Been There, Dieted That

Dom came up with a little motto: If it’s happy, it’s healthy. 🐥 This doesn’t mean you can validate eating five cupcakes because your boss was horrible today, and they (these frosted beauties) understand you unlike your inconsiderate significant other. I get it. Cupcakes 🎂 are warm and soft, but understanding why you lose control of your eating habits is the first step to gaining control of your diet. In our culture, eating is often considered a comfort instead of nourishment. Think of charging your computer. There’s really no point to overcharging your battery. It’s wasteful and can shorten its life. 😲 You also don’t shove cookies🍪 into it’s socket, or maybe you do..but if you don’t do these things to your computer, ask yourself why would you do it to the most valuable thing you own? Your body.💃🏻

Mainly through trial and error and using our science backgrounds, my sisters and I know exactly…nothing.😳 Diets are hard and it seems like every day there is new information that disproves current research, and with all of the diet pills and books out there, what do you believe? What we do know is that we’ve tried a lot of diets and there is not a single one that fits us personally, all the time or every day. Below we describe our experiences with a number of diets, and in another post we will sum up our current diets. 🌮🍍🍽

Detoxes/Cleanses. We’ve tried a number of them. The best advice we can give you is to meal prep. Believe us, you will be one angry bear if you come home hangry after a long day and realize you can’t tear into those doritos. Detoxes and cleanses tend to fill you up quickly at each meal, but that feeling will leave quickly and by next meal time, you may not be in the mood for cooking and are prone to “detox adjacent” foods (More on what that includes later.) and before you know it, you’ve eaten an entire row of oreos. Also, have a good playlist for your meal prepping.🎶🎵 Happy music makes for a happy detoxer. Annnddd, don’t forget to book your significant other a 2 week getaway. Believe me, you don’t want him or her around for detox time. 

There are a number of different detoxes. Most eliminate sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol. 🍸🍭☕️ The idea is that if you eliminate certain harmful foods, your body will run more efficiently and eventually crave more healthy foods..The cravings definitely don’t go away over night, and you may experience some of the much beloved detox symptoms: headaches, irritability, and the cunning ability to convince yourself that cleanses really aren’t that great for you and it would be much healthy if you just had one cookie in moderation..starting tomorrow, after you’ve shoveled down 50.

I promise I’ll be good if you just let me have a salad.
— my body on a juice cleanse

Juice cleanse. The longest I’ve done this one is 15 days. My face was glorious, but I did it for all the wrong reasons. It was one year right before spring break and the problem is you’ll look great for that first day, but the moment you drink a beer or eat something salty, you will bloat and all of that hard work will have gone to waste.🍺 Also, you might crash afterwards and it’s very hard to hop back on any diet after rollercoaster eating. I don’t know about you, but my body feels very betrayed after I tease it with a health kick and then drag it through a binge. After stressful eating habits, my body approaches any diet with the mentality of a recently whipped dog-cautiously and with its tail between it’s legs. 🙈

We recommend that if you juice cleanse, make sure you are getting enough calories, and pre-cleansing would be wise. You know, having salads and juices a few days before starting the full time juice cleanse. It’s like a subtle warning to your body that you are going to take away it’s privilege to chew for five days.🍴 

Intermittent Fasting. I like doing this, but for us, it’s a touch and feel go method of eating. I would also recommend working up to a full day fast, if you ever decide to go that far (which you don’t have to for it to work). The idea is that you choose periods of time when you fast, and during those fasting periods, your body will run out of “energy” because you are not replenishing the glucose source and after 12 hours your body will turn to fat storage to meet its energy requirements. The process is much more complicated than this, but this is the basic idea. A huge drawback of this process is that your body NEEDS protein and if you don’t eat, you may lose fat, but you are also depleting your body of protein and where does your body go if it needs protein? That’s right, muscle. 💪🏼

The way you do it is up to you. You may eat breakfast and then fast for the rest of the day or a lot of people like to skip meals and eat one big meal. IM fasting encourages fasting of over 12 hours. But this can vary depending on your metabolism and workouts. Eating an earlier dinner and skipping the late night, 4th meal, is a great way to get in those 12 hours. After all, it is called BREAKfast because you are breaking a fast.

Calorie Variation. This is one that I try to work into my daily diet routine. It can be supplemented with any diet and helps me break through plateaus without crashing. The idea is that you have a mix of high, medium, low calorie days. I can’t tell you exactly how many calories should make up each one because it’s going to be different for you. But a guideline to go by is to figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight. You could probably use a tool online to figure this out, but the best way is to consult a dietician or physician. You can use that information to cut 100-200 for a low calorie day, add 200-400 calories for a high calorie day and keep it around your resting metabolic rate for a medium calorie day. 

The idea is to have your weekly calorie count average out to your dietician’s recommended daily calorie intake. There are a few ways you could go about this, but we try to stick around our recommended daily calorie intake and insert the occasional low calorie day if we skip a workout. You could even do a juice day. You could try a few lower calorie days and make them up with a “cheat day” to keep you sane. Just remember that workouts should be factored in to the number of calories you need and to consult a professional because cutting your calories too low is harmful, and also, unnecessary. In fact, most of the times I hit a plateau, I eat MORE to lose weight because often our bodies will hold on to the weight because we are stressing them out by not feeding it!😋

Carb cycling. High carbohydrate, low carbohydrate days. 🍞 This method works really well, but you have to plan. In our experience, it’s also easier if you plan your workouts around the diet. For example, if you have a low carb day, work out less or do less cardio (which requires more carbs). Listen to your body. We’ve run miles on little carbs and while you will lose weight, in the long run, you will lower your metabolism, lose muscle mass and be grumpy, and maybe even crash and gain all of the weight back. (We hope not tho. We’re rooting for you!) 

