This is me being honest...

I'm going to warn you right now...this is my longest blog post thus far! But it's worth the read, trust me. I want to share my early review of a metabolism healing eating plan that I already highly recommend. Near the end (after all the pictures of delicious food...the other reason this post is so long!), I share openly about the last couple years of my wellness journey. It is both difficult to be this transparent, but also freeing. I hope it helps someone out there who may be struggling in some of the same ways.

I, by no means with this blog, wish to tell others that they MUST follow my way of eating. That is your choice and your's alone. I am simply sharing my journey and findings with you. My goal has been, and continues to be this: to help motivate, encourage and make life easier for those who must follow a specific nutritional lifestyle due to Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Diabetes and food allergies as well as for those who are simply wanting to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle in the most natural way possible. I always try to promote clean eating, less processed foods and I provide the alternative ingredients to do just that! 

I have been following the Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD) by nutritionist Haylie Pomroy now for a week and a half and I am amazed at how great I already feel! The purpose of this diet is to heal your metabolism and allow your body to utilize food in the best way possible so it fuels you for activity, burns fat and gives you a healthy vibrant appearance as well because your body begins to work as it should at it's optimal level. When our metabolism is slow (due to age, too much dieting through the years, restrictive diets, health issues etc.) even healthy food can be metabolized as fat in the body! Not cool! Therefore, repairing the metabolism is necessary and along comes Haylie to show us how. Yes, you will lose weight if you follow the FMD, but the main goal is to repair your body WITH food so you can live a life full of health and energy! The diet consists of 3 Phases that you rotate through each week, basically keeping your body guessing, nourishing it with good-for-you foods in a specific pattern and jump starting it out of starvation mode.

I had sort-of been keeping it a secret that I was following this eating plan just because I didn't want to make a big deal about it, but because of the results I have already experienced, I felt compelled to write about it so others can begin to benefit from it as well. I openly admit that I am only following the FMD about 98%* because life happens and there's nothing I can do about that (more on that breakthrough in the following paragraph). Honestly, at first I thought I would feel very restricted in my food choices even though everything laid out in the eating plan are things I already eat on a regular basis. I can get very stressed out and worried about the food I am eating and that isn't healthy either! Haylie even says in her book that stress contributes to weight gain and slow metabolism, but I knew this already and yet will still stress over food (maybe you don't have this problem, but I do!). I DON'T like this about myself...I want to enjoy my time with my husband and boys without worrying about what I'm eating...

A strange and wonderful thing has happened to me since I started to repair my metabolism...I am enjoying food again and eating lots of it! It is not my enemy and it HELPS me to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight! My mindset has changed and it is so refreshing. Of course, like anything in life, I have to set my mind on a daily (if not more frequent) basis and remind myself that good, healthy and clean food is meant to be enjoyed, not feared! Yes, I am steering clear of sweet treats for the 28 days because I do believe that my metabolism needs to be repaired, but if I do happen to give in to one little thing (like my yummy clean-eating Granola Bars or allergen-free Chocolate Chip Cookies!) I don't freak out about it...I enjoy it guilt-free and get back on track, something I haven't been allowing myself to do for the last several months and it feels so good. I find that because I am satisfied, am eating large portions and not counting calories, I am free to just eat, enjoy and move freeing! It's important to have a good relationship with food.

*Please be aware that if you are someone who is following the FMD to lose a significant amount of weight, you should be more vigilant than I about eating ONLY what is allowed in the 3 different phases of the diet. My goal in following this plan is to have more energy (I already do, it's amazing!), lose a few pounds to get back to my "happy weight," tone up and get to a good fitness level. I have lost 5 pounds to this point and I've done it by eating...A LOT! How crazy is that?
I'm not going to lie to you though, it has been tough. If you're responsible for feeding a family you have to adjust for their meals as well which can take some extra work. For our family, it usually just means I make a meal for everyone and just eliminate certain ingredients from my plate alone. It does require thought, creativity and some time and preparation. But the extra work is so worth it! Following this "metabolism repair" food plan is a delicious journey that I encourage you to try! You may feel deprived at first, but there are resources to help including a FMD cookbook and an App that I have on my phone. It takes all the guess work out of planning your day which, in turn, takes that stress element out of it.

Does this look like a meal of someone depriving themself?

