Eating Whole

I have a friend who does my hair every eight weeks or so. She adds highlights which adds a little bounce. On my last visit, I gasped at the dramatic difference in the way she looked since my previous visit eight weeks earlier. She was so thin comparatively. At first I was afraid something was wrong. She must have suddenly fallen ill I thought to myself. She was so thin, I was afraid to ask. Instead, she smiled and said (paraphrasing), “Do you want to know how I did it?Yes, I said. Yes, PLEASE. She said, “I only eat whole foods. No breads. No carbs. No butter. No dairy. Just fresh food like salads, vegetable, fish, and chicken. Beef is OK once a week or so. No seasonings. No preprocessed salad dressings. Just a little vinegar and oil.”

I pointed out it seemed impossible that in seven weeks she lost a whole person. She said, “No, I only lost 15 pounds or so. But it is also distributing things differently.

I had given up on the hope of ever losing weight with my health issues. And since I usually do not eat much anyway, … I already ate next to nothing…, there was nothing else I could do. I was so shocked and impressed with the dramatic seven week change, I had to try. My hairdresser gave me a renewed sense of hope. So, for a little over the past five weeks, I too have had some success, so I thought I should now share.

I need to provide a disclaimer: I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep this up. That’s the bad news. It’s hard because I am not a great cook and haven’t yet mastered a variety of recipes. It’s hard because when I go to the store and smell fresh warm baked bread, it calls my name. It’s hard because pizza leaves me weak in the knees. It’s hard because it takes time and it means standing in the kitchen on a hard floor chopping up food or, in general, taking time to put together a healthy meal. For some reason that seems harder than driving through a drive up.

But every now and then, someone shares a healthy food tip I can incorporate, one I can handle. One friend turned me on to fresh mangos, something I never liked after buying one that looked like a pear and trying to bite into it like an apple. Another friend mentioned watermelon and cucumber salad, something I will soon try. But still, food boredom is a real danger in my house eating only whole foods. Now for the good news. Everything is changing for the better.

Excess weight is falling off…rapidly. In four weeks, I’ve gone down almost two sizes. Not quite, but close. And without trying. Did I say in a little over four…4…weeks!

I am not dieting. I am not counting calories. I am just eating differently. If I am hungry, I eat. The only thing that is different is what I reach for. The one rule I stick to? Only whole foods. Only whole foods means I am eating nothing processed. No breads. Aaaagh! No cheese. Gasp! No ginger ale. Just water. Those last two carb related items were the most difficult for me to learn to do without. No pasta. No pizza. (Double gasp!) I only eat fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, salads, and chicken – and the latter rarely, … two or three times in the month.

I consume very little dairy. I allow myself a greek yogurt in the morning and fat free cream in my morning coffee. But my last checkup at the doctor revealed numbers that are turning around for the better. And I am feeling a little better too. He told me my diet change is doing more for me than any pill he could give me.

Saving Money on Clothes
It is fun to pull out clothes packed up because they were too tight. Now many are loose. I have a new wardrobe without spending a penny.

I am not weighing myself. There is no point, really. I have so long to go before I need to worry about losing too much. There is plenty of weight to lose. And I don’t know if eating whole, but whenever I am hungry, will cause my weight loss to plateau. Maybe I’ll only lose weight in the beginning. I hope not. I suspect not. At least not if I keep it up. I am not doing this to lose weight, even though I need to. I am doing this to try to make a lifestyle change to improve specific health issues.

Dieting to Look Good
When I was younger and dieted to look better, I was more focused on cutting calories and working out. Eventually I ended up consuming my regular diet – something which never was very much – but did consist of the wrong things. If I ate fast food, I only ate once in a day. Then I would be hungry later and not feeling great. Now I am not thinking about cutting calories or dieting. I am only focused on choosing different things. I changed what I buy at the grocery store and what I eat – not when I eat or how much. But the weight seems to be falling off, and I am not starving myself and I am not hungry in between meals.

Famous Food Converts
Other famous people have talked about how they changed their diet and the weight fell off too. I recall Marilu Henner’s story on TV once about just this very topic. And last week, Beyonce tweeted (or used some social media outlet) about her change in food habits, although many people seemed none to happy with the way she introduced the subject (i.e., with a bit of a news teaser). But what folks should focus on is that changing simply what you reach for is more important than when or how frequently you eat. I believe that is what Beyonce was trying to say.

Lifestyle Changes Take a Lifetime
I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep this up forever. I admit that I am a little concerned one or two violations will cause me to weaken. I hope not. Pizza is a real temptation. I am in week five or six now and amazed at the rapid difference already. People tell me they see a difference, particularly in my mid section.

And I’m seeing the redistribution of things my hairdresser talked about and experienced. Legs, thighs, and hips, an area always difficult to lose weight from for me, now seems the first area the weight is dropping off from. Being an older woman, the midsection is a little slower, but it too is coming off from there.

I hope I can continue this lifestyle change. It is really amazing. If you need to lose weight, you might want to talk with your doctor (if applicable) and try switching to whole foods. I didn’t think they would be an option for me. Some of the things I eat (a few nuts), weren’t supposed to be agreeable with one of my issues. But making the complete change to only whole foods that are not processed seems to be working well for me. Maybe it just might do the trick for you too.

Ingredients

Salad: spinach leaves, seedless green grapes, cherries, a few walnuts and almonds (unsalted), strawberries, dried cranberries

Dressing: 3/1 ratio of extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, a drop of balsamic vinegar, a tiny drop of dijon mustard to make the vinegar and oil mix well together, and a couple drops of honey to sweeten up the dressing.

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