If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know the last major change I made to my diet was to try the GAPS Diet but with a high fibre spin. So how did that go?
High fibre certainly made a difference, although I can’t say it was necessarily a positive one. Things did seem to move through more quickly, if you know what I mean, but there was no real change to the symptoms I’m trying to heal. My reflux was unaffected and my abdominal pain was unimproved. I must say I feel better for having the Western standard “recommended” amount of dietary fibre but the benefit is minor and I suspect it may even partially be a placebo effect.
I have been on the GAPS Diet for a couple of months now and I noticed something was happening to me… I wasn’t getting better, no… rather, I was getting bigger. The GAPS Diet is supposedly the most healthy diet and considering how closely aligned it is with the Paleo Diet, I had naturally assumed I would lose weight on it. No grains, no potatoes, no sugar… surely I would lose a few kilos, right? Well, sort of. I did in fact lose exactly 3 kilograms in the first week of the GAPS Intro Diet. This stayed off for the following week and right up until the point at which I introduced nuts and honey. From there on in, I not only gained back the few kilos I’d lost, but gained a few extra to keep ‘em company.
Now, I want you to know I was not underweight to start with, this is not the GAPS Diet making a wan body healthy. I wasn’t obese either, just a teensy bit overweight. I had been a pretty healthy weight and size prior to getting sick but feeling like death all the time is not conducive to exercise nor even healthy eating. I had tried to smother my nausea in starchy white crackers and breads, giving myself an energy boost with an array of gelatine based confectionaries. Apart from, no doubt, making my gut health worse, this lead to an increase in physical mass of around 10 kilograms. I really didn’t need to gain any more.
GAPS is a high fat diet, no doubt. In fact, for patients who suffer from constipation based problems such as abdominal pain, Dr Natasha recommends high fat, suggesting half a cup of crème fraiche a day! GAPS is not meant to be a high calorie diet though. The energy you would normally have consumed by eating grains is supposed to be replaced by GAPS-legal fats, avocado, ghee, nuts and animal fat. I wondered if maybe I had gone overboard and so I visited Calorie King, a website I used to utilise when I was younger, to figure out exactly how much energy I was consuming on an average day. I was shocked at what I found. What with all my crème fraiche, nuts, oils and fatty meats, I was wolfing down almost twice the calories a woman of my age and stature ought to be! No wonder I was gaining weight… it was a miracle I wasn’t humungous! There were only 2 things for it, I would resume exercising (properly this time, not just my casual strolls around the block when I felt so inclined) and I would need to make a meal plan with a reasonable amount of calories. Say, around 1500 a day.
I began by joining my local gym. I have actually been thinking about doing this for over a year now. Ever since moving into the area I have been dissatisfied with the prospect of my local, looking for something better to replace the old gym I had frequented but had to leave when we relocated, to no avail. I had toyed with the notion of taking up yoga again, resuming the belly dancing I had loved in my teens, or even starting a hip-hop dance class but discovered the cost of one dance class a week was nearly the same cost as an entire week’s worth of gym membership… a membership which entitled me to unlimited fitness classes including dance and yoga and all the other stuff too. Even if it wasn’t the best gym in the world, it was the most sensible option, and I am all about sensible.
To lose weight, get strong and fit again and to just generally feel well again, I was going to need to do a combination of workouts. I have never liked running, I get bored really fast doing most cardio, and I lack the discipline to simply work out on my own. I like classes. Music is good, having an instructor is better and the best bit of all is if I stand up the front and convince myself people are judging me, I dare not slack off in front of them all! I am very fond of the Les Mills fitness classes and have always enjoyed them, despite the epic legal saga which prevented them from using original music. My favourites are:
An intense weights based class, the first of its kind! Class members use a barbell with weights while an instructor leads them through a workout set to music incorporating squats, lunges, chest presses, tricep presses, bicep curls, the clean and press and more.
A calming, strengthening workout which combines moves form tai chi, yoga, pilates and dance, all set to modern music and with a short, guided meditation at the end.
Back in the day I used to take BodyJam classes and I loved them. Awesome modern dance routines set to funky music (I was particularly fond of TV Rock vs Dukes of Windsor’s “The Others”), I would get so engrossed in the class I wouldn’t notice I was out of breath ‘til the hour was over. The only problem was, not too many other people loved it. There seem to be a lot of very self-conscious types out there who would stand awkwardly at the back of the room, watching the instructor’s feet, afraid to even try lest they get the move wrong and “embarrass” themselves (I need you to understand, I am not a good dancer. I made heaps of mistakes and probably looked quite ridiculous but the point is, I choose not to be embarrassed because at least I’m having a go). Anyway, the gym finally phased BodyJam out, despite my multiple objections and strongly worded letters and replaced it with an easier, more accessible dance based class. Sh-Bam is easier to follow with simpler moves. It’s a shame, because BodyJam was starting to make me feel a bit like the next Michael Jackson, but at least with Sh-Bam I get a good work out and any class that incorporates a bit of Skrillex is alright with me.
Ok, so I don’t actually love this class… it is really hard. But, as my calf muscles rip off their tendons just thinking about high impact aerobics, it is the best cardio workout for me. Members sit on stationary exercise bicycles and an instructor leads them through a guided workout to thumping music. Guaranteed to get your heart racing!
Here’s my weekly plan:
Warm up + free weights
Warm up + free weights
In combination with my 1500 calorie diet, this should get me back to normal. Yes it will be tough to begin with but I’m hoping some pain = no more gain!