This Is Why You’re Fat.

Just a warning… this is very text heavy. I could ramble on forever about this subject.

I was reading Jen’s blog last week and noticed that she mentioned something very familiar to me: this book.

What she wrote in her post is pretty much exactly how I feel about it. I bought it about two years ago- immediately read it cover to cover, and was super-inspired to start Jackie’s program. And I kept up with it- for about a week. I don’t know why, but my motivation tapered off. I also think that I was a little too liberal with the “cheat meals,” but I’ll elaborate on that later.

After work last Friday, I enjoyed doing my favorite Friday afternoon activities: a good workout, followed by a snack and a nice soak in the tub. Sometimes I read when I’m in the tub, sometimes I just zone out. On that particular day, I grabbed Jackie’s book and started reading it again. As I read, my mind started buzzing. Everything was very familiar and the same ideas were rushing through my head. It’s one of those books that you read and thinkthat makes so much sense… So much of what Jackie writes really makes me take a hard, cold, honest look at my issues with food and why I have so much trouble losing weight.

First and foremost (and I don’t want to just use this as an excuse)- as I’ve stated before- my genetics kind of suck. I have a naturally slow metabolism. I know this because I’ve had metabolic testing done, and mine is in the extremely low range. My resting metabolic rate burns about 500 calories less than it should for someone my height/weight. I’ve also damaged my metabolism due to extreme diet efforts in the past (exercising too much/not eating enough). I just had my thyroid tested again and the results were “normal.” My cortisol levels were extremely high all throughout the day (they’re tested at 4 different times during the day), so that has a lot to do with my whacked-out hormones. I also do not produce progesterone – which Jackie calls the “slim and trim hormone”- which is why I don’t get a period anymore (well, I take birth control which forces a period)- which is again the result of crazy dieting in the past. (I’m really hoping that this balances out soon – especially when it comes time for baby makin’!)

I don’t want to just make excuses. Yes, I have all of these biological factors making it extremely hard for me to lose weight, but some of the other things that I am choosing to do- that I do have control over- are completely sabotaging all healthy eating and exercise that is the core of my daily life.

Jackie talks about the importance of where your calories come from and how they are broken down in your body and affect your hormones. I definitely have issues with my hormones and notice how much my mood can change when I’m eating better (and when I feel better about my body in general). Chapter 2 of the book is called “You Are a Sugar Addict.”

Oh really? Am I? Yes…

Just because I don’t eat many processed sugars or junk food- that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a sweet tooth. I make a lot of healthy desserts and make smoothies loaded with fruit- but all of those contain some form of sugar, whether it’s in the form of fructose, lactose, sucrose- whatever- I get cravings for it. One of the “ah-ha” moments I had when reading this chapter (and the one that follows) was in regards to afternoon/evening eating and the balance of carbohydrates. I always feel the need to have something sweet after dinner- always. I feel almost uneasy if I don’t. I generally set about 200 calories aside just do I can indulge in a (generally healthy) dessert, which is usually heavier in carbs than any other nutrients. I’m starting to think that eating those carbs at night are really messing with my sleep (I always feel tired). (On Monday, for example- I was still feeling hungry after dinner, so I ate a cup of cereal with almond milk and a few pieces of dark chocolate. Afterwards I felt overly full and a little disappointed in myself. And I slept like crap- but that might also be because I had to stay up to watch the Bachelor…) Jackie states that the Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced primarily when you sleep. When your blood sugar is low, your body pumps out more HGH. If you ingest more carbs in the evening, your blood sugar spikes, and the production of HGH is halted- and your quality of sleep is lessened severely. A ha!

We all know that I’ve got the exercise thing down. I love to exercise (without overdoing it anymore), etc… yadda, yadda. Portion control (and not overdoing it on evenings or weekends) has always been my biggest battle.

Jackie’s eating plan is extremely do-able. Basically, you eat 3 larger meals (around 400 calories each) and two snacks (around 150 calories). Limit fruit to two servings a day (eek!) and only have carbohydrates in the form of whole grains with two of those meals (for example- oatmeal with breakfast and bread with lunch or brown rice with dinner). Eat enough protein and vegetables (check!) and drink lots of water (definitely got it!). No dessert or alcohol. Drink a cup of tea that is a combination of one bag of (decaf) green tea, and one of herbal tea. (When I did this plan before I always combined a bag of Celestial Seasoning Mandarin Orange tea with green tea. SO GOOD.)

The only issue I have with her eating plan is that she stresses a lot of animal protein more than anything, and I definitely prefer to get mine in the form of plants (legumes, tofu, tempeh, etc) more than anything. I will add a few more animal proteins into my diet, but will also continue to get it in the form of plants often.

