The grain free challenge…starting soon.

After years of insisting that avoiding grains and/or carbs is not the key to losing weight, I have decided to try it.

I have never had trouble losing extra pounds with across the board (all food groups) limiting of fat and calories…so I have never believed the grain-free hype. However, I have also never been able to get below a certain weight (or if I have, maintain it) for very long…and that bothers me, sometimes, because I still would like to achieve my “ideal” weight.

So. I have decided to give going grain free a two week challenge, starting March 1. I have no intention of an atkin style replacing grains with bacon and eggs (though I’m sure I’ll eat more protein but still lean protein, and I do eat eggs…2-3 a week)…etc. My plan is to eat like I do, but no grains so eat more of the other stuff. So if I would have tacos, use lettuce instead. Fruit or yogurt as a snack instead of a low-fat muffin. Not eat the rice on the side…etc.

I don’t think being grain free for good is very healthy, so have no plans to maintain it…I just keep hearing how much it helps drop pounds (and belly bloat), and I am curious if it works. If it does…maybe I’ll be more committed to being more limited with my grain consumption. I have always assumed grains were important. Granted, I am not a scientific minded person…but they are at the bottom of the food pyramid, and I have always assumed there is a good reason nutritionist made it that way. It is one of the reasons I have always ignored the no-carb, no-grain diet plans. But, two weeks wont make or break me…and I am eager enough to make one last ditch effort to get to a “healthy” BMI to try!

Most people I have told have been supportive of my idea, but a few have said not to bother, since I will just gain anything I lose back after I eat grains again. That may be true…but since I am mostly happy with myself the weight I am now, that wouldn’t be that awful. It is not like I plan to buy a whole new wardrobe on March 15th! I am hoping cutting grains for a couple weeks, and then getting used to having less of them in general, will help me have a healthier diet in general.  The main benefit for me, more than avoiding grains, will be eating more fruits, veggies and protein instead, because even though I do better in  those areas than I used to…I still do not do well enough to have an objectively “healthy” diet. Losing “those last 10-15lbs”, or even a few of them, would definitely be a nice bonus though!

Talking about dietary changes, I have made some of them recently.  While losing weight and the first year or so of maintaining, I was be very careful with fat/calories…eating fat-free or low-fat everything I could, using PAM for all my cooking instead of real olive oil (Unless it was for entertaining), etc. A few months ago, I decided to focus on eating more lean protein, fruits and veggies (nothing about grains one way or another…but obviously eating more cheese and yogurt and fruits and veggies for break-fast, side dishes and snacks led to less cereal, muffins, and rice) and not obsess so much if it was fat free or not. I switched from Fat-free Greek yogurt to 2% fat, since it has more protein and is more filling and tasty, and I started eating more “fattening but healthy” things like avocado, and almonds, and using EVOO in my cooking. I stuck to “skinny” lattes, and am not eating cheese covered bacon or anything, and I still buy part skim cheese for myself and the 2% yogurt not the 12%…so it is not like I just gave up on low-fat choices entirely…but I stopped focusing on it so much and worried more about having a healthy balanced diet.

I have not gained (or lost) any weight from these changes (though I have slimmed down, that is probably exercise though), and I definitely eat less volume/portion wise and have less of an endless stomach than I was when I was so focused on eating everything low fat and low calorie that I never felt full.

I guess I  am feeling like my 2 week experiment will, at the very least, be a nice  step to continuing this trend of eating “healthier” as opposed to “lighter”

Interesting thing: I decided to start this challenge a couple weeks ago. Since then, instead of “carb-loading” which I would have expected myself to do, it has been the opposite. Something about knowing it is coming makes me double-think everytime I consider eating bread (and other baked goods) or pasta or rice, and I have to remind myself I am not doing the challenge yet and talk myself into just eating it! So, although I am not grain free right now, at all… I’d say since I decided to do it I’ve had 1-2 servings a day, as opposed to 4-5 in the past. Which is good for me, since I definitely do better with gradual dietary changes than sudden dietary overhaul anyways. In addition, I have lost about 5lbs (my scale is not the most reliable, but I know the range I am usually in, and it is markedly lower now. My tummy also looks flatter) in the past couple weeks.  That could also be because I was sick, but I doubt it. When I am sick I tend to eat less food…but I also don’t watch what I eat at all when I am sick, so it tends to be higher fat and calories than my usual foods…I am more likely to throw cheese and butter and peanut butter on everything…eat fattening oil laden soups…etc…so unless I am sick with something that keeps me from eating or makes everything I eat come out (and neither was the case) I don’t usually lose (or gain) weight when I am sick.

Since I was last at the doctor January 30, and will take Zoë there for her annual sometime near the end of March…it will be easy to get a reliable measure of how all this has impacted my weight!



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