A food addict's travels on the road to recovery.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jillian's Nuggets of Knowledge

I'm warning you ahead of time that this is going to be a super long post, but I found out some really interesting information today. I want to tell you what my thoughts are on it, and put it out there for you to make your own decision.

I was in the checkout line at Publix today glancing at the magazines. I'm one of those people that gets really irritated by those magazines targeted at fat women that splash titles across their cover such as..."Lose 50 lbs. in 3 days with this Miracle Diet and NO exercise!". Bugs me. I saw one today called "for women First" and the cover said "Drop 19 lbs. in One Week". Would you give me a break? I'm so sick of this sensationalized crap...what a bunch of hooey.

Then I noticed the words "Master Your Metabolism" with a little picture of Jillian Michaels beside it. As one of my followers on this blog, Rebecca, had already alerted me....this is Jillian's latest book...in fact, this very book is the one I decided would be first reward for reaching my first 15 lb. goal. I rolled my eyes, said to myself, "Damn. They got me. Hook, line and sinker", and I bought the magazine.

I brought it home and read the 4 page article and the best way to describe my reaction was shock. It talks about how our hormones being out of whack can cause us HUGE problems with weight loss....things that we're probably not even aware of, so we have no idea how to fix it. Hormone imbalance, or "the hormonal storm" as Jillian calls it, affects 90% of women in making them heavy, tired and stressed. NINETY PERCENT!!! What are the chances you and me are in that percentage? Pretty darn good, I'd say. It was enough to make me keep reading.

Because we may not know about the hormone problem, we don't know how to fix it...what the right foods are that we should be eating to combat it. Instead, so many of us try and try, kill ourselves with exercise, only to make very slow progress. Jillian did these same things before she found out from a doctor about the hormone problems. In the magazine she states, "If I knew then what I know now, I could have done HALF the work to get the body I have". Before she found out from a doctor about hormone imbalances, she used to weigh 175 lbs. She now weighs 121 lbs. Jillian said, "I've won my weight battle outside the gym. No more grueling hours - I can do less strenuous workouts and not see an inch of fat creep on."

Now, obviously, I encourage everyone to pick this up at their neighborhood grocery store and read it for themselves. I believe the information I'm about to share with you to be invaluable. But just in case you don't go get the magazine, I want you to get the jist of it by reading this post.

I'm going to list the hormonal imbalance and the Nutritional Rx to help it, exactly as it is listed in the magazine:

Low Thyroid:

Depression, fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, body-wide weight gain.

Rx: Selenium aids the manufacture of active thyroid hormone T3.
Sources: walnuts, Brazil nuts, wheat germ, whole grains, pork, tuna, salmon.

Low Progesterone:

Cravings, low libido, PMS, insomnia, anxiety, fat gain in belly, hips and thighs.

Rx: Indole-3-carbinol stimulates detoxifying enzymes that flush competing hormones from the body.
Sources: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage.

Low Testosterone:

Weak muscles, blue mood, fatigue, low motivation, low sex drive, belly fat.

Rx: Niacin boosts HDL ("good") cholesterol, which is a building block of testosterone.
Sources: dairy, eggs, fish, lean meats, poultry

Elevated Cortisol:

Insomnia, fatigue, frequent infections, high blood pressure, low libido, belly fat.

Rx: Vitamin C increases the adrenals' resistance to stress, preventing cortisol spikes.
Sources: Cantaloupe, citrus, strawberries, watermelon.

Elevated Insulin:

Facial hair, fatigue, cravings, mood swings, irregular periods, severe menopause, belly fat.

Rx: Magnesium regulates insulin production and increases cells' sensitivity to the hormone.
Sources: Swiss chard, spinach, black beans, walnuts, quinoa.

Elevated Leptin:

Hunger, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, signs of inflammation such as joint aches.

Rx: Omega-3 fats cause a drop in leptin and increase the body's sensitivity to the hormone.
Sources: salmon, tuna, sardines, fish oil, flaxseed, flaxseed oil.

