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A lifetime of dieting…
Hello! And welcome to my site. My name is Shani (with a long A, like shay-nee), and it's nice to have you here!
I am no stranger to dieting as I have been clinically obese since puberty. I was very shy and insecure, and once I started blossoming, all the extra attention was disconcerting, so gaining weight somehow mitigated that. I ate the typical standard American diet (SAD), along with the readily available junk food of chips and cookies. Back then, no one really knew what healthy eating was, and I did eat according to SAD. I switched to wheat bread, skim milk, diet soda, brown rice, low fat/no fat cookies and snacks. I saw a nutritionist/dietitian who showed me plastic food models demonstrating portion sizes; I hated going to see her because she made me feel like a failure, and nagged that I wasn’t trying hard enough, and that I was lying to her about making the changes she recommended. Needless to say, I remained overweight throughout my high school years.
When I got to college. I lost a ton of weight because I became more active. We had a physical education requirement, so I took a class every single quarter (even when I fulfilled the credit requirement). My eating habits didn’t change, I still loved cookies and ice cream, but a lot of what I ate was mitigated by age and activity level (walking all over campus as well as up and down 2-4 flights of stairs several times a day). I gained a lot of confidence with being at the college I chose, as well as with the weight loss.
Naturally, I gained weight after college when I started working because the activity levels dropped, and I’m sure the increase in stress and getting older didn’t help either, along with a (probably) messed up metabolism. I thought I was eating healthy by swapping out for whole grains, brown rice and oats, fiber bars, getting extra salad; yet, the pounds still packed on. I split my lunches into two, and would eat the leftover half for dinner. Saving money and smaller portions! Winning, right? Yet, still gaining weight.
As far as diets go, I have been on phentermine (just for a month), MediFast, garcinia cambogia, Alli, Nutrisystem (twice), chia water. For a good 20 years, I have been fat phobic as well as a tiny portion eater. On my second attempt at Nutrisystem, it worked for me, and I lost 50 pounds! I learned to love vegetables, and weigh and portion my food. But after Nutrisystem, I wanted to have real food, and to start cooking and baking again. I didn’t really have a plan to transition off, and ended up gaining back about 20 pounds between the holiday food and binging between October and December of 2017. I was set upon transitioning to the ketogenic diet as my new lifestyle as a few friends have had great success with it; after all, who doesn’t love cheese and cheese and bread made of cheese? So, I decided to enjoy my holidays along with cookies, breads, and all the delicious carbs before they became off limits.
Around this same time, I joined Instagram, and started following a whole bunch of dog, cat and celebrity profiles. One lady, Danielle Panabaker (aka Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost on the CW’s The Flash) was posting some delicious food called “Whole30”. So, I started following the official Whole30 pages for recipe ideas (most recipes were keto friendly as well). What sparked my interest was a post for the brand new Whole30 coach program, and some commenter was giving the company grief about monetizing the program, and the co-founder, Melissa Hartwig Urban, stepped in to defend that decision. I thought it was amazing that a CEO was active on Instagram, as well as have the time to read and respond to comments. Whole30 is a dietary reset where you eliminate the majority of inflammation triggers. I am a big believer in reducing systemic inflammation, which is a silent stress that most of us aren’t aware of. I thought the Whole30 would be perfect for my transition into keto!
I started my first Whole30 on January 5, 2018, enlisting the help of a Whole30 coach, Sarah Rentfro, aka the Purse Whisperer. I’m not going to lie, the Whole30 was hard and a lot of work, but it went with how I wanted to eat - whole, real foods, with lots of vegetables and color. The Whole30 involved lots of label reading, lots of getting creative, lots of energy poured into being conscious about what I chose to put into my body. I felt amazing on Whole30, I had energy, I wasn’t hungry, I felt in control of my cravings. I was cooking a lot, and it was very overwhelming at first, but I found my groove after the first couple of weeks. I did the reintroduction over 10 days, and learned that while I’m not lactose intolerant, dairy gives me skin issues (pimples, eczema), so now I had to rethink my keto way of living (bye bye cheese and cream cheese - insert sad face). Legumes also make me generally itchy and grumpy, non-gluten grains make me bloat like a blimp, and feel “off”. Gluten makes my stomach and joints hurt, as well as bloat, and overall feel unwell. Wow. I learned all that from just 40 days, versus learning nothing over 40 years from other diets. I am forever grateful to these three ladies for bringing me a new, and sustainable way of eating (rather than “dieting”) along with a healthier relationship with food and myself. I am sad as a Japanese-American who grew up with rice and soy products to have to "give them up", but really, I'm not. I simply choose when I want to have them, knowing how my body will react to them, and dealing with the skin issues for at least a week after.
So, after all this self-discovery, I decided that I am probably better off doing a paleo diet than a keto diet. Yes, I realize you can do a dairy free keto, but I am not going to live under 20 grams of carbs per day because of all the vegetables I eat. I still want to lose weight, so I am pushing the lower end of the carb spectrum on my paleo/Whole30 eating style, but I am having fun finding and creating new recipes, looking for affordable dairy free options, incorporating new vegetables, finding healthy snacks.
My goals now are to lose weight to be healthier, stronger and happier, rather than to just be skinny to look better. I welcome you along on my journey. I am not perfect, but I am trying to be the best me ever.
As of December 2018, I am now a Whole30 Certified Coach! I’m still getting things setup, so I’ll let you know when my first group is ready for enrollment!