Saturday, September 29, 2012

Something (not Same thing) for everyone

Having spent almost 20 years now actively trying to lose weight, I have seen myself and quite a few people around me try out literally hundreds of different "methods" of weight loss.  I think we all agree that exercise is a good thing (though what KIND of exercise is best is still hotly debated), but there has never been one particular diet that works for everyone, otherwise we'd all be svelte and healthy.  Some people can lose tons of weight on Atkins and feel amazing, others feel awful and end up gaining all the weight back and messing up their health in the process.  Some people have been successful vegetarians for years and years, and some people start to suffer iron and B-vitamin deficiencies within a couple months no matter how many beans they consume.  No matter how strange the diet, you'll find a loyal group of followers who swear it is THE way to eat, and often just as many (or more) people saying that the diet is awful/unsustainable/makes them feel terrible.  I always just rolled my eyes and spouted the "calories in/calories out" rhetoric, tried to eat "clean", and assumed I sucked at losing weight.  Now scientists are finding that it's NOT just calories in/calories out (our bodies are complicated ever-changing machines with lots of interconnected causal relationships across systems that we can't always predict?  Who would've thought?), and maybe everyone in America CAN'T just be pigeonholed into the one "correct" way of eating.

Where is this coming from?  Well, I had a massage today (yay!) and afterward I had an interesting conversation with my massage therapist.  She started by saying "WHAT have you been doing differently this month?"  I explained the basics of the GAPS diet, and she said "Your skin is much more elastic, your flexibility has improved, your body is just fabulously happy!"  She even said that she almost stopped my massage halfway through and asked if I was pregnant, the change was so considerable (um, NO!).  This was really nice to hear, because like I said, I have seen people screw their bodies up eating too low-carb, and I want to be careful not to do that to myself.  *I* thought my body seemed pretty happy eating this way, but it was good to get confirmation from an outside source.  

When I told her that the long and short of it was that I hadn't had dairy or grains for a month, she nodded her head and said "You have type O blood, don't you?"  Yes indeed, I do.  She told me a bit about the blood type diet theory, and I looked into when I got home.  On the one hand, it makes perfect sense to me, but it is also somewhat confusing, especially since it tells me I should treat bacon, avocados, cauliflower, cabbage and anything pickled like it was poison, though I have been happily eating all of those things for quite awhile now.  It says I SHOULD eat black-eyed peas, but the GAPS diet specifically forbids them.  It says avoid all dairy, but the John Kender (hair-pulling) diet says that yogurt helps with the urges.  

That's when it dawned on me that maybe no ONE diet has all the answers.  Maybe my own unique body has  it's own unique combination of foods that it does best with.  People with food allergies can have different levels of allergic reaction to a particular food, maybe people who aren't fully allergic to that food can have different levels of tolerance for it.  This all seems so obvious now that I've thought about it, but revolutionary to me at the same time.

So.  Now I just need to figure out what foods are and aren't allowed on the Sara Diet. I think I can say that my body does well without dairy or grains.  I still plan to carefully introduce cultured dairy and soaked/sprouted grains and watch what happens, but I already have a lot of evidence showing me that my body is super-happy being dairy and grain-free.  I still can't believe the solution could be this simple for me, but for the first time in my life the weight is falling off without a bitter struggle for every pound.  (Credit where credit is due though, shout out to my BFF Prozac for enabling me to stick to an eating plan long enough and carefully enough to see real results). The beginning of the intro was definitely tough, but every time I introduce a new food I keep expecting my weight loss to stop and it hasn't happened yet.  I'm sure I will reach a point where my weight will plateau and then I can decide whether I want to start working to lose more or not, but for now I'm only 7 pounds above my pre-FIRST pregnancy weight, eating zero processed foods and learning a lot about my body.  There's no way to know what will happen in the future, but for now I'm very thankful I took the plunge and did the GAPS intro because doing that is what brought me here, and here is a heckuva lot better than where I was 2.5 months ago.


Amber said...

I recently went gluten free because I bloat up severely with gluten and I have other immune issues when I eat it. I am gluten intolerant, I do not have celiac. I feel my best when I don't eat grains or consume dairy. It's all about finding your "zen" then trying different things when you feel your best. If you feel like crap after eating it- omit it. I lost a lot of weight going gf.

Kim Paradise said...

I like this post! Everyone wants the instruction manual on what to eat and not to eat, but there are no easy answers. Sara, you've hit the nail on the head saying we are all different and each person needs to find what works for them. Easier said than done. I am proud of you for sticking with it and finding out what the 'Sara diet' is.

Sara said...

Amber, I'm glad you've found a way of eating that works for you! It's looking like I might be joining you on the grain and dairy-free eating plan, do you have any tips? Kim, thank you so much!