Fitness Friday :: The Plan (are healthy foods making you fat?)
You’ve tried everything to drop that weight and nothing is working. You’re doing all the right things: exercising, reducing portion sizes, cutting out processed foods. Still, your body is hopelessly attached to the fat on your belly, hips and thighs.
Why won’t it budge?
Maybe it’s not calories you should be counting.
Maybe it’s not carbs you should be eliminating.
Maybe it’s not fat you should be reducing.
And maybe it’s not longer, more intense or more frequent workouts you should be adding.
Maybe what you need to be paying attention to is INFLAMMATION.
That’s what author Lyn-Genet Recitas claims in her new book The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising “Healthy” Foods that are Make you Fat—and Lose Weight Fast
“Your weight is nothing more than a reflection of your body’s chemical reaction to foods…Your body is constantly communicating with you about what foods do and do not work for it in ways you might not be aware of: fatigue, poor stress response, digestive issues—these are all signals that your body is sending as an alert to please stop eating that food.” ~Lyn-Genet Recitas
Okay, Lyn-Genet, you’ve got my attention (and a very cool name).
Over the last 5-ish years, I’ve paid more attention to how food affects me than ever before. In an attempt to lose a very stubborn 20 pounds, I tried everything from vegan to Paleo, as well as calorie restriction and cutting out all processed foods, including refined sugar. I’ve had some success losing about half of my stubborn 20, and keeping it off.
But over the last year, some of it has crept back on. Now, I’ve got this last 10 pounds that just won’t budge.
Well, it WILL budge for a few days (if I go on a cleanse or something), and then comes right back on when I reintroduce my normal foods. Then I lose it again. Then it comes back again. For reasons completely unknown to me.
Sometimes it will take me weeks to lose 5 pounds and it all comes on in one day. It’s crazy.
And oh, so frustrating.
In January, I decided 2013 would be the year I drop those last 10 pounds for good, so I can move on to bigger, better and more eternally relevant life-goals. I’m so tired of over-thinking my diet, analyzing every morsel that goes into my mouth. It’s no way to live!
And that is why I’m giving The Plan a shot.
“You’re not eating too many carbs, or too much fat, or too many calories. You’re simply eating certain reactive foods that are triggering an inflammatory response. And when your body is rife with inflammatory chemicals, it can cause a whole host of problems. Weight gain, migraines, skin conditions, high blood pressure—low-grade inflammation is the culprit behind all of them, aided and abetted by reactive foods that appear to be righteous on the surface, but are steadily and sneakily making us overweight, depressed and sick.” ~Lyn-Genet Recitas
Recitas calls The Plan a “controlled experiment to help you discover which foods do and don’t work for your body.”
Key words: YOUR body.
Because foods that trigger an inflammatory response in YOU may not do so for me. So, we can’t just look at a list of foods to avoid and call it a day. We need to figure out how foods affect us individually and avoid only those “reactive foods.”
And we aren’t talking about nachos and hot-fudge sundaes. We’re talking about foods like salmon, oatmeal, asparagus, turkey, black beans…Foods that I eat every week.
Could it be that the oatmeal and black beans are causing inflammation and weight gain?
I guess we’ll find out.
This past Monday, I started following The Plan. For 21 days, I will follow a very specific diet of “non-reactive foods” and test my favorite foods, one-by-one. Hopefully, by the end of this period, I’ll have a better idea what foods to avoid and what to eat.
Important Things to Know about The Plan
1. The Plan is for people over 35. Apparently, if you are younger than that, most foods are “non-reactive.” Your potential inflammatory response to foods increases as you age. That makes a lot of sense to me, because I used to be able to eat everything, as long as I exercised. The older I get, the less I can eat. At this rate, I’ll be eating nothing but cucumbers and lemon-water in 10 years. And still be trying to lose this stupid 10 pounds.
2. The Plan assumes you’ve tried other obvious forms of weight loss without success. (cutting out processed foods, exercising, and portion control) This is not for people who drink a Big Gulp and a deep dish meat lovers pizza for dinner and wonder why they are fat.
3. The Plan requires you to follow a VERY specific menu plan for the full 21 days. If this type of thing drives you nuts, The Plan is probably not for you.
Highlights From My First Four and a Half Days on The Plan
Day 1: Looks like I’m going to be doing a LOT of cooking. I love to cook, but I normally grab a quick breakfast and a smoothie for lunch. The Plan wants me to make a homemade Flax Seed Granola for breakfast (literally a bowl of roasted flax seeds and dried fruit topped with blueberries and Rice Milk. So odd, is it not?) and homemade soup for lunch—plus cook a full dinner. Goodbye 90-minutes of my day—it’s a good thing I’m not supposed to exercise on Day 1, what with all the extra time chopping vegetables and roasting flax seeds, and all.
Oh, and Recitas discourages coffee the first 3 days . (Discourages, not forbids) Um…no. Not gonna happen. We already know I turn into a mere shell of my former self without coffee. The good news is, the recipes for today are bursting with flavor and very filling. I can do this. I think.
(Insert picture of pretty, colorful meals here.)
(Sorry, I didn’t really plan on blogging about this,so I didn’t take pictures of the food until Day 4)
(You probably would have been perfectly fine if I hadn’t blogged about this)
Day 2: Down 1.8 pounds!! The Plan says if a food is “reactive” it will show up on the scale the next day. If it is not, you should lose about .5 pounds/day until you reach your “set weight.” That means coffee (with half and half and honey!) is non-reactive for me, as well as a boat load of veggies and many fruits. Thank you, Jesus. For realz.
Today, I “tested” raw almonds for my snack. I had an immediate stomach ache and subsequent “potty trip.” Those symptoms indicate a potential inflammatory response. However, the almonds I ate were kinda old. And I hate raw almonds anyway. I’m not convinced they are reactive for me. I will try roasted almonds tomorrow, if I don’t gain any weight.
