Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why HCLF (high carb low fat) did not work for me

Loni Jane Anthony pregnant and eating 10 bananas a day: She says "80:10:10 diet saved my life" - Raw Food Diet - Fruitarian - 30 Bananas a Day - 811 | Jennifer Thompson
 I remember how appealing it all was to me: endless eating of sweet fruits and not gaining a pound. Freelee the banana girl seems to do it, as she gulps down a ten banana smoothie for breakfast and is rocking her countless fruit-themed crop tops. It is anyone's dream right?

 After all, fruit is pretty damn good! Even Loni Jane eats two pineapples a day and has a very fitting figure for society's pressures. I tried to eat like them...and let me tell you, it didn't work nearly how I wanted it to.

While HCLF can seem like the perfect diet to let loose and eat whatever you please, it is not the case. HCLF puts high emphasis on banning fat and even puts a halo of fear around healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado. Let me tell you, FAT is a necessary macronutrient for life and wouldn't be a macro if it wasn't.

How it all went downhill for me:

The first three weeks went by easily for me on this new diet. One awesome thing I experienced was that my hair didn't ever end up feeling greasy or dirty as  quickly as it used to. I also never had to question eating excessive amounts, if Freelee did it, so could I! I would eat a whole cantaloupe for breakfast and then consider it fine to want to snack more before lunch. I felt temporarily freed by trying to restrict myself; I would end up eating a pint of strawberries for desert and then apples and bananas later at night as I craved satiety even more.

But around the time that I had been restricting fat for a month (down to less than 5 grams a day), my hair got extremely brittle and was thinning noticeably. No one in my family mentioned it, but I was getting increasingly worried when I would brush through my hair and end up always having to go to the trash can with loose hair that fell out.

Here is  a photo of me where I can scarily see how thin my hair was at my part. (Note the sunburn on my scalp ;P tsk tsk!) I was  visiting a dairy farm with my family, and of course refused to eat any ice cream because of the high fat content.

On this diet I was incredibly fatigued and felt like I couldn't even stand to make it through a food shopping trip without feeling like my limbs were 100lbs each. Not only that, but I did not get any leaner. During the course of overloading my body with fruits and carbohydrates, I did not shed any fat...but maybe some muscle. I guess it all goes to show that in terms of weight loss, a calorie is a calorie! So yes, even eating 3000 calories worth of fruit can lead to weight gain. Of course, you alone are worth so much more than the shape of your body. But, I think we all know feeling healthy and self confident effects too many aspects of our lives to forego.

The turning point for me was one night when I had just had two heaping bowls of my non-fat staples for dinner, then an apple shortly thereafter. Just after eating the huge portion of food that is so common to HCLF dieters, my stomach was loudly growling for MORE! Like freakishly loud...eek.
Despite the fat that maybe four cups of food was in my stomach, it still was growling and felt disturbingly hollow. At that point I realized, my body needed more than just carbs to function properly. I could not wait to wake up the next morning and turn a new leaf towards a diet of no unhealthy restrictions.

Because afterall...
Create Healthy Habits, Not Restrictions - Danielle Zeigler

I have been adding in more fat to my diet over the last few weeks and feel so much better. My hair is completely back to its normal self and I no longer feel the need to snack all day. Not only that, but I have a new  appreciation for how healthy fats help combat cravings. It simply tells me my body is getting what it wants (: