Just over five years ago I embarked on a protocol based on an old 1970’s book called Pounds and Inches By Dr Simeon. It changed my life in many ways!
I had turned 50 and I noticed over the previous years I was slowly putting on weight despite no change in my diet, I had a niggling constant low back pain, a very sore right hip (thought I would need hip surgery eventually), anxiety at 3am in the morning, brain fog, stiff joints, tight throat and debilitating migraines at least 12 times a year.
I had always done a week long juice cleanse every year for most of my adult life, but I noticed that wasn’t working any more to improve my maladies. A couple of friends tried the protocol and I was impressed by their results and decided to give it a go.
I have been a nutritionist for 32 years. In fact I’ve been out spoken about not counting calories, to always eat fat (having never supported the low fat diet) and now I was about to delve into a diet that was in contradiction of what I believed. The one thing I agreed with was that it was real food. I didn’t agree with some of the foods; such as the melba toasts, grissini and milk, so I decided to just change it to suit the real food mantra. The reason I was against the wheat products was because they both had additives and that was where I was drawing the line.
I delved into the program and stuck to it rigidly eating lean meat, not a scrap of fat, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables and winter fruits all totaling approximately 500 calories a day.
The first three days I was tired and wanted to sleep all day and all night, I struggled with the strict diet regime, I had not dieted since I was 23 when I gave up the notion of dieting for ever. But I was in crisis and if I continued to do what I’d always done then I was going to continue to have weight gain and maladies.
By day 7 I had lost 4.5kg. Most of my back, hip and joint pain and anxiety was reducing and the tightness in my throat had almost disappeared. I continued and as each day passed I felt better and better. On day 10 I had the clearest mind, I had so much clarity that I felt a connection to the universe and the most amazing feeling of euphoria.
By the end of the three weeks I had lost a total of 9kg and was feeling the best I had ever felt, all maladies had disappeared except for my intermittent migraines.
As I began introducing foods back into the diet I noticed one food in particular caused me to gain weight, approximately 700gms over night. I stopped eating that food and the water weight (as it could not have been fat gain) disappeared the next day. After several challenges with wheat and the gain in water weight (inflammation) and a few aches in my joints I decided that wheat was not my friend and I have not eaten wheat since that day.
It’s five years on and the weight has stayed off, my aches and pains are gone and my mind is clear without feeling any anxiety.
The one thing that I didn’t get rid of was my migraines. So I decided to do the protocol again three years after the first I did it. I found it easier the second time, I only had 3 kg in which I needed to lose, so it wasn’t as dramatic as the first time. I breezed through the first two weeks, not really losing much weight until the third week. That week I lost 3 kilograms over a couple of days but I also had 5 days of severe migraines, two of the days, I could not get out of my bed. Then the last 2 days of the 21 days I began to see light at the end of the tunnel again and I was back to normal. After that last migraine over 2 years ago I have not had another headache or migraine.
Over the past five years I have eaten a diet rich in whole real foods that I mainly make from scratch devoid of all wheat and wheat products and I feel better now in my mid-50’s than I ever did in my 40’s.
I have also done a lot of research as to why this protocol works so well.
The first thing I learnt about was leptin, the master hormone, the petrol tank gauge. When we are within approximately 5kg either side of our ideal weight leptin works to control other hormones including our sex hormones and appetite hormones. If we go outside that parameter then things begin to go pear shaped.
Fat cells produce leptin, the more fat you have the more leptin you produce, it’s a feed back system. In the summer by eating fatty meats and sweet fruits we would put on weight, leptin production would increase and so would our sex hormones. This was the time to get pregnant (speaking in evolutionary terms and for the perpetuation of the species). During the winter months we would eat far less including lean meats, small amounts and green leafy vegetables, winter fruits and if nuts and seeds were available we would also eat them.
If the woman were pregnant the hormone hCG would be released in order to release fat stores to be consumed when food was scarce, this ensured the survival of mother and baby. For the men and the non pregnant women and children small amounts of hCG are produced in lean times to help survival.
