Friday, March 7, 2014

No Grains, No Gains - Health benefits of my diet



A group of Primal/Paleo/Grain Free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding.

This month's topic is about the health benefits of my diet. Now, there are a lot of sceptics out there regarding the Paleo diet. I followed a low carb, high protein, low fat, low sodium diet to lose weight. I decided to go Paleo for maintenance. I'm a binge eater, and the thought of eating my trigger foods again (processed carbs and refined sugar) caused me MUCH anxiety when I reached maintenance. So I made the conscious effort to not eat those foods again. I had already gone 16 months without them, it made no sense to me to start eating the foods that got me to 300 pounds in the first place. 

Many nutritionists, athletes, doctors, people in general believe we need carbohydrates to fuel. I have been a long distance runner for over a year. I started training for my first half marathon in December 2012. I was not eating processed carbs at that time. Although I do eat carbs, they are carbs found in fruits and vegetables. I have never "carb loaded" before a run. I don't need to. I use a sports nutrition sportive to fuel my long distance runs. Two scoops in a cup of water is all I need. I can't eat a lot before I run. What I eat following my run is the most important. Lots of protein to repair muscles.

So moving on the the benefits, I always eat until I am full or very satisfied. I don't measure portion size (except with nuts), count calories or fat. That gives me such freedom. True, I leave out a lot of different foods from my diet, but I'm okay with that. I enjoy the way I eat. It seems that it's the people around me who have issue with my diet. The snide remarks, the looks I get sometimes when asked about why I'm not eating certain foods. I get the eye roll sometimes too. But that's okay. It's my body, it's my decision. And there is scepticism in the unknown. I get that.

I have great skin. Right now it's not looking it's best. But that is due to the stress I'm going through (which has nothing to do with my diet). I did have a break out this week and a cold sore formed on my lip, I haven't had one of those is a very long time. But back to the topic under discussion. I have pretty good skin, everywhere. Not just my face, but it's soft and even toned. At 43, I still get the odd pimple here and there, but I think that has to do more with wearing make-up than anything else. 

I also have really good hair. I never had hair loss issues during my weight loss (common with low-carb diets). And my hair, although in desperate need of a cut and shaping, is in healthy condition. All my new hair growth is brown. I do not get my hair coloured, I have very little grey. I honestly had more grey hair 5 years ago than I have now. Not sure if that has to do with my diet, but what else could it be? People have often commented to me that I look younger now than I did five years ago. I have to agree with them.

My doctor, although supportive, was concerned about my blood tests and ordered 3 in the last year. My blood is perfect. I am not deficient anywhere, and I am no longer anaemic. I developed anaemia when I was pregnant with Julien and was unable to shake it for years. My blood test from a year ago showed that I had regained all my red blood cells. I also eat A LOT of eggs. I do not have high cholesterol.  

I used to have a lot of stomach issues. You know, nasty stuff, like gas, heartburn and general stomach upset. Gone, gone and gone. And I know you all want to know about my toilet habits. I used to have "issues" with that. A thing of the past! I'm relieved to report that I am a very "regular" person. Probably for the first time in my life.

Since being on maintenance, although my weight hasn't dropped significantly (8 pounds), I have gone down in size. I was wearing size 10 in December 2012, and now I wear size 6. That has to do with the running, but being on a diligent eating plan has definitely helped as well. Processed carbs turns into sugar in your body which is stored as fat. Since I don't eat them, I never worry about gaining fat. I have gotten leaner due to diet and exercise.

Besides having boundless energy, being able to long distance run without issue, having the resting heart rate of an athlete, and just feeling good overall, I wouldn't trade how I physically feel at this moment for anything to eat. That is why it is so easy for me to stay on plan. If you felt as physically good as I do everyday, you'd get it. That is one of the most asked questions I get, "how do you resist eating all the good food"? I do eat all the good food. The food that is good fuel for my body. And I feel like a million bucks. If that's not motivation to stay on track, I don't know what is!

Now take a moment and check out the health benefits of my best bloggy friends. I love writing in this type of forum because we all have different experiences to share. Take a look and leave a comment if you have a moment. Tell them Leigh sent you. Have a good weekend:)

Against the Grain
For Life
Living the Life
Garden Girl

6 comments:

  1. I love your post Leigh!!

    "The snide remarks, the looks I get sometimes when asked about why I'm not eating certain foods. I get the eye roll sometimes too. But that's okay"

    Haha, I can relate to that too! People don't bother now, they just know I don't eat certain foods. I love that you went paleo after losing weight, it really was the very best thing you could have done for yourself!!

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  2. I follow a similar eating plan, based on William Davis' book Wheat Belly, so mine is more a moderate protein, high fat plan, but still has done great things for my health - for the most part - meds are halved, and generally I feel better, look better and sleep better . . . now to tackle my severe osteoarthritis . . . go girl!!!

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  3. GREAT post and results, Leigh! I agree....my skin is so much better! The bottom of my feet used to get pretty calloused, as did my elbows. Now...not at all! It's amazing!

    p.s. I transitioned from coloring my hair to going a natural color in the year preceeding my going primal. Still white/silver/gray. LOL ;)

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  4. I eat until full / satisfied as well. People at work are sometimes surprised at my portions thinking you have to eat less to lose weight. I love the freedom of being able to eat as much as I like and not count calories as long as I avoid the wrong foods.

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  5. Great post Leigh. My hubby is struggling with weight gain at the moment, and I'm going to make him read Lynda's and your posts tonight, with an aim to get him on board!

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  6. I think eating whole, real foods and being grain free and processed food product free is under used in weight maintenance. I can sooooo relate to having fewer binge urges by eating a Paleo-ish template.

    Leigh, thank you for sharing your story. :)

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