This is really just my history. I chose “eating for” weight loss specifically because that is all I’ve done all of my life. It started at age thirteen when I started gaining weight with puberty. And it goes on til this day. I’ve finally reached a point now where I think I’ve found my eating groove.
What do I mean by my eating groove? I’ve found what works for me the best and what doesn’t. I want to be perfectly clear. I am NOT a nutritionist. I’ve just tried different things and stayed in touch with my medical professionals to make sure I wasn’t doing anything that would be harmful. But I’ve tried so many things, some that worked and some that didn’t, that if something in my history helps you, it will make all of my experiences, good and bad, worth it. And by the end of this blog I hope you’ll see where in my crazy, sexy life I went wrong in my eating habits, where I went right, and I promise I’ll tell you why I call it that!
My History Of Eating For Weight Loss
So when I turned thirteen years old I started gaining weight. I tried running more, I always rode my bike, I played volleyball, basketball, was in cheer leading, I was never inactive. Except at night. And my diet. My diet was great! My parents didn’t have a lot of sweets in the house. About fifty percent of the food we ate was food we hunted, caught, grew, or picked in the wild. I drank milk…a lot of it. I didn’t like water, so I rarely drank it. I had grandma’s wonderful sweet tea. And when I got the snackies at night? If we didn’t have a snack I was craving, IE: sweets, and usually we didn’t, I ate fruit, a lot of it.
Then why did I keep gaining weight? I had no idea. So I started the fad diets that I found in my teenage magazines. I even did a vegetarian diet that I actually liked a lot. And it worked! For two weeks. I tried counting every calorie. I weighed myself daily. I measured myself, I followed the eating plan EXACTLY. No dice, the weight kept coming. By the time I graduated from high school, I weighed as much as I did, right before each of my children were born.
Then I went to college. This is when I lucked out. What do they call it? The freshman fifteen? Kids go to college, live in the dorms, and eat at the cafeteria. I worked for a year before I went to college. I didn’t live in the dorms, I had an apartment. I had to do my own grocery shopping, and didn’t have much money to do so. So now I tell people I went on another diet, the financial aid diet. And this one actually worked. I was skinny. I didn’t know how except there was no extra eating or snacking and usually the cupboards were pretty bare.
I continued to workout because I wanted to stay that way. But my love for working out didn’t come until after my first was born. I stayed in pretty good shape through my kids being born, with a small stint of being under weight during my divorce. I simply tried to eat well. Because of my past, I decided that dieting just made me gain weight. I didn’t go for the low fat diet, I didn’t count calories anymore. I broke one time and tried a popular diet limiting sugar and carbs, and started to gain weight. It cemented my feeling that “dieting” did the opposite it was supposed to on my body. Then came more fads, which I ignored, until I had fateful conversation with a friend.
My Crazy Life Was Not As Sexy As I Wanted
In between the birth of my first and second child I started to really love working out. And this is where I tell you why I call my life crazy and sexy. You add trying to figure out healthy through each new “discovery”, a couple of kids, and a career? Baby, you got crazy! But sexy to me means you feel good about yourself. You feel healthy and strong. And finally I reached a point where I was ignoring the scale, ignoring fad diets, and working out at least four to five times a week and I was working on my dream career.
Then I had my third child, was in my late thirties and was creeping up on forty. My best friend, who we will call Jon, was the same age and looked amazing. He still had a six-pack and was in great shape. I told him I wasn’t unhappy with how I looked, but I wasn’t where I wanted to be. He said, Girl you are almost forty. You have to stop eating dairy, wheat and sugar.
Whaaaat? Nooooo! That’s dieting! (He knew my history.) And I love food I can’t limit myself like that! “Well”, he said, “if you want to get to where I am that’s what you have to do. I thought about it after a few days of total rebellion against the idea. But how can you argue with how he looked? So I decided to forget my past and just go for it. I have not turned back since. It got me closer to where I wanted to be. But you never stop learning!
Crazy, Sexy Cheat Days
Shortly after I went bread, milk, and sugar free I found a trainer that I absolutely loved. I got amazing results with her workouts, and I looked great. She let me in on another little secret that helped me keep to my “diet”. Cheat days! My son who is a trainer and a nurse disagrees a bit and pushes the cheat meal. But I found that if I have one day every five days, per her recommendation, to just eat what I want, then staying true to the stricter diet is so much easier!
What are cheat days and how do they work?
- A cheat day can be a meal or a whole day to eat whatever you want.
- They are most effective if you plan them according to things in your schedule like parties, weddings, etc
- They are also most effective if you have them on more active days, IE: a big workout day
- They give you a boost, allowing you a reprieve from your stricter routine
- They affect hormones like T3 and leptin to help raise your metabolism and regulate your hunger messages to the brain
- They help you keep to your healthier eating days because you’ve taken care on any cravings you had on regular days.
