What no one tells us about the way we eat is that it’s very personal. What works for one person, may not work for another, even with family members. Our bodies have different needs and sensitivities. Eating for your health means changing the way we eat, not for a month or a year, forever. Short term diets just result in rebounds and may do more harm than good. Diet pills are a disaster and you won’t any empirical research that cleanses have any health benefit.
When I was diagnosed with low testosterone in 2011, for the first time in my life, I took an active interest in my health, I was in my late 40’s and weighed a195 lbs, the most I’ve ever weighed. After I got past the shock and denial of my illness, I decided that in addition to finding the right treatment, that I needed to change my life, I needed to pay attention to the way I ate and to start regular exercise.
I started doing research and came to the conclusion that I should start with an elimination diet. I’ve found this is the best way to figure out if there are foods that you might have allergies or sensitivities to. And I took mine a step further, partly because I had developed leptin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, I also identified food that would spike my blood insulin. I bought a glucose meter that has a USB port and an app with a graphing function. I’d check by blood sugar before I ate, and 30 minutes and 60 minutes after eating.
What worked for me, was to eat a high fat, high protein, low carbohydrate diet. For the first 90 days of eating this way I followed the leptin reset. Then I moved to a more traditional paleo diet, no grains, and I only ate food that was less than 50 on the glycemic index. For the first year I was 100% compliant. I lost 45 pounds over two years. I also use intermittent fasting when I hit a plateau.
Beware of anything that says paleo in stores. It’s usually just marketing. I don’t have a gluten sensitivity so what I care about when I eat something carby, is that number of carbs, almost every time I’ve compared a gluten free item to a normal item, the gluten free one has more carbs. If you come across a product or website that promises quick results, run. There is nothing quick about changing the way we eat or getting results. I’m a firm believe in slow to come off, slow to come back on.
In 2017 I did went back up to 180 lbs. I was not watching what I ate and drinking too much beer. I’m back down to 160 lbs and that is where I plan to stay.
For exercise the one thing I’ve been able to maintain, day after day, year after year, is walking 10,000 steps a day. I’ve had personal trainers and done weight training for about 6 months and tried Crossfit for a few months, but I find those things hard to maintain.
These are the things that worked for me, while you may need to follow a different path, starting with an elimination diet is pretty much a great way for most of us to get started. When I started on my journey in 2011, the paleo movement had barely started, there were no restaurants, cook books or paleo related things being sold in stores. Now there are entire industries around paleo including nutritionists and Dr’s.