Greenwood Health Kick: Greenwood ‘Diet-teers’ 30 Day Diet Challenge-Part 2
Writer & Photographer / Alicia Wettrick
The holiday season is coming, and the goose is getting fat! Unfortunately, the goose is not the only one. According to The National Institute of Health, people who struggle with weight gain up to five pounds during the six week holiday season.
With that threat in mind, three Greenwood residents accepted a 30-day diet challenge to lose weight, feel better and improve their health. And they plan to do this before the holiday season. In the spirit of the battle against the season’s temptations, they are referred as the three ‘diet-teers’. In the previous article, they bravely declared their need to lose weight and eat healthier, they chose their ‘shield and sword’ (diet plan), tried it for a month and then reported on their results and experience.
The following three diets all proclaim they are not fad diets but life-long eating plans. We wanted to see how typical Greenwood residents could incorporate these plans while managing their busy lives.
Kellie is 47, mother of four and works outside the home. She has hypothyroidism, which makes her metabolism slow, hence making her weight hard to manage. She wanted to take more control of her health so she recruited a personal trainer and started on the Paleo diet.
Paleo comes from the Paleolithic period based on what cavemen ate. It claims it is the ultimate clean eating diet. It focuses on organic produce, primarily vegetables with some fruit, nuts, fish, poultry and grass fed beef. No grains or legumes. Dairy is excluded or very restricted. Just think about what you can hunt and gather. Let me know if you find a Mammoth! There are variant plans to this diet, but primarily there are two types, the very strict Paleo 1.0 and the more evolutionary Paleo 2.0.
Kellie’s Results: lost 11 pounds and 3 inches off her waist!
“I do think anything that grows from the ground, picked from a tree, or can be hunted and eaten is a great approach to healthy eating. That is why with Paleo, it’s very important to buy organic and grass fed, due to pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc….I don’t mind spending the extra money for healthier food. In the end cost-wise, I feel I came out ahead because I cooked [crazy] and we ate at home even on the weekends [crazier]. My family liked the food, and there are several websites/cookbooks for finding recipes. I do plan on continuing eating Paleoish….but adding some complex healthy carbs too. Being a mother of four, I’m busy like everyone else. The lesson I learned is I can make time to shop and cook healthy meals without eating processed or fast food just for convenience.”
Tonya is a mom of three children and works with the human trafficking prevention ministry, HOPE61. She has struggled with her weight all her life. Now she works at a desk job, and the decrease activity has furthered her struggle. So she agreed to try the Mediterranean diet for 30 days.
The Mediterranean diet is based on food and recipes typically cooked in the Mediterranean region. Butter is replaced by olive oil. Red meat is eaten sparingly. Fish, seafood and poultry are consumed at least twice a week. It also focuses on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Also if desire, a daily glass of red wine. The Mayo Clinic endorses it as a heart healthy diet; studies have shown a reduction in heart disease, cancer; Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Tonya’s Results: lost 10.5 lbs. and 2.5 inches off her waist!
“Focusing on the Mediterranean diet made me more intentional about including veggies in my diet and restricting sugar, meat [besides fish], butter and white flour. These are all things that are fairly forefront in my mind when cooking for my family, but I had to work a little harder than usual. Will I continue? Probably not. I firmly believe that weight loss is about calories in and calories out. Heart health is something different. I could eat 1300 calories of butter and beef and lose weight, but my heart wouldn’t be healthy. You have to find a healthy balance that works for you. For me it means… more real food, less processed foods. Pairing those family favorites [like homemade mac and cheese] with a big serving of steamed broccoli, eating at home instead of eating out and more calories out than in. Now if I could just kick this nasty Diet Coke habit!”
Don is 42, has three children and is a very busy teacher. When school is in session, his exercise and diet tends to be sent to the corner. He accepted the 5/2 plan because it was simple and associated with lower heart disease, cancer and slowing the aging process (he doesn’t want to lose his boy band good looks).
The 5/2 plan is fasting diet with two modified fasting days of 600 calories for men (500 for women), not recommended on consecutive and five days of normal caloric intake. Dr. Michael Mosley popularized this in the UK in the BBC Horizon program “Eat, Fast and Live Longer.” There is no specific food plan, just calorie counting. Fasting lowers the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1). IGF-1 suppression promotes tissue and DNA repair, boosts immune system and is linked to longevity. Fasting is controversial and needs further research on potential harmful effects.
Don’s Results: loss 5 lbs. and 1 inch from his waist!
“In a phrase….I hated it! I often like to snack throughout the day – BAD HABIT. Limiting myself to 600 calories on Monday and Wednesday made me dread those days. I munched on salads and celery and pushed water. I would often get headaches, was irritable and lethargic. Worst of all, I’m sure I overate on Tuesdays and Thursdays because my body was craving food so bad. Interestedly, I still had some positive results in weight loss but not enough to make me want to continue with the program. However, it has made me more conscious of healthier fresh food choices.”
Conquer the Season
So overall, this experiment was successful and insightful. The ‘diet-teers learned food planning, preparation and less eating out were crucial in their success. Some discovered new dishes they enjoyed. Whether they continue or not, they have become more mindful of incorporating healthier food into their lives.
So this holiday season, let the goose be the one to get fat! Get a battle plan now to avoid becoming one of the five-pound holiday weight gain statistics.