Food isn’t the boss of me anymore…
Food isn’t the boss of me anymore!
Food used to basically rule my life in so many ways, but it doesn’t anymore and I want to fill you in on my secret as to why, so you can find your food freedom too.
First, let me rewind for a minute and tell you where this all started…
In 2001 I went off to college, pursuing a career in Sport Psychology. About halfway through my undergraduate I decided the Athletic Trainer to Sport Psychology route wasn’t for me, so I changed my major to an emphasis in fitness, nutrition and I landed my first job as a personal trainer right after graduating.
All throughout college, everything I learned about health centered around diet and exercise. And even to this day the old paradigm of calories in versus calories out is still considered the equation for weight loss and good health.
I was also taught how eating small meals every two hours fueled the body and fat loss, and how many servings of each food group should be consumed based upon government recommended guidelines (aka the food guide pyramid now known as My Plate).
So as a personal trainer straight out of college, of course I thought I knew all there was to know about diet, exercise, weight loss and health, and I followed what I had been taught.
And all of a sudden food became the boss of me.
I planned my personal training client schedule around having to eat every two hours, not just because I thought it was what I was supposed to be doing but also because I found myself hungry every two hours. If I didn’t eat on time I would become hangry.
As a result, my whole life started to revolve around food preparation. I spent hours going to the grocery store, cooking meals for the week, and portioning out my meals and snacks for the week on Sundays. I basically would devote almost half the weekend to food prep.
It was exhausting, monotonous and time consuming, to say the least.
Fast forward to about 7 years after college. I was still personal training but had moved into a career in the corporate wellness field. Food was still the boss of me and I started to develop some health issues such as fatigue, headaches and worsening allergies which lead me to do some research about holistic (aka functional) health practices.
I became a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and started to learn more about what was going on with my body.
I discovered that my tenacious hunger every two hours was partially because I had:
- Adrenal/cortisol hormone dysfunction
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Various nutrient deficiencies
- And bacteria and yeast overgrowth in my gut, causing cravings and inflammation
But my hunger was mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t eating the right foods for my body, which in turn contributed to not only being hungry all the time, but also all of the health issues I was experiencing.
In this week’s video and blog, I share a recent Facebook Live video I did with more info about how food was the boss of me, why it’s not anymore and what you can do to find your food freedom, too!
A Metabolic Typing test was one of the initial tests that put me on the path to figuring out what foods were right for my body (and it’s one that I have all of my clients do, too). This test showed me what types of food and what combinations of foods would support my body best.
Prior to the test, boneless skinless chicken breast was a staple in my diet, but as it turned out that’s not an ideal protein source for me. I do better with dark meat such as chicken thighs. I was also eating fruit and foods higher carbs quite frequently, but the test revealed that my body would perform better on a higher protein/fat and lower carb diet.
This bit of knowledge was life changing and I immediately felt more satisfied and energized from eating the right foods for my body.
Upon changing my diet, I started to regain control. I could go 3-5 hours, or more, without feeling hungry and as a result I gained back time in my life by not having to food prep so much! All was well in my world with food.
Fast forward again to about 2 years ago.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune thyroid disorder) in the fall of 2016, and food resumed its role as the boss for a little while, but for a whole different reason.
Various food sensitivity tests showed certain foods were fueling the inflammatory fire in my body and aggravating the autoimmune response.
This time I made a choice and let food resume it’s boss role because I wanted to heal Hashimoto’s naturally, which meant abiding by a more restrictive diet for a while.
I still ate according to my Metabolic Type (high protein/fat and low carb) to keep my blood sugar and energy balanced, but I also cut out a number of inflammatory foods to give my body the break and space it needed to heal.
For over 6 months, I strictly practiced a modified Autoimmune Paleo diet (AIP) and food ruled my life once more – I had to plan ahead, learn a new way of cooking and eating, and I had to be more conscious about my food choices. It felt like I was thinking about food all the time again.
Eventually eating a modified AIP diet became a no brainer once I got pass the learning curve. It was just something I did. I didn’t have to think much about it and my health was being restored as a result.
Once my Hashimoto’s was in remission and my hormones were back in balance, I set out to find true food freedom once again, and this time in a whole new way.
Over the last 4 months I’ve been playing with a modified keto-style diet, one higher in fat with moderate protein and lower in carbs, and it has been so freeing!
A word of caution here before I move on.
A keto-style diet is NOT for everyone. If you have underlying hormone imbalances, sleep disturbances or other health issues, going keto could make it worse. So make sure to run some functional lab test such as a cortisol, melatonin and complete sex hormone profile for insights about your circadian rhythm, thyroid and overall hormone balance before drastically changing your eating habits.
Before going keto, I made sure my hormones, energy and sleep were in check.
Eating a higher fat and lower carb diet has unleashed a food freedom that I’ve never experienced before. Food doesn’t even matter to me really anymore. I don’t think about it all the time as I used to.
Although I had found a level of freedom with food before, it still would take over my mind at times. I always would wonder about what my next meal would be. I would pack snacks when I traveled for fear of going hungry or not having options.
Now that my body is fat adapted (meaning it burns fat as its primary fuel source instead of being reliant on carbs and protein) as a result of eating a keto-style diet, I always have the energy I need. I can go for longer periods of time without eating or feeling hungry, making food less of a priority.
I’m also more confident about finding foods to fit my needs in almost any situation by simply focusing on high fat choices – a meal can be as simple as eating an avocado or a fatty cut of steak (no sides needed that might be full of inflammatory effects or carbs that cause crashes in my blood sugar and energy).
This might sound boring to you, but I’m a foodie at heart so trust me, it’s not. I’ve eaten some of the most glorious meals recently.
My path to food freedom may not be the same for you. You are unique and, therefore, your food needs will be, too. But I can tell you that there is a difference between eating healthy and eating right for your body. Eating right for your body will include healthy foods but not every healthy food is right for your body.
Case in point, white meat chicken is healthy but it wasn’t right for my body.
Moral of the story is… don’t let food be the boss of you and test don’t guess.
With a little investigation, you too can figure out what foods are right for your body so it can function at its potential – freeing you from hunger and the obsession so you can live your life to the fullest!
If you want to get your hands on the right lab tests and resources to find your food freedom, simply schedule a complimentary Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me today here!