For those that don't know me, I'm a bit of a tracker. I love statistics, numbers, polls and facts. (David Timbs is chuckling right now) On and off for the past 5 years, I've used The Daily Plate to track my food intake as well as the intake of my personal training clients. "The Plate" as I lovingly refer to it, is the most user friendly and useful tracker I've ever found. The site was purchased by the LiveStrong organization last year and the features have only gotten better. Highly recommend!
I started running in late January (after seeing a rather unflattering photo of myself at at party - yikes) but aside from the initial couple of watery pounds, I wasn't losing an ounce. I ALSO wasn't changing a thing about my diet. I have always been physically active (sometimes to an extreme) and I've known for years that the key to MY fitness and health is to be found in my food. Statistically, 9 out of 10 women will "go on a diet" - but only 1 in 10 will exercise consistently over a long period of time. (Per Curves data - 2008) The magic happens when, as my dear Hillaire would say, you "move your bacon" regularly AND simultaneously make changes in your diet.
To be clear, I gave up fast food forever ago and at my worst, I eat much healthier than the Standard American Diet (ironic acronym SAD). However, my worst includes a lot of meat, dairy and an abundance of salty foods. I could never eat chocolate again and not miss it for a second... come between me and a bag of potato chips and I'll take your arm off. No joke.
Fast forward to April 12. I was running and keeping up with my yoga practice and going nowhere on the scale. Frustration Station. I turned 40 and started to worry - this might not come off. I began to seriously track my food on April 13 and have been tracking ever since. Today I looked back over the past months and realized that I have a treasure trove of information. It's kind of a reverse crystal ball. I'm seeing the past. Flipping between the old days and the vegetarian days is fascinating.
Although I was eating very lean meats and brought my calories down to a sane level (read: no more late night bags of 'Hint of Lime' Tostitos) my cholesterol intake was above the RDA almost every day and my sodium was over the limit approximately 5 days per week. Mentally I absolved myself by looking at the sugars that rarely made it over 20g per day and the low fat numbers. After all, I was eating lean meats and low carbs - how could that be bad?
Since the time I started limiting my meat diet in mid-August, I've lost 16 pounds - shocking for a 40 year old gal! I've notice a big improvement in my running in the past two weeks alone. Something is different. I know this sounds loony but I'm not getting winded on my longer runs. Could it be that not ingesting cholesterol is having an effect? I wish I had thought to have blood work done before I switched over. I would LOVE to have that stat!
I'm certainly not implying that this way is 'the way'. We are all so different. In Ayurveda, a common caveat is "one man's food is another man's poison". Our individual genetic makeups or our "constitutions" are unique - and the choices we make effect us uniquely. I'm just sharing my story and hoping you find a thread of usefulness to shove in your pocket as you walk your own road.