Not at all! Right? This is a meal I had for Phase 1 of the FMD and it was delicious!
Homemade Hamburger loaded with veggies, served with fresh steamed veggies and wild rice. Yum!
Here is my video with the Hamburger recipe. {To make it FMD appropriate, just eliminate the egg (you don't need it anyway) and don't top with the cheese.} Wrap it in some romaine lettuce (it's quite durable) and throw in as many veggies as you want!

Every day has been a little bit of a battle with my mind...I would think I would never get through the day and then when I saw results in the morning after I had stuck with it the day before I was motivated to continue. And it is now getting easier...I am really enjoying getting fit and losing weight "the right way" and in a way that will continue well after I have gone back to a more "normal" diet. I am excited to take the principles of the FMD with me when, after the 28 days, I begin to incorporate other foods back into the equation. The long term results are what keep me motivated! I hope to contribute to the success of others by posting healthy recipes that can be incorporated into the program. Some of them only need a little tweak to make them work!

Have a look below at some of the yummy meals I have created in the past week and then have a look around my site. If there is a recipe you like and want to know how to incorporate it into the FMD diet, just contact me and ask! Read on below for an honest account of the last few years of my fitness journey.

Breakfast Phase 3
Omelet with green onions & spinach, steel cut oats with cinnamon and peaches.

Dinner (or Lunch) Phase 1 or 3 (Eliminate rice for Phase 2)
Lettuce Wraps - Ground Turkey (or chicken or beef) with onions and mushrooms on Romain Lettuce
Recipe to come on my YouTube Channel!

Lunch Phase 2
Tuna Salad - I had to use a serving bowl due to so many veggies!

Snack Phase 3
Homemade almond butter with fresh veggies!

(Make sure to use RAW almonds!)

Dinner Phase 1 or 3 (Just eliminate the carrots & rice for Phase 2)
Beef Roast with Garlic, celery and carrots (This was my husband's plate...mine did not include the potatoes)

Dinner Phase 1, 2 & 3! (Strawberries only for Phase 1, Lentil & Rice Stir Fry only in Phase 3 with Coconut Oil)
Herb Encrusted Chicken Breast

Breakfast Phase 1 or 3
Steel Cut Oats with Raspberries & Cinnamon
I have prepared mine in a pot following the package directions, but you can also make them in the crockpot!

Dinner Phase 1 or 3 (Remove carrots & salsa for Phase 2)
Beef Strips served with Apple Cider Vinegar Roasted Veggies & Brown Rice Noodles

My Favorite! Dinner Phase 3
Lentil Bread with poached egg, avocado & salsa - delicious!

This Lentil Pancake Bread is so versatile! I contacted Haylie's team to find out if it was FMD approved and received a quick response that if the honey is eliminated then it is Phase 3 approved! (one "slice" with one egg and 1/4 avocado) Check out the video and incorporate this into your meal plan!

Feel free to comment on how cute my boys are, I don't mind. :-)
Now, on to the "honesty" part of this post...

Me at almost my lowest weight
Back a couple years ago I lost a decent amount of weight (25 pounds) and I did it, along with cousin Julie (pictured below), by eating well, exercising and counting calories. "Calories in, calories out is the key to weight loss" is what I had been hearing over and over and it seemed to be working! Once you start to lose weight and you're feeling good and looking great in clothes, it motivates you to do more...sometimes more is too much.

I achieved a healthy weight, but I continued with my regular diet and exercise plan because it almost became an addiction. I was working out almost every day in some form and not taking in enough food for my activity level. At my lowest weight people, including my husband who has always loved me no matter what, started telling me I was too skinny, but if you've ever been in that situation you know that's the last thing you want to hear and I quickly became very defensive about it. I was succeeding in my goals (as twisted and wrong as they may have been) and that's all that mattered! I was very wrong.

One of my less severe Raynaud's attacks
All of a sudden, I was hit hard with severe fatigue...I couldn't work out at all the way I had been and I slept all the time. I felt horrible and started to get really down on myself because this active lifestyle I had become accustomed to came to a screeching halt and this also took me away from spending time with my family. I would wait till the boys were safely home from school and then go up at 4:30 and sleep till the next morning! I had been to see a Rheumatologist to assess my Raynaud's Disease and she sent me for loads of blood tests to try and determine if there was anything else underlying as sometimes it can be a symptom of something much greater.

