Shortly after I came to Canada from Europe, in my 30s weighing 130 pounds after my last pregnancy, something strange happened: I started getting fat really quickly !
By my mid-40s I had reached 220 pounds, but was able to get down to 210 and keep it at that. During that time, I worked out regularly, several times a week, and ate lots of vegetables at every meal, including breakfast. I almost never ate anything sweet, but I did have a fair share of potato chips and the occasional French fries.
What I noticed right from the beginning was that eating bread, pasta, or rice would make me very hungry within an hour. Eating a cookie or cake would make me feel very shaky and would require other carbs to regain my "balance". I suspected hypoglycemia, saw a specialist, but was told that there probably was nothing to it.
Now close to 60, I came across the Ideal Protein diet, which is a low-carb diet, similar to Atkins. As soon as I cut out all carbs except for non-starchy vegetables, my body fat just melted. 5 months later, I am down 45.5 pounds, and the weight continues to come off.
Since I prefer "clean" foods, I was hesitant to eat the IP foods, which are far from "natural". Although I was happy with the quick success, I started experimenting with ways to follow the protocol but substitute real foods for the packages. This probably slowed my weight loss down a bit, but I am more interested in a lasting change of my eating habits rather than in a rapid but temporary loss.
My husband and I have settled into a food "routine": Vegetable soups and stir-fries with protein for lunch, fresh salads with protein for dinner, and nut-based snacks or small amounts of cheese during the day. We are using a wide variety of vegetables and proteins and are looking forward to being able to incorporate the starchy ones again, down the road.
The major problem I see in recommending our way of eating to others in similar situations is that we are retired. We have time to plan ahead, prepare "food to go" for when we are on the road, and we can avoid eating out.
This is a luxury we never had during our busy careers, working a lot of overtime, and having long commutes, while raising children. It seemed, then, that convenience foods and restaurant meals were almost a necessity if we wanted any semblance of family quality time.
One major challenge seems to be to identify "convenience" foods that are in line with clean eating and can help shorten meal prep time. The other challenge might be to reintroduce fruit and vegetables back into people's lives.
It seems that fresh fruit is no longer able to compete with the sweetness many people are used to from their "treats", and it's amazing how many grocery-store check-out clerks don't know the names of the vegetables they ring through!
Produce and protein are also very expensive in our part of Canada, which puts them almost out of reach for a large percentage of people on limited incomes.
Over the next few months, I'll be researching ways to eat real food that is healthy, affordable, and easy to prepare for people with families and busy lifestyles.
Any suggestions will be most welcome !
Highest weight ever: 220 pounds
Followed the IP protocol with slight modifications from June to December 2012 and lost 58 pounds.
In Maintenance mode from December to July. Didn't re-introduce any of the carbs recommended by IP for Phase 4 and Maintenance. Increased fat intake and was able to maintain my weight.
Back on Phase 1 of IP to get to 140 pounds. Hitting some snags, though.
| current weight: 163.4