I have so much to tell you!! Every session with my nutritionist, Dana James, has been a lesson in awareness. Although it’s only been two shorts weeks so I made the choice to be completely present in my life, especially with regard to the food I put in my body (nourish versus numb, remember?), I feel as if every day is, at turns, an awakening and another bandaid being ripped off.
Rather than rehash the past four years, and why I made the choice to stay in an environment that bred competitiveness, insecurity and self-contempt, I’m focusing more on repairing the damage that was done as a result of walking into an office every day, knowing that every hour spent was an hour stolen from me. Over the past year I’ve returned to former self, have reestablished a confidence that had been trampled upon, and have set mindful boundaries when it comes to achieving a balance between the work I do and the art I create. As such, I am meticulous and methodical when negotiating contracts with new clients, being really specific on the time I devote to a project and the what will and won’t be achieved within those defined hours. I think this self-care was really the impetus for me seeing Dana, because I started to feel that something wasn’t right with my body when everything else in my life was right.
After my weight, water, BMI, PBF, and muscle composition readout (and yes, I’m losing weight, steadily), Dana talked to me about the damage I’ve done to myself at a cellular level over the past four years. And that damage, surprise, surprise, has contributed to a host of food sensitivities, mainly gluten, mostly carbs. Let’s chat about the below image:
Part of my weekly meetings with Dana includes an analysis of my body composition, body water balance, and segmental lean analysis. We talk about the weekly results in the context of my food diary and my emotional state. What you see here is today’s Segmental Lean Analysis, which is a measure of my muscle mass (weight and % to ideal for my height, age and body type). Ideally, you want to be over 100%, although for a woman, that’s challenging in your trunk area unless you are ripped. You’ll notice that I have a very strong upper body, an almost-there lower body, but the trunk, the trunk is interesting.
I’m not ripped, people. I once had a tiny waist, but we won’t dwell on that. WE WON’T. Comparing this number (101.1%) to my water % numbers (which have gone down minimally, interesting since I’ve taken gluten out of the equation), and a gently feel of my midsection, Dana suggested that I’ve accumulated a considerable amount of yeast buildup in my gut over the years, which has made me constantly bloated. I have a great deal of muscle all over, but it’s literally covered in carb-induced fat and bloat. As a result, we’re trying an experiment where I’m swapping out my morning probiotic in favor of taking Candida Control six times a day. We’re looking to dramatically reduce the amount of candida in my gut. The combination of taking these supplements + being mindful about my diet will make a significant change in my body over the next month month.
I can’t tell you what a relief it was to hear that the issue has nothing to do with my workouts. The muscle is there, the strength is there–it’s just covered in waste accumulated over the course of four years living a life of extreme stress. Are you skeptical that stress doesn’t have an impact on your health? Well, hello. I’m Felicia, your case in point.
After, we dove right into my visual food diary, which I’ve come to realize, is a document that makes me more accountable to myself than I’d initially thought. On paper, my meals sound fantastic, however, in practice, I’m still not incorporating enough veg in my diet. Look at you, covering your large portion of legumes (good carbs, but carbs) with kale (Exhibit A: the steak with roasted chickpeas and kale). I see what you did there, was the gist of my chat with Dana. The tacos + rice gnocchi (bottom corner image, at right) were fine since that was my splurge meal (but even so, can you throw in a salad beforehand?). While the chicken + beef koftas on greens were a win, I could have added more color to the plate.
I can’t explain to you enough how seeing what’s on your plate makes you more aware of what you’re actually putting in your body.
Oh, maybe that potato was kind of big. Maybe I’ve been dialing down the veg thinking I’ll make up for it in the next meal. Life doesn’t work that way. You never make up for it. You need to practice this mindfulness when you sit down at your every meal.
Who knew this whole dissection of my food diary was a segue to the big news I received today: Dana and I work to slowly wean me off carbs over the next month. This isn’t complete or extreme elimination, this is more about allowing my body to repair itself, overcome my extreme sensitivity to gluten (I finally get my detailed blood work next week and I’ll post it here!), and allow myself two wonderful carb meals a week. Granted, fruit is still in play — we’re just talking about my predilection to reach for rice and potatoes. Notice that in this week’s food diary? Dana sure did. And I kind of did, too.
Here’s to a second week on this incredible journey.
* Nixing my probiotics for two weeks. Instead, I’ll be taking 6 aforementioned Candida tablets a day.
* Take two tbsp of chlorophyll in the morning (I love this brand), with my smoothie as a chaser. I really love how chlorophyll makes me feel. The smoothie + shots are a one-two punch, and I’m actually finding that I don’t need coffee in the morning because I have so much energy.
* My snacks don’t need to be so rigid — they can be meal leftovers. Dana loves the adage, make once, eat twice.
* I’ve devoted 2 hours on Sunday to massive meal prep. I have tons of tupperware and labeled Ziploc bags for salad starters, meat seasonings and easy meals that I can put together quickly. Now, I have lunch in 3 minutes and my dinner takes 30 minutes, flat.
Note: My journey (and FOOD DIARY) are meant to inspire you, not as a means for you to directly emulate. My supplements and food plan have been completely customized for me, my body type and my health goals. In short, what might work for me may not make sense, or work, for you.
Great interview with my food coach on belly bloat (eh-hem, Felicia)!