Monday, July 11, 2011

The Shawna Diet

Another key aspect of Shawna Kaminski's 21 Day Rapid Fat Loss program is . . . The Diet. An integral part of the program is a 21-day diet which details exactly what you should eat, morning, noon and night. And mid-morning and mid-afternoon, since two daily snacks are included.

The food is all very healthy and simple and you truly never feel hungry. It isn't really a weight loss diet, but is specifically about FAT loss, so each day you consume anywhere between 1400-1600 calories. The idea is to consume the right calories to help you get strong, increase energy and feed the muscles you are building in the workouts. A typical day will have you eating eggs, chicken or turkey breast and perhaps some salmon. These proteins are always combined with fresh veggies and some carbohydrates.

My experience in following the diet has been somewhat like riding an emotional roller-coaster. Since weight loss has never been a goal of mine, I had never actually seen this kind of prescribed diet. Being gluten and lactose intolerant, I have a different diet (in the sense of what I eat) from the rest of my family (it sometimes feels different from the rest of all humanity!). But I've never had a sheet of paper that outlined exactly how much of which type of food I had to eat at what time each day. 

The first week was exhilarating! It seemed like a fun game to check my list and see what foods were coming up next. I noticed immediate physical results. I dropped a kilo (2.2 pounds) in no time at all and become much more, how can I say this delicately . . . much more regular! The food was delicious and I was loving it.

Around about the middle of Week Two I sort of realised that there was no sugar in this diet. Huh. I really started craving chocolate! And then I realised there was no alcohol either, perhaps because it's kind of like liquid sugar. There wasn't even any fruit juice. This was a difficult phase in which the fun started to wear off and I started fantasizing about chocolate cake and mojitos. I didn't break down and eat a cake - though I know how to make some killer gluten/lactose free chocolate cakes - but I did, upon Shawna's recommendation, eat a small square of dark chocolate. It was good, but not great, not perfect, not as rewarding as I thought it was going to be. 

. . . sigh . . .

Each week you get one "Sweet Treat" day. This is one day in the week when you are allowed to eat a normal meal, something you would have eaten normally before going on the diet. This day serves to give you a mental break from following a rigid food plan, and is something to look forward to. It also helps keep your leptin levels high. Leptin is a hormone that helps you feel full and satisfied. Strict dieting can lower these levels, thus lowering your metabolism. Not good since this whole exercise/diet regime is aimed at kick-starting your metabolism. But, apparently one higher calorie meal is all it takes to get the leptin back up where it should be.

I am near the end of Week Three now. This week I realised that there was no rice in this diet. I don't know, maybe I'm a little slow on the draw, but it just hadn't occured to me before. I used to eat rice just about every day, as a substitute for the ever-present pasta on the Italian menu. But rice is rather high on the glycemic index - a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise your blood sugar (or glucose) level. The presence of glucose in the bloodstream usually triggers the production of insulin, a hormone that helps glucose get into cells where it can be used for energy. This process is vital to fueling the body. However, too much insulin secretion over long periods of time can cause problems with high cholesterol and obesity.

Where's the rice?

I feel like I am learning so much about the science of eating. Before starting this diet I thought that I ate just about as healthy a diet as could be possible, no gluten and no lactose means very few prepackaged foods work for me and junk food is out of the picture. But being a very resourceful sugar addict, I have ferreted out a lot of baked treats that I can make with alternative flours. I didn't realise how much sugar I was consuming a day and how many of the "healthy" foods I was eating were actually working against me feeling and looking my best.

Shawna says "you can not out train poor nutrition." Before starting this diet I was trying to do just that. I thought that if I worked out at the gym, I could then eat all the sugar and fats I wanted to. This diet has really opened my eyes.

Coming soon . . . was it worth it? 


Mama Up! said...

It's funny, as much as following a diet like that can feel like deprivation (mentally), physically, eating that way makes me feel GREAT. In the short term, gimme the cake and the fried foods and the rice. But if I want to feel good when I wake up in the morning until I lay down at night, veggies and lean protein will do it every time.

Saretta said...

So true! But I still miss the chocolate cake. ;-)

The Blonde Duck said...

Do they have fruit on the diet?

Lesley said...

I'm interested to see if you thought it was worth it....I think it is something I'm wanting to try.....I'm trying so hard to do it by working out and trying to eat better in my way...which still means sneaking in snacks....a lot.....thanks so much for stopping by!

little luxury list said...

Thanks - this was a really informative post (and ironically I was just reading another blogger's homemade ice cream recipe).

I am really starting to become aware of all my food choices now - is it nutritious, does it really add value besides tasting good (mmm pizza). It is a process though and I can imagine it'd be hard not to have any rice or fruit for weeks. Can't wait to hear the results!


Chic 'n Cheap Living

Saretta said...

Blonde Duck - yes, there is fruit every day!

Lesley - yeah, I think I was snacking myself out of a healthy diet. Working with a trainer has really helped me get on track!

Chic 'n Cheap - glad you liked it! There is fruit in this diet, every day, just no fruit juice.

shopgirl said...

Sara, this was well written and quite interesting to read since you know I have no interest in eating healthy foods or exercising, but this post gives me food for thought. I didn't know that thing about rice being high on the glycemic's a good thing I don't eat it as often as I used to when living in Canada. However, I really would like to stop eating so much pasta...any recommendations?

Hope you had a great weekened! This heat is killing me, I keep on moving the fan around the house like a domestic animal.