Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You're so skinny - I hate you!

If I had a dollar for every time I had heard this from people who are actually friends, I would be...well, richer than I am. :) I think the most frustrating thing about people saying that, is they assume it's not a struggle for me and I wouldn't understand. Well, it's not a struggle, but that's not an accident.

They say if you want to be rich, hang out with rich people and figure out what they do differently. If you want to be skinny, figure out what skinny people do. Here's the thing: I understand how our bodies work. I gained 35-40 pounds with both pregnancies, eating everything I wanted - everything in sight! :) It literally fell off afterward. Today, I am 25 pounds thinner than I was at 18 years old. I even weigh 15 pounds less than I did when I got married 4 years ago, and I've had 2 babies since then.

A friend of mine is embarking on a "journey to a healthier" her. I'm so excited for her. I hope you all won't find it arrogant that I want to share what I know about being thin. I understand how painful it must be to struggle with weight you cannot lose, and I genuinely want to help in any way I can. Losing weight is not the mystery many have made it out to be. It doesn't even require daily strenuous exercise. If you want to be toned, you must work out. I confess that is the part I'm not so good at. But you need not carry around extra weight, if you just eat correctly.

Dr P is famous on my blog. He is my naturopathic doctor/chiropractor/nutritionist. I originally saw him when I was 17, to help treat my seizure disorder. That's a story for another day. But I've been following his advice for 11 years now, and seen amazing differences in my body and in the bodies of other people who took his advice. A good friend lost 70 pounds in about 6 months with almost no exercise. Nick lost 30 pounds in 3 months. It just works. So, with that background, here's some tips:

1. DON'T drink diet anything. I can give you a BAZILLION reasons. It will actually make it harder to lose weight. Seriously. People who are regular diet drinkers often lose 15 pounds when they switch to regular! Drink regular if you have to, and just limit yourself to one can a day, or something like that. If you need/want the reasons I'll give them to you. It's a whole blog post. The stuff is poisonous. I'm not even exaggurating. If regular is bad (and it is), diet is 10 times worse. Switch to tea or coffee. You'll look more cultured anyway. ;)

2. Eat protein and a whole-grain carb for breakfast every day. This is important.

3. Eat small amounts (preferably protein AND carbs) every 3 hours. This kick-starts your metabolism. Seriously. People who cannot get the weight off generally do not eat more than once or twice a day. Our bodies don't work that way.

4. Drink as much water as you can stand. Keep some in the fridge if you like it cold. Buy lemon to put in it if that helps. There's no substitute for water, and it flushes toxins from your body and helps you lose weight faster.

5. Try to eat your 5 fruit and veggie servings per day. It's insane, and I usually don't get there. But you need the fiber and vitamins. The closer you get, the better.

6. Work toward getting rid of the white stuff - white flour, white sugar, white carbs (like potatoes). Everything should be whole grain and unrefined. The fiber and vitamins are intact then.

7. Eat raw stuff that grows (fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, etc.) whenever you have a chance. They contain enzymes that help your body break down food. Cleans out your digestive system, and gets rid of waste sitting in your gut. Yes, it's gross. It's also true.

8. Stop buying the junk you don't want to eat - don't even have it in the house. If it's there, you will eat it.

Start there. These things all affect each other, so they are all important. If you're doing this and it doesn't work, there are other things that may be affecting it:

-Food allergies. Most people have some. Do you have frequent headaches, stomachaches/digestion issues, achiness, acne, mood issues, etc.? It's very possible they would go away if you found out what your body just doesn't like and quit eating it. This is simple and profoundly hard at the same time. How badly do you want to be healthy? To figure this out, do an elimination diet. I can tell you how to do it if you're interested.

-Get as much sleep as you're able. Lack of sleep causes your body to produce cortisol, a stress hormone. Stress hormones keep weight on your body. Do what you can to lower your overall stress. If you're often stressed, sit down and think about what's causing it and see if there's some way to fix it. This kind of emotional maintenance is so important to our overall health.

-Food additives. There are so many chemicals in prepared foods. I know how much you coffee drinkers love your flavored creamer, but that stuff actually has aluminum in it, which has been directly linked to alzheimer's and other issues. It's super scary, actually. I don't understand why the FDA allows manufacturers to put that in foods. Food coloring, preservatives, and other chemicals are bad news. If you can't pronounce it or it has a number attached to it (Red #5, for example), don't eat it.

