I found myself in a funk. I was overweight by about 50 pounds, could no longer run up stairs, had trouble leaning over to tie my shoes, was lethargic, was depressed, and had a bad case of brain fog. After floundering around, trying to fix all this with medication, great cabernet sauvignon, and chocolate cake (!), I decided that perhaps a more healthy approach was in order (ya think?!). Something that would support weight loss, but also my life.
I love research, so that’s what I did, and decided to follow the Dr. Eades’ Protein Power program. the Atkins program would have worked just as well, but Protein Power was where I finally landed.
I wanted to (A) have more energy, (B) beef up my immune system, (C) lower my blood sugar and blood pressure, (D) increase my cardiovascular health, (E) combat my allergies, and (F) lose weight…and I did. Here are a few simple tips I used to speed up my metabolism and lose some of the extra baggage I had carried around for much too long.
I apologize for not having any pre-weight loss photos. I never kept them and destroyed them wherever I found them. I was embarrassed and ashamed of how I looked. I’m very aware of how profoundly important it is to have self-acceptance. I know that our beauty is on the inside, and that we come in a wondrous array of shapes and sizes. I also know that I was unhappy and unhealthy and getting progressively more sick. ‘Nuff said.
Skip the sugar—in all of its forms. Especially liquid calories from any source (soda, fruit juice, alcohol), which store as belly fat. Be on a mission to get high-fructose corn syrup out of your diet (read every single label). Also skip all the foods that convert to sugar (glucose) in your body—fruits, potatoes, grains/rice, and sweet veggies (peas, carrots, orange squash, root veggies). Remember: fruits are nature’s candies. You can carefully add a few of these foods back in after you’ve regained your health and lost the weight…just keep track of your weight—if you gain, you’re overdoing calories and carbs. WHAT I USE: I use Swerve and liquid stevia for sweetening but only after my weight goals have been met…no sweets while on the straight and narrow. Try my chocolate cheesecake; I dare you to be able to taste the difference from sugar-sweetened. In fact, I double-dog dare you!
Ditch all grains—corn, rice, oats, quinoa, and flours…yes, even whole wheat flour, which converts to sugar in our bodies. Did you know that two slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar? “Flour” includes noodles/pasta, breaded/dredged meats (McNuggets, anyone?) pretzels, breakfast cereals, tortillas, crackers, pizza, sandwiches, and baked goods (pastries, cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, donuts). WHAT I USE: I mostly use almond flour and coconut flour for baking, and for pasta, I use zero-carb shirataki noodles or vegetable noodles. Some people can add small portions of non-wheat starches back into their diet once they’ve met their weight goals…always add in small increments, keeping an eye on your weight; if you start to gain, back off and eat more carefully.
Start the day with protein—not starch or sugar. Try free-range omega-3 eggs, a protein shake, a tofu scramble, veggie-meat (watch the carbs; read labels), or meat-fish-poultry and sautéed veggies. Skip the bagels, muffins, and donuts. WHAT I USE: I use non-gmo, organic, grass-fed whey protein powder or low-carb vegan pea protein (Orgain) for my morning smoothies, or make a quick Minute Muffin with nut flours and an organic free-range egg, or saute mushrooms, red bell peppers, some green veggies and a protein of some sort.
Have protein with every meal—try nuts like peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, or pecans… seeds like pumpkin, chia, or hemp… or have grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, wild-caught fish, seafood from clean waters, organic tofu, or a veggie-meat (watch the carbs; read labels). Skip all legumes/beans for now. WHAT I USE: I eat nuts and seeds daily, usually in 1/4-cup total daily quantities. I eat very small portions of Great Northern beans, chick peas, and black beans…but only when all my weight loss goals have been met.
Eat less food—use a smaller plate, and eat more fats and veggies to feel full and satiated. When eating out, ask for a leftover food container first, and put half the meal inside for another meal tomorrow. Add fats to to your remaining food (olive oil, butter, sour cream). WHAT I USE: I found a wonderful collapsable lunch box set that I keep in the car, meaning I don’t have to ask waitstaff…or wait 🙂
Add more healthy fats to your diet—fats aren’t an enemy if you aren’t eating simple carbs. Grass-fed butter and cream, organic extra virgin olive oil, and organic coconut oil? All good. Grass-fed cheese is just fine. A knob of grass-fed butter on top of a steak, or a hunk of grass-fed cheese? Healthy and delicious. WHAT I USE: I use grass-fed butter and organic milk products from pasture-raised animals to avoid consuming the antibiotics and growth hormones that are added to animal foods.
Don’t get hungry, eat snacks—have a tablespoon of peanut butter or cream cheese in a celery stick, or a few macadamia nuts, a modest chunk of grass-fed cheese, or a slice of wild-caught smoked salmon rolled up with grass-fed cream cheese. WHAT I USE: When traveling, I make Minute Muffins for long trips, but I also fall back on my favorite nibbles, like mixed nuts or a few tablespoons of peanut butter and a dill pickle (it may sound weird, but it’s delish).
Drink more water—at least eight glasses a day. Coffee doesn’t count! Start your morning with a big glass of water with a squeeze of lemon, or some infused-water, which gives your whole system a healthy jumpstart. WHAT I USE: We have water filter at home and carry around filtered water for all-day clean water. Please try to avoid bottled water, it’s expensive, terribly hard on the environment, and isn’t necessarily any cleaner than tap water.
Take care of your micronutrients—take a good multivitamin, a fish oil capsule, and probiotics. The multivitamin will make sure you’re getting the trace nutrients you may be missing, the fish oil will provide you with the Omega-3s that aren’t made by our bodies, and the probiotics will help heal your gut flora after all the sugar and flour it’s gotten over the years. WHAT I USE: Every day, I take a multi-vitamin, calcium-magnesium supplement , probiotic, fish oil capsule (vegans/vegetarians can use a flax seed supplement), and some amino acids. That’s my base. Sometimes I take a few other things, depending on my state of health.
Go for a walk—it won’t actually burn huge amounts of calories, but it *does* pay dividends in joy and flexibility. WHAT I USE: A FitBit tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. At night, it tracks your sleep quality and wakes you silently in the morning. Pretty cool.
The biology—What your body is going to do is stop using carbs for fuel (because it’s not getting any) and switch over to burning fat for fuel (which it has in abundance). Wheeee!! You’ll probably feel under the weather for a week or two (tired, cranky, headache-y) because your body is making a big biological change, but then your body will adjust, and you’ll start feeling terrific…and I mean really terrific: your mood will lift, your concentration will increase, and you’ll be filled with all kinds of energy. WHAT I USE: To stay on track and keep motivated, I use MyFitnessPal.com. It’s free, has a great community, nutritional /calorie counts for bazillions of foods, and meal tracking. I also use more salt/potassium during those first two weeks, because this diet packs a big diuretic punch, meaning loss of sodium/potassium (think dill pickles).
The bottom line—The easiest way to eat this way? Breakfast—a protein smoothie, eggs, or scrambled tofu. Lunch—a big salad with some protein (egg, chicken, tuna, or tofu ). Dinner—a modest piece of meat/poultry/fish/tofu/tempe/veggie-meat (watch the carbs; read labels), with lots of mixed veggies. You can also read low carb food blogs, such as this one, for ideas to add more variety, and if you’re on Facebook, just search for “low carb” and there are plenty of great pages to follow. Remember—keep drinking LOTS of water!
NOTE: This website is not designed to, and should not be construed to, provide medical advice, professional diagnosis/opinion, or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. “Live long and prosper.”