First, let me say I had more hits on my blog yesterday than any other day since I have been blogging except for one (which was the day I wrote about my funeral– go figure– people really want to lose weight, but more than that, want to see me dead! Just kidding.) I have also had so many personal e-mails, comments, and texts about it and I realized just how important this plan really might be if it can help all of us to become healthier.
It has overwhelmed me… in the most glorious way. And humbled and encouraged me that you would want to take this journey with us.
I am going to give a brief overview of the plan today. I know some of you are in a hurry to start, but I recommend you wait until Monday so I will have a few more days to write all the information you will need. (BraveHeart had shots today, so I will write as much as I can as often as I can. Please be patient with me.)
I also need to give a disclaimer: This is not intended to diagnose or cure any diseases and may or may not give you the same results it has given me. Also, I have done years of research, but I didn’t know I would be writing this so I didn’t write down the references. I will try in the weeks to come to point you to scientific studies which support this plan of eating, but today I am just giving you the framework as simply as I know how. It can easily be adjusted to fit special diet needs, like gluten-free/dairy free, etc. but my plan is not either of those.
I am going to start with my favorite part about the plan, and K.’s favorite part, too. This is the core that keeps me committed, though if you are an all or nothing kind of person… you may balk when you read it. Ready?
You get Saturday supper through Sunday lunch OFF. Completely. You eat whatever you want. I am totally serious! Pizza, french fries, lasagna, fried cheese sticks. I know, I know– not healthy eating. But here’s the thing… if you get those meals off you are more likely to stick with the plan during the week, and believe it or not, after a couple of weeks you will feel so miserable on your day off and realize even more how important the healthy eating during the rest of the week really is! There is also science behind this, well at least the sudden change in number of calories and kinds of food you are giving your body for one day a week. It shocks your body somehow and helps you not to plateau and get frustrated. You don’t have to believe me, you just have to follow the plan and then tell me if it works for you!
Here is my other favorite part (notice I’m starting with the good stuff?)…
Every single night, you get to eat one small piece of very dark chocolate. Now, now… you may think you don’t like dark chocolate, but once you are eating on the plan I can almost promise you that you will learn to appreciate it. I eat high quality 85% cacao chocolate (such as Green & Black’s organic chocolate bar) which I buy at WalMart.
Important note: Everything I eat I buy from WalMart or Aldi. I don’t generally buy expensive foods. The chocolate is eaten in very small little blocks over 10 days, so paying 3 dollars for it isn’t a big deal. Trust me, having this treat slowly melt in your mouth an hour or so before bed will be a huge highlight of your day. Not only that, the cacao actually helps the body to release belly fat per some study I read recently and is full of antioxidants (the chocolate, not the sugar, hence the darkest of dark chocolates!) Whatever- it just helps me get through my eating plan the rest of the day.
Now, this is when things get a little harder… but completely doable.
You must eat real food from Sunday afternoon until the following Saturday afternoon. No quick packaged meals or chips or snacks. The good news about this is that those foods are expensive anyway, and the way I will teach you to eat will be much better for your body. You will feel the difference at least after 48 hours on the plan… Your system will literally feel clean and your energy level will begin to improve.
You must eat 3 meals and 3 snacks per day, around 2-3 hours apart. For example, I have to take my thyroid medicine on an empty stomach and wait an hour to eat, so I eat breakfast at 8 am, snack at 10ish, lunch at 12, snack at 3 pm, supper at 6 pm, and have my chocolate bite around 9 pm.
You must eat protein and fat with every meal and every snack (except with your chocolate mini-snack). You are unlimited in which proteins (not how much) you can eat, and forget what you were told in those low-fat diet books. Chicken skin should be left on your chicken when possible.
You will consume only natural fats. NO margarine. (Don’t even get me started on that non-food.) You will use real butter to cook your eggs, coconut oil if you like it (I do!), extra virgin olive oil, and the fats naturally found in meats like salmon filets and chicken thighs.
