Who says diets are short term? Fifteen years ago, I was introduced to a new way of nourishing my body. The new guidelines challenged some of my existing beliefs, but because I wasn’t completely happy with my shape, it was worth giving it a try.
To put things into context: I was a past P.E. teacher, gym owner, and life-long sportsperson. While certainly no expert, I knew more about exercise and nutrition than many other people.
I’d come from a family where Mum cooked dinner every night, and we had the occasional take-away (fish and chips) with a small glass of soft drink. As a parent, I cooked most meals and, while take-aways were a little more frequent due to easy access, we followed what I considered to be a healthy dietary pattern.
This is where the problem lay. What I considered to be ‘healthy’ was based on years of flawed nutrition ‘science’. The low-fat high-carb recommendations that I was taught at school (remember the food pyramid?) and the idea that you need loads of carbs for energy, was doing my body and my energy levels no favours.
My goal was to lose 4 kilos, but I lost 6 kilos in a month. The main change was quitting bread: instead of relying on the quick fix of a sandwich or toast, I chose vegies. Vegetables – salads, a raw carrot, vegies steamed, roasted, fried – along with whatever meat I felt like, and my food choices were no longer a problem.
I’ve made plenty of tweaks to my eating patterns over the past 15 years: some due to taste preferences, some according to seasonal variations, and some because I’ve learned a bit more about nutrition and deliberately try to maximise my nutrient intake. My “long-suffering” family go along with it – either that or cook something for themselves – with no complaint. Oh, unless I get caught sneaking something they deem unpalatable into the food. Kangaroo lasagne, anyone?
My eating patterns now are quite low in carbohydrate and, relative to the old eating advice, high in fat. I don’t think my protein intake has changed too much over the years, but I just make sure I get some protein at each meal and snack.
Information is easy, but it’s so easy that people spend a lot of time looking and reading and thinking and evaluating… but not doing. Change can be hard but a structured plan stops you from having to juggle all the balls: just follow your plan.
The key to success is to find a good plan and follow it to the letter. Then if it works for you, stick to it. After 15 years of stable weight, high level activity, and sparkling good health, I’ve found the plan that’s right for me and I’m sticking to it.