This is part 2 of my series on how I lost 45lbs without dieting. If you’ve yet to read part 1, please click here and give it a read before you move on.
There have been SO many different things that have contributed to my overall body transformation, that it’s hard to know where to begin. I will be discussing all aspects that I changed, including physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Let’s begin at the physical and go over what I eat, how I exercise and daily habits that have really helped me get lean without consciously trying to lose weight.
I said goodbye to bulimia and dieting
People ask me all the time what they should eat, and even more about what I personally eat. I really struggled with my relationship towards food in the past, and now I can say it’s lightyears from where it was-not perfect-but so much better. First things first, because I was bulimic, I binged and purged. Not only was I binging on unhealthy food, but I was destroying my metabolism through purging. When I wasn’t binging and purging, I was dieting-which again was destroying my metabolism. The last time I binged and purged was when I was 25 years old. It was then that I decided to stop dieting, to start listening to what my body was telling me it needed through it’s symptoms (I’ll get to that later on), threw away the notion of weighing and measuring the food I ate (as well as myself), and let my metabolism heal. It took over the last 5 years for my metabolism and hormones to get back to a place of normalcy- this didn’t happen overnight for me and it won’t happen overnight for you either. I threw away my scale, stopped focusing on the numbers, and began to focus on true health and the quality of life I wanted.
I started to look at the quality of food I was eating
The next step I took was to look at the quality of the food I was eating. I used to buy the cheapest “healthy” food I could. As a personal trainer, I bought into the lie that we need to eat massive amounts of protein every day, and because I made a modest income, I would buy bulk chicken breasts from Superstore and eat them basically at every meal. I would also consume buckets full of cheap whey protein powder every month, and lived off supplements. The vegetables I bought were the cheapest I could find, and I was scared to death of eating carbs so I would restrict any type of grain or starchy vegetable.
I changed the quality of the food I was eating first, and started to buy everything that I could organic. The quality of our food matters, and the higher the quality of the food, the higher the nutrient content. This means that you essentially need to eat less to obtain the nutrients you need. All of the vegetables I eat are organic, the chicken, eggs, or any dairy my husband eats is organic/free-range, etc. When you change the quality of the food you eat, you really start to appreciate food in a different way. It’s not merely fuel for your body, it’s keeping you alive and helping you to thrive on this planet. The quality of the food I eat is non-negotiable. My body is a temple, a fine tuned sports car-I’m going to put only the best food I can into it.
I followed a vegan diet, then switched to mostly plant-based
For everyone that knows me now, you know I’m all about that plant-based lifestyle, but I wasn’t always. I used to be Paleo, low carb, ketogenic, and like I mentioned earlier-I was scared to eat carbs. After my husband and I watched a few documentaries about our food system, we made the choice to go completely vegan. I followed a vegan diet for just under a year before I started to incorporate small amounts of animal protein back in. Going vegan was so amazing in that it helped me get over my fear of carbs and helped me shed the false belief that I needed to consume so much animal protein to stay lean. This is when my weight loss really started (although I don’t know how much weight I lost because I had stopped weighing myself).
I have really struggled with stomach issues and IBS for years, and cutting out meat and dairy made a huge difference. After a year of being vegan, I started to crave chicken and fish. Instead of pushing past what my body was telling me it needed, I gave it what it was asking for in small, high quality quantities. I scaled back the carbs I was eating slightly, and added one to two servings of animal protein a day and I trimmed up even more. I eat a predominately plant-based diet and defiantly don’t fear carbs anymore. I eat bread, pasta, quinoa, rice, sweet potatoes, lentils, but I eat the highest quality I can and in moderate amounts. I listen to what my body needs and how much it needs by eating slow enough to tell when I’ve actually had enough, regardless if there’s still food left on my plate.
