This article is untended for diagnosis of any medical condition nor advocate or prescribe any specific medication or treatment. Always seek the advice of a licensed physician for proper diagnosis or treatment of any disease or condition.
Something unique happened in my life over the last year and a half. I’d like to share that with you. It may help you to lose weight, feel better, and improve your whole health.
During the time after a nightmare divorce in 1992 and 2009, I lived in fear. I was constantly under dread fear of being murdered by my abusive ex-husband, who was due to retire from the military that year. The closer to his retirement date, the more stressed and fearful I became. I was due to receive a whopping $600 a month from the divorce decree. I knew he meant it when he said, “You’ll never spend a penny of MY retirement money.” As that date approached, I lost sleep, ate compulsively, and was terrified to go even to the store without looking over my shoulder.
On May 9, 2009, I found out that my ex-husband had killed himself the previous year. While it hurt to find out someone I had loved died, there was also huge relief. I began to sleep and to relax. The compulsive eating slowed, and then stopped. I began to lose weight.
Medical science proved the links between stress and weight gain. I do believe there was something else at work, though. My weight went from 166 to 135. In addition, the weight loss stopped. It seemed no amount of exercise would move the dial on the scale or make excess fat leave me.
In March 2010, I tried something the experts on television haven’t been saying. Although pre-packaged food is far cheaper than whole food, its “healthiness” is known for being absent.
It costs me around a dollar to make macaroni and cheese from scratch. A box of macaroni and cheese costs thirty-three cents. Yet, the milk, cheese and homemade macaroni are far healthier and have no preservatives, and the box is loaded with them.
For the experiment, I cut out all deli meats, pre-packaged sausage, pre-packaged ice cream, sodas, pre-made potato chips and everything that came in a can or box. For a while, I wondered what was left to eat. I had just cut out most of my diet and favorite treats.
I grew most of the fruits I ate, and allowed myself to buy frozen vegetables at the store. I bake my own bread, put my crock-pot to work, and enjoy cooking and baking from scratch.
I felt physically strange at first, and then the weight just seemed to drop. And it kept dropping. I wondered if I was starving. Nope.
With just regular exercise, eating whole foods and cooking what I eat from scratch, I lost more than my target of 130 pounds. As of August 1st, I now weight 125. I am 5’2″ tall, so my BMI is around 23- healthy.
I thought that was wonderful. I celebrated and had a 20-ounce soda. I was up all night with stomach cramps. I tried an ice cream (a pint) a few days later. I had a worse reaction. A 3-ounce bag of potato chips was torture. It appears my stomach won’t tolerate my old favorites, even though I only had these once every couple of weeks. My weight also showed the next day after each of these- going up a pound over one serving. So my body really reacts to hyper-refined sugar and pure fat. Hmmm. I also noticed that for several hours after each of these items, I felt sluggish, irritable and ill. Hmmm.
So how did I get from 166 pounds in 2009 to 125 pounds in 2010?
I sat down and looked at my grocery lists- I save the receipts – and took a good look at what I buy. My finances do dictate for the moment to have some kind of packaged food (usually macaroni and cheese) into my diet. I add whole foods (beans, veggies) into them every time.
I listed everything in a notebook and assigned numerical values to each type of food I ate, according to (my own view of) nutritional value and how my body reacted. The scale runs from zero- no nutritional value or health benefit whatsoever, regardless what is written on the box, to ten- perfect, healthy and good for me.
Here is my list:
Fresh from the garden- 10 (Perfect)
Frozen vegetables/fruits -9 (must be frozen within 24 hours of harvest by FDA guidelines, contain no preservatives)
Restaurant food- 7 (Only if fresh ingredients are used in cooking. If not, the food rates a 5)
Pre- cooked meats sold fresh, not packaged – 6 (example, roasted chicken)
Canned vegetables/fruits – 5 (These do not have to be canned within 24 hours of harvest, contain large amounts of preservatives and are canned at very high heat, destroying nutrients.)
All cooked fast food- 4 (salad is good, but the dressing knocks the rating through the floor)
Pre-packaged lunches and deli products – 2. Although ingredients like protein, calcium and vitamins are listed on the package, these products contain high amounts of preservatives, fat, sodium and artificial ingredients. Morning talk and news shows are featuring health experts and doctors recommending parents and consumers eat far less of these products, or cut them out completely.
Artificial foods get a 0 – these products will contain the following phrases:
“Processed xxx product” for example, cheese product
“Xxx substitute” for example, egg substitute
“Artificial fruit drink”
I’m not an artificial human being, so why eat artificial food?
Keep in mind I’m not a registered dietitian or nutritionist. By cutting out everything less than a 5 rating, and limiting anything under a 9 rating, my weight has remained steady at 125 pounds. I feel terrific.
I wondered what was in the packaged stuff that told my body “keep the weight.” Perhaps the high fat, trans-fats, or super-refined carbohydrates or sugars. Perhaps all of them.
Whatever it is, It’s now clear to me my body doesn’t want them anymore. Perhaps my “diet plan” will work for you and your family.
This diet has not only worked for my weight loss, I feel more energy, and haven’t been sick at all. Best of all, I’ve cut my food bill by almost two-thirds.