After a post I made on my personal Facebook page about a lifestyle change my family and I have began, I received quite a few inquiries about the diet/exercise program we are on. Some left comments and numerous others messaged me to get the details. Its been such a crazy week that I haven't had much time to email back. We had a Birthday, kids were heading back to school and I've been catching up on my Real Estate continuing education classes so my license doesn't expire... and so on and so on. Rather than messaging everyone, I thought the more practical way to get the info out would be here on the blog.
Before I go into our eating plan, I need to hang a little disclaimer out there. I am not a Dr (obviously) so please see one first! Also I am NOT a fitness person or guru or ever have been. Most of my life I've tried to avoid healthy until just recently and totally don't want to give any false impressions. So with those disclaimers in mind heres my short story of how my family and I day by day are turning our health around.
Our journey started at the very end of May of this year. My husband, daughter and myself decided it was time to make changes to better our health. After a little over 3 and a half months we each saw tremendous improvements to our health; blood sugar lowered, blood pressure lowered, sleeping better at night, stomach problems went away and an the added bonus of lost weight. As crazy as it sounds we lost a total combined weight of 58 lbs between the three of us. This actually surprised me because our intentions were to clear up some ailments. I cannot tell you the difference we all feel!
I'll admit the journey at first was scary/uncomfortable for me. First thing I used to think of when I heard the word diet is that I'd be depriving myself. A diet in the past was always about weight loss not about health. It wasn't until recently and having to face some health issues that I rethought the word diet and the place it has in my life. I think the downfall when we start a "diet" is that we get so focused on just losing weight. If weight loss doesn't happen for us as quick enough then we abort the operation without even thinking of all the health benifits that may have come before the weight even comes off! Diets in my opinion should really be more about our health as a whole, not our weight. A few questions we can ask ourselves to do a quick health check are; Is your skin healthy? Can you walk a mile without being breathless? Are you sleeping well at night? Do you have energy throughout the day? If your answering no to most of these questions than maybe its time to take a look at what your feeding your body. Its proven when we are eating whole good natural nutritious foods without tons of sugar our bodies do some sort of a reset which along with allowing us to be healthier it also allows us to get to a healthy weight. For me it was definitely time to throw out those old ideological ideas that a diet is about weight loss. Time to throw out the "perfect body" image the world has blasted into my head. Time to throw out any and all magazines in my home that give myself or my girls a false sense of reality. After all I'm a photographer I know how photos are manipulated through photoshop, magazines give a false sense of reality that I don't want my girls to think is normal. It was just time to do a reset on my health and my mind and get back to being the best I could be. Also time to start making changes as a family. So here it is for those that are interested, please remember this has worked for our family it may not be your cup of tea. That's totally cool, everyone needs to find their own path. However one thing I would like to stress if you are a parent trying to help your child change their eating habits, is that EVERYONE in the house needs to be on board and do it too. Some parents may think its punishing the other kids, but your actually giving them all a gift. The gift of good health!
Snapshot of our Diet.. The Good The Bad The Ugly!
First and foremost this is a low sugar, low carb way of eating. Thought I'd put that out there for the anti lowcarbers (saving you all time from reading any farther). We chose this because sugar has been a problem in our family and it also can and will cause a host of problems in our body if we continue down this path. Now when I say sugar, not all sugar is created equal, there are some fruits that are lower on the glycemic index that are ok on the plan. To keep it simple sugar and carbs are kept to a minimum here a max of 50 carbs per day for the first 2 weeks. Calories are also kept in check , although not a deal breaker if you go a little higher. I stick to about 1300 a day and my husband is around 1800. Also unlike other low carb diets this is not a high fat eating plan. Adding to much fat didn't work for us. I guess if you could compare it to any diet out it would be likened to the Paleo diet and Body for life diet having baby. I guess we could call Paleo for life😂
The plan allows for up to 50 carbohydrates per day the first 2 weeks. Carbs are ONLY to be eaten at lunch, with the exception of veggies, those you can eat whenever you want. After two weeks you can up the carbs to 100 per day (we stick to 50) but we did add 1 free day each week to reset and have a day where we can eat what we want. Another thing is we make sure to try and eat dinner before 7pm, although sometimes this just doesn't happen for us because of stuff going on. Our Dr told us its best to cut off eating a couple hours before bedtime to allow our body to fully rest at night. Exercise is important, we try to get 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise 5 days per week. Really not to difficult. I ended up taking the baby on a good walk/run or doing a home video of Tae Bo. One other part of the program thats a must is drinking at least 100 ounces of water per day. Other than this its all down to good ole fashion will power and finding your "why" behind the change your trying to make. If you don't have a "why" than when the going gets tough you have a much easier way out. My why was making sure I could give my now 3 year old the same level of energy in 10 years that I've given my teenagers. I want to be around for my future grandkids and be able to do all sorts of things with them. I also want to be as healthy as my parents are and have been and set that great example for generations come. Hoping this helps those of you that asked and if you want to know a little more detail on the eating plan keep reading.
