Friday, September 14, 2012

Lose 20 Pounds in Three Months

What I really hate about Lupus, other than always feeling lousy, is the steroids they put me on. After many months of repeated steroid use, I gained A LOT of weight. It was awful. My self-esteem plummeted with every glance into a mirror or catching a glimpse of my reflection in a shop window. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I could feel the weight I gained in places I had never felt before.

I was facing a difficult challenge. I can't lose weight the same way a healthy person does.

A close friend of mine was like "Dude, just try the P90X, I lost like 30 lbs." I received similar advice from other friends and family members.

If I tried working out until I was sweating and sore, I would get sick or trigger another lupus flare. And the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program I was a part of wasn't helping me lose weight, even though it was making me more mobile. Two miles is still my walking limit before I trigger a flare.

Finally, I took to the internet and stalked the shelves at my local library until a solution presented itself. The diet I came up with is a hodge-podge of healthy eating common sense, anti-inflammatory diet books, and a sprinkling of the Paleo diet. I was also influenced by the book The Autoimmune Epidemic by Donna Nakazawa.
Not even my heaviest :(

20 Pounds Lighter

What Not To Eat

  • Dairy
  • Red Meat
  • Wheat
  • Sugar or Sweetener of any kind (minus the sugars naturally found in fresh foods, for example, fruit)
  • Coffee, Soda, Juice, Drinks with Caffeine, non-herbal teas.
  • Peanuts
  • Corn
  • Processed Foods (this is the hardest to get rid of, but getting rid of this really makes you feel good)
  • Fried Foods
  • Oils and Butters (tiny, tiny amount of extra virgin olive oil is okay for cooking)
I bet you're wondering what you could possibly eat after cutting all that food from your diet. "Well, of course you'll lose 20 pounds. You're starving yourself to death". Ah, but you're forgetting the many other foods out there that you can eat. And trust me, this will not make your food options boring. Just remember that there are over 100 ways to cook an egg.

What To Eat In Abundance

  • Veggies- If you have Lupus, don't eat sprouts. They can aggravate your Lupus. No potatoes, but you can have lots of delicious sweet potatoes. But no corn.
  • Grains- No wheat, but you can have quinoa, barley, basmati, Amaranth, and oatmeal.
  • Beans (Legumes)- personally, I love kidney beans, but feel free to go crazy here.
  • Oily Fish- All my favorite types: Salmon, cod, halibut, tuna, trout, haddock. No shellfish though. That means no shrimp, too (This would have to be one of the hardest things for me to give up, next to tortillas).
  • Skinless Chicken and Turkey.
  • Spices and Herbs-The best way to flavor your food. Ginger and cinnamon are particularly good for you (unless you have a thyroid problem).
  • Fruits-Go crazy and try to eat what's in season. (My breakfast is usually a giant, delicious smoothie)
  • If you really need to sweeten something, you can use a little raw honey or agave.
  • Eggs
  • Nuts-Minus the peanuts
  • Water- Lots and lots of water. If you don't like the taste of water, try adding some lemon. Or some other type of fruit.
The key is to try and eat 40+ grams of protein so you have plenty of energy to take on the day. Also, it's good to make sure you are getting plenty of your B vitamins. Spinach, fish, eggs, chicken, bananas, and plenty of other fresh foods on the "Eat In Abundance" list are full of your B vitamins, which will give you a copious amount of energy.

Another benefit I gained from this diet was how much more energy and how much healthier I felt. It reduced a few of my symptoms which was a bit surprising.

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