When I was pregnant with my daughter, I gained almost 70 pounds. I went from 130 pounds to weighing 196 on the day she was born…and I’m only 5’0″ tall! I have never had an unhealthy diet, but I certainly enjoyed my share of convenience foods – especially while pregnant. For approximately 8 months I ate with the mindset “I’m going to breastfeed, so it’s going to melt right off!” Right? Ha! So.very.wrong. I lost about 10 pounds right away and then stopped at 175 for probably 6 months. I nursed her for about a year and was afraid to do any crazy diet plans or push myself to lose weight while breastfeeding. Once she totally transitioned from breastfeeding, I started counting calories, keeping a food journal and finding workout plans. There were some days that I would be super hungry an hour after dinner but didn’t have any calories left so I would just go to bed instead of stay awake and be hungry. It was pretty miserable. I got down to about 150 pounds by this strict method of recording every food and every calorie for month after month. But, I mean really, who wants to live like that?
Then I was diagnosed with a corn allergy. My first thought was literally – oh, well at least it’s just corn and not a whole bunch of different things. HAHAHAHAHA! And again, I was so.very.wrong. It would’ve probably been easier if it was like peanuts, shellfish, dairy, wheat, watermelon, and chocolate. But that said, it immediately forced me into a healthier lifestyle and a life-changing outlook on food more than anything else ever would have.
As soon as my corn allergy hit, the weight started dropping off. At first it was because I had such a hard time finding any food to eat. I didn’t don’t enjoy cooking, so all of the meals requiring only fresh/whole foods were intimidating to me, especially with a baby. Slowly I found a happy balance between easy foods to cook and boxed/convenience foods with very limited ingredients – and my eating habits were forever changed (see more on my Favorite Foods page).
Now, at a healthy and strong 120 pounds, I often hear, “Oh I wish I had a food allergy, maybe that would help me lose weight.” The truth is, it’s not necessarily about the food allergy as much as it is a decision to significantly decrease any “Frankenfoods” in our diets. When we don’t digest foods well, we remain bloated and hold onto a lot of additional water weight (which is also due to the insane amount of sodium in processed foods). When foods are laden with corn and soy byproducts, they most likely have very little nutritional value and provide almost no source of energy or sustainability, leaving us never feeling satisfied and always wanting more. For instance, the majority of “diet,” “low-fat,” or “light” foods remove the naturally occurring fat and replace it with gobs of chemically altered ingredients. My favorite sour cream (Daisy brand) has one ingredient: Grade A Cultured Cream. I have no idea how many calories or grams of fat it has, and I really don’t care. I eat it often, and I don’t think twice because it is a real food that I can safely eat! Another popular brand of Sour Cream has the following ingredients:
Um, ew? And for the record, food starch is from corn, maltodextrin is from corn, cultured dextrose is from corn, and who knows what the other ingredients are from!
So my point is this: I strongly believe that the healthiest and best diet to be on, regardless of food allergies and intolerances, is one that includes the least amount of modified ingredients. Edit: I am also currently pushing myself to remember that they don’t even have to be organic (i.e. more expensive). Again, take Daisy Sour Cream for example – it has less ingredients than many of the organic sour cream varieties and is $$ cheaper!
So here is my real life… I’m in my 30s. I don’t count calories, fat, or carbs. I’ve had two c-sections. I don’t do any extreme workouts (just yoga or something similar, a few times a week). I eat real food, and I eat when I’m hungry (and the great thing about eating clean is that it fuels your body the way it is supposed to and doesn’t leave you hungry and craving more almost immediately!)
Ready to start? Give yourself a short-term goal. You could go cold-turkey like I was forced to or ease yourself into it. Maybe eliminate corn syrup? Maybe limit your foods to ones that contain no more than 5 ingredients? 10 ingredients? Maybe stop buying cereal (it’s probably the most ridiculously useless food ever created anyway). Choose something and commit to it for 2 weeks and you will begin to find your body embracing its new strong, healthy, and happy self that it has always meant to be!
It would be AWESOME to share this post and help others on their journey to Live More Simply, Love More Strongly, and Play More Often!