I have studied nutrition formally for almost 5 years. Before I enrolled into the Nutritional Therapy Association, I knew I was interested in this holistic piece because of my own weight issues. Some of you may know I was a vegan/ vegetarian for 29 1/2 years to be exact. My whole life, just until I turned 30, I ate a diet mostly of cheese quesadillas, Raisin Bran, peanut butter and honey with a side of soy laden fake meat. I was active, but yet I still had that looming muffin top hanging on. I never really knew I was carrying around excess adipose tissue until my size 13 jeans no longer fit. I enrolled in a 1200 per day calorie weight loss program, and in 2 months I shed 30 pounds. Not only was I eating low calorie, but I was training for a half marathon by running, plyometric cardio and lifting weights. I finally reached a low weight that I felt comfortable in.
As soon as I ran the half, I didn’t have anything to train for anymore, so the weight came back on. Fast forward to 7 years of yo-yo dieting in a healthy fashion, but still the vanity weight kept me from that healthy self-esteem feeling after training for so many months.
I converted to eating meat in 2013 after seeing a holistic doctor specializing in functional medicine. He took my labs and low and behold he diagnosed me as pre-diabetic (insulin resistant), low hormone function, overweight and not firing on all cylinders. And I thought I was healthy being a vegetarian/ vegan. No wonder why I was tired all of the time despite eating “healthy” and working out constantly. My consumption of vegetarianism was based on a large carbohydrate diet. After all, you have three choices of macronutrients to choose from: fat, protein and carbohydrates. Most vegetarians lack healthy fats and usable proteins. And I was consuming the easy non-prepared foods: processed carbohydrates.
My doctor worked with me from a foundational level to reverse my high insulin, progesterone level and gave me some recipe ideas for a new-to-me omnivore diet. He recommended that I start consuming animal proteins, healthy fats, and lower my high carbohydrate diet. I remember purchasing meat for the first time in my life: a pre-cooked chicken breast. There was no way I could touch raw animal flesh. It sat in my fridge for a week before I could attempt to eat it. I had anxiety over a little boxed up piece of white meat. I knew the docs recommendation had to be followed through, so one day I just threw a few pieces of chicken down the hatch and never looked back. It took about a year of trying different sources of meat to not have anxiety over it anymore. For those first 12 months, every meal with chicken, beef or pork had to be cooked to death. I chewed and swallowed as fast as I could, not wanting to think about what my tongue was touching. Yes, I was crippled with anxiety over what could have been nutritious meals.
About a year of upping my fats and proteins, my skin cleared up, my cognition increased and I was starting to see a few muscles appear. I lost a few pounds and had more of a lean looking body. I knew I was onto a new passion that lit my fire, so I enrolled in the NTA wanting to help others with this new found lifestyle. I graduated in 2014 as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I finally found my tribe. Like minded people coming together to heal the world through functional dietary changes.
But that internal healing still wasn’t showing on the outside. I worked hard for years to shed the vanity weight. Being in the functional medicine world of nutrition, you are handed books, podcasts, research papers on all different diets that have worked for people. You name it, I tried it. Other success stories were whizzing by me, but I still couldn’t touch my Fort-Knox fat stores. The potato diet (yes its a real thing, look it up.) Whole-30 (Which I loved for multiple purposes, but it never helped drop more than a few pounds on the scale for me). The Ketogenic diet (I actually gained a few pounds doing this.) I teach sugar detox classes and for a period of 3 weeks I refrain from the foods that hinder weight loss. This worked for a short period of time for me, but ultimately, my body has a nerve-racking set weight that I could never tap into. The list goes on and on. I knew that my foundation was set with a lot of internal health issues, but I also knew that there was something out there that must work for me to be able to shed the weight.
The beginning of 2018, I came across fasting. I tried one day of intermittent fasting by eating in an 8 hour window and fasting for 16. Wow, two pounds were gone. I am an all or nothing person, so I told myself I would try for 3 days and do nothing but water. I pulled of 4 and lost a whopping 10 pounds. Finally, I found something that I could hang my hat on.
*If you are on medication or have any health issue, please talk to your doctor before you consider fasting. Certain medications must be taken with foods. Once you start cleansing your metabolic pathways, detoxing and decreasing weight, certain medications might need to be altered.*