There was an ebb and flow in the seasons, there was time to store fat and time to release fat. So when we say that we are only consuming 500 calories on the Fat Loss Protocol, we are actually eating 500 calories but approximately using 2000 calories per day of our fat stores (food we have eaten previously that we were unable to use).
So it is by no means a low fat, low calorie regime. In fact the body is receiving more fat and more calories during the second phase in order to sustain us. This is by no means a dangerous low calorie diet but rather one that allows you to use up the fat stores that should be used up on a yearly basis.
When we have excess fat, leptin is produced in large amounts. The more fat, the more leptin we have and if this continues we become leptin resistant, much like insulin resistance.
When you are leptin resistant the body believes it is starving and so it engages the appetite hormones to make you eat more and more. When you eat more, you continue to put on stored fat which means more leptin which means more appetite. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s important to reduce fat stores in order to be able to control over eating. You see it’s not about will power it is about your bodies need to survive. The abnormal amount of fat stores is what causes the break down in correct communication to the petrol gauge (leptin).
Let’s also look at what else fat does for the body. It is a storage place for toxins (cellulite is a great visual for that). So if we look at our evolutionary past we may have been exposed to heavy metals in our drinking water, volcano eruptions, radiation due to being outside all day and so on. If the body was not able to rid itself of the toxins using the first two lines of defense which are the microbiome and blood, the body would store the toxins in the fat cells ready to be discharged when we release the stored fat.
The problem is that in modern day there is no winter when it comes to food, we continue to eat food without releasing the fat and the toxins and so over many decades we build up so many toxins in our body which relates into maladies and health issues. Then instead of looking to nature to heal we take medications to dull the symptoms, but until you go back to the way your evolutionary body was designed you will never get better.
For me the last 3 kg of weight, which were the hardest to move were probably the most toxic and what was causing my migraines to keep coming back over and over. Once I had removed this toxic fat I was free from the problem.
Modern living has stopped the ebb and flow of this natural process. We have a planet that contains food that is sprayed with chemicals, our homes emit chemicals and we are definitely more toxic than we have ever been. As a result there are times I believe that people should not do this protocol, such as women who are pregnant or breast feeding, people who have no weight to lose and athletes who undertake heavy exercise.
The reason I don’t like pregnant women and breast feeding women to do the protocol is because you will release a lot of toxins and we would prefer not to overload an unborn baby or new baby. If you have no fat or weight to lose then this does not work and if you are an athlete we do not recommend it due to the fact winter was a time of less movement and exercise for our ancestors, it was a time of preservation.
I am also hesitant to recommend this diet for people with severe GUT issues and if you have thyroid issues I would recommend getting in touch with a nutritionist for them to either agree for you to do the protocol or perhaps you may need to do another protocol.
The Fat Loss Protocol was the best thing I ever did and I’ve watched thousands of people do this protocol with stunning results. The education in phase 4 is so very important. Don’t for one minute think that you go on this and at the end of the 4 phases you can go back to your old habits. You are delusional if you think this, because after all you’re in the position you are because of the food you have eaten and the habits you have. So to think that this is a 4 phase program and then you can go back to your old habits, you may need to think again. We have a phase4ever, and that is designed by you as you learn in phase 4 what foods work for you and what don’t.
We have a coach that helps you through all of the 4 phases, encouraging, helping and inspiring you to continue and to do it properly. Her name is Mel and she is patient and answers questions through a private facebook community. Many of the members in the community also help you through the protocol and it’s nice to know you are not doing it alone.
So as summer is coming to the northern hemisphere this is a great time to clean out and be ready for the summer. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, winter is coming and you are in the natural ebb and flow of allowing this to happen so well too. As the weather gets cooler your body is preparing for something we have done throughout time, reduce activity, reduce food and take the time to reduce the toxic load in your fat cells.
Happy Changing Habits