I always feel super yucky on cheat days, and super slim on the day after, which the rise in metabolism explains so well. And I would have a cheat day on day four, if I had a special occasion that fell that way, or conversely on day six for the same reason. All of this has helped keep me on the level of eating that I want to be at. And it is amazing how supportive many are when you tell them you can’t eat a certain way because it isn’t your cheat day!
Crazy, Sexy Intermittent Fasting
As I said before, eliminating wheat, dairy, and sugar got me closer to the look I wanted, but I still never absolutely got rid of my problem areas. I thought that this was the best I could do. Now keep in mind, in cutting out foods, I did cut out alcohol as well, but I kept my red wine. Then…. my partner in krav maga broke my knee, broke it enough that I needed surgery. I thought, great, now I’m going to gain a bunch of weight because I won’t be able to work out! Well that was totally wrong. I lost twenty-two pounds. I had to use crutches and use my upper body to move my very heavy lower body around for a month. Then I had grueling physical therapy. It was literally like having another part-time job! And my arms ( one of my problem areas) looked amazing!
Why? Well I couldn’t easily go to the kitchen for food for at least two to three months. I cut out my wine because I didn’t want to fall and re-injure myself. And I was getting exercise just moving around my heavy brace and my lower body, not to mention the work in physical therapy. But I also lost most of the muscle in my legs. They looked pathetic. I know a lot of the weight I’d lost was because of the loss of muscle. But why the rest of it? It was either because I had stopped drinking wine, or because I had inadvertently started intermittent fasting. Though at the time, I didn’t know that’s what I was doing.
Then this year my best friend, Jon, communicated to me that he was intermittent fasting. Ewww! I had another friend I knew would fast for a whole day and it just horrified me. Intermittent fasting has several ways to do it. According to my research there are about five different ways. The one I do is called 16/8, or because I’m female 14/10. I don’t eat after dinner for fourteen hours. I include my sleep time, so that makes it much easier. And when I thought I was being unhealthy because I hardly ever ate breakfast, I was actually intermittent fasting. I realized that is also why I lost so much when I was down with my knee, I was inadvertently fasting. And I have since found out there are several advantages to intermittent fasting, though the research is new.
- It causes hormone changes like increasing HGH (human growth hormone) 5x’s. And increases the release of the fat burning hormone.
- It can trigger cellular repair
- It lowers insulin, which is good for preventing type II diabetes and also good for heart health.
- Reduces inflammation
Those aren’t the only great things that IF is purported to do, but I could write a whole other article on it. So look for that in a future blog!
One Last Crazy Sexy Idea I Had For Weight Loss
It’s probably wrong to call it weight loss at this point, but I am still fighting those problem areas. Though with all the changes I’ve made, it has become easier and they have become more invisible. But I felt I still had 10% further that I could go. So I went to my son and said I wanted to do what my body building friend was doing. He asked if I wanted to compete, and I said no way! I just want to have her body fat percentage and I want my leg strength back. So he built me a new workout. And a few months into he suggested I do his cutting diet.
I knew exactly what he meant, I’d seen him do it and I decided why not? And, he thought I couldn’t do it, which made me want to do it more! So right now I’m solely eating all the vegetables I want with any protein I want, with a cheat day every ten days instead of five and intermittent fasting. Nothing else. It was super hard at first, but I really want to tell you what I noticed! I’m so close to the body fat percentage I want. But even better? When I cheat? I can’t do it very well! Yes I still crave things, but not as much as before and when I eat anything like candy? I can taste the dye’s in them! So I’m not even enjoying them anymore.
The Moral Eating For Weight Loss
So I said earlier that you might see where I went wrong when I started to gain weight when I was thirteen. The biggest problem? I drank milk to quench my thirst. I strongly believe that milk was meant for infants up to age one, after that water is best. Don’t get me wrong, once in a great while I will drink some milk. But not very often and it gets less as time goes on. I also ate a bunch of fruit at night. While the sugar in fruit does get processed much better than regular sugar because of the fiber you get as well. It was still a bunch of sugar at night.
Like I said, I’m not a nutritionist, but I can see clearly now what works for me and what doesn’t. I strongly believe that if you eat the right things, a vegetable dominated diet with good proteins and good grains like brown rice, quinoa, etc. You have conquered 80% of the battle with fat. Exercise is the 20% icing on the cake. Though I have to say now I’m addicted to exercise because of how strong and wonderful it makes me feel.
I am not making any recommendations because I’m not qualified to. If you see something in here that you want to try, talk to your doctor and if she agrees, go for it. And my best advice for anything working, especially intermittent fasting and cheat days, is that you have to pick what fits into your schedule, and you have to commit to yourself! Looking at all the things that I tried to look and feel like I want to, I must have been crazy! But now that I’ve found what works, I definitely feel sexy, healthy and strong! And now I’m “eating for” that!