It was approximately 18 months ago that I made a shift in my way of eating, to facilitate a healthier functioning of my hormones. Prior to this I was vegetarian and thanks to my naturopathic training, I was very conscious of everything I ate. My diet was mostly organic, and contained a wide variety of foods that were, for the most part, seasonal. My diet primarily consisted of vegetables and fruit, but also contained large quantities of grains and pulses. I made my own bread, so we ate plenty of that, and meals often consisted of homemade pasta sauces, brimming with fresh vegetables, poured over a healthy serving of wholemeal pasta, or a big cook up of beans and veg or lentils and rice. Oh, and whilst I never subscribed to ‘low fat’ products, I certainly avoided fat. Breakfast would be a large bowl of porridge, made from oats that had been soaked overnight, and a good slurp of soy milk. Mid-morning I would be hungry again, so in would go some rice crackers, dips, and maybe fruit. Lunch, hungry again, so a big salad roll but only with wholemeal bread thank you. Mid-afternoon, more snacks needed, and then a lovely big wholemeal carb rich, veggie rich dinner. Healthy right?
Frustratingly I still struggled with excess weight and unending fatigue. There was always something to blame this on however…. I had been overweight since I was a teenager, it was just my build, I was a single mum with four children, busy, busy, busy. Plenty of excuses and reasons for being the way I was. Who wouldn’t be stressed, tired and endlessly hungry in my position?? One of my often heard catch phrases was “My full button is broken”. When others would say “oh my goodness, I am stuffed from that meal”, I would groan along and agree, however in my head I was thinking “Really? I could eat that much all over again”. I was clearly leptin resistant. ( To understand more about Leptin see my blog post – http://eudaimonia.com.au/2015/08/the-single-most-important-hormone/ )
Fortuitously, having followed Cyndi O’Meara for years, I came across her 4 Phase Fat Elimination Diet, and having such trust in Cyndi alongside the confidence from doing my own research, I gave it a go. Through doing this protocol I lost around 15kg and have kept it off, but best of all I learnt what foods work best for me, and after 20 years as a vegetarian, I discovered that meat was one of them. Oh and my ‘full button’ was fixed, hello Leptin!
So for the past year and a half I have followed a different eating regime. This is a diet that is still primarily made up of a variety of seasonal organic vegetables; however instead of filling up on carbohydrates, I now have good quality protein and a lot more natural fat. Breakfast only works for me if it is high in protein. I mostly rely on eggs and veggies, and occasionally it will be left over dinner. I have noticed that with the protein and fat content significantly increased, I only need to eat about half as much food in a day, thus keeping my ghrelin levels in check. (Ghrelin is the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage.) A big protein rich breakfast at around 7am will see me through to 1 or 2 in the afternoon. At that time I usually only need a top up, maybe a handful of nuts and some fruit or a chia pudding. Then dinner is again a vegetable rich plate with a serving of protein and some fat. This eating regime is working to keep my friendly hormones, leptin, ghrelin and insulin, all in balance.
I would love to say that I am now ship shape and 100% healthy, and whilst I am vastly improved on the version of me that existed 18 months ago, I still have a way to go on my journey to wellness. I know that exercise is my next mountain to conquer. Onwards and upwards!