The Plan food is still pretty good and VERY filling. I miss eating salt, though. I think I get to add it back in a few days. (Water retention will show up on the scale and skew your results.)
Day 3: Down 1.3 pounds!!! Okay. This is nice. Especially in light of the fact that it’s (ahem) a certain time of the month that traditionally means weight GAIN. I also did 45 min on the elliptical and felt good.
I tested fresh roasted almonds instead of old raw almonds: no stomach ache. I KNEW it. It was the “old raw” part. Not the “almond” part that my body hated.
The bad news is I was famished after working out and had to stand in the kitchen for the next HOUR making my soup and salad for lunch. I need to plan my cooking times better so I’m not waiting until the last minute. I had chicken for dinner and it was yummy.
Day 4: Down .1 pound (yes, there is a decimal point in front of that 1). Meh. Not excited about that, but remember what time of the month this is? That translates to 5 in PMS Pounds.
(I just made that up.)
I had to eat breakfast late because of a morning commitment, which meant I didn’t have time for my snack. However, Day 4 means I test goat cheese, red wine and dark chocolate. The goat cheese atop roasted veggies on a bed of greens is divine!!! (FYI, that’t a dinner plate, not a salad plate, in this picture)
Dinner, also delish, which is chicken with cumber mango salsa on roasted chicken.
Recitas encourages you to drink a glass of red wine every night to aid in digestion and weight loss. I can get on board with this.
The bad news is I’m feeling rather sluggish. I think it’s because I’m not working out like I normally do and it’s very cold and dreary here. And I’ve had a sick child home all week with the stomach bug. Nothing is normal and I like normal.
Day 5 (Today): No weight change. Darn it. I can’t be at my “set weight” yet! I refuse to worry this early. I’ve got a lot of time to work through The Plan and drop my remaining 8 pounds, right?
For the love, I don’t think I can eat another bowl of the Flax Seed Granola for breakfast. But I don’t get new breakfast foods until Day 9. Ugghhh. Looking over the menu, I see I get to test a rye cracker today (the first grain other than brown rice). I decide to switch up my snack for breakfast: a rye cracker (they are fairly large) with almond butter and half an apple. Much better.
But I’m sitting here 2 hours later and hungry again. Debating on whether I want Flax Seed Granola for a snack or if I should just eat an early lunch. To the Granola I go. Because I want to get a really good P90X workout today, and I need the energy.
And that brings you up to speed on that.
I’ll keep you posted on how things progress next Friday.
In the interim, if you’d like to buy The Plan, so you can check it out for yourself, you can do so here.
If you’d like to see the 21 day menu, click here (there are some differences between the menu in the book and the ones on line. I don’t know??) You can read more info on The Plan, as well as see her segment on Dr. Oz, by going here.
What do you think about this whole inflammation thing? Quackery? Another fad diet? Or does it make sense to you?
Linking up today with Jill Conyers
I definitely think she is on to something – how else do you explain up 3 pounds one day (on a “good”day) and down 2 the next? (sometimes after a “bad” day)
Curious to see how your 21 days go – there is too much going on in life right now for me to completely commit to something like this, but agree that it sounds quite interesting.
I’m also finding it interesting that the raw/roasted thing gave you issues – something to think about next time I hear someone swear up and down on their raw/no processing diet – sometimes it’s just so hard to know what to eat!
If you don’t have extra time to cook, I don’t advise this. It’s way more than what I’m used to, and I cook about 5 nights a week. I miss my nights off. I don’t know how i’m going to handle Saturday (my Sabbath). But I’m sort of enjoying the fact that I “need” to have a glass of red wine each night. It feels sort of like “bed rest.” You know, how you’d love for someone to tell you you HAVE to lay on the couch and not get up? It’s a bit like that.
Well up until last year I had an issue that cause inflammation in my body that I knew about and finally was able to take care of it and lost 10 pounds once that was taken care of and have kept it off.
I admire the work you put into these things Sandy. You go girl!
I saw a news report recently where they are now saying it’s inflammation, not cholesterol, that is the underlying cause of heart disease. Apparently, inflammation CAUSES the cholesterol to form in the arteries (like a scab) to protect the arteries. So, the answer is to reduce the inflammation, not the cholesterol. You were smart to take care of whatever was causing your inflammation. 🙂
Interesting. I’m curious to find out if I can manage this on a vegan diet? Adding it to my B&N list.
I’ve had a sick daughter at home all week too. She finally went back to school yesterday so hopefully the Conyers children are done with being sick.
Jill, I think it would be very easy to adapt this to vegan. There are several menu options on line. The first week is practically all vegan. On your “test” days, I would just test one of your favorite vegan options instead of the meat or cheese or whatever she suggests. I’m finding that it is more meat than I prefer, so I’m going to test more vegetarian options this week. I’ve had chicken almost every night and I’m about to gag from all the chicken. 🙁
thanks for reviewing this, Sandy! I was wondering about this book. I have had these same 8 pounds I can’t seem to budge at all. I’ll put it on the list!
I was on the fence about reviewing it, just in case I decided to call it quits mid-way through. But now I know I’ll stick with it (nothing like a few thousand people to keep you accountable). Let’s hope it works.
I noticed you ‘like’ Beyond Diet on FB like me. Have you read her No Diet Solution book? She talks a lot about inflammation too, and has a quiz to figure out how you might be reacting to food. I tried her plan, but it was tonnes of cooking and no wheat…which was hard for me. I need easy. Not processed or fast food easy. Quick cooking easy 🙂
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That’s interesting. I was not aware of the Plan. Going on my shopping list!