On the weekend, you can enjoy two “treat meals.” This is time when you can have a drink, a dessert, whatever. Your treat meals can only occur after 5 days in a row of clean eating and should not exceed 1,500 calories (it is really easy to rack up that many calories if you eat out at a restaurant and have a drink and/or dessert!) And that treat meal is a meal. Not a day.

When I tried this plan before, I think that I felt like I should indulge on those treat meals over the weekend, even if I didn’t really feel like it. I feel so much better physically when I eat better- and shouldn’t eat crap just because I’m “allowed” to. I think that this time around, my “treat” meals will just include a drink of my choice and/or something sweet (like fro-yo) along with my regular healthy foods. Or, another way of looking at it is that I can enjoy a meal out without thinking so much about the calories and just make generally “good” choices overall. I don’t like fried foods or super rich stuff, so that’s not really the issue. But, I do enjoy a good beer or yummy dessert. 🙂

Right now I’m inspired. I’m motivated. And I really want it to last. I’m really good about being motivated for a few days, and then just kind of slowly give up (usually when the weekend comes). I think that the main reason that this happens is that I’ve always thought “how could that little snack or dessert or extra few hundred calories really make a difference?” Well, I’m set to prove to myself that it does- and it will if I just stuck with it and stay consistent. I really hope I can do that. I really, really do.

Jackie includes daily menus for an entire month, including a ton of recipes. I initially thought that I might try to follow her menu plans to the letter, but that’s not really logical for me. It’s much easier for me (and much more economical) to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch throughout the week. So, I’m adapting her menus to my own needs- but I’m still following her ratios of proteins/grains/vegetables, etc.

This is how yesterday went:

Pre-workout: 1/2 banana with peanut flour butter (2 T peanut flour + 1 T almond milk mixed to a paste) This wasn’t really “on the plan,” but I HAVE to eat something before I work out in the morning, so I usually just divide the banana I would have had for breakfast anyway

Workout: Ran through first half of Bodypump routine (warm-up through tricpes), taught 50 min Spinning class

Breakfast: 1/2 cup oats cooked with 1/2 banana, 1/4 c. egg whites + 1/2 T peanut butter

Snack: 1 5.3 oz container Siggi’s plain yogurt

Lunch: Salad w/mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, cabbage + balsamic vinegar mixed with 1/2 T light balsamic dressing; homemade chickpea burger; fuji apple

Snack: 3/4 c 1% no salt added cottage cheese + 2 T chopped almonds/peanuts

Dinner (Panera): You pick two: 1/2 Fuji apple chicken salad (without cheese and just a tiny bit of dressing), 1 cup black bean soup, 1 piece of mutligrain bread

This totaled to almost exactly 1500 calories (1505 to be exact), which is my daily target from My Fitness Pal.

When I got home, I was really tempted to reach for something sweet, but I didn’t. I brushed my teeth, changed, and got into bed.

And this is what’s going on today:

Breakfast: 2 (homemade) buckwheat protein muffins (100 calories each) + 1/2 c Siggi’s 0% plain Skyr, 1/4 c blueberries, a few banana slices, 2 T peanut flour butter

Snack: 3 celery stalks with 1 T Better N’ Peanut butter, 1/2 T peanut butter

Lunch: Salad w/mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, cabbage, 2 T goat cheese + balsamic vinegar mixed with 1/2 T light balsamic dressing; homemade chickpea burger; orange

Pre-workout: 1/2 banana

Workout: other half of Bodypump (Biceps-abs), 30-45 min Spinning (or some other form of cardio intervals)

Post-workout:(something I thought up in my head and don’t know if it will work out…) 1/2 c cottage cheese mixed with 1 egg and 1 egg white + 1 T coconut flour, vanilla stevia + cinnnamon baked into a ‘pancake’

Dinner: Grilled albacore tuna stead with mango/red onion salsa, 1/4 c (dry) quinoa, mixed roasted veggies

… and  nothing else- except my cup of green tea.

So that’s the plan! I have to be honest here- the fact that I’m attending the Blend retreat in May is a big motivator for me. I even taped up a photo of Janetha’s killer abs (even though mine will never look like that) onto my fridge as a reminder of this. I would really love to drop a size or two before I go to the retreat- considering most of the attendees look pretty ripped. I think that having something to work towards can really help keep me motivated.

The big key for me in finding success in this program is also planning. I find that I do most of my mindless eating because I’m so hungry by the time that I get home, and have no idea what to eat. I’m trying to plan out my entire next day the night before, so that I can just stick to it. Easy, right?

Wish me luck!

Have you ever read a book (or has there been some other factor) that’s motivated you to make changes in your life? What are your tips for staying motivated?