I cut out sugar
I could write an entire novel about how cutting out sugar changed my life, but I’ll try and keep it short. I’ll be blunt here, if you want to lose weight, you have to cut out sugar. When you do have foods high in sugar, they should be of high quality and eaten as a treat every now and then. I eat something sweet every day, but it’s usually in the form of something I’ve baked that has high quality ingredients and minimal added sugar, dark chocolate or berries. I don’t consume more than 5-10 grams of added sugar a day, but there are always occasions where I eat a fancy vegan dessert when we go out that’s loaded with sugar, and I’m totally ok with it! Look at how much sugar you’re truly consuming. If it’s over 5-10 grams a day, it’s time to scale back.
I follow a low FODMAP protocol
I can’t tell you how many years I spent in pain after eating. I thought it was normal to get stomach cramping after eating, to feel nauseous most of the time, switch back and forth between constipation and diarrhea, to be bloated and gassy every single day, to look 6 months pregnant every night, to be plagued with acne, and to have stabbing pain before going to the bathroom. This however, is not normal. All of these symptoms were telling me that what I was eating wasn’t serving me well. Even though I was eating organic, plant based meals, I was still struggling with IBS. I began a low FODMAP protocol and the results have been incredible for me.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are groups of carbs that can aggravate the gut of those who are sensitive to them. If you want to learn more about the basics of incorporating in a low FODMAP way of eating, click here to visit this super informative website.
The foods I cut out that had the biggest impact on my digestive health are onions, garlic, dairy, broccoli, cauliflower, fruit (excluding berries), avocados, spicy foods, and nuts. While all of these foods can be healthy and great, they are not great for me in this season of my life. Following a low FODMAP diet has done wonders for my digestion and my overall quality of life. It’s no sacrifice to stop eating foods that cause you physical pain.
Low FODMAP may not be the answer for everyone with digestive issues, but it’s certainly worth a try if you really struggle with gas, bloating, nausea and inconsistent bowel movements.
I stopped eating after dinner and fast for 14 hours
I tried intermittent fasting before, and it was awful. When I tried it, I was coming at it from a dieting perspective. I was also aiming for a 16 hour fast, which left me feeling tired and worn out. Not only that, but I developed an even unhealthier relationship with food. When I started focusing on my health first, I stopped eating after dinner. No mindless snacking in front of the telly in the evening, no bedtime snack. I wanted to allow my body to digest dinner without interruption and stop eating when I wasn’t actually hungry. I have always been the type of person who workouts best on an empty stomach (especially doing cardio early in the mornings), so I would go to the gym and do my cardio in fasted state. Because I usually finish dinner around 6pm, not eating until 8am isn’t a challenge. I eat this way every single day-14 hours in between my last meal and first meal. This comes naturally and doesn’t feel restrictive in any way, shape, or form to me. I like to have 4 hours of no eating before bed, which helps me sleep better, and doing cardio in a fasted state keeps me lean.
This isn’t going to work for everyone even though it works wonders for me. My husband doesn’t workout at his best on an empty stomach, so he eats before the gym and he stays lean. Even if fasted training doesn’t work for you, what will most likely work in your favour is to stop eating after dinner. Allow your body to rest and digest. You don’t need to eat into the evening, because you’re most likely not even hungry. Snacking at night is a habit, not essential. Make sure you have a dinner that satiates you and eat again in the morning, or even after you’ve worked out (if you workout in the mornings). Not eating for 12-14 hours won’t kill you, in fact, it will make you healthier.
On a side note, I do take a BCAA supplement while I workout now, and it’s made a huge difference to my energy levels without making me feel weighed down. This is the type of BCAA I use.
I’m going to end part 2 here, and leave you with some food for thought. Part 3 will go into the types of workouts I do to staying long and lean while keeping my metabolism going strong. I hope you enjoyed part 2 and that you will reflect on what changes you need to make in the food you eat to maximize your health. Are there unhealthy habits you’ve formed over the years that you need to get rid of? Do you eat too much sugar? Is the quality of your food lacking? Do you simply eat too much? Small changes make big results over time. This was 5 years for me, and it’s going to be a lifetime more.
Thanks so much for reading. Please leave me a comment and let me know what’s worked for you in terms of eating healthy. If you’d like to stay updated, please click here to subscribe to my blog.
Have a great week, everyone! xx