My Journey To Feeling Great!
Written by Stella Nicholls
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food. I sometimes see it as a necessary ‘evil’ in my life – causing me to feel sluggish, overweight or worse – I have an adverse reaction to it. At other times, when I’ve managed to eat healthily for a while, I feel better about it. During the positive times, I feel in control of my ‘food kingdom’, my body responds well and is on its best behaviour and I can see the results in my face (less puffy) and feel in my limbs and joints and in my gut, that I am eating well.
I usually ‘fall off my food wagon’ as I put it, on a Friday, my ‘cheat day’, when I allow myself some ‘naughty’ treats. I ‘cheat’ mostly by eating chocolate and crisps – by the big bag full – I love crisps, they are one of my greatest food weaknesses. The problem with my cheat days though is that after eating healthily and ‘depriving’ myself all week when I start eating my treats I find that I can’t stop, so end up overindulging and feeling a bit sick. The morning after (Saturday) is then spent trying to ‘get back on the wagon’ with a headache which would put the worst hangover to shame and a grumpy mood firmly in place. This mood generally means that my day is subdued and I’m not much fun for those around me. That is how the cycle of my eating has been for some time and the worst part of it is the guilt that I feel on a Friday night after a day of continuous grazing. Who wants to waste their life feeling guilty about eating, for goodness sake?
To compound my love/hate relationship further, I have several food intolerances. I’m lactose intolerant, I can’t eat any foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate – a flavour enhancer), I can’t eat bread – it makes my tummy ache and I seem to have an allergy to tomatoes (they make me swell around the face, and cause blood blisters in my mouth and eventually pain in my abdomen).
When Carola Becker approached me to try out her nutrition plan, therefore, I was apprehensive but also curious as to how she would overcome, what I consider, my limited food ‘palette’ and how she would cater to my personal taste and relatively unadventurous palate.
After completing a five-day food diary to give Carola a snapshot of my food intake, she developed a comprehensive nutrition and exercise plan. She advised that the plan focused on my health and well-being and that we would neither ‘glorify or demonise’ any food groups – which I found helped me with my ‘food guilt’. Her insight into my food habits was remarkable, she seemed to know what to say to me to snap me out of my ‘cheat day guilt’. She said that rather than seeing it as a cheat, I should see it as a celebration for doing so well with my eating in the week. But she also advised against having the ‘celebrations’ in the first few weeks of being on the plan, as she knew that I might find it difficult to stick to it, at first. I know that doing anything consistently over three weeks or more, will set it has a habit, and I needed and wanted to incorporate the plan as a long-term lifestyle choice rather than a temporary ‘diet’.
The plan was helpful in listing my nutritional deficiencies and advised on foods to eat to combat these. I find it extremely satisfying that I can provide my body with everything that it needs through my diet, as opposed to taking a supplement, which tends to make my tummy ache (sensitive being that it is). I found that eating a more well rounded diet, curbed many of my food cravings, which actually served to get rid of my Friday ‘binges’. I was also surprised, for example, to learn that my diet was very low in fat and that I would benefit from meals higher in healthy fats. Healthy fats (olives, nuts, avocados etc) provide sustainable energy, regulate hormones and build cells in the body.
The first few days of sticking strictly to the plan, I found that I had sugar withdrawal symptoms – which I guess shows how addicted I was, but Carola supported me through this and soon I was amazed to feel very clear headed indeed. I also felt full of energy and I slept better than I had in a long time. My body certainly responded to the consistent healthy eating a lot faster than I thought it would.
Carola’s plan (which was designed specifically for my personal nutritional requirements) included many recipes, which I enjoyed using and I found that I had a lot more choices and things to eat than I normally do. It does take planning though, cooking a bit extra the night before, so that I had my lunch sorted for the next day. I remember thinking to myself, when I was flailing, that my body is worth the extra effort, I only have one, after all!
One of my favourite recipes was Salmon and Broccoli fishcakes, which I loved! Delicious, but also not something I would usually think of combining together. Carola’s plan is so comprehensive that it isn’t possible to write about everything that I experienced here but I will say that my relationship with food has improved. I also see myself on a ‘food journey’ rather than me heading towards a destination and as such, I should embrace it, every day!
I have had a few ‘slips’ off the plan in the last few weeks (it’s that time of year) and I’ve been invited to numerous events where Prosecco and Mince Pies were flowing and I’ve even done a Restaurant food review during this period. But Carola has remained supportive throughout, saying, ‘You are doing so well, don’t forget to be proud of yourself’. And I am – no point in beating myself up over a few bubbles.
In the past few weeks, I’ve felt so good that it shows! I’ve even received a few compliments from people, that ‘I’m glowing, and my hair looks great’. A ‘side-effect’ of healthy eating, is that I have lost some weight and inches around my waist (I can’t help but be delighted by that). Carola has encouraged me to remain active, come rain or shine, and the ‘feel-good’ endorphins released make me feel positive too!
If my body could talk, I think it would tell you that it’s been feeling a lot better lately, as Carola says, ‘By knowing and accommodating your nutritional needs, you will team up with your body instead of working against it with a restricted diet!” I must say, I haven’t felt hungry or felt the need to have a ‘cheat day’, since starting to feed my body the nutrients that it needs, and I’m excited to continue on my food journey.
To find out more about Carola’s nutrition company, Life is Good, click here.
To get your own personalised nutrition plan, visit Carola’s website. Grow readers can use their exclusive discount code, GROW20, to receive 20% off until the 20th February 2019.