For the past four weeks, I have been on an eating plan set by my personal trainer, Richard Palfrey. Following a number of years of self neglect, I was carrying more weight than I was happy with. Alongside training three times a week, Richard asked me to start eating sensibly by following his guidelines. So, here’s how I slimmed down without dieting.
I was asked to cut five things out of my diet: sugar, dairy, grains, alcohol and fast food. When I first heard this, I thought, “no way, I can’t do this”. However, after the initial shock, I realised that I was left with a HUGE array of food to choose from and with a little planning I could do it. Having a positive attitude and getting the support of my friends and family really helped so I decided to name this month of my life my 28 Day Food Adventure and I posted an update on my Facebook wall every day. Choosing to call it an adventure instead of a challenge was important because a challenge is something difficult. If I thought of this new way of eating as difficult, I was already setting myself up for failure.
How I Slimmed Down Without Dieting
I was expecting sugar withdrawal to be tough. Sugar is hidden in so many foods. I had to look carefully at labels on everything I bought and I had to give up chutney, peanut butter and of course, chocolate! On the third day of my adventure I had a headache. Other than that, nothing. No craving for chocolate, ice cream or anything else. Not one!
I love cheese, butter and cream. I take lots of milk in my coffee. I really expected this to be a tough one. On the very first day, I looked at my cup of black coffee and thought, I was never going to like it. When I cut sugar out of coffee a couple of years ago I thought the same thing. On both occasions I was surprised. I actually like black coffee!
No Glutenous Grains
We are brought up in a society where bread is a staple in our diets. Giving up bread was not going to be easy. I have toast for breakfast every morning. What amazed me was that the simple act of not putting bread in my body meant I wasn’t hungry at all and I didn’t crave more bread. It’s easy to make a sandwich or toast. It takes a little more effort to make something else. Oatcakes became my go to lunch ingredient. I made homemade pepperonata and served it on top of hummus on the oatcakes. I made chicken liver pate without the cream and brandy and had that on them too.
I’m Scottish! We are renowned for our drinking skills! That’s not to say I am a heavy drinker but I do like my glass of wine or two at sundown. I really thought this would be my biggest hurdle and I will admit that it probably was but not nearly as hard as I expected. What I realised was that that glass of wine at sundown was just a habit. I replaced it with a third of a glass of fruit juice topped up with sparkling water – in a wine glass – and I never missed the wine once.
No Fast Food
Thursday night is pizza night in our house. I don’t have to cook and we all enjoy time together catching up on the week or watching a movie. I love pizza but it was clearly off limits for so many reasons. With a little planning, I was able to prepare ahead and cook something nice so that we didn’t miss fast food. I certainly didn’t miss all that salt either.
What I’ve Missed
Surprisingly, very little. I expected wine and pizza would be top of the list but not putting food into my body that triggers a hypoglycaemic spike meant that I didn’t actually crave anything.
Things I’ve Discovered
After 28 days, I am delighted to announce that I am slimmer and I feel much healthier. I never once felt hungry. Eating clean is much easier than I thought it would be. You can find interesting things to eat if you just go and look for it. I discovered brown rice pasta and rice and corn pasta – both yummy.
So, where do I go from here? I am now on day 1 of the rest of my life. I’m not saying that I will never consume sugar, dairy, gluten, alcohol or fast food ever again. However, I will limit my intake to special occasions. I am looking forward to seeing my body slim down even more and to discovering more interesting things to eat.
I have tried all sorts of diets over the years. All have left me feeling hungry, irritated, out of balance, craving certain foods and are simply not sustainable over time. None got me results as fast as eating good clean food. Why on earth would I want to stop now?
Please do visit Richard’s website for more information about him and his method of training. richardpalfrey.com
UPDATE Jan 2016: Sadly Richard had moved onto pastures new and is no longer in Dubai. His clean eating method stays with me and when I feel like I’ve let myself slip, I read this page again and it helps to renew my motivation.
Founder of Heart Mind Happy
I am a certified ThetaHealing® Instructor, life management consultant and a mandala artist. Also certified reiki and Access Bars, I combine these techniques to bring about positive change in your life.
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