Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nutrition Part #1: I don't diet

I have been on a journey for the last couple months and it has changed the way I think about food, body image, my knowledge of nutrition, and how confident I feel feeding my family.  This isn't a fad diet with rules and fast weight loss.  It seems popular to claim that a diet is a "lifestyle change" so I'm hesitant to even call it that.  It's more of just a wealth of knowledge and understanding that has influenced my choices.  I am so excited about how it is empowering me as a mother and as a woman that I want to summarize it in one place.

The book: The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor
Summary video (this one is about 12 minutes but wraps up the concepts really nicely)
The website Sane Solution is the name of the company
Podcast (on Power of Moms)

don't diet.  I don't.  I've never even tried.  
I have tried to eat "better"--more good stuff, less bad stuff.  More reasonable portion sizes. But I've never even wanted to try a "diet".  It just feels intuitively wrong to me.  Deprivation backfires.  Besides, I know I'd fail miserably.  I like food. I can't stand it when people make their diets known in a social setting.  It makes me feel bad about that cookie I'm grabbing (especially when they're stick thin!)

But, I've also always wished I understood more about nutrition.  I have always wished I had taken more classes on this in college.  I want science.  Not some quick fix or best seller.  As consumers, I feel like we are fed different information every season!  A few years ago, I even ordered a random used textbook from Amazon and set about reading chapters to learn more about basic nutrition.  I kind of failed to ever make it all the way through!

I only gave The Calorie Myth a chance because my friend, April Perry was so passionate about it and I trust her reviews!  It felt out of my comfort zone at first but the more I read the more I loved the real hard-core science!  It's loaded with examples of experiments on rats and studies on humans that have left me feeling like, "Yes!  I'm not just greedy if I'm a little pudgy.  I'm just not eating enough of the right kind of food!"  That's a 180 on body image that every woman needs!  I've been learning so much about what different food does once it's inside your body.  It's not about counting calories, starving or eating less.  Deprivation doesn't work.  And culturally I had learned some habits that were sabotaging my efforts to be healthy because "healthy" is defined differently every year.  

The bottom line is that you can fill yourself so full with food that doesn't sabotage your hormones and allows your body to process all the food that you eat.  (watch the video....really!)  When I eat the right stuff most of the time, eating some of the not-so-great stuff doesn't affect me as much.  My body is healthy and processing well.

1. Non-starchy Vegetables
Since gaining all this new information, I have spent so much time researching ideas and experimenting with food.  One thing I learned really fast was how filling non-starchy vegetables are.  I used to think they were just a required side dish to make my plate "balanced".  Now I understand that if you choose the right ones they are full of fiber and water that literally fills your stomach causing a stretch that makes you feel full.  I had to overcome some habits of a lifetime: like finding new ideas for breakfast.  I now eat a ton of veggies for breakfast and I actually love it.  (I won't was a long month of experimenting before I found solutions!)  Side note: this isn't a low-carb diet.  Non-starchy vegetables are carbs but they are the carbs that don't sabotage you!

2. Protein
I have also learned how important protein is as a building block in our bodies and about how much my body needs to remain full for 3-4 hours.  Plain greek yogurt, eggs/egg whites, cottage cheese, and meat are things I include in all my meals now.

3. Whole food fat
I finally understand the political drive behind why fat was made the bad guy many years ago.  Without fat, food tastes bad, so companies add sweeteners.  It's incredible how there are sweeteners in almost everything!  When our bodies are constantly triggering insulin to deal with the sugar, we eventually become insulin resistant.  We don't process our food like we should.  And a lot of other bad stuff.  But it isn't easy just stopping eating all that stuff!  I had to learn how to make food that isn't sweetened taste good.  I had to get used to incorporating whole food fats into my diet on purpose because that's what give us the "satisfied" feeling.  Again think lots of hours in the kitchen.  Some discouraging failures.  But ultimately success.

