Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Changes and "The Diet"

Well, it's been nearly 10 months since my last post! And, not surprisingly, around that time my diet began to fall apart, and has never fully gotten back on track. So, in the spirit of a new beginning, I'm vowing to begin writing again and sharing my journey through a complete diet overhaul with anyone who is interested.  A few folks have asked that I share the details of my diet with them, and I'd be more than happy to. (WARNING- this post is going to be long, and I apologize. Subsequent blogs will be much shorter!)

As many of you know, I've been making several big changes in my life, all of them to lead me to a healthier and happy lifestyle. I enrolled in a 200 hour registered yoga teacher training through Charlotte Yoga Club and have really enjoyed renewing my commitment to yoga, which has been an on/off relationship for over 12 years now. At the same time that I've increased my yoga practice, I've made the very difficult decision to pause my competitive boxing aspirations. Between difficulties scheduling training with my coach and a hard time mentally balancing the big difference in mindset between boxing and yoga, it seemed to be the right decision, even though it wasn't the one I wanted to make! One benefit, besides now having tons of time to dedicate to yoga, is that I can do a more "extreme" diet, the kind I've wanted to try for a while, because I'm not going to be dumping thousands of calories at a time while training for a combat sport. 

On my first evening of teacher training I met a fellow classmate who will play a very important role in my daily life and my quest to become a healthier person, and I'd like to take the time to introduce him. Alvaro Matta, in addition to being a fellow yogi, is a Marine that served 3 combat tours for our country, and continues to serve in one of the most awesome ways I can think of. He is the co-founder of Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness, which is a non-profit organization providing integrative holistic health and wellness services to our veterans and their families, with an emphasis on those coming back with physical or mental wounds. SFHW is one of the only organizations of its kind in the country. You can check out more information about his amazing work at

Alvaro trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and received education on a staggering number of dietary theories and practical lifestyle coaching methods, which has helped him develop a unique approach to holistic health coaching. Alvaro graciously agreed, due to my status as "future wife of a military veteran", to assist me in achieving my goals. You can learn more about Alvaro and his many facets and teaching methods at

With Alvaro's help we've created a "diet" that is more about a change in the way I think about food than restricting what I can and can't have. I don't like calling the way I'm eating a "diet", but I've yet to find a more suitable name, so diet it is! There are going to be several phases of this diet, and how long and how deep I go is totally dependent upon my wishes and ability to stay the course. The first phase is around 10 days, and is transitioning me off of a totally, completely crappy diet into a diet that will prepare me for the future phases. 

Phase 1- as Alvaro calls it, the 80/20 diet (or the 90/10 because today I'm rocking it!). Stick to the goals of the diet 80% of the time, and allow for 20% straying. My goals in this phase are first and foremost to eliminate processed foods completely. I've transitioned to a plant-based diet. Plant based means anything in its natural form that comes from the ground! Fruits, veggies, and nuts galore. We're talking produce section, and as much from the organic section as possible. Also allowed are healthy grains which are gluten free and not enriched. Think quinoa, farro, chia, barley, cous-cous, and brown rice. Think complex carbs rather than simple carbs. These are the basic goals. It's been my preference to eliminate meat, even healthier, grass fed, organic and antibiotic free meats, from my diet. I am, in this first phase, allowing occasional seafood. I've also eliminated dairy with the exception of occasional goat cheeses, low fat cow's milk cheeses, and Greek yogurt. No oils or fats outside of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil. Another goal is to supplement my diet with smoothies and/or fresh juices to get even more nutrition throughout the day. The beauty of the 80/20 (or 90/10) mentality is that I DON'T have to deny myself of a craving, which is usually your body's way of telling you it's missing something. I just have to be smart about it and have restraint and moderation to continue making healthy choices. So, if I'm really craving steak for dinner, I can have it, but I'm going to go buy the grass fed organic beef and use portion control. If I can't make it another 5 minutes without a damn chocolate chip cookie, I will have one, but only one. If I'm falling asleep at my desk and won't make it through the night without caffeine, I will have a grande skinny mocha with soy! And, if I want to have a night out with the girls and enjoy some wine, I will. But the next day I will focus on being better than the day before! 

Phase 2 and beyond are in the works, and totally dependent on my performance on Phase 1 and how I'm feeling as I near day 10. My goal for Phase 2 is to move to full on 90/10 and eliminate the seafood and all dairy. Basically, vegan (NO, I NEVER thought I'd say those words in relation to my own diet!!!) I'd like to move towards 50% of my diet coming from raw fruits and veggies to maintain the full nutritional benefits of what I put in my mouth. I'd also like to incorporate a higher percentage of smoothies and fresh juices into my diet as a substitute or supplement for my meals. Several examples of this kind of diet can be found on (currently down for site maintenance). That website is a result of the movie "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" which has created a huge wave of people waking up to the harm their diets are causing and moving to a healthier, plant-based diet. Phase 3 would be a juice fast, which has a ton of positive outcomes. Info on juice fasts can also be found on the Reboot website. I won't talk to much about that now, because I'm not there, and I want to save something to discuss when I get there! 

Phase 4, 5, etc.... who the heck knows!!! I know at some point down the road I will re-incorporate meat & dairy into my diet. My personal mentality is that if I am strict with myself now, and see the physical and health benefits that come with a plant-based diet and juicing, I will be more restrained when I open the door back up to "whatever I want to eat". If I kept that door cracked right now, I would walk through it, then run full speed and never look back, with a burger in one hand and beer in the other, laughing like a maniac. Some people can handle themselves with restraint around food... I am not one of them. 

My ultimate goal is to use this process now as a platform to transform my diet for the rest of my life. Already, in only 2 days, I've experienced a drastic change. For starters, I've been cursed with a body type that carries the majority of extra weight and bloating and inflammation in the front stomach area, which has led to people mistakenly asking me if I'm pregnant more than once. On the morning of day 2 I awoke to discover that easily 50% of the bloating and inflammation had gone. It honestly looks and feels like I lost 10 pounds overnight. I big part of that is the healthy fruits and veggies "cleaning me out" and getting rid of all of the literal crap that has built up inside me! One day after I began to change my eating habits I noticed that I wasn't as lethargic, and on day 2 I've realized that I'm practically bouncing off the walls with energy! 

I know this change will take a lot of dedication, thought, planning, motivation, and accountability. With Alvaro's knowledge and help in keeping me accountable, and my decision that it's past time to make a serious change to something better for my future, I'm confident that I'll see the results I'm working for. 

I'll do my best to post at least twice a week talking about what foods I've included in my daily diet and share recipes that I enjoy. I'll also talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope that if you've been searching for something more in your life and want to take control of your diet that you'll make the commitment and join me and we can motivate each other. Even if you pick one of my recipes and decide to have a plant-based meal, that's cool too. I'm excited already to see so many curious about what I'm doing and talking about wanting to join me. Best wishes on your own journey! 

Starting weight- 168.8

1 comment: