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How I accidentally lost 20 pounds and got my energy back while helping a friend

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Last year a friend of mine was experiencing some health issues like foggy brain, eczema, joint pains, and constant fatigue. She went to see a naturopath who advised that while they ran some tests, she might consider an elimination diet. 

 
Don’t go it alone…
 

Now, I’d been telling this friend for years that an elimination eating plan* might be an idea for her to try. However, it took this particular health professional suggesting it for her to take it seriously. I tried not to be too offended — I get it. No one wants to hear that they have to drop wheat, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, and a host of fruits and vegetables in addition to other foods from their diet for an extended period of time.

To show that I wasn’t the least bit bitter, I offered to do the elimination plan alongside my friend. After all, misery loves company, right? Er, I mean, solidarity in numbers. Or something like that. Anyway, what I was really thinking was how hard the elimination plans were that I’ve done in the past all by myself, and that’s not even considering those times when you are sitting there eating your brown rice and broccoli while the rest of your friends are stuffing pizza in their faces. So my goal was just to help my friend to not feel quite so alone.

 
a little about Expectations…
 

 I hadn’t been experiencing any outward signs of health issues. So this plan would probably not show me any benefits, right? Well, not so, apparently. After 30 days of the elimination plan there was one thing really obvious that I noticed that had nothing to do with eliminating specific foods, as far as I could tell. I was eating way TOO MUCH. Portion-wise, I mean. When my friend and I would split foods, we’d split them right down the middle. However, my friend did not have the same caloric needs that I had, based on our sizes, shapes, and metabolisms. So in this case, I was eating portions that were entirely too big for me. I also noticed that when I socialized, I was engaged in completely mindless chomping while I talked to others or got distracted. In addition, sometimes at home if someone offered to make me something, I’d feel obligated to say yes because I thought it was so kind of them. This meant that I was often agreeing to eat a meal when I wasn’t even hungry.

 
Some (pleasant) health surprises…
 

These seem like things you’d think I’d notice without an elimination month, right? The thing is, we humans are funny about easily being distracted and forgetting stuff we know already. When I focused on what I was eating for a month in order to be sure to follow the plan, I created the opportunity to really pay attention to what I was doing.

So at the end of the 30 days, I felt great. Now it was time to re-introduce things. I figured that since I hadn’t felt the effects of any health issues prior to the elimination, it would be easy to re-introduce everything. Well, there was another surprise. This is the great thing about an elimination plan. You think your body loves everything you are eating, and guess what? Sometimes, it doesn’t. We will often get used to feeling the way we feel on a daily basis without noticing that our digestive system isn’t so happy. Or that those headaches we have don’t really have to happen as often as they do.

 
What I learned…
 

Through re-introduction I learned that I can’t eat certain kinds of dairy, and that beans don’t make my digestive system extremely happy, especially in large amounts. Conversely, I’m actually fine with wheat, which I had suspected as being not so great in the past. I learned other things too, but my point is that I stumbled onto benefits just by doing this re-set. In addition to the unexpected weight loss (and yes, I’d been carrying around 20 extra unhealthy pounds for a while now and was sort of just dealing with it), I had a lot more energy. Which reminded me that I used to have that energy years ago….I’d just gotten used to being without it. It’s amazing what we’ll just accept when we forget how great we can feel.

You don’t have to do a full elimination diet to find what might be holding you back from your full whole life health. It just takes some attention. What could use your attention right now?

*Please do not undergo an elimination plan without collaborating with your health care practitioner.

2 Comments

  • Deanna Kline

    great article!! My Naturopath I’ve just been diagnosed with gout and am working on eliminating corn and lechin-rich foods, such as tomatoes, peppers, and in-season fruit.

    • Meredith

      Thank you Deanna, I’m glad you liked it! It is interesting how there are different variations for elimination plans depending on the health issue being addressed. Corn and nightshades (tomatoes, peppers) were categories on the elimination plan I experienced as well. The fruits that were not permitted during the first 30 days were in different categories than in-season fruit though. Citrus, melons, mango, and certain berries were ones to eliminate on the plan I had, none of which were in season at that time of year. Hang in there — it is definitely a challenge to change things up with food.

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