I hope your New Year is going well and that you’re gearing up for a special, sexy, Valentine’s Day celebration. For me, as I know for many of you, gaining a couple of pounds is a slippery slope into the world of feeling unsexy again. Many of you see me as thin and fit and wonder what on earth I would know about your struggles to lose weight and stay in shape.
Well, I’ve got news for you. I have watched both of my parents and my only sibling struggle with their weight and blood pressure for many years. My parents even both have diabetes, so my genetics aren’t great, unfortunately. I’ve never been one of those people who can eat anything and never gain weight. Quite the opposite, I have to work hard and am very diligent about what I eat and how much I exercise so I can stay in great shape. This is a big part of what I do that keeps me feeling sexy and energetic.
So recently, when I gained a few pounds and my clothes started feeling a little tight, I knew it was time to do something about it. Along came my friend, JJ Virgin, with her new book, The Virgin Diet. Well, I had been using her protocol in my office for about a year and knew that it worked. I’ve had many patients lose around 30-50 lbs – they said it was the easiest diet they had ever done and that they had no trouble keeping the weight off.
I also was able to see, with a special body fat scale in my office, that they were losing fat and keeping their muscle, which is exactly what I want to see when people lose weight. Too many popular diets, like weight watchers, for instance, can take off muscle (which weighs more than fat) so we appear to lose weight quickly but in the end, we become fatter and fatter (we feel doughier). This is what we call skinny fat and can lead to the infamous “bat wings” – the jiggle under your arm when you wave goodbye – yikes!!
I honestly thought I had been doing everything right, but I wasn’t able to lose the few pounds I had put on – so frustrating!! The Virgin Diet was actually the wakeup call I needed. I had several shockers!! The Virgin Diet is based on the fact that many of us have food sensitivities. Foods that we are sensitive to that can keep weight on and cause other symptoms, like gastrointestinal distress, acne, low energy, headaches and more. I had suspected for a long time that I might be having some trouble with eggs, because I had digestive distress at times and ate a lot of eggs. JJ says 70% of us are sensitive to eggs!! I was also having soy fairly frequently, which I thought I was fine with.
Well, after 4 weeks on the diet, I have lost the weight that I had gained (actually by the first 2 weeks!!) and found several surprises. I thought it would be hard to be off eggs because I ate them every morning. So what did I replace them with? JJ’s favorite and mine – a shake! I had always had a half a protein shake before my workout and then eggs after. So instead, I just beefed up the protein shake by using 2 scoops (instead of 1) of a healthy protein drink from brown rice and pea protein and adding coconut milk instead of water and also ground flax and chia seeds. I love my chocolate shake in the morning and my tummy does feel much better than when I ate eggs every morning!
So what else did I learn? On the diet, you cut out the 7 foods that people are most sensitive to and then you add them back one at a time. I tried to add back soy yesterday and was surprised to find my gut gurgling more than I’d like and feeling bloated and uncomfortable, a feeling that so many of you can identify with, I’m sure! So I will definitely be staying off soy for awhile – I used to like soy lattes at Starbucks and would get one a couple of times per week.
The other place soy hides all the time is in salad dressing. Almost all salad dressings are made from soybean oil – so if you think you don’t get a lot of soy in your diet – think again!! Also, almost all Asian food has soy unless you specifically ask for soy-free foods.
OK, and here was the biggest shocker of all for me. I was addicted to sugar and/or artificial sweetener. It shouldn’t have been a surprise really at all because I had slipped into some pretty bad habits. They seemed small and harmless, but were really taking their toll. In the past few months I had shocked my family by starting to eat a sugar free (splenda sweetened) jello pudding every night with my favorite weakness – whipped cream! The whipped cream was only 10 cal per tbsp. so I figured – how could it hurt??
Well, I also happened to know that I’m sensitive to dairy, so all together, this new little, tiny habit was doing a ton of damage!! I have to say the first few days without my jello pudding were a little painful, because a habit is a habit and once something becomes a habit, we have to undo it. But, honestly, it only took a couple of days of no sugar and no artificial sweeteners to completely kick the habit! I know it seems hard, but anyone can do a couple of days, right?
The diet really is easy. With a shake for breakfast and the fact that I can eat all my favorite fruits, vegetables, lean meats like chicken and fish, beans, nuts and nut butters on the diet makes it super simple. I love hummus and vegetables as snacks – if you don’t know what hummus is – check it out, but look for one made with olive oil, rather than soybean oil!!
Also, I love apple slices with almond butter. A special treat that I’ve created is taking a couple of teaspoons of extra virgin coconut oil and mixing it with 100% cocoa powder – it forms a thick chocolate sauce that is great with strawberries!!! I do have a sweet tooth and am a snacker by nature so I do have to have yummy, healthy snacks around, but it’s not hard if you stay prepared.
The good news is that when we stay away from the foods we’re sensitive to for a while (3-6 months), the food sensitivities will usually improve. Frequently, people will be able to reintroduce some of the foods that used to cause reactions. One of the keys though is not eating the food too frequently. It’s best to try to rotate your foods and don’t eat the same food more than once every 4 days.
I just wanted to share my experience with The Virgin Diet with you and tell you about what I’ve learned about myself along the way, especially since it helped me break through a weight loss plateau which so many of us suffer with. The diet has been great for my patients in the office and now I can say it has been a super educational experience for me about how the little things can make a big difference.
The diet also shows us how eating supposed “health foods” can be the wrong thing for us – like yogurt and English muffins!! Thanks, JJ, for making us more aware of food sensitivities and finally allowing people to understand why they can’t lose weight and showing them the way to do it!!! I’m so happy to have lost those few pounds in time for Valentine’s Day so I can slip into my sexy lingerie with confidence!!!
Wishing you the best of great health, great happiness and of course, great sex!!