The reason for my shock was because I have about 85% of all of the symptoms listed. Is it possible something besides a hormone imbalance is causing some of my symptoms? Sure. Would it hurt me to try and incorporate as many of these foods into my diet as possible, just in case it's truly a hormone problem? Not at all. In fact, I already enjoy many of these foods. There's only a few things that I would have to incorporate that I don't already eat.

They give you a very specific plan to incorporate all of these helpful things into your diet. But before I lay it out for you, let me just say that I still think there is some sensationalized stuff and possibly irresponsible things going on here within this article. They said on the cover, "Lose 19 lbs in One Week". When you actually read the article, it states that "contestants on The Biggest Loser who have followed this plan have lost between 12 and 19 lbs in a single week". First of all, they should have said "UP TO 19 lbs in one week" on the cover. Secondly, although I haven't watched a lot of this show, I have seen it some, and I believe that they have those contestants exercising their butts off several hours a day to go along with the healthy eating. This article didn't mention one word about exercise. I guess it's possible that someone followed the specific foods in this plan to correct a hormone problem, and lost 19 lbs in a week w/o doing a single scrap of exercise....but I seriously doubt it.

With that said, I plan on trying these foods for a few weeks (3 or 4 in a row, because I don't think hormones get all straightened out in only 7 days) to see if I feel any better. I want to stress that I personally am not doing this to try and lose 19 lbs in a week. I still think that's a bunch of crap. But....I've got a lot of health issues. As I stated earlier, I have about 85% of the symptoms they listed. I am choosing to give these foods a try to see if I FEEL any better. They have a girl in this article that has hypothyroidism just like me. She's no longer on medicine due to these whole foods. I think it's worth giving it a shot, purely from the health side of it. If I lose weight a little quicker than I normally would, cool. If not, the speed of my weight loss is not my main concern. I set my monthly goal at 10 lbs/mo and I'll be happy with that (average of 2.5 lbs/wk). My main concern is to get as healthy as I can and take as little medicine as I absolutely have to.

Because I am quoting EXACTLY what the magazine says about this food plan that Jillian Michaels is endorsing, I am putting the entire section in quotations.

"Hormone Power Plan"

"Daily, enjoy at least 1/2 c. serving of berries (frozen is fine); three 1 c. servings of dark leafy greens (such as spinach, arugula and dandelion greens); two 1 c. servings of cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and bok choy); and five 1/2 c. servings of fruit and veggies that are orange, yellow, purple or red (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, purple olives, tomatoes and watermelon). Jillian also advises adding alliums (like garlic, onions, chives and shallots) to meals to help the liver detoxify endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
Also, consume protein that optimizes fat-burning hormones, including one to two daily servings of nuts, seeds or their butters (such as almonds, walnuts, sesame, flax and pumpkin - one serving is generally 1/4 cup nuts/seeds or 2 Tbsp. nut/seed butter); one to three 1/2 c. servings of legumes (like chickpeas and red and black beans); and three to five 4 oz. servings of eggs, lean meats and poultry (preferably organic, free-range options) and fatty fish (preferably wild-caught).

Healthy protein also includes one to three daily servings of dairy (preferably organic). 'I'm a fan of cultured dairy like yogurt, Greek yogurt, buttermilk and kefir', says Jillian. 'Their beneficial bacteria enhance digestion, making hormone-balancing and fat-burning nutrients more available to the body'.

To ensure these nutrients are readily absorbed, use about 2 Tbsp. of healthy oils (such as olive, avocado or flaxseed) to dress salads, stir into soups, saute veggies or grill meats. Finally, aim for three servings of fiber-rich whole grains (like oatmeal, brown rice, cous-cous and whole-wheat pasta) daily.

Smart Strategies that Speed Slimming

To keep metabolism high and return hormones to fat-melting levels, don't skip breakfast, eat every four hours, aiming for four or five mini-meals dialy. At each meal pair one carb serving with one protein serving to keep blood sugar even. And favor hormone-restoring drinks like water (at least 64 oz. daily) and green, white and herbal teas.