Food is a very private thing to many people. From the age of 14, I have had to share every detail of what I eat and how it affects me with a whole group of people. I have no sense of privacy about this subject left. :) I would be overjoyed to help anyone who wants help, to figure out what they can do to be healthier, even if it means discussing delicate details. :) If you don't want to talk to me about it, go see Dr P in Denver. I'll give you the number. It's not cheap, but if you do it, it will work. I promise.

Please take this post in the spirit it was intended. If we all share what we know about, we will all be better off. This is something you really can do - and your life will never be the same!


  1. i want to talk with you. I lost 20 lbs doing a candida parasite cleanse and now gained it all back and can't for the life of me lose the weight. i don't over eat either. How do you keep the cost of your groceries down? Seriously though.. call me so i can talk with you. I was just thinking this morning there has GOT to be a way to change what i'm doing to get back in my clothes from LAST year!

  2. Great blog!
    I've been basically doing the things you've listed since shortly after Amelie was born, and have lost about 67 pounds. That includes 40 lbs I gained being pregnant, but the extra 27 were all me:)

    I'm healthier than I have ever been in my life. I love it.

    I grew up eating healthy, and eating real food, not junk, but I have learned a lot about portion control in the last year.

    People eat WAY too much.
    I eat small meals all day.
    I eat 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and usually 1 meal at dinnertime.
    In the morning, I'll have toast w/avocado and a hardboiled egg and tea, and then later in the morning, maybe some fruit and cottage cheese.

    I'm probably going to blog about this too..but something to make it easier than trying to plan 5-6 meals, is to just cut a "normal" american sized breakfast in half (or less) and eat half when you get up, and half mid-morning. I do the same with lunch. Half of it is eaten around 11:30 or 12 and the other half is eaten around 2:00.

    The girls eat this way naturally, so it works for all of us.

    I would add that a lot of people NEED exercise. Even skinny people. It's good for your heart!

    I gain weight really easily if I'm not moving around, even eating the right things, so in the beginning when I was trying to lose pregnancy weight, I was working out about 45 minutes a day 5 times a week on average.

    Now I work out a little less...somedays I work out an hour, some days only 30 minutes, but I really try to get it in most days.
    It has been a cure for PMS, PMDD, and depression for me.

    I've thought about how extreme I want to be with caring for my body and feeling good, and I think I've found a good balance for me.
    I feel like I probably could feel even better if I never ate XYZ, or whatever, but there is still a quality of life aspect that I'd rather not trade in, but that's just my personal thing.

    I realize that if I eat ice cream, I'll be sinus-y, but I just limit it, and think about it more before I indulge:)

  3. Flo - What SHE said!! :) Couldn't have said it better myself. I need exercise. But I'm terrible at doing it. Keep trying to get better. And you're right. There are times you just gotta have some ____ (fill in the blank). But if you make it a once in a while thing, you won't be trading ice cream for a monthly sinus infection. :) Thanks for the great points!

  4. ok. so what i'm hearing from both of you makes sense. i eat either oatmeal and raisins or cereal for breakfast with juice sometimes. I do like eggs too. We make a big ol' fattening breakfast once a week. I have 2 cups of coffee every morning to get my day started, a sandwich, chips and milk or water unless I'm craving Coke for lunch,fruit when it's in season too. A normal dinner..meat, starch,& veggie for dinner. I have a good glass of wine maybe 3 times a week with dinner. i will have cookies or ice cream with my family but not all the time and not too mcuh.. i don't drink water like i used to in california. can't stand the tast of Co water. Actaully LOVE distilled better than any. I try to rememebr everything in moderation. i even exercise. i think I'm gonna try the 5 meal thing for two weeks..see if it helps. Thanks. Keep the suggestions coming.

  5. Phew. Okay now my head is swirling. I'm gonna have to email you because like you said the whole food thing is private. But tell me about the diet stuff...I'm willing to give up my coke but have to be able to replace it with something and it can't be the regular coke because I literally have no self controll. I will have 2 or 3. It can't be in the house. What about stuff with splenda? Or that perier water?

  6. Since I have very few diagnosed food allergies, I don't have the complication of meal planning concerning my diet so please don't think I'm unsympathetic to the issues many people have with eating anything they want.

    That said, several years ago I attended a program called Weigh Down. It was not your typical diet, many people described it more accurately as a Bible study. The main focus is to realized anything that takes your heart, mind, soul or strength off of God is an idol. Even healthy dieting can be turned from it's good intention to idolatry if it overtakes the place of our Father in our hearts.

    My favorite verse from the study is from Matthew 6:26 and 31-34.

    26"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

    31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'

    32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

    33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

    34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

    I lost some weight on the program, but the most wonderful thing I learned is that the focus of my heart was in the wrong place. I was spending too much time thinking about what I should or should not eat instead of allowing my Father, who loves me and knows my body, to influence my eating.

    I had to confess the idols of gluttony and sloth to my Heavenly Father, get off my tail and start living the life He blessed me with! Good physical health is a blessing that I now use to the advantage of my Christianity. I am walking my kids and the neighbors to school three days a week. I get precious time with them all to plant seeds in these few years of influence I have and we never discuss dieting or weight loss with the children. They require more fat in their diets to maintain healthy body mass and brain development and I will not pass on an unhealthy body image to my daughters (with the help of my God!)

  7. I say "Yes and Amen" to everything!! I have been a student of nutrition for a long time now, and what you posted is how we eat. (A very infrequent ice cream, but we don't bring it in the house!) And it's true, even after pregnancies I haven't had to deal with more than an extra 5lbs. My body stays at a healthy weight as long as I follow those points. Eating every few hours is key! My husband is a personal trainer and nutrition consultant, and the common denominator he finds with most overweight people is they eat 1 or 2 meals a day - and those meals are usually very processed. We try for 5 or 6 meals and our food as unprocessed as is feasible for us. Thanks for sharing these. I always feel a little worried when I start reading a "nutrition-advice" post, but I agreed with everything you said!

  8. Thanks for all the suggestions. I've lost about 25 pounds since January just by trying to eat less, eat more natural foods & MOVE more. I have about 25 more I'd like to lose though! What is your (or Dr. P's) opinion on dairy? (I don't drink milk except in coffee or cereal, but LOVE cheese, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.) And I love vegetables, but have a hard time eating very many of them raw. Cooked is fine, raw is rough...Any suggestions? (P.S. I'm friends w/ Joanna & found your blog through hers)

  9. Wow! I thought this might be a popular post...

    TJ - sounds like more protein might be a good way to think for you. A handful of nuts here, a bite of deli meat there... I try to keep my protein/carbs at approx 50%/50%. We do buy bottled water, partially because I can't stand the taste of tap water either. But drinking straight distilled water can actually absorb minerals out of your body and lead to mineral deficiency. Have you tried reverse osmosis water?

    Irene - I will work on the post on diet drinks. Send me an email if you want!

    Laura - thanks for some great perspective and balance in this discussion. Healthy eating can most definitely become an idol. Personally, I feel that it is our job as Christians to care for our bodies (temples) in the best way we know how. That's one of the reasons I enjoy talking about health and nutrition. You are completely right about discussing dieting with our children though. Honestly, this isn't a diet though - it's just a way of life. I don't eat low fat. I honestly eat lots of fat. And I give my kids a fish oil supplement to make sure they get enough fat for brain development. The goal is always health, not outer appearance. Thanks for the reminder!

    Sarah - So glad you have found the same things to be true!

    Tarynl - Hi! Nice to have you around! I personally do not handle dairy well. It gives me terrible stomach problems, not to mention head cold symptoms. I tolerate raw goat's milk products a little better, but even then I can only do once a week or so. Cheese is the hardest thing to give up, but I spent my entire childhood with terrible digestion issues. I'm ready to be well, no matter what I have to not eat. :)

  10. Sara,
    I've wondered about the fish oil supplements for my kids because the girls don't like fish and my oldest does not like meat (it's mostly a texture thing).

    My mom and I were discussing the old fashioned "cod liver oil" pills she took as a kid. She said they gave her nasty fish breath, so I was reluctant to try anything for fear my kids would freak out.

    Have you noticed anything "fishy" about your girls? Do they complain about the supplement at all?

    p.s. We don't eat low fat either. Most of that stuff is so processed that it's just nasty as fast food. Plus, I'd have to eat 10 low fat Oreo's to get the same satisfaction as just eating 3 regular ones! Not a very low fat/low calorie solution.

  11. "You're so skinny - I hate you" - I swear I have never heard those words in my life :)

    What a great post. Such good info - thanks!