Foods we avoid.
- Potatoes (although sweet potatoes once in a while are ok)
- Whole Milk
- Pies/pastries/cake/cookies/ice cream(except Halo brand👍)
- Fruit juices
- Fried foods
- Sugar dressings
- Soda (including diet soda. This was one I didn't do, I did and still drink my Diet Coke and sometimes my Dirty Diet Coke🙈)
- Bread unless its low sugar
Basically anything that tastes good.........lol! I struggled at first because I LOVE sugar and really had to retrain my body and my brain that I really didn't need it!
- Lots of Veggies with the exception of too many carrots
- Sweet potatoes
- Beans (in small amounts)
- Lean meat
- Low sugar bread (although I only recommend this a couple times a week)
- Eggs (we do mostly egg whites)
- Rice (Its suggested brown rice but I hate it so I do white but only a small amount once in a while)
- low fat cheeses
- Cherries (remember fruit is a sugar so small amounts)
- Pork Rines
- Halo Ice cream (only like once a week)
- Sugar free candy (not the best choice but when we really struggled with cravings we had a couple pieces. Buyer beware though.... these thing will turn your stomach to pure liquid if your not careful. All in moderation, right...
- Premier Protein Shakes
- Kirkland brand Protein bars (the shakes and bars we get at Costco)
Before we began we pretty much rampaged the pantry/fridge getting rid of all the bad crap. Common sense says if its not there, you can't eat it. One thing that hit me really hard during this process was that many health issues my children had or could have in the future could almost all be attributed to me their Mom feeding them crap. If I am constantly stocking our house with high sugar, non nutritious foods thats all they have to eat when they're home. I do the grocery shopping not them and it would be devastating to me if any of them developed childhood diabetes or some other disease because their Mom constantly bought junk! That thought kinda shook me because there is no-one in this world other than my husband that I love more than my sweet kiddos. It was time to take responsibility and start making changes for all of our health.
Once we "cleaned house" we headed to Costco and the local grocery store to stock up on whole foods (as I like to call them). Mostly shopping in the produce/ meats sections.
Im not gonna lie, the first few days, maybe even the first week after I started were rough! I felt like a demon straight from hell (pretty sure my family felt that way about me too). Seriously I was moody, and got moodier whenever I saw a cupcake or a scone or drove by Mc Donald's... ok you get the idea. It was hard for me. Gradually though after the first week I noticed an increase of energy and then suddenly most of my craving started to totally disappear. By the second week I felt really great and so did the rest of the gang.
One question a friend of mine messaged me with was what we ate each day. I usually started with 3 egg whites for breakfast (if Im still hungry I add a shake). Generally I don't stop enough during the morning for a snack but sometimes I'll grab a small handful of almonds. For Lunch its a Salad with lots of fresh veggies. This is also the time of day we are allowed our "carbs" so I like to have fruit with it. Then throughout the rest of the afternoon till dinner if I hungry I snack on fresh veggies or another handful of almonds I might even throw in a protein shake. Dinner usually consists of lean meat and a big salad. Everyday is a little different though. Some days all I have time for during lunch is a quick protein bar and an apple. With a crazy schedule like we have, often dinners are zoodles with pesto or we go to Chipotle at least once a week. I stick with a chicken bowl no rice no beans add veggies. You'd be surprised at how many fast food restaurants offer low carb options. I've found Pinterest and my Crockpot to be my best friend. Crockpot has saved me tons of time and Pinterest is chalked full of low carb recipes! Again hoping this helps those that asked. If you have any more questions you know where to find me. Good luck guys!