For the fastest results, limit soy, alcohol and caffeine, which throw hormones like estrogen and cortisol off balance. Avoid processed foods and beverages, like those with trans fat, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring and glutamates (such as MSG). (Processed foods that passed the Master Your Metabolism test include products from Arrowhead Mills, Amy's, Ezekiel 4:9, Health Valley Organic, Horizon Organic, Kashi, Nature's Path and Newman's Own."

The magazine goes on to explain that our environment and chemicals play a large part in throwing our hormones out of whack. They offered 3 tips to try to lessen these effects.

"Make a plastic wrap switch. The PVC in many plastic wraps can release hormone-disrupting phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA) into food. Glad Cling Wrap, Saran Premium Wrap and Saran Cling Plus don't contain PVC.

Buy eggs packages this way. The polystyrene (plastic #6) in eggs' foam packaging is known to cause endocrine imbalances. Instead, choose eggs packed in cardboard, which is much safer.

Switch drinking bottles. Hard-plastic bottles contain hormone-affecting ingredients like BPA (used to produce polycarbonate, or plastic #7). A better bet: stainless-steel bottles and kids' sippy cups (like Klean Kanteen, $10 and up, at amazon.com), which don't leach harmful ingredients into liquids."

Phew! That was a long one!! I'm looking forward to incorporating some of these whole foods into my healthy eating lifestyle. I'm going to take the rest of this week to do some research on the calories on some of these items that I'm not used to eating, come up with some recipes (I'm already thinking about making some chili w/ red kidney beans and turkey burger, as well as chicken burritos w/ whole wheat wraps, and pureeing some black beans to use in place of refried beans), and set up a meal plan that still keeps me at no more than 1550 calories a day. I can't endorse anything I have not yet tried myself, but I truly can't see a thing in the world wrong with all of us eating more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Since this post is so ENORMOUS, I won't list my food intake for today. I was sitting at 1554 calories when I sat down to write this post, then decided I needed my usual 2 cups of coffee that I drink when I'm posting (I forgot to save the calories for it tonight). I pondered the 836 calories I've burned on the treadmill this week, and decided I could afford an extra 60 calories tonight for coffee w/ creamer. So my total calorie intake for the day is 1614.

Knowledge is power. I hope you found this information useful in some way. Let's take control of our health!! :)

Quote For The Day:

"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow." -Doug Fircbaugh


  1. Thanks for posting all this information, Tammy. It was interesting to read. It sounds like I'm in the 10% of women who DON'T have a hormone imbalance problem (whew!), but that didn't surprise me too much since I've always been pretty good at keeping my weight in check.

    It's great that you're going to give this a try to see if it affects the way you feel at all. It's amazing how much a good diet can cure. Hopefully it will work well for you. :-)

  2. Very interesting post! I have struggled with my hormones for the last 18 years and totally agree with what it says.

    The diet sounds very nice and healthy and as luck would have it, is rather what I am doing now anyway, lol. I will incorporate some more of the foods and see if that helps.

    Hope you do well on this - good luck and thanks for posting all this!

  3. Happy to see you're still digging into healthier eating! I know you'll incorporate the good foods into your life and be well. I believe healthy eating will cure what's wrong with us.
    Love you, Mom O.

  4. Very good information, and some things to seriously consider along this journey. If we can tweak our foods a little here and some there, and eliminate some of these problems, wonderful!
    It's a pleasure to follow your success!


  5. Wow! That was really good, and worth the reading for sure. It just goes to show that good healthy eating, when combined with watching portions can result not only in weight loss, but in improved health!

    I know that for me, as I lost weight I felt better from being healthier in general, but also from eating healthier foods!

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into this and sharing this helpful information with the rest of us!!
    I took notes and also plan to incorporate a few more of these foods into my daily eating plan.