There’s something about marriage that just makes you gain weight. I hope I’m not the only one who has experienced this. I just remember trying to fit into a pair of jeans one morning and I found myself doing that awkward ‘lay on the floor and suck in your gut as much as you can while wriggling around like a worm’ thing. The funny thing is, I was in denial and actually wore those jeans to work. I figured I was just shrinking them in the dryer and they needed to stretch out. Then I stepped on the scale and I realized I had gained 15 pounds since our blissful wedding day.
I joined Weight Watchers with a friend and became an avid calorie counter. The only thing I cared about in my food choices were how many calories, how much fat, and how much fiber it contained. It became the magical formula. I actually ate more junk food during Weight Watchers than I did before. The only difference was this junk food was fortified with aspartame and all kinds of nasty chemicals that made it low in fat and only 1 or 2 points. I could drink Coke Zero for zero points and I could pig out on McDonald’s french fries as long as that was all I ate for dinner. I actually loved Weight Watchers at the time because it worked. I was able to lose around 12 pounds eating whatever I wanted, just smaller portions. Those last couple pounds I could never get off, though. After a while I figured this was my new normal and decided to just accept it. On Weight Watchers I was always hungry, and really struggled with my blood sugar levels. I never felt truly satisfied. I also never realized how unhealthy I was being in the name of health.
Each time I quit counting points the weight came back faster than it had left. It was a vicious cycle that had me returning to Weight Watchers over and over and over again whenever my pants quit zipping up.
The truly scary part is we were trying to get pregnant at that time. We struggled for several years and I can only imagine that the unhealthy lifestyle I was leading, that paid zero attention to nutrition and placed all value on calories and fat (or the lack thereof), played a large part in our difficulty to conceive. In fact, research is now showing that women who eat diets high in fat decrease their risk of infertility when compared to women who eat low-fat diets.
When I started researching nutrition I was shocked to find out that all those foods that I always felt guilty about eating were actually good for me. After reading about the works of Dr. Weston A. Price I was fully convinced. However, I couldn’t bring myself to make the switch. In my head I knew that these full fat items are good for us, but in my heart I was scared of gaining more weight.
It wasn’t until after the birth of our second son that my husband and I decided to do a Whole30 to start off the new year. Basically, the Whole30 is 30 days of no processed foods, no grains, no dairy, and no sugars or sweeteners. It is similar to the Paleo diet and had a high focus on getting enough healthy fats at every meal. I ate more fat in those 30 days than I probably had eaten for the past 10 years. Ghee, bacon, tallow, avocado, coconut oil…at every single meal. And you know what? Coupled with veggies and pastured meats, the weight literally started falling off of me so fast that it made me physically sick. By the time it was over I had lost 2 pant sizes and 8 pounds. I did this without counting calories, eating as much food as I needed to feel satisfied, and eating real, whole foods paired with a healthy fat. I also cheated and added bread back into my diet to slow down the weight loss since I was nursing my son.
I was sold. I now eat some source of fat liberally at every meal along with lots of veggies, fruits, pastured meats, and pastured eggs. Can I tell you how liberating it is? I enjoy eating, I can honestly say I love to eat and no longer carry the guilt that used to creep up on me when I would eat something high in fat. I never count calories anymore. Instead I look at ingredients. Are they real? Are they going to nourish my body? Are they going to feed my health?
It has been nearly 6 months since we did the Whole30 and the only time my weight fluctuates now is when I eat processed foods, and, you guessed it, low-fat foods.
I wish I had an awesome before and after picture, but I’m always the person behind the camera. Here’s the best after picture I could find.