Weight Loss Update!

I thought I better do a quick weight loss update since it has been quite awhile since my last one! Unfortunately I do not have much by way of progress to report as the holiday season was not overly kind to my waistline. Thats seems to be the story every year when it comes to the month of December for me.

I begrudgingly stood on the scale on Monday January 4th to assess the damage and I had gained 6 pounds! Ugh. I mean I wasn’t overly surprised as my jeans were definitely fitting quite a bit tighter than they had been at the end of November but always still disappointing nevertheless.

So essentially that means I had regained everything I had lost already on this journey (I obviously need a much better strategy for December 2016!). Anyway moving forward and as of January 4th I have been back on track in terms of my eating. My fitness I had back on track as of December 26th thanks to the FitBit my husband got me for Christmas. I already feel much better, more energetic and lighter again. I did weigh myself on  January 15th to see if I was making any progress and I was down 3.5 lbs. My hope is that by the end of January all of the holiday weight gain will be gone and things will just keep progressing on a downward trend again from there!

Anyway I am sorry I don’t have any real progress to report this time but I wanted to let you know that I have not at all given up or changed my plan…December just got in the way a little bit! 🙂

I hope you all got through the holiday feasting better than I did! I will do an update again at the end of January or early February.

Until next time!

Katie

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My Weight Loss Journey: Explaining my diet for weight loss and better health in general – Part 3 of 3

**To read this series from the beginning you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here**

In this final part 3 of the series I want to talk about the Starch Solution, how I came across it and why I decided to go this specific route. 

I know many of you are going to scream and shudder when you see the words “Starch Solution” on this page because for some reason we have been trained to think of carbohydrates as something evil, waist expanding and untouchable. I myself was definitely guilty of thinking that way about them and really quite unhappy about it because I love carbs, especially potatoes, and the more I restricted them the hungrier I felt and the more I wanted them. I am not really sure why it never fully occurred to me before that perhaps the carbs were not the actual problem….maybe it was the crazy high fat butter, sour cream, cream sauce, hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, cheese, mayo etc. that we put in, on and around them. When I think of carbs I think of things such as vegetables, fruits, grains and potatoes all of which are for the most part nutrient dense, low in calories, low in fat and low in sodium. And these were the things that I was supposed to believe were making and keeping me fat??? It just doesn’t make sense!

So when I was first starting to think about making the transition to a plant based diet I was all over the internet looking for resources on how to do this so that I am getting in all of the vitamins and minerals I need such as iron, calcium, protein, vitamin B12 and so on and so forth, as well as optimizing my intake of healthy foods all while losing weight. Initially in my mind I was thinking “oh great, here we go again with trying to survive off of no dressing salads and non-starchy vegetables”. No matter how unhappy you feel about your body it is hard to get excited about a new way of eating, plant based or not, when you think you are going to be hungry and unsatisfied all the time.

With these negative thoughts in my mind I decided to head over to Youtube to check out some weight loss success stories, as these often help keep me motivated. I stumbled across this video with a before and after photo as the video thumbnail showing this girl’s 55 pound weight loss. What especially caught my eye is that this girl had pretty much the exact same body type as I do! She was a bit heavier than I was but in a way I felt like looking at her before photo was like looking in the mirror. And even better she looked fabulous in her after photo so I of course had to check it out. This girl was Hannah Janish (High Carb Hannah on Youtube).

I probably spent well over an hour sifting through her videos which were a lot of documentation of what she ate to lose the weight, recipes (she has great ones) and explanations as to why she eats the way she does. Luckily for me it turned out she was vegan, so of course following a plant based diet, and after having gained a lot of weight on a diet called Rawtill4 had discovered and switched to The Starch Solution by Dr. John A. McDougall, which was how she lost all the weight. I was so intrigued because in her “what I eat” type videos her meals looked delicious and were centred around starchy foods (rice, beans, potatoes, pasta, bread, and other whole grains and starchy vegetables). Basically all of the “evil” carbs I loved and felt satisfied by but had been avoiding because I thought they were making and keeping me fat. I NEEDED to read this book to see what this was really all about. So off to the library I went and since I am writing this post here today obviously I was hooked!

