Foods I ate: Unlimited protein from sources high in saturated fat (meat, cheese), eggs, low-fat and non-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, sour cream), vegetables (non-starchy), fruits lower in sugar (apples, oranges, etc.), and fats (butter and oil).
Foods I avoided: Carbohydrates (starchy, refined, and simple sugars).
Exercise: Cardio 3-6 days/week with or without strength training
My lowest weight on this diet: 116 lbs
Results: I lost fat from all over my body, yet I didn't lose as much as I had hoped to lose from my trouble areas (hips, butt, lower stomach, thighs). I felt tired and weighted down, especially after meals. I lacked energy. I loaded my body with saturated fats and cholesterol while I didn't give my body enough carbohydrates, so it lacked the fuel it needed. I also didn't get enough fiber, and much of the animal flesh I ate rotted in my intestines because there was little fiber to push it through my system.
Low Fat/High Carb Diet
Foods I ate: Lean meats, eggs, low-fat and non-fat dairy, unlimited carbohydrates (complex and simple), fruit, vegetables, and refined, processed foods loaded with sugar, as long as they were low in fat (including white bread, white pasta, white rice, cereal, granola bars, candy (red vines, hot tamales)).
Foods I avoided: Foods high in fat (cheese, fatty meats, mayonnaise, high-fat desserts), foods with any added fat (butter, oil). .
Exercise: 6 days/week cardio (running); 3 days/week weight training
My lowest weight on this diet: 110 lbs
Results: I lost fat from all over my body, yet still not as much as I had hoped from my trouble areas. I lost even more fat from my upper body, especially my breasts, which dropped almost 3 bra cup sizes. I felt tired, had little energy, and I felt hungry much of the time. I felt especially exhausted after working out. I gave my body too much refined sugar, and all those simple sugars were instantaneously absorbed into my blood, causing an immediate insulin response followed by a rapid drop in my blood sugar. As a result I had unstable blood sugar levels with intense sugar spikes and crashes, along with sugar cravings and an increased appetite. The excess sugar in my blood was converted to fat and went straight to my trouble areas, where I could not get rid of the fat no matter how intensely I worked out! While I maintained this diet for four years, it never felt sustainable because I knew that the minute I stopped working out so intensely, I would gain back all the weight that I lost. That is exactly what happened, and then some when I maxed out at my all-time highest weight of 162 lbs!
South Beach Diet (“Low-Carb”/High-Protein)
I think that the South Beach Diet, while not perfect, has a bad reputation as being a low-carb diet, when really, it’s not. True, it is low-carb temporarily at the beginning of the diet. However, this diet does encourage consuming whole, complex and simple carbohydrates while avoiding simple, refined carbohydrates (refined sugar and flour). If anything, it encourages too much protein from sources that also have saturated fat and cholesterol. I tried this diet because it was recommended by my doctor.
Foods I ate: Unlimited protein (meat, cheese, milk, cream), unlimited complex and unrefined carbohydrates (vegetables (including sweet potatoes), fruit, beans, legumes, bread (whole grain), pasta (whole grain), brown rice, quinoa, whole grain cereals, nuts, seeds), fats (butter and oil), and limited unrefined sugar (pure maple syrup, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, blackstrap molasses).
Foods I avoided: refined sugar (table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, any other refined sugar), refined flour (white, enriched, etc.), potatoes (white), any foods with refined sugar and/or flour (anything “white”).
Exercise: 6-7 days/week walking; 3-4 days/week cardio/strength training
My lowest weight on this diet: 129 lbs
Results: I lost fat all over my body, yet again not as much as I had hoped from my trouble areas. And this time my breasts did not shrink. I felt great and I had more energy than before, although I did feel tired after meals, probably from all the work my body was doing to digest all the protein and saturated fats I ate. By eliminating refined sugar, I stopped the instantaneous infusions of sugar into my blood, which stabilized my blood sugar levels due to the slow breakdown and infusion of sugars into my blood from the complex carbohydrates I ate. As a result, I stopped having sugar spikes and crashes, I lost all my sugar cravings, and had a very controllable appetite. I easily maintained this diet for four years, until I read “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell. That’s when I gave up animal-based foods altogether (in addition to refined sugar and flour) and went straight into a whole food plant-based diet.
Whole Food Plant-Based (High-Carb/Low Fat) Diet (Lifestyle)
Foods I eat: Unlimited whole (unprocessed) plant-based foods including any vegetables (lots and lots of green, leafy veggies!), fruit, beans, legumes (e.g., lentils), grains (brown rice, quinoa, barley), mostly raw nuts and seeds, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, whole grain cereals, and very limited oil and unrefined sugar (e.g., pure maple syrup, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, blackstrap molasses). The fats I eat are nutrient-dense, including avocados, nuts, nut milk, coconut milk, seeds, and olives.
Foods I avoid: All animal-based foods (anything that had eyes and/or a mom) including meat, fish, dairy, (eggs included), fats (butter and most oil), and processed foods with refined sugar and/or flour (anything “white”).
Exercise: 6-7 days/week walking; 3-4 days/week cardio/strength training
My lowest weight on this diet: 118 lbs (currently)
Results: This has been remarkably different – I lost several inches of fat from all over my body, especially my trouble areas! And my breasts did not shrink! My shape has actually changed for the first time ever by losing more fat from my trouble areas and now I fit into styles of clothes that I could never wear before because of my shape! I feel amazing and I have more energy than I've ever had. I feel clean and light, and can think more clearly. Sugars from the complex carbohydrates that I eat get absorbed slowly into my blood, including the simple sugars from fruits and vegetables because the fiber in fruits and vegetables slows absorption of the simple sugars (plus simple sugars are present in much lower concentrations in fruits and vegetables than in processed foods), so these carbohydrates don’t cause big spikes in my blood sugar followed by sugar crashes. As a result, my blood sugar levels are stable, I don’t have sugar cravings, and I feel satisfied after eating. I eat when I’m hungry and don’t ever worry about calories or portion size. And since my blood sugar is stable, it is being used efficiently as fuel and not getting stored as fat, which is why I feel so much energy and I’m not adding fat to my trouble areas. Plus, exercising and staying active helps me burn even more fat from those trouble areas (a positive double-whammy!). And all the fiber keeps things moving through my system. In other words, all these carbohydrates are not making me fat – they’re making me skinny! I have adopted this way of eating as a lifestyle because it makes me feel and look great (plus it's more humane for animals and better for the environment)! It's much easier than I ever thought it would be and I have no plans of ever going back to eating animal-based foods!