Success = Full, satisfied, happy
I love that this isn't all or nothing.  I don't feel like I'm following rules.  I prioritize eating the vegetables, protein and whole food fats, but after I've eaten that, I indulge in treats sometimes (I'm usually so full I can't eat too much!)  The full feeling I feel is so different from anything I have ever felt.  I feel so full but not "I want to throw up" full.  Just very satisfied.  Always.

As a mom, I finally know how to help my child that is always hungry eat enough to stay full for more than 30 minutes.  She doesn't always choose to eat that way, but she knows what it takes and is choosing it more often.  I am less frustrated because I understand why she is always asking for food and can do something about it!  Another of my kids wants to eat sugar all day long.  Instead of fighting over how much she can have everyday, I am now focusing on teaching her that once she is meeting her 10-12 vegetable servings and protein/fat, then I will be able to trust her to make her own sugar decisions.  She's working on it...I know she will get there eventually.  It's not easy to change habits.  One of my kids is a vegetarian and this has helped me give her more protein options as I've realized how little she gets.  

It sounds laugh-able to offer a vegetable tray everyday after school, but I do now!  And it's amazing how excited they are and how they gobble it up.  Once filled up with goodness, I'm pretty chilled about it if they want to grab a cookie or treat sometimes.  Happy mom.  Happy kids.

Body Image
Can I just mention body image?  I think every woman that ever has an ounce of fat has felt negative and criticized herself for indulging or having portion sizes that are too large.  I know I have been hard on myself for not working out more.  As I have felt my body experience "nutritional serenity" I realize that this isn't about being greedy or lazy.  Most people just aren't getting the nutrients they need!  Our food supply is designed to sabotage us.  It takes deliberate effort (and knowledge) to avoid the pitfalls.  I'm so much kinder to myself now and feel like I'm in control instead of fighting the enemy of food.

Exercise & more...
The tag line of the book is "eat more and exercise less".  There's very little exercise (in minutes) but it's so effective!  You'll have to read it to understand why--again lots of science behind what will boost your metabolism.  I was so 'happy-sore' for 4 days last week after a 10-15 minute workout.  Having said that, there is plenty of encouragement of an active lifestyle, and other components of the whole person.  Water consumption, gratitude journaling, sleep.  My favorite thing that Jonathan said to us moms one day was--if you aren't getting 7 hours [undisturbed] sleep, don't cut into your sleep to get exercise!  I have been prioritizing sleep much, much more than I used to.  I was a 5:30am exerciser before.  Not anymore.  And I'm so much happier when I sleep!

It's mental, emotional and physical changes.  I am changing in ways that feel sustainable and good.  It's hard to put a number on the mental emotional and even some of the "feel better" physical.  Hopefully my enthusiasm about it will count for something.  The physical measurements--weight & inches--have decreased to a place I can't remember being at since before motherhood.  I ended up with before and after pictures (fully clothed!)  that shocked me.  Can't bring myself to post them here...but if you need some motivation to get on board and pictures will do the trick...let me know :)

I think we all want to be slim, healthy, strong and energetic and I'm thrilled that I've found a way to get there that is painless and joyful!

*I was part of a pilot group that worked with the author, Jonathan Bailor and Power of Moms to prepare a program for moms to learn about these ideas.  I feel so blessed to have stumbled on that opportunity.  All of this is my honest-to-goodness opinion and I am not being compensated to review positively.  I will be posting more details about specific things that have worked for me in an effort to share with our group and anyone else that may be interested.

1 comment:

Rachel Free said...

JaNae! I love this! With this most recent baby I had gestational diabetes, and this is *exactly* what I did to control it. It was tricky at first, especially coming up with non-starchy vegetables for breakfast! But I loved knowing I was treating my body the best I possibly could, and I had SO much more energy, and was so much less hungry than I had been before I was diagnosed. It's been wonderful and empowering to feed my children nutritious foods too (3 yr old is watching a movie with a bag of baby carrots for quiet time right now!) and I feel so much less guilty when I let them indulge in sweets. Thanks for sharing and validating what I'm learning =)