Thanks for following my blog, I am excited about it! It was also great to reconnect with Christina again, but old fitness friend from the AOL journal days! We have been comparing notes on our different diet/exercise plans which has been fun.
Lately, I've been getting some questions from various people on the internet and also in real life about why I eat the way I do... so let's clear a few things up.
1. I am not trying to lose weight, just maintain.
2. No, I don't think I'm "fat," but like most women I have insecurities about my body.
3. I don't think any food should be forbidden, even if it's straight lard.
4. I don't think fruits, grains and dairy are BAD... per se... just dangerous for me.
My eating plan may seem drastic to people (the way I essentially avoid simple carbs, fruit and dairy). I don't advocate that everyone do it this way... and some people's metabolisms are able to tolerate more carbs/fruit. Many people I know eat whole grains and fruits regularly and have no problems keeping their weight off/down. I have just found though that my body LOVES to store carbs, so I avoid 'em. In fact, almonds, cheese, fruit, nuts, and nut butters (seemingly innocent in moderation) have derailed my progress on more than one occasion. They are like "trigger" foods for me, much like sugar, which means once I start in with them I have a lot of trouble stopping.
I think my metabolism was ruined as a child...making my body predisposed to storing anything that is not protein or fiber (or a vitamin/mineral-haha). Of course this is kind of my own theory and I have not proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt... all I know is that when I start adding my off-limits stuff back in on a regular basis (and believe me, I have done it) my weight starts edging upward. I start to think, "oh I can have whole grain bread, just a few slices" "I can have cheese, just this once" etc.. and then I start craving more and more. Maybe it's my predisposition to addiction that makes me this way... but I tend to have very all-or-nothing views in certain areas.
My eating system operates on the glycemic index. I have done a lot of blood-sugar checking in the past to test my body's response to certain foods, and since I pretty much eat the same things most days, I don't need to check all the time. On cheat days or when eating new foods, I will check out of curiosity more than anything. I don't eat foods that increase my blood sugar over 100 mg/dl. Nothing I eat really raises it much, except nuts maybe. Elevated blood sugar=insulin spike=fat storage for me. Of course, there are exceptions to this - for example after doing a hard workout, a lot of people like to eat carbs/fructose to replenish glucose stores, and I am not against this because it's going right into your muscles anyway - just don't take in more than you need.
For me though, I have altered my body's system to where it burns fat primarily for fuel - not carbs. Because of my lower carb diet - I have trained my body to operate like this. Most people favor burning carbs - which is efficient and not bad... but for people like me who like to store everything as fat... burning fat for fuel is where it's at...in my opinion. LOL
I have also asked one of my professors about my diet and if there are any dangers involved in primarily burning fat for fuel (I can't think of any, but it helps to get an expert opinion, right? LOL) he seems to think it works very well for me and I shouldn't change anything. So, that is the name of the game, finding a system that works for your own body.
Don't get me wrong - I am not "carb-phobic." I eat around 100 grams of carb a day (average American eats 300-350) but mine are from beans, nuts and vegetables.
As for dairy - I've never been a big fan. I have hated milk since I was a child, so I don't miss it. I think dairy is overrated, personally. I get plenty of calcium through other foods. I find it to be irritating to my digestive system and makes me bloated and sluggish. Yogurt is ok in my opinion ONLY if it's the plain variety - because it contains healthy bacteria - probiotics. I did make a mental note to start eating some for this reason... but haven't gotten around to it. Sadly, most yogurt on the store shelves (Activia, Yoplait, etc. ) is swimming with sugar - about 25 g per serving - so be careful!
I do eat eggs (yolks included... they have a lot of healthy minerals - choline-) you cannot get elsewhere - and the cholesterol argument is old and flawed. Yes, eggs have a lot of cholesterol, but EATING it will not necessarily raise your blood cholesterol. Eating refined carbs will. Yolks also raise levels of good (HDL) cholesterol. I eat a lot of eggs and my cholesterol is 155.
I also eat butter.. not tons, but a tablespoon or so per serving. Butter/fat helps me feel satiated and I find I NEED this. The low fat route sucks and doesn't work for me. Fat is essential and necessary for cell function. My diet is probably 40% fat. If you get a chance, rent the documentary "Fathead." Amazing. Shatters old beliefs/myths about fat making you fat.
I don't eat grains much for the same reason as dairy - they make me feel bloated and give me terrible stomach cramps and pain. I used to eat a huge baggie of Triscuits every day at work - and every afternoon I would be doubled over with stomach pain. Guess what? I quit eating them and the pain went away. Grains just seem irritating to my system or something! I feel so much better when I am just eating protein, veg and beans.. I have tons of energy and my system seems to run much smoother.
Another thing that helps burn fat is to make sure you're eating a high protein breakfast as soon after you wake up as possible - say 30 grams or so. This will help you burn more fat throughout the day.
Sometimes it sucks to think about food all the time... I wish I could just be a regular person in life who eats and doesn't think about. My husband is funny like that. He tells me, "here's my diet plan. I get hungry. I eat. I wait a while. I get hungry again, so I eat." Simple. haha. He has a reserve problem, though, wanting to PUT ON WEIGHT... so he has the same fixation... just opposite of mine... haha
I guess it comes from years of being fat and then years of losing and regaining... I don't want to go through that again... and now that I've found what works for me, I don't have to!!!