You will eat carbohydrates, but only certain ones and in small servings (other than some veggies, which are unlimited) along with your protein and fat. You will eat the carbs that digest more slowly in your system. Examples include half of a whole wheat bagel (or one whole wheat bagel “Thins”), a slice of 100% whole wheat bread (or other high fiber bread with minimal sugar added), one small whole wheat tortilla, a small sweet potato or 1/3 cup of cooked brown rice (I have the recipe for brown rice that makes it perfect which I will blog about in the next couple of days. You can make a huge casserole of it and split it into single serving freezer bags, which I will show you how to do. Then you can have it ready in 45 seconds. No kidding.)
You will eat as many low-sugar vegetables as you want. Roast them, steam them, or eat them raw. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, baby spinach, turnip greens, green bell peppers. You may eat a small serving of higher sugar vegetables like red or yellow peppers, carrots, and tomatoes with each meal.
You may eat only lower sugar fruits during the week, and up to two servings per day. These include an apple, a pear, and any berries. (Eat your fruit whole, no canned pears or applesauce, even if they are unsweetened!) Apples will keep an eternity in your fridge and you can buy bags of frozen berries at WalMart– so no excuses here on not being able to get to the grocery store often enough. (Trust me– I shop as little as possible. I hate to shop.)
You may drink anything that does not have an artificial sweetener or sugar, corn syrup, or anything that pretends to be that. There is one exception. You may have 1-2 packets of stevia per day. Also, an occasional Splenda (sucralose) sweetened drink is acceptable, but don’t do it more than once a day, and count it as one of your two allowable servings of artificial sweetener. (Once again, I will give research and explanations in future blogs– but trust me– They will stall your weight loss. Ever notice so many people who struggle with their weight are addicted to Diet Coke? True story.)
No carbonated, artificially colored drinks during the week. You can have your coffee with stevia and a splash of cream (real cream, not that artificial flavored stuff they call creamer made from oils and yuck). You can drink water with a raspberry tea bag thrown in (this is what I do all the time) which adds a hint of fruit with no sweetener or calories. You can have unsweetened tea (I know– for this Southern girl that was a real challenge at first… but I did get used to it and almost like it. If I throw a raspberry tea bag in with it, it is even more tolerable. And I drink my sweet tea on Saturday-Sunday.)
Still with me? I know this is a lot and my hands are cramping… but if I don’t explain the rules, you can’t adapt your own meals to the plan. I cook almost every night for my family and they don’t need to lose weight nor are they game for big changes in their eating habits. I had to learn how to cook a protein and vegetable we could all eat, and then a carb for them that they love but that I would not eat. I just pull a serving of brown rice out of the freezer for me, or bake a small sweet potato alongside their white potatoes, for example.)
My favorite snacks include a handful of almonds, walnuts, or pecans (not roasted and salted, but raw and whole) along with an apple or pear. However, as long as you have a natural, solid protein with a slower carb at the same time, you will be fine.
No sugar (except your small piece of chocolate). Just avoid it. It wreaks havoc on your body, affecting every organ and system. (Again, research will follow in the future.)
Okay, I know this is all over the place but I have a very unhappy two month old who can’t take much more of my typing. Tomorrow I will cover how you need to move and one of my daily menus to give you an idea of what you can do with this. I will also try to cover meals you can eat out as well. Oh, and dairy items. Wow… there is still a bit to go.
Please comment below with questions and your own personal challenges/struggles. I will use your questions to know what I still need to cover in the next few blogs. I know this plan so well that I may be leaving out important facts! Let me know where the holes are so I can fill them in…
And then there is the JOY!
101. All of the special people behind the e-mails, texts, and comments I have received about my eating plan… many of them sharing stories of their lifelong weight struggles. I am honored they would share with me!
102. Another set of shots checked off for BraveHeart, and the allergist referral for next week for TenderHeart.
103. Nana-in-law who is holding BraveHeart and comforting him after his shots while I frantically type this. She helped me keep my promise to post this today.