21 Comments on “This Is Why You’re Fat.”

  1. Shannon says:

    Hi Lauren, I’m a fairly new reader to your blog, and I have this book too. I think I went through the same thing you did when I first read it. I was so motivated and then something happened and I just kind of fell off the Jackie bandwagon. I eat pretty clean to begin with, but I do struggle enormously with overeating, compulsive eating and insane sugar cravings. Evenings and weekends are my most difficult times, but mostly evenings. I’m definitely going to follow your progress, and maybe I’ll dust off that book and see if I can make a go of it this time. I definitely am a Jackie fan, and everything in her book makes sense to me. Good luck!

    • Lauren says:

      Shannon, it sounds like you and i have the exact same issues! It’s those little moments of weakness that kind of wreck it all for me. If I can just stick with it and stay the course, I will finally see that scale budge I’m sure- easier said than done though!

  2. Oh my gosh I had the exact same experience Monday night. Ate too much too late at night and didn’t sleep well. I know (and knew) better but I just kind of mindlessly ate. It’s a good reminder that I don’t like to eat late at all, never, it’s just not worth it for me.

    I haven’t read that book but from what you said it seems sound. I think for me it’s just about making good decisions every single day almost every single meal and being conscious about snacking. I know you can do it. We can all do better.

    • Lauren says:

      I know better too when I’m eating for the wrong reason, but I just do it anyway. I need to be a little stronger about it- I was SO good about it when I was younger!

  3. Deanna says:

    First off I am “newish” to your blog. Great post today. Really got me thinking about my own eating habits. I may even just have to pick up this book.

    • Lauren says:

      You can probably get it for really cheap since it’s been out for a while now. It really spoke to me- and I think it has that effect on a lot of people!

  4. Corrie Anne says:

    Wow. I really want to read that book now. I’m going to check the library. I’d have no problem cutting down the fruit, but the carbs? That’d be tough!! I’m curious if it addresses adjustments you should make if you work out a lot? I usually run about 40 miles a week in addition to weight training, yoga, whatever I’m feeling. And I have tendency to go into major starvation mode.My bodybugg is helping with that, but a plan like this may help me with cleaner eating!

    • Lauren says:

      I don’t really look at her workout plan much. I already have a really good balance of cardio and strength training just by teaching Bodypump and Spinning. Sounds like you have a good balance too. But for me- now matter how much I work out- my eating matters about 100x more when it comes to losing or maintaining weight!

  5. Gil says:

    Im really interested to see how this works for you. It sounds good, although Im also pretty skeptical health guides that arent written by health scientists….there is so much stuff floating around out there. But that also means that something is bound to work!

    • Lauren says:

      I’m pretty sure that if I follow her plan every day I will lose weight. My problem is being consistent. I usually slip up, and then throw in the towel.

  6. Liz says:

    This makes me want to read the book. I could definitely use a dose of motivation these days. I like the picture idea for motivation too.

    • Lauren says:

      Nothing like other bloggers to give you motivation!! And speaking of which, you NEED to go to Blend!!!! Please sign up- all of your new Colorado bloggie friends are going…. 🙂

  7. janetha says:

    I love that book and reviewed it in ridiculously great detail on my blog in multiple posts a couple years back. That is how passionate I was about it.. I had to space it out over posts. I loved it! I have her new one coming to me–lose 10 in 10 or something like that–can’t wait!

  8. BeckyA says:

    Thanks for sharing about this book . Adding it to my read list!

    I really identified with your description of sugar addiction. I recently realized how loaded my diet still was on healthy sugars (fruits/carbs) and when I scaled back, my long lasting plateau was smashed!

    My eating turned upside down when I read the book Eat to Live. To stay motivated I read blogs (like yours!), read other books on health/nutrition, get fun & healthy cookbooks, and look for short term challenges to participate in (Like the 21 day vegan kickstart). I also try different cardio classes at the Y to keep exercising interesting ( I was COMPLETELY sedentary in the past – its was terrible).

    Happy to say I’m halfway to my ultimate goal and have had a true lifestyle change!

  9. […] for the marinade- and this beer is super good (and super hoppy)! Since I’m strictly following Jackie’s plan, I only had a tiny […]

  10. […] supplement faithfully, but haven’t for about six months. I first heard about it when I read Jackie’s book the first time, and decided to order some and start taking it again. CLA is suggested to increase […]

  11. UGH. I didn’t even THINK about what I would look like for the Blend event…I know I need to clean up my eats but feb was: vacation, vday, bday, now restaurant week. I know…excuses, excuses….but man…you really put things in FOCUS for me with this post. 😦

  12. I have never heard of this diet before, but like being exposed to options like this which are good for improving overall health and aren’t as much about cutting calories, restrictions etc. Thanks for sharing this and I look forward to hearing about how it goes for you.

  13. […] great for a week or two, and then something happens, and my motivation is gone. When I started Jackie’s eating plan, it was easy to follow and I was physically feeling great. I woke up every morning […]

  14. […] know that following Jackie’s plan really works for me. Like I said, I just need to harness that good feeling and motivation and keep […]

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