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How I Broke Through My Set Point Part 1

Posted Sep 26 2010 12:00am
Several women have asked me how I lost weight. While my weight loss plan is not new or original, I thought I would share how I finally shed those extra pounds that have plagued me for years.

This program takes some getting used to and will require sacrifices. If you want to break the weight barrier, where ever your weight loss screeches to a halt, you are going to have to buckle down and get serious about it.

I was chubby until I got into body building in my 30’s. I was chubby as a kid snd I restricted my calories as a teenager to the point of unhealthy (yes, I did get skinny but gained all the weight back plus when I went to college). I struggled with me weight well into my early adult life. At times I gave up because I was just tired of being hungry all the time and working out constantly. But I always got back on the saddle and through lots of research, the advice of some wise body builders, and really getting to know my body I finally figured out what it takes to see the results I want.

My Thyroid:

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 18 and I was prescribed Synthroid (I advise strongly against using this drug). I went to doctor after doctor telling them I still had symptoms (constipation, hair loss, fatigue, dry skin, weight gain). All of them tested me, said my test results were normal, and sent me on my way. I found a doctor who prescribes Armour Thyroid and uses the new guidelines for normal thyroid hormone levels. Here is a link that outlines those guidelines: http://thyroid.about.com/cs/testsforthyroid/a/newrange.htm. If you have any of these symptoms find a good doctor and get tested. You will have a harder time losing weight if you have untreated/mistreated hypothyroidism.

Nutrition

Losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I try to follow this plan 90% of the time.

Calories:

This was trial and error for me. For so long I was told the magic number was 1200 calories but all it did was cause my body to go into starvation mode. I got some good advice from some body building friends. I was told to increase my calories to 15 X my body weight for two weeks to reset my metabolism. I gained a little weight which they warned me I would do. I then went to 14 X my body weight until the weight loss stalled and worked in increments until I am now at 11 X my body weight. Going any lower causes my weight loss to halt. Eric Ledin, a personal trainer and consultant of many body building competition winners, has a great website with lots of helpful information. I cannot recommend him enough. Besides a message board with lots of friendly, helpful people, he has written many articles on fat loss and work outs that you can access for free. His website is http://leanbodiesconsulting.com.

Eating Clean:

I got rid of all the junk. Junk means artificial sweeteners and sugar. I use honey, maple syrup, and stevia to bake and sprinkle on foods like oatmeal. I know several women who have lost up to 6 pounds by just giving up sucralose and aspartame. Processed foods, chemicals, and not only partially hydrogenated oils, but oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil are also damaging to our health and our weight loss goals. These oils contain Omega 6's which Americans get too much of and are deficient of Omega 3's in which our diets are lacking. For a great article on how Omega 6's affect fat loss read this article: http://www.cbass.com/Omega6.htm. Another insightful article pertaining to our health and the Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio can be found here http://thehealthyskeptic.org/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick. For fats I use coconut oil, regular butter, and olive oil. Reading labels are imperative. Most boxed foods, even those that claim to be healthy have garbage that will keep you from losing weight and even increase your chance for disease.

Journal:

I journal every bite that goes in my mouth so that I have the overall picture of how much I am eating. I also weigh, measure, and count everything. It’s not just about accountability. If I don’t know what I am eating then I can’t figure out what works and what doesn’t. If I eat a bite of cake then I figure out approximately how many calories, etc are in a TBSP of cake. My little bites throughout the day can add up quickly. 100-200 calories and more can sneak up on you in day. Being honest about what I am eating and seeing it on paper (or a computer screen) helps me not to pick.

Macros
I started out with 33% Protein, 33% Fat, and 33% Carbohydrates. I had to play around with it. I always give the changes I make two weeks to see what results I get. Up until recently I had been eating 40% of my caloric intake from carbohydrates but the Weston A. Price Foundation suggests somewhere around 50% of your diet should come from fat. So now I am at 50% Fat, 20% Protein, and 30% Carbohydrates. Fitday.com adds all this up for you automatically.

Protein:

As much as we can afford, I eat chicken and beef antibiotic and hormone free and fresh fish. Exclusively grain fed chicken and beef would be ideal but it is expensive. I also use protein powder. I buy protein powder sweetened with stevia or plain unflavored protein powder with no sweetener. Eggs are a great source of protein (Not just the egg whites. The yolks contain a wealth of nutrients and healthy dietary fat.) Unfortunately I am allergic to eggs. Again, eggs from grass fed chickens are best.