As I cannot properly do the information justice here, I really recommend that if you are interested in looking into this way of eating for yourself or just learning more about it that you read the book and/or check out Dr. McDougall’s website (here) which has all the basic information and background on the Starch Solution for free. A great start on the website would be to choose “Education” from the menu bar and then choose and read through “The Free Program”. There are also tons of Youtube videos of conferences, meetings, interviews etc. with Dr. McDougall speaking about the Starch Solution, why he believes so strongly in it (backed by scientific evidence), and how to follow it.

Without going into all of the science and evidence as to why this is an amazing diet for a healthy life (Dr. McDougall is the expert on that so please defer to him there), in a nutshell the Starch Solution is a way of eating that is low fat, plant based and each meal and snack is centred around a starch or combination of starches. For example potatoes, whole grains (ie. rice, quinoa, barley, oats, millet, wheat), beans, corn, and other starchy vegetables (ie. carrots and peas). This is all of course rounded out with non-starchy vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and so on and so forth. Oh and yes…you can eat bread and pasta! There is no counting calories or restriction on how much you can eat or how often but you are supposed to listen to your body and follow what is called “intuitive eating”. This means only eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. This does not mean stuffing yourself silly until you feel sick! If you are like me it may be a bit of a process learning how to eat intuitively and really listening to your body’s hunger cues. In the past I have definitely been guilty of eating just because I was bored or craving something, even if I was not actually hungry. I have also been guilty of eating until I am way to full for the sake of finishing what was on my plate or because what I was eating was so good I didn’t want to stop.

So anyway, to me the Starch Solution sounded fantastic. Yes trying to keep things very low fat can be challenging but more importantly and what wins out for me is that I find starchy foods to be the most comforting, delicious and satisfying. They keep me feeling full longer so I actually end up eating less at the end of the day and I don’t feel deprived which is such a relief. In the past when I have eliminated carbs and tried to live off of mostly non-starchy vegetables and lean meats I had to eat so much to feel full and then felt hungry again in no time at all. It was so frustrating! If I can lose weight and feel fabulous while still eating as much mashed potatoes and gravy as I want (low fat plant based versions of course) then I am in! (Oh and stay tuned because I have a vegan gravy recipe that is super low calorie, super low fat, easy to make, from scratch  and that is just as good if not better than the real thing.)

Well there you have it, this ends my 3 part introduction to my new way of eating. I hope it has been somewhat interesting and might be helpful to someone else out there wanting to make a change or try something new. I am happy to answer any questions I can about all this so please don’t hesitate to ask. Moving forward I will try to keep you up to date on what I am eating and any changes if any to my plan along the way. I am excited to also start sharing some of the amazing recipes I have come across and formulated to keep me on track and excited about this journey!

Happy Eating!

Katie

My Weight Loss Journey: Explaining my diet for weight loss and better health in general – Part 2 of 3

**To read part 1 of this 3 part series of posts on my diet you can do so here **

In this part 2 of the series I want to talk about some of the challenges and successes I have had so far in transitioning to a plant based diet and what I predict may be some challenges in the future. 

I started transitioning my diet away from eating animal products many months ago so this isn’t brand new to me anymore and I have already faced some challenges and difficulties and learned a lot along the way.

The first step I took in making this change was to stop eating meat but was still keeping dairy and eggs in my diet. I didn’t find this step overly difficult for the most part as I really was not a huge meat eater to begin with and quite honestly except for maybe a couple of meals during the week I felt like having to prepare meat wasn’t worth the effort. I did however always really enjoy, as unhealthy as they are, the occasional hot dog, bacon cheeseburger or crispy chicken burger so still today if I smell something like that cooking my head sometimes immedietely  goes back to saying “man I could sure go for one of those!”.