All my tests came back normal except for my hemoglobin levels...I had severe anemia. That explained the fatigue for sure and even some of my other symptoms. I was then referred to a GI doctor to determine why I wasn't absorbing iron and I went through all the testing for Celiac disease. Of course, at that point I wasn't eating much bread other than what I made here at home and I was already making everything from scratch so any testing was probably a lost cause. And the fact that I was eating SO MUCH iron-rich foods (spinach, broccoli etc.) along with Vitamin C-rich foods (strawberries, pinapple, citrus fruits etc.) which encourage the absorption of that iron was very confusing to both myself and the doctors. But, I realize now the reason for this goes back to what Haylie was saying...that if our metabolism is off then even the healthiest of foods will not be interpreted as such in an unhealthy body.

My tests came back negative for Celiac and I was told I just needed to take iron pills and get tested again in a few months. Which I did...I had my blood tested and was within normal ranges at that point so I was basically sent on my way and told to continue with iron pills. (not fun!) I have since discovered much to convince me of a Gluten-intolerance spectrum and I wholeheartedly believe that I am on that spectrum due to the way my body reacts to gluten-containing foods.

I was still eating well, taking my iron pills and trying to exercise on a smaller scale, but the fatigue was still there and the motivation was not. I had already begun to gain weight back due to the lack of activity and in turn was getting a bit depressed which contributes to inactivity and the cycle continued, spiraling downward. I had gained back almost everything I had lost and my body had lost all it's toning as well. I tried to put on a happy face, but inside I was pretty sad. Of course everyone told me I looked great, but we know how we feel in our own clothes (hello "muffin top" I had not missed you!). :) My motivation went out the window and I was frustrated on a daily basis that I suddenly had no control over how I felt, what I did and what I put in my mouth. It didn't help that all this occurred during the winter months so exercising outside (with Raynaud's) just wasn't much of an option. We were given a treadmill and I actually used it! But it still hasn't been enough to get me out of my slump.

I began to research the connection between Raynaud's Disease and gluten intolerance and I found amazing amounts of information which led me to eliminate gluten from my diet to see if it made a difference. It definitely did...I still have attacks when the temperature is below 65° (18° C) or when I handle cold food, but the attacks aren't nearly as bad as they were and I can usually alleviate the symptoms more quickly than before. My bloating/upset stomach issues were also alleviated. I have eaten gluten-containing foods since and have experienced the almost immediate (sometimes 24 hours later) reactions and therefore see no reason to knowingly put this into my body no matter how good something looks or smells.

We eat so many apples it's crazy!
I have been gluten-free for about 4 months now and I wouldn't turn back! I had to go through the normal process of just substituting GF items for gluten-containing items and actually gaining weight because of it (e.g. rice noodles in place of whole wheat), to returning to my cleaner way of eating which incorporates healthy and nutrient-rich carbs  (fresh greens, wild rice & oatmeal). My energy has been better because of this switch, however it still seemed like my body needed a pick-me-up and the FMD came along right at that time! I can't tell you how healthy and stress-free I feel right now knowing what I should put in my body and when. It's exciting when things start clicking and moving in the right direction! No more counting calories for more reduced calorie diets...just good, clean food in large amounts! I have also gotten back to working out a couple times a week with my usual workout buddies and that helps so much. So not only am I eating in a way that fuels my body well, I'm also doing several different types of workouts that are helping me tone up again (good riddance muffin top!).

Being able to share my recipes with people has been a great outlet for me and motivation to practice what I preach! Everyone I have spoken to has let me know how encouraged they have been and how it has helped them in planning and preparing meals for their families. I want you all to know that you have been a great encouragement to me as well!

Since I have been on this blogging/vlogging adventure I have pin-pointed and now KNOW what foods make my body feel good (fresh, healthy, clean, gluten-free and almost 100% dairy-free) and what foods I need to avoid because they react badly in my system. This is what I know for me and no one else, but I encourage you to find out for yourself what makes your body run at it's best. I can't enjoy my family and have the energy I need if I ignore what I now understand. So, I am at a point where I feel comfortable saying no to foods that will make me ill and saying YES to enjoying life, enjoying the family with which I have been blessed and hopefully encouraging you to do the same. I will no longer allow worries about food to dictate enjoying get-togethers with family and friends. My relationship with them is much more important and now I believe I can have the best of both worlds.

Loving every day I get with my precious boys!

Stay tuned as I will continue to post pictures on Instagram of the meals I prepare and videos will be posted containing recipes for all this yumminess on my YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to my channel so you don't miss anything and follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

If you would like to look more into the Fast Metabolism Diet here's a quick overview:

I'll be back to share my results after the 28 days of the FMD! Feel free to share your own story and pictures on my Facebook page to encourage each other!

Treat yourself well!