Lemonade Diet/Master Cleanse. 🍋🍋🍋I only lasted for 3 days. I don’t recommend it, but hey, maybe I’m just not as hard core as you are. I would be cautious with this one, especially if you do it for more than a few days. You aren’t really giving yourself the minerals, vitamins, protein, fat and much more that your body requires to function on a daily basis. But I’ve had friends do it and they loved it. 

Vegan. We have a lot of vegan friends, and it’s an inspiring, beautiful way of living, however, it was not for us. The eating feels clean and light, and the recipes aren’t too difficult to prepare. 🍎 However, we found ourselves turning to cereal and crackers because they were vegan, instead of eating nutritious meals. Gabby was vegan for about a year and she was a much more dedicated veganite than we were. She liked it because it helped her eat cleaner and helped with her eczema, but after about a year she found that being vegan no longer served her body. While being vegan is a wonderful way of eating and living, she started GAPS (which is almost the complete opposite diet) to heal her eczema completely.  

Raw. I did a little raw detox for 5 days. I loved it, but I think I needed to add a supplemental protein source because by day four I was eating cashews by the handfuls. 👐🏽 And did you know that you are supposed to soak the nuts for at least six hours, or that some recipes require dehydrating ingredients for days? So plan accordingly. However, I will say that it’s nice that you don’t have to wait for anything to cook. Also, most of the recipes are yummy, and you don’t have to have a dehydrator. There are plenty of easier recipes out there, like this one raw homemade tomato sauce recipe that did wonders for my skin. (Message us for the recipe!)

If you want to “go raw”, there are plenty of resources online and beautiful recipe books available. Go check out our favorite source at www.gingersandspice.com. 😍

Paleo. Paleo is an interesting concept. I like that the diet isn’t as calorie restrictive, but in the end, I felt that I was overeating to compensate for the fact that my cookies didn’t have flour in them. I also don’t like that the recipes require tons of nuts. Too many nuts make me feel heavy and bloated. I also felt that most of the recipes I found were just trying to replace flour with coconut or almond flour and that’s hard to do. Another aspect that Paleo includes is gluten free, and if you haven't noticed, this is becoming a common diet trait. There are tons of options at restaurants and stores that boost about their lack of gluten, which is great if that fits you! But again, don't do something just for the title, but if you think you have a gluten allergy, you could try this. There are better recipes coming out everyday for this diet. So if you like meat, and cutting carbs helps you lose weight, go for it! 🍗🙌🏽

GAPS. This one started because Gabby had eczema. She’s suffered from it for years and we wanted to find a more natural approach to treating it. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. I have the book and read most of it, but the premises is that if you have skin, immune, psychology disorders, then this diet will test your tolerance of almost all foods, heal your gut and help remedy those problems. It is very extensive and restrictive. I like this diet, however, I found it so restrictive that I couldn’t get past stage 2, and since I personally don’t suffer from any of those problems, it was hard to stick to. However, I did keep some of it’s recommendations. I still make my own bone broth. I like to have it in the morning on an empty stomach or for lunch on a chilly day.🍲 It’s great to add to butternut squash or mushroom soup. Bone broth is very alkalizing, which is supposedly good for the body, but that’s another post for another day.

Now, if you want to lose weight, this may not be the best diet. My bone broth is very fatty. You can buy it pre-made in the store and that’s much less fatty, and a cup is only about 30 calories. Why is mine so fatty..? I leave the marrow in mine and blend it up, but the fat content isn’t what makes this a hard diet to lose weight on for me. It’s the fact that drinking your calories is hard, but drinking a soup made from the weirdest parts of the animal is even more difficult to consider a satisfying meal. Again, our motto: If it’s happy, it’s healthy. If you don’t enjoy your meals, you won’t last long on any diet. 

Also, it’s hard to workout on this diet because for the first stage, you barely get any carbohydrates. Carbs are not the enemy, people-extremism is.

Dukan. There are a lot of different stages in this diet and the beginning ones were way to restrictive for me. You aren’t even allowed spinach in the first few days because of “water weight”. Yea, I was in a bad mood the first few days I started this diet. I mean, if you are going to take away my carbohydrates, I prefer that you do it in the reverse order, slowing lower them so I don’t notice and can’t blame my bad mood on lack of glucose. 

Kate Middleton supposedly did this one to get ready for her royal wedding, but who really knows? She could have been locked away in a tower 🏰 until her dress fit just right. 👗

Diets are tricky so don’t be so hard on yourself if you fall off of the bandwagon every once and a while. In our experiences, diets can teach you a lot about yourself if you just listen to your body instead of some book or internet article. Although we are very similar genetically, the small differences add up to a unique combination of factors including hormone levels, muscle mass, and metabolism, and that doesn’t even begin to account for the environmental factors that affect our bodies. See, it’s more complicated than just cutting calories and carbs. You can actually do everything perfectly and not see satisfying results at first, hit a plateau or worse gain weight, but if you just listen to your body and be persistent, you’ll get there.

There you have it, a list of all of the diet trends we have tried. There are a ton more out there, but some of them are variations of these diets. Sorry for the long post! Also, we are not experts and no one can really tell you how to lose weight, fix your problems, or be happy, so this post is only to share our experiences and maybe help clarify some of the information out there, or maybe just confused you more, but hopefully not.

Working out and diets go hand in hand but diet leads the way. We will do a post on workouts soon! We tried pretty much all of those too. 

But remember: BALANCE AND PATIENCE are a diet’s best friends.👯

And of course,