Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Healthy fats, losing weight, and making bean meals more filling

Hello, My name is Penny and I'm an overeater. I've always been one, even when I was a little kid. I was aptly nicknamed “Bottomless Pitt” because I would just eat and eat and eat and rarely ever be satiated.

I tried diets, I tried OA groups. Nothing helped, because I didn't want to just go hungry. Its very hard to have the self control to tell yourself “Stop eating!” when your stomach is still rumbling.
At my high point I weighed 195 pounