouragement to anyone who is looking for answers and not an opportunity to make you feel bad about yourself.
I don’t have everything figured-out, and I don’t want to pretend to. We all have our own unique challenges, especially when it comes to dietary needs. I have, however, been researching this for the past 5 months or so (and if you know me, you know how I love to research things!!!), and I feel like I’ve come across some pretty great answers and I’m starting to see results in my own body. I know this sounds cheesey, but literally, I’m so excited about the way I’m eating now and I feel like it could really solve a lot of people’s problems, that I just can’t stop talking about it! I’m not trying to set myself up as a diet guru, I’m just really convinced that this is one of the healthiest and most enjoyable way to eat. I’m intellectually convinced by the myriad of books, articles, blogs, etc.. I’ve read in the past few months, and I’m personally convinced by the way that I feel and my progress of fat loss. So… I will now share.
My secret: Butter! Lots and lots of butter!
Well, butter among other wonderful things like avocados, cheese, bacon, meat, coconut oil, olive oil, cream….
So, here’s the deal. Here’s what I’m not eating:
Anything processed. (anything in a bag or with a list of ingredients)
Any kind of vegetable or soybean oil.
High-fructose corn syrup.
Refined sugar. (ok, this one is really a work in progress because I have a HUGE sweet tooth!!! My realistic goal, though, is to return sweets to their proper place as an every once-in awhile treat instead of an every day thing. I’ve still been eating desserts a few times a week, though, I think that’s too much. I’m working on it, but this is the hardest part for me!!!)
Grains– Yes, any grains. I’ve had some a handful of times, usually just when I’m at someone else’s house, and I’m totally fine with that. But on a daily basis, I’m avoiding them. So that does mean no pasta, rice, or bread…. and while that has taken some creativity in figuring-out what I’m going to eat, it’s really just a habit change and hasn’t been that bad for me at all. Granted, I’m not someone who is addicted to those things, I’m a sugar addict. So for you it might be way harder to give up bread than to give up sugar. But for me, this really hasn’t been that big of a deal, it’s more of a logistical thing.
So what am I eating?
Pretty much everything else! Right now I’m eating a salad (without lettuce… we’re out of lettuce. Normally, there would be lettuce.) of cucumbers, cheese, avocado, and shredded turkey with balsamic vinaigrette.
Here’s my typical daily menu:
Breakfast: Eggs with lots of butter. Sometimes a piece of cheese. Coffee with whole milk.
Lunch: A big salad (really, it’s kind of huge): Lettuce, cheese, any leftover meat we might have, almost always a whole avocado, and any other veggies floating around my fridge. I’m really stuck right now on my homemade balsamic vinaigrette (That word is so hard to spell! I had to google the spelling!) which is just extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and whatever spices I throw in there. I pour a LOT on my salad. Like, probably half a cup.
Dinner: It’s almost always some type of meat and a few veggie sides cooked in lots of butter, coconut oil, or olive oil. Again, it’s been a mindset change to not make some form of grain as a side item, but I’ve been able to let that go fairly easily.
So right now I bet some of you are thinking, “Wait a minute… this sounds like a low-carb diet! She’s doing Atkins! But we all know that Atkins was a quack and that a diet that high in saturated fat is dangerous for your heart! She’s been scammed by the low-carb fad, what an idiot!” (OK, hopefully you don’t think I’m an idiot, but I’m sure some of you might!)
Don’t worry. I’ve done my homework. And in fact, Atkins wasn’t crazy. He was actually kind of a genius who was a trailblazer in obesity studies and weight loss, though he was crucified for his work in the medical community because it didn’t fit with the status quo. And his teachings on how fat gain is directly related to carbohydrate intake are absolutely correct and have been embraced worldwide by a small sector of those who study obesity and nutrition. And he really didn’t make all this up, the idea of carbs making you fat used to be common knowledge until Ancel Keyes began the low-fat revolution in the 1950’s, Atkins was just the one who popularized this paradigm of nutrition to the modern general public.
One of the biggest eye openers for me was reading Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories. Taubes is a scientific reporter who has pretty much been the only one to consolidate all the scientific research in this area from the past over 100 years, from all areas of medicine, into one volume. And what has the research overwhelmingly pointed to? The fact that it’s not natural saturated fats like butter and red meat that’s responsible for heart disease and obesity in America, the culprits are carbohydrates (particularly refined) and sugar. There is literally no scientific evidence that can prove that fat makes you fat or damages your heart, it’s pretty much been a theory that took-off due to academic pressure and research studies paid for by pharmaceutical companies who make statin drugs.
In fact, I believe that healthy fats, and plenty of them, are my secret weapon to weight loss! (and that my heart is healthier than when I was eating less fat and lots of carbs) I was hesitant at first, but the more and more I read the same biological information for how fats work in our body, I embraced the butter. And I have never felt better! I literally try to sneak-in extra fat in my diet wherever I can find it while drastically reducing my carbohydrates. I’m gonna write some more posts with more of the scientific information in it, but let me just tell you a couple things about why I love a high fat diet:
My hunger is totally lessened and regulated. Before eating like this, I probably ate like most Americans with a diet of several hundred grams of carbohydrates a day, usually from decent sources of whole grains. It has been my lifelong experience of eating a meal and then feeling hungry two hours later. And not just hungry, ravenous! Wandering around my kitchen, staring into the fridge thinking, “I just ate! How can I still be hungry? I need to hold myself off longer, no wonder I can’t lose weight!” And it didn’t even really matter the quantity of food if it was high in carbs. I could eat a gigantic bowl of spaghetti and be hungry two hours later. I consciously tried to stretch snacks during the day to every 3 hours and try not to eat before then, but sometimes it was really hard. (Particularly when all I’d had for breakfast was a bowl of cereal.) Since adding lots of fat to my diet, my experience is totally opposite! I rarely snack anymore because I’m just not hungry. I eat breakfast, about five or six hours later I have lunch, and another six or seven hours after that I’ll have dinner. I do still have a little bit of sweet munchies after dinner but it’s 100% in my head, not my stomach anymore. My body literally stays satisfied for that long, and it’s amazing to me!
Carbs and sugar raise your insulin levels, and after they’re raised, they fall. When they fall, that triggers hunger. They also signal for your fat cells to hold onto fat and to store whatever you just ate as fat. I know whole grains are touted as the healthiest thing ever, and they’re definitely way better than refined grains fo sho, but all carbs turn to sugar in your body, whether refined or whole. Whole grains take longer to turn to glucose, they don’t spike your insulin up quite as high, but it’s still glucose in your body and it still raises your insulin and causes fat storage. Fats, however, cause no change to your insulin. And in fact, when your body receives the fat that it craves and needs, it actually signals to your fat cells to release fat because it knows it’s not starving of nutrients, more is on the way. So, in essence, you can eat fat to lose fat.
Fat also satiates hunger and keeps you full for longer. You feel full not because of the amount of food in your stomach but because fat signals a hormone to make you feel full. That’s why you really can’t binge on butter and eggs… your body will tell you to stop and it’s hard to go past that without feeling gross. However, carbs don’t signal that fullness hormone, so the only way your body gets the message that it’s full is when you’ve eaten enough to where your stomach is literally stretched to fullness.
The other awesome thing I love about eating so much fat is that even my hunger is more manageable now. Before when I would eat a lot of carbs and my insulin would plummet, I would be STARVING! I don’t deal very well with hunger, I’m not the type of person (like my husband!) who can just ignore my hunger. When I get that empty stomach feeling, it’s all I can think about. But now! Very different. I’ve hardly ever had that super hungry “I’m gonna die if I don’t eat now” feeling like I used to all the time. In the hours between meals I’ll feel full for quite a long time and then ever so slowly my stomach starts feeling a little bit less and less full until I look around and realize, “Oh wait! It’s time to eat! I’m actually pretty hungry!” I literally forget to eat sometimes. That is SO unlike me. And for that reason alone, I am SO much happier eating this kind of diet, weight loss aside, because I think less about food, I spend less time eating, I probably eat less food than I did before because my calories are more concentrated in fat and I’m satiated more quickly. Not to mention, fat tastes great, so the food I’m eating tastes better than ever! It’s just a nice change of pace. I feel like eating a low-calorie/low-fat diet is just a lesson in how to be content with feeling hungry all the time. This diet is the opposite.
I’m going to write some more about the science of it all and give you some more links to the info. I’ve been reading. But if you are trying to lose weight, or you don’t have a lot energy or you’re just looking for a healthy way to eat, I challenge you to try eating my type of diet for a few days and see what happens. Or just add a lot of healthy fat to your next meal. Douse something in butter, smother it in olive oil! Make it a grain-less meal and see what happens. See how long you’re full and how you feel. I promise, I’m really just so excited at how well this is working for me that I want to share it with everyone! Please, give me your comments and questions, I love to talk about this stuff!