September 16, 2014
I am not a nutritionist by any stretch of the imagination but over the past 20 years I have been on a one woman journey of exploration into the effects of different food on my body, I may not have been aware of this at the time but now I can look back and see so clearly the correlation between what I have put in my gob and what has consequently happened to my body.
I recently found an old picture of me aged about 11 or 12, and it was a revelation to realise that I was not fat but was simply tall for my age. I can remember being aware of my weight though and felt like I was fatter than all the girls in my class. My diet at the time was pretty similar to most working class families in the 80s, a mix of frozen food and home cooked meals, with the occasional treat and a weekly trip to the chippy if we were lucky, but I was an active child so I guess I worked all those calories off.
Then things changed. I gave up my weekend dance classes in exchange for a weekend job in my local Wimpy which did wonders for my customer service skills but nothing for my growing teenage body, but it was my student experience a few years later where things really deteriorated, living on cider, kebab and pasta for months on end and trying to make my student loans stretch with multipacks which ended up being eaten all in one go anyway.
By the time I had moved back home I was easily a size 18 and my bad eating habits were well and truly established and it has taken me close to 14 years to finally shake some of those.
In those years I have tried many diets with varying levels of success
- Slim Fast
- Weightwatchers (4 or 5 times)
- Calorie Counting
- Low Fat
- Special K
None of these work in the long term…none of them, because those eating habits, those emotional connections to the foods I chose time and time again, they have not gone anywhere.
Since having my daughter in 2013 I have been taking a greater interest in what we as a family are eating. I have been working with a nutritionist and reading up as much as I can about the concept of clean eating.
When you go through the weaning process with a child and make that transition between them eating completely real healthy foods, to allowing the odd chemical laden sweetie or processed meal pass their lips you really start to consider where you are going to stand on such things. But if I can make those choices for her, how come I can’t for me? The concept of a once in a while treat makes perfect sense for a growing toddler, yet for me I had this warped idea about what a treat for me actually meant, and what I was doing was kidding myself about how often these so called treats entered my system, and often they didn’t satisfy my “I need something” desire anyway.
But I have had a break through, and although it is early days I really want to share it with you guys.
I am on Day 16 of the Whole30 nutrition plan.
Actually scrap that, I am on Day 16 of simply eating proper food and eliminating a whole list of toxic foods which simply do not do my body any good. So that is 16 whole days of not eating bread, or pasta, or rice, or drinking fizzy drinks or alcohol, crisps and sweets, biscuits and chocolate, ready meals, take aways….all of that junk is out of the window.
Ha, ha…I can hear the gasps now and cries of “Everything in moderation” and “oh but life is too short” well it is when you are filling your body with that crap all the time, of course life is too short.
But I am not lecturing here, simply sharing my experiences of the last 16 days.
One of the deciding factors for me of going on this new eating approach was the fact you can download everything you need for FREE off a website http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/ and that you do not need to buy any special foods, it is simply the foods we should be eating, foods our bodies were designed to eat all those years ago.
Has it been hard?
Not really. I went food shopping on day one at a local farm shop where I spent £32, that food lasted me about 8-9 days and I have just been buying bits and bobs as I’ve needed it since (I do need to do another big shop though).
I have really had to reconsider what constitutes a meal, I had been so conditioned to eat cereal in the morning because that’s what we do, so tucking into scrambled eggs, tomatoes and avocado seemed indulgent, and snacking on nuts…yes nuts just seemed wrong.
I have managed so far to not let it affect my life too much, and have incorporated it into what we eat as a family, although everyone else is still eating bread and rice and biscuits etc, but I guess not as much as normal because there is so much healthier stuff in the house.
Having such a strict list of what I can and can not eat has made things so simple for me. I have literally stopped going down certain aisles in the supermarket, and I no longer crave my diet coke and bar of galaxy at 3pm every day. I don’t need to fight any urges because they are no longer there, and I have not been guilt free for 16 days solid for as long as I can remember, and guilt is a huge part of what drives our binge, starve, binge starve vicious circle, right?
Anyway, I feel great and after the 30 days are up I know I will be implementing the whole30, clean eating or paleo diet as some people call it attitude to eating moving forward simply because of how it is making me feel emotionally towards food.
But what about the scales?
Well, you are not supposed to weigh yourself for the first 30 days as the stress can play havoc on your system, plus it’s not necessarily about weightloss anyway, but I couldn’t help it and I wanted to give you guys some solid results.
So in 16 days I have lost 6lbs, but more importantly than that my skin and hair look amazing, I have lost 2 inches off my waist and 1 off my hips…now remember this is in just over two weeks and I haven’t done an awful lot of exercise either.
Just writing those stats down make me realise just how obsessed we all are with the scales and tape measurements, I just wish you guys could feel what I am feeling emotionally in response to this new way of eating.
I am sleeping better, I feel less stressed (Although I should be hugely stressed at the moment with some of the things that are going on), and I am not obsessing about food…I have no idea what I am going to have for dinner tonight and I don’t really care, because I know whatever it is it will be good for me.
A couple of nights ago I downloaded the book It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, now this book of course promotes this whole30 concept, so it is money making for the authors but the fact you do not need to buy the book to do the diet gives me hope that some of you will consider trying it.
I bought the ebook which costs £7.49 because I wanted to understand the science behind why this works, but after reading the first few chapters its not the science bit that has won me over, it is the talk about our habits and the way the world has developed when it comes to food production and the marketing which tricks us into eating things which are just not doing us any good.
A statement that really resonated with me was one about the fact that the food we eat either makes us healthy or makes us unhealthy, there is no neutral ground, so with each and every mouthful we are either making ourselves better or making ourselves worse…and that to me just makes such sense.
I will of course be blogging about my continued journey with whole 30, and I hope that some of you give this approach a try. I know that life gets in the way and budgets are tight, and getting families to eat healthier is a struggle, but seriously something has to change, you only need to take a look around the supermarket to realise that most of us are eating food like products rather than actual food and none of us really realise what that means for our futures.
Even if you have no intention of embarking on the whole30 approach I can thoroughly recommend this book as a way of opening your eyes to what we eat, why we eat it, and what it is doing to our bodies. I now know my battles with weight gain have not been completely my fault, but equally I am not a victim and I have the power to change it.
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