Several local friends and acquaintances have asked me about my diet. I’m pleased that others have noticed a positive physical change in my appearance and, yes, the food I eat has much to do with me looking and feeling healthier than I have in years.
I’m not on a diet, per se. How I eat doesn’t have a name. Yet there are some principles that I can share with you that have worked for me.
Log food. I use MyFitnessPal (MFP) and invite you to join me. My diary is open if you are interested in what my meals and snacks look like. Logging food is very eye-opening. Within two months I figured out that I was likely lactose intolerant, couldn’t have too many carbohydrates at one time, and that animal fat didn’t like me.
Get tested. I had chronic digestive upset, episodes of severe incapacitation, and much fatigue, so I went to my doctor and had a complete physical to include blood work and an ultrasound of my gut. I was told there was nothing wrong.
Be persistent. But there was something wrong. Since I guessed that food had something to do with it, I went to a Naturopathic Doctor (ND.) Again, I was tested through extensive blood work. For me there was good news. I wasn’t allergic to any food. The bad news was that my gut wasn’t working properly and I was protein deficient.
Let it go. My ND recommended that I remove dairy, gluten, and egg from my diet. Plus, I needed to increase my protein intake dramatically while keeping animal fat low. For many years I had been able to enjoy cheese, pasta, and over-easy eggs but I needed to say goodbye to these old friends. Now I have new friends
Embrace your macronutrient self. To get this all to balance, I figured out that I needed to eat 40:30:30 (Zone Diet ratio). Translation: 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fat. The standard American diet recommendation is 50:30:20. High carb (for runners) is 60:25:15 while low carb is 25:45:30. My best guess is that each of us can find health and happiness when we find our right place on this continuum. Here’s a macronutrient calculator to help.
Slow and steady. Real change doesn’t happen over night. It took months for me to figure out some of my challenges, and I still face more. It took months to implement what I was learning, and I’m still learning .
Accountability and networking. I need my ND, chiropractor, family, and MFPals, for support. So much of this work is lonely, alone work. I need community to keep me honest and motivated. I learn so much from those on vegan, paleo, celiac, allergy-free, Zone, whole food, running, and other diets.
All in. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! On Thanksgiving 2013, something snapped. I saw myself going down a sick and tired spiral which was only worsening. So I started to run. When my neck and back ached, I went to the chiropractor. Then I started logging my food. In other words, one thing lead to the next because, to the best of my ability I was doggedly determined to feel healthier. Results come slowly when I’m all in. This would be just too painful to do half-way.
Start now. I’m so grateful that I started when I did. I’m 1.5 years into this process and couldn’t be happier. It all started with one step, one real act, one behavior.
Failure? Who cares. Some days suck. I fail every day at this. And I don’t care. I just keep going.
Objective results. I ran the 2 mile Turkey Trot Thanksgiving 2014. I lost 20 pounds. I dropped a size. I have more energy. I sleep better. I ran an 8K. Positive, measurable results are real, tangible, and highly motivating.
Ongoing motivation. My youngest son will turn 10 soon and my grandson is almost 1. I want to be here for them long-term. My motivation is to be pleasing to God who created this mysterious and life-giving body of mine; to love my husband, family, friends, and neighbors with energy and generosity; and to be alive, to thrive. To be whole.
What is your relationship to food? What motivates you to do your best? Feel free to ask me questions related to this topic. I’m glad to share what I’ve learned.
Thanks for asking and have a terrific weekend ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc