I'm 25 now and for the past ten years of my life I've had issues with weight. I've been up and down in terms of weight, but mostly up. I've tried various different 'healthy eating' plans over the 10 years which have all helped to a very small extent. I don't think I'm alone in this, I start a new 'diet' and watch the calories and fat going into my body and work hard with exercise lose a couple of pounds and fall off the waggon before piling any weight lost back on with interest.
I'd given up. I accepted that I was just 'one of those fat people' and to be honest I was happy with that. I'd learned that there's a lot of people who like and appreciate me for what I am, not like me but wish I was a bit thinner. I really was happy with my weight, but one thing began to bother me; I was tired a lot, I had thyroid issues, I couldn't cope with stress and I was very agitated quite a lot of the time. This started to get me down and I wanted to change it - but I had no idea how. I LIVED on energy drinks and crisps, I loved all forms of those 'evil' potatoes; mashed, fried, baked, roasted, boiled, hashed... whatever, I consumed them on mass. But I felt bloody shit.
I was talking to a friend in a supermarket, she was talking about her diet and how she will eat bacon fat and always choses butter and lard over things like sunflower oil and low fat spreads. I looked at her like she was insane, I couldn't help but question her sanity. Then, in a second, I looked at her; she's slim, toned, full of energy and healthy. I looked at myself; fat, tired, unhealthy and wanting something to change - how could I argue?
I was intrigued, so I asked for more information. She said "if everybody counts CHEMICALS instead of calories, we'd be much better off" I was more intrigued, so the conversation continued... she explained that the food we eat now is so different to what our grandparents and their parents would've ate, generations of healthy, slim, energetic and hard working people. She explained that in the UK and America most of our food is now extremely processed and full of sugar, chemicals and other things we didn't see before.
Since the increase in the amount of processed food we eat as a nation, not only has obesity increased but also chronic illness; thyroid problems, ME/Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Cancer... the list goes on. She pointed out that if we eat food that's been food for thousands of years and try to avoid 'modern' foods which have only been around since these problems began to become a problem then we'd see an increase in health and a reduction in weight.
I was sceptical, but I was willing to give it a go. As I said, who am I to argue? I researched more online and decided to only eat whole foods, along with traditional fats which are high in saturated fat such as butter, olive oil and coconut oil (I'm vegetarian so no lard and bacon fat) and full fat milk, cheese and eggs while trying to avoid all of the fats commonly associated with being more healthy such as sunflower oil.
White bread, sugar and energy drinks were the first things to go. And i'll be honest, it killed me for a few days. My body was used to getting tonnes of sugar and caffeine. I stocked up on loads of fruit and vegetables, I spent hours researching different foods and the benefits they have and made sure to include loads of them in my shop. I also got grains like brown rice and lentils along with yoghurt, cheese and full fat milk. All of which organic and grass fed, with the idea that that animals who live a healthy life and eat a healthy diet that's natural to them will provide a higher quality food.
I also made an effort to limit the amount of exposure I get to chemicals, by using natural and organic soaps, aiming for organic produce as much as possible (expense is a problem!) and avoiding all pharmaceutical medication (I was on no prescription drugs to begin with and wouldn't advise anyone to stop without a doctor blah de blah) but instead of taking cocodamol for headaches I replaced it with a quick 30 second inhalation of lavender and spearmint essential oils. To my shock (and delight) it worked!
I was adding extra coconut oil to almost every meal I had, finding ways of increasing the amount of fat I could take. I was very keen to try this because fat makes even the most bland foods taste so much better. Not only does fat help the absorption of loads of fat-soluble nutrients but it also helps with flavour and feeling satisfied.
Jump forward three months and I feel tonnes better already, I'm two clothes sizes down and I NEVER feel hungry. Apart from when I wake up. I try to make every shop different by including one or two new fruits or vegetables, or something new such as nutritional yeast or cashew butter then trailing new recipes and thinking of new ways to combine foods. It's fun, if you like food!
I'm now wearing clothes that were in a bag of 'those clothes that will NEVER fit again' and they're starting to become baggy, it's becoming a bit of a joke within my family now who say I'm getting "even thinner" every day. I don't have weight or waist measurements of before and after, firstly because I didn't start out hoping to lose weight and because it doesn't interest me. If I feel and look slimmer, then that's what I'm concerned about, not clinical statistics and militant measurements.
For a lot of people, it will mean big changes. Eating whole foods and trying to avoid anything that comes in a packet, wrapper, tin or jar can be really daunting, but if you've struggled with weight for a while now I would certainly recommend giving it a go. I used to love munching on junk in the evenings, I'd sit and eat packet after packet of crisps and now I don't even think about it. It's not an issue of 'having willpower', I just don't feel the need to binge on junk. I'd heard people say things like this before, but I didn't believe them - I always thought they were a different kind of person, but they're not.
And the best of it is that if I go out with friends, or everyone is ordering a take away, I'll eat with them. I try to order the best thing on the menu (the closest to whole foods, less seed oils, no 'low fat', no white flour etc) but if that's not available, I'll order whatever I want. It's not every night, it's not even every week, and eating crap every now and again doesn't hurt and it's helps to "keep you on track".
For years I'd opted for 'all or nothing' diets and said "oh well there's my diet down the drain" if I decided to nip to the chippy on my way home. Now I just accept that I might want some other food sometimes, while keeping 98% of my food whole, proper old fashioned food.
I think it's awesome, not only am I losing loads of weight, I'm giving my body a full range of nutrients to support all the functions in there; so I've got more energy, my skin is better, my hair is better, my eyes look bright and I don't have that 'person who's lost weight' look that's becoming quite familiar.
If anyone's looking for another approach to health and weight loss give it a try, if you need any help or advice I'd be happy to assist where I can - I'm not a doctor (medical or otherwise) or a nutritionist, I'm just someone who's followed some good common sense advice and wanted to share it with anyone else who's also been stuck in this 'low fat, low calorie' diet nightmare for too long with little results!
There's no books to buy (although you can if you wish!) and no expensive memberships to weight loss clubs. There's loads of free online resources, blogs, discussions and with an emphasis on feeling great and nourishing your body, it's less dull than just 'trying to lose weight'... weight loss kind of comes as a by product of just eating good food!
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your goals!