    -josh t

  12. ok.. So Terrell and I were talking some more about this plan. First a little more background. My family (being extended) has quite a bit of knowledge on "what's right" nutirionally. my mom beat breast cancer through nutrition, my sister then went on a nutritional education hunt, and I followed suit. After my tubal my health took a nose dive. That's another story but connected with this one. I did a candida parasite cleanse 3 years ago. Felt the best ever but after all was said an done... fell back into what my family eats. I struggle with cooking anyway and making two seperate meals became difficult. Plus feeling obsessed with every bite of food became too much. so I still exercise and try to use moderation. Another thing is the fruits and veggies here just aren't Cali fruits and veggies. that's been a big adjustment too. Yes, I'll say we were really spoiled with good food to eat there. Now... my questions.

    1. In Cali we had Trader Joes and Winco. I depended on them both for healthy CHEAP food. I feed essentailly 5 adults and one child in our home. Any sugesstions? Where do you all shop in Colorado? Kroger is expensive, so is safeway. Walmart is fine but doesn't have it all. Whole Foods is pricey too.

    2. Describe the 5 meals. Write a post detailing what you all eat each day. It would help. this was the discussion this morning. what does 5 meals look like.

    3. Have any of you had an allergic reaction to the local water? Sounds crazy but I think it's possible. It smells so very very chemically. Thought coming here we'd have this amazing water. Hmmm.
    I feel the best physically on distilled. I know there is the mineral arguement but for me, it works well.

    Ok. all for now. I do appreciate the dialogue taking place.


  13. I personally shop at Vitamin Cottage for our groceries. It's not cheap either, but they do sell things under MRP, which is what Whole Foods sells them at. All of their produce is organic, and their standards are very high as far as what they will sell. I THINK it's comparable to Trader Joes - I've shopped there before while traveling.

    Like I said, I hate the local water too. It does smell like chemicals to me, and the only way I can drink it is with lemon when we eat out. We have bought three of those 5-gallon water bottles, and refill them with reverse osmosis water at the grocery store each week. We have a counter-top bottle that we fill from those. It works for us.

  14. Laura - I give them Nordic Naturals Children's DHA. It is strawberry flavored tiny gel caps. They are chewable or swallow-able. I have never noticed a fishy smell, and they don't seem to mind them. Nick took one the other day and said it tasted like a gummy bear. I checked that brand with Dr P too, and he said it's very high quality, so there shouldn't be any problem with mercury, which is another concern of mine with fish.

  15. Sugar was the big problem for me. I probably drank 4 or 5 Cokes a day when I first met Sara. Dr. P informed me that the high amount of sugar in Cokes might be directly responsible for my allergies to cats, pollen, etc. He was right. Currently, I'm down to a Coke every couple months. I usually start sneezing a couple hours after having one which gives me the motivation to lay off of them for another month or so.

    Some other personal motivation comes from a story I heard from a friend who worked at a Pepsi plant. He says that the powder mixture used for Mountain Dew is flammable. He knows this because his boss would occasionally demonstrate this to impress new employees. The Mountain Dew doesn't just catch on fire, it literally explodes and destroys anything near it. Just something to think about the next time you drink one. :)

  16. You are awesome. I will be linking to this post, if I have your permission.

    A few things:

    1. You are so right that it is not a diet, it is a way of life. Just like a gfcf (and all that goes with it) "diet" is not a diet. You have to change the way you think about food, its source, the preparation, etc. (Check out the Ominvore's Dilemma if you want to know a little more about where your meat or corn came from.)
    2. I don't know about anyone else, but when you have food allergies, it's easy to let FOOD dominate your life. I'm still trying to find that balance.
    3. On fat, have you read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon? If not, her explanation on fats is superb. She sites study after study that have been misquoted or manipulated to show us that fat is bad.
    4. Cod liver oil: good. Benjamin is my double-blind, peer-reviewed case study.
    5. I'm interested in the comment Tuna Jones made, "After my tubal my health took a nose dive. That's another story but connected with this one." Tuna, I'd love to hear more.......
    6. Good post. Excellent. :)
    7. Miss you.

  17. Staci - You are more than welcome to link. Anytime! :) I haven't read much on this subject, because I have had Dr P to do the reading for me. Those are the two books I always hear about from people I agree with though. So...good suggestions. ;)

  18. Tuna Here... Soo I'd be glad to share my story and why I don't recommend a tubal. I have wanted to on my blog but thought it might freak people out to tell them I'm now convinced BC is not God's best. If you email me directly.. I'll email you back. My email address is on my blog. Thanks! Oh.. The books.. can i find them at the library? T and I are trying the five meal thing.

    Sara Kay.. Exercise is difficuly for me too but so worth the effort. I did a marathon a few years back and would LOVE to do another one. It got me serious about fitness.