The second step, which was more difficult and continues to be the most difficult for me, was to remove the eggs and dairy. Aside from the more obvious eating an egg, a slice of cheese, butter on your toast or sour cream on your baked potato for example, it is a bit mind blowing how many products out there have eggs and/or dairy in them. From condiments, to sauces, to baked and packaged goods, junk foods and so on and so forth. It really made this whole process seem a bit overwhelming. How was I possibly going to be able to this?

Well I took a walk down the “natural foods” type aisles at my local grocery stores and found that there are a lot of alternatives for meat, eggs and dairy out there, some of which are essentially just “mock” versions of animal based products, and many of the them (at least the ones I have tried so far) are actually quite convincing! A lot of these products are however quite often just as loaded with fat, calories and sodium etc. as the animal product based versions. That is why you may know some people in your own life who decided to become vegetarians or vegans that are still just as overweight or even heavier than before they made that change. Just because you don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy doesn’t automatically mean you are going to lose weight! If you eat a diet mainly comprised of high fat, high calorie, nutrient deficient, processed and junk foods there is a really good chance you are going to gain weight regardless of where these foods come from.

I am trying to eat whole and minimally processed plant based foods so for the most part I am trying to avoid these unhealthy and processed “mock” foods. However if I am cooking the odd meal where I am trying to make sure I keep it totally plant based but want it to taste like it contains animal products and am planning on just indulging versus ensuring this is healthy for me, sure I will use these alternatives. If I am totally craving a hot dog then I will eat a veggie dog and if I am making pizza and really want that cheesy texture and flavour on there I will use a plant based cheese. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to keep on track over the long term! You will also always find in my fridge a plant based mayonnaise (we like the Vegenaise brand) and plant based margarine (we like the Earth Balance brand). I am following a low fat diet and these items are certainly not low fat so when I do use them I use them very sparingly.

So given all of the food options and amazing recipes out there for following a low fat whole foods plant based diet I generally find it quite easy to maintain this way of eating when at home or in a situation where I can easily control the food around me. Where it becomes a challenge is when I am going out to eat at a restaurant and have no control over where we go or when eating at someone else’s house. Most restaurants I find myself at do seem to have a few vegetarian options but these often are still super high in fat and include eggs and/or dairy in them. So if they cannot be modified to exclude those items then although not ideal I will compromise and just try to pick out the best vegetarian option they have. I find the bigger challenge actually to be when eating at someone else’s house. I am just not in a place yet along this journey where I am confident or comfortable enough to exclaim to my family and friends, most of which eat a typical North American/Western diet, that I won’t eat what they have made because it contains meat, eggs or dairy. I am so uncomfortable with being “that” person so I just gratefully eat whatever has been prepared for me.

To be honest, I am kind of at a loss where to even begin having that conversation with my friends and family because I fear that many of them will be quite hostile towards the notion of following a plant based diet and will make a big production out of it anytime we have a meal together. I live in a VERY pro-meat eating and anti-vegetarian/vegan part of Canada. My parents and several members of my extended family raise beef cattle for a living so you can possibly imagine how that conversation would go!

Just to clarify as I do not want to confuse anyone, I am not at this time making any kind of proclomations here that I am vegan or vegetarian. From what I understand, those are all encompassing lifestyles that go beyond just the food you eat and that you do not knowingly deviate from under any circumstance. Maybe someday I will get there as I feel my heart leaning that way, but for now I am approaching this purely from a personal health standpoint. I am so not perfect and although I really try my best each and every day to stay on track with eating this way I know there are going to be days and certain situations where I will eat something that is either plant based but not healthy or low fat, or something that isn’t plant based at all. However rather than beating myself up about it I am just going to try to make sure that I get back on track as soon as I can and keep going with it.

I am going to end this post here before I write a whole book! I will try to get part 3 of 3 up very soon which will explain a little bit about “The Starch Solution” which is the specific form of plant based diet I am following. That will end the formal introduction to my diet and then I will get to showing you some of the awesome recipes I am using and what I am actually eating from day to day. If you have any questions or want to know more about all of this stuff please feel free to ask. Check out my “Contact” page in the Menu for my email address and other ways to get in touch with me directly.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Katie