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To say that my relationship with food has been complicated is an understatement. As a lean child, I never worried about my weight. It all changed when I entered puberty: I quickly grew and started a turbulent food-related relationship that lasted for years.
The relationship became even worse when I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) at the age of 22 (PCOS), a hormonal disorder in which cysts form on the ovaries of women. Symptoms include high male hormones, lost periods, acne, and weight gain. (See also: These PCOS symptoms could actually save your life)
So it was just inevitable that I started my ramble through the world of diets, nutritionists and too many rules to achieve that weight (and my health) at bay. I have taken three diets in the last six years. Today I finally found what works for me. I learned the following as a serial dietician.
A (mostly) herbal diet
My first diet began when I was steadily gaining weight due to my PCOS. I turned to a holistic health consultant who promised to get my hormones back on track through a mix of dietary and lifestyle changes. The premise was that I did not flood my body with extra hormones when I consumed only a few dairy products and animal protein while I was repairing my own. Desperate to try something, I turned upside down. (Related: What is the difference between a herbal and a vegan diet?)
What I ate
I had to start every morning with a vegetarian breakfast, so I usually opted for oat or almond butter toast , Lunch could contain either a vegetable or animal protein, but also a whole-grain carbohydrate and vegetables. I was not allowed to take a snack as it was important to ensure that my body had a break from digesting food to optimize my hormone levels. Since my other meals were so big, dinner had to be light, vegan, and ideally carbohydrate-free, so my body could focus on hormone regulation. (Related: 5 Reasons Why Your Food May Be Interrupted with Your Hormones)
After eight months, I got my period back ̵
I work a lot, five to six times intensively or cardio a week, and frankly, I just did not eat enough protein for everything. I was hurting all the time, and when it came to weight, the scale was still higher than before my diagnosis. Since I ate a carbohydrate meat diet at the beginning of each meal, I definitely ate less, which is why I think I lost some weight – but it took more time to fill me up.
The Snack: The food of mainly vegetable origin was amazing for my skin and my hormones, but with my habits of eating often and exercising constantly, a light vegan dinner was not really sustainable in the long run Lifestyle. However, I stuck to the limit of dairy products because my skin responded so well. (See also: After a Dairy-Free, Raw, Vegan Diet Finally Helped My Terrible Acne)
A Balanced But Portion-Controlled Diet
After my hormones were regulated, I was allowed to eat more meat and fish (organic as much as possible). The next step was to lose some of the weight that had infected me. Now that I was less afraid of animal protein, I went to a nutritionist specializing primarily in weight and tariff reduction. She encouraged portioned meals and snacks (three meals of 400 calories each plus two snacks of about 150 calories each), each with a balanced amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat. I also cooked as much as I could, so I knew exactly what was in my food and did without extra oils.
What I ate
I received a menu every two weeks from my nutritionist. 19659019] with different options per meal, and I could make it from what I wanted. Options included a peanut butter oat smoothie for breakfast, a turkey wrap with vegetables for lunch and a shrimp brown rice with broccoli for dinner. Although I had to stick to the list of meals, there was a decent mix of animal protein and herbal options.
I lost a ton of weight and FAST. My centimeter loss was also very strong and I could occasionally have junkies like oregos and wine – they just had to be included in the total calorie amount of the day to make sure I was still in a deficit. So I was not deprived of food, which was very liberating – especially since this was not the case when I was primarily plant-based.
There was absolutely By no means could I make this diet in the long term. Although I felt less deprived of the food I loved, I did not like the rigid rules of how I could eat much, and I hated that I had never really felt : I felt I always felt I could eat something more. As a temporary diet, it was good, but beyond the eight weeks I could not wait until it ended.