Carbohydrates:

Brown rice (not instant), sweet potatoes, old fashioned or steel cut oats, soaked or sprouted breads, and fruits and vegetables are all good sources of carbohydrates. I try to stick with fruits that have less sugar in them like berries but I still try to get a variety regardless. If I have whole wheat bread, I get it from the health food section or I make it myself. The whole wheat bread in the regular aisle is processed. Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread is a good store bought bread but it does contain soybeans so use it sparingly. It is located in the freezer of the health food section of most grocery stores.

Fat
I stick with nut butters, salmon, flax seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds for fats. I can’t do avocado because it makes me very sick.

Dairy:

This is one area where my thoughts are changing on what is healthy. Sally Fallon in "Nourishing Traditions" encourages the liberal use of whole dairy products. She says , “A study that followed 12,829 children ages 9 to 14 years found that weight gain was associated with drinking reduced-fat milk but that drinking full-fat milk was not associated with weight gain. The study was published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, June 2005”. The full article can be read at http://www.westonaprice.org/action-alerts/2005-alerts/1118-2005jul09-action-alert.html. Raw dairy products are best because they contain probiotics and enzymes that make dairy products easier to digest and help the vitamins and minerals absorbed better. They can be found through local farmers. Go to http://realmilk.com/ for more details.

Fiber:

I aim for 25 grams of fiber a day but usually fall short of this goal and end up at around 20. It’s something I’m working on. The benefits of a high fiber diet has been extensively researched. Some of the benefits include normal bowel movements, lower cholesterol, stable blood sugar levels, and weight loss. Going one step further, I would say sprouted and soaked grains which contain fiber will make the fiber more digestible. There has been anecdotal reports that people with irritable bowel syndrome and Celiac Disease can consume wheat products and gluten to no ill effect when the grains are sprouted or soaked.

Safety Measures
I try to have chocolate twice a week. It replaces one of my meals. I used to have a Diet Coke once a week or so, but since I have been implementing some of the “Nourishing Traditions” practices I have not wanted one. Both of these help me to keep on track (in the case of Diet Coke this should be in the past tense). I don’t call it “cheating” because the word has a negative connotation. Of course, sometimes I have a bad eating day. Everyone does and I try to let it go and move forward.

Trigger foods
I figured out what my trigger foods are and try to avoid them at all cost. These foods are off limits because I can’t just eat one serving and they will cause me to lose control at least for the rest of the day, if not more. Cookies, ice cream, sugary cereal all do it for me. My parents bring dinner for us twice a month (which my family eats while I eat my home prepared meal) and they always bring chocolate chip cookies. I let the kids have one, and then they go down the drain, otherwise I will eat all of them.

Here is an example of a typical day. I use http://fitday.com/, which is a free site to keep track of nutrition
-soaked old fashioned oats and almond butter (sometimes I do
coconut oil with strawberries)

-chicken breast baked and seasoned with salt and pepper, salad with
olive oil and vinegar (not a store bought salad dressing even
if it combines olive oil and vinegar. If you read the label
you will see other ingredients that are unhealthy.)

-strawberry smoothie: plain yogurt or kefir, strawberry

-tilapia seasoned with salt, pepper and red pepper,
1 cup green beans with a tsp of butter, quinoa

-oats (Yes, again. I like my oats. What can I say?), coconut oil,
berries

If I get the pre-dinner munchies I will eat an apple with a little bit of almond butter.

This is not easy in the beginning, but as you go along you'll notice your cravings decreasing. It is doable; this is how I lost weight and how I eat now to keep the weight off. It may not exactly work for you this way, but through experimentation and getting to know your body, you can see those scale numbers go down.

Part 2 of How I Broke Through My Set Point continues with my workout program. You can not only help your weight loss by working out smarter in less time, but you can also develop sexy muscles that you can be proud of!

Tips:

For get-togethers and holiday parties, I bring a healthy dish to share that I can eat to fill me up and avoid all those tempting appetizers and desserts, or I eat before I go.

Alcohol stops my weight loss. Get to know your body and you will know if you need to cut out those cocktails.

Restaurants and fast food are bad news. You don’t know what goes into the food (even baked chicken and salads). If you are going to be out by yourself or with the kids, pack a cooler. Are your kids missing the bags with the toy inside? Go to the dollar store and pick out some toys. Put their lunches in a brown bag (you can decorate these if you are feeling creative) along with a small toy. Are there exceptions to this? Of course! But don’t make restaurants a habit. I eat out at the most once every 3 or 4 months.
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