Baked salmon over greens, red quinoa, green salad with Ceasar dressing.
*** The results below are my personal experience. Please consult with your doctor before embarking on any weight loss plan. Everyone is different and foods will affect you differently.
For the past three years after I had shut down my baking business, I had led a very sedentary lifestyle. I worked part-time in computers, I wrote books, I read books and pretty much did nothing else. I was either on the couch with my nose in the iPad or in front of my Macbook.
I would occasionally go for a run to get off my butt, but it’s a half-hearted effort with no clear goal. I’d gone on a 7-day cabbage soup diet with the hubby. I lost 3 lbs and gained it back. The hubby lost 7 lbs and went on to lose 30 lbs in 8 months. So, that was his jumpstart; it wasn’t mine. He is now sporting an enviable six-pack, by the way, at 50 years-old.
Anyway, with working from home, I’m always in my sweatpants. I’ve developed a fear of my closet because what was lurking in there was becoming my enemy. Which one of my jeans are not going to fit me next or which shirt would be the victim of the dryer? This made me anti-social because I didn’t want to leave the house.
Anyway, a meltdown was in the stars. It happened one day in April this year when the hubby and I had a dinner to attend. He told me at last minute that it wasn’t a casual dinner party, and we had to dress up.
This was two hours before we had to leave.
So I stalked into my closet and sure enough, nothing fit! I was pissed at the hubby, at myself, at the person who had to go have a dinner party when nothing of my clothes fit. Anyway, in the end, I resigned myself to my middle-aged self and my fate. But something happened at the party. I saw some women, a bit older than me, and I saw their jiggly arms. I told myself, oh my God, are my arms that way?
The very next day, I went for a run, came home and did some quick bicep and tricep workout. I also decided not to buy more soda and drink water instead. A change in eating habits needed to be planned, but with a trip to a wedding coming up, I decided to wait. A few days before leaving for the trip I clicked on a link when I was surfing CNN. I nearly kicked myself because it was one of those promoted stories, and usually they wanted to sell something. And they did, but the video was very informative about how a healthy liver was important to efficient weight loss.
That caught my attention.
When we get older, our liver becomes less and less efficient in its functions because of the years it worked to process nutrients received from the intestinal system and its detoxification of harmful chemicals from processed foods, medicine, and alcohol. It was also responsible for estrogen metabolism. With a whacked out balance of estrogen, the body will secrete more fat in the fat cells, especially around the belly. Chemical estrogen is everywhere—from plant, plastic bottles, scented candles—everywhere. There was a whole slew of other convincing evidence in the video, but I couldn’t remember it all.
Anyway, I was curious about the herbal supplement called LivLean, sold by Perfect Origins. I go to a herbalist and I’ve been on most of the major components of the supplement: Milk Thistle, N-Acetyl Cysteine and Alpha Lipoic Acid, which I’ve used to help with my blood sugar before. I will warn, though, that Milk Thistle has different effects on different people … I guess because it detoxifies the liver. For me, it makes me not crave wine. For the hubby, it made him pissy and not want alcohol either. :) This is a good thing because when the liver processes alcohol, it can do nothing else. That’s why there’s always a warning not to take alcohol when you’re on medication.
I don’t want to dwell on this. I’m not an expert on the topic. Suffice it to say I gave this supplement a chance to become a part of my plan. By this time, I’ve already consulted with my brother who in his mid-forties, went from overweight to running marathons all over the world. His advice—drop the simple carbs. Do not eat carbs especially late at night. I’m not a potato person, and I’ve survived not eating bread, but can I give up rice at least for the short term, or better, just reserve it for that cheat day?
Healthy groceries * note I determined the pears were too sweet for my low carb
For two weeks this was my typical meal.
10:00 am – Overnight oatmeal ~ recipe adapted from Skinny Taste cookbook – my version at the end.
1:30 pm – Salad greens, as much as I want with a tablespoon of any dressing I wanted.
3 tbs red quinoa
1 whole boiled egg, plus one egg white
a sprinkling of feta cheese
After lunch I’ll have two pieces of dark chocolate.
At around 4:00 pm, I’ll be hungry so I’ll have around 10 pcs of raw almonds or walnuts
6:00 pm – Baked fish (I buy frozen wild cod and king salmon filets from Whole Foods)
Salad greens with choice of dressing
3 tbs red quinoa
If I was hungry before bed time, I ate two celery sticks. If I was hungry during the day I will eat nuts or egg whites.
* I drank a lot of water. Saturday is my designated cheat day and I’d eat a steak and rice.
I lost five pounds in two weeks on this diet. I ran three miles—3x a week and walked two miles 3x a week with light weights in between and I mean really light in a fasted cardio—meaning I did my cardio upon waking up with no food. I did have coffee though. For the first two days, I had a headache and was cranky. I guess this was from carb withdrawal. I truly think the LivLean helped me during these times in managing my blood sugar levels and even my fat loss.
By the third week though, my runs became more difficult. It was like running on empty and then my weight inched up half-a-pound.
I know, I know, it could be muscle right or just a change in my body chemistry? But I was feeling kinda soft, not lean. The last thing I wanted was to lose muscle. I didn’t want to be on a restricted diet like this forever. We’ve all heard it before, if you eat very little, your body is going to go on starvation mode. Not what a foodie wants to hear. So I started to add sweet potato and lamb. The morning after I ate meat, the strength came back.
The problem was, I was getting tired of salad and fish and I’m trying to sustain my weight loss. I’d be happy to lose one pound a week. Slow but steady. But how?
I’d call this phase my jumpstart. If you’re curious about Milk Thistle, google it, but I’d advise to consult alternative health practitioners. If you have medical conditions like diabetes or are on medication, it’s best to consult your doctor. It would be great if he is open to supplements instead of just pumping you full of drugs to fix a symptom.
Again, this is my personal experience. Everyone’s physiology is different. But it’s good to look beyond the obvious of counting calories and figure out what’s keeping your body from shedding the fat.
adapted from Skinny Taste Cookbook
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp raw sugar
1.5 teaspoons chia seeds
A handful of blueberries
Put the above ingredients in a sealed container and shake. Store in refrigerator. The consistency is like pudding. I love it. Before eating, I add a tablespoon of almond butter on top, mix it in (it can’t really blend well) and then eat.
Other notables for my jumpstart plan which was starting to plateau by the third week.
* I did not purposely add the link for Perfect Origins because they already have a massive marketing campaign and I want to keep my experience personal. I paid for all my supplements.
- I do not use artificial sweeteners. If I want to sweeten something, I will use raw sugar.
- I use full fat cheese. Sometimes I grate parmesan on the evening salad
- I use full fat salad dressing. Usually when it’s low fat they add sugar to make it more palatable.
- For fish, wild cod and wild salmon are best. Avoid farm-raised fish.
- I hate vegetables, but I found a brand called Organic Girl. Romaine lettuce is very filling for me. I buy them pre-washed and only the hearts. I take a scissor and cut it up. Easy peasy. I add arugula or other mixed spring greens.
- Take Omega 3 and Multivitamin supplements. On a restricted diet, you are bound to lose some essential nutrients.
- Moisturize! You don’t want to get all wrinkly when you lose all the fat. ;)
I was lucky enough to stumble upon an online fitness coach. I’m beginning my third week with him. The results, so far, are stellar and I will update this blog once I’ve verified that this is indeed a workable lifestyle change—probably in the next week or so.
At the start of my journey in early May, I had 13 pounds to lose. My next post will be about losing more fat and gaining lean muscle. I’ve lost an additional 3 pounds as of this writing with the help of my online coach. The challenge will be to blast through those last 5 pounds.