The Takeaway: This diet was great because I had learned how to balance well-balanced meals with treats, and I learned to watch the portions that I could be satisfied with. However, I noticed that my hunger fluctuated greatly, depending on the day or place I was in my cycle, and felt like doing my body a disservice by not listening to it. (For information, here's the reason you're so hungry on rest days)
A Low Carb Diet
As luck would have it, soon after the cure of my hormonal imbalance due to my dietary changes and my lifestyle hurt and torn my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). This meant only one thing: an operation that included a nine-month recovery period with rehab and six weeks of bed rest. After finally walking around, my surgical leg had lost almost all of its muscles. Apart from PT, I could not exercise, so I went to a famous development doctor to see if she made the impossible possible: help me build muscle, and still lose the weight I gain from my newly acquired sedentary lifestyle had won. (For your information, here's why you * really * need to change your diet if you're hurt.)
What I ate
I was allowed six servings of carbohydrates a week, but otherwise I could Eat as much protein and fat as I needed to feel satisfied. My breakfast and lunch had to be carbohydrate-free, while my overnight meal had a small portion of carbs like brown rice or sweet potato. I was not really given a menu – just a few guidelines and recipes that I could adjust – so the breakfast consisted mainly of eggs with avocado or a protein smoothie. Lunch was my biggest meal of the day, consisting of a fixed portion of egg whites like eggs, fish or chicken, lots of vegetables and some good fat like olive oil or avocado. The dinner was almost the same, but smaller, with less fat and extra carbohydrate content – unless it was a carbohydrate-free day.
I had recovered after eight and a half months! My muscle mass was almost back to normal, I lost a lot of weight, I was never hungry or bored because I could find prescriptions of my choice, and I was not scared if I ate out since I did not have that many rules and there was no calorie count.
While initially it was easy to consume tons of carbohydrates for a few, as my rehab activity increased, so did my cravings for carbohydrates. Fearing a whole (yummy!) Food group did not seem like living the species or being very sustainable in the long run – but the fat content was certainly delicious and satisfying.
The Takeaway: Carb cravings are REAL – especially when you're active – and it's fine to eat them in moderation. I also loved the focus on the food until I was satisfied: I felt that I was really paying attention to what my body needed at that time. (See: The Healthy Women's Guide to Eating Carbohydrates – Which Does Not Cause Cutting)
Bringing Everything Together That Works
My current diet is what I would call an accumulation of low carb and intuitive food , [19659003IchbinwirklichsehrdankbardassichalldieseDiätendurchgemachthabedenndurchalldasAusprobierenhabeichjetzteineArtzuessendieeigentlichfürmichfunktioniertHeutzutagebestehtmeineErnährunghauptsächlichausproteinreichemundmäßigemFettmiterheblichenMengenantierischemEiweißundeinemgeringerenVerbrauchanKohlenhydraten(jedochimmernochweitaushöheralsdiesbeiPaleodietpossibleHad)MitanderenWortenichzählekeineKohlenhydratemehrwiederTeufelaberich they controlling. And I still have Oreos, but I try to limit my garbage to a few times a week.
But above all, this experience led to intuitive eating and a healthy relationship with the food. While it was terrible at first to stop losing weight and actually trust my body, I found that this was the easiest way to balance my hormones and my stress – meaning I have to eat lamb if I have Feel weak or even just herbal meals if I want something lighter. (See also: I changed the way I think about food and lost 10 pounds.)
This happened naturally when I realized that the simplest diet was the one that was more about listening to my hunger was dependent on a certain number of it in connection with the calorie deficit. It turned out that I was working pretty well to reduce certain components of my diet, such as dairy and carbohydrates, but removing these components led to the restrictive attitude of "wanting what I could not have." That way, I see how I feel and know that certain things (like carbohydrate-rich lunches) make me feel worse – but I console myself at the end of the day (and make it easier to fall asleep). My desire is now only a part of me, not something I have to fight against, knowing that there is a reason for my body to want this bowl of noodles after a long day.
Listening to my body and eating makes me feel sustainable. It's not a diet, it's just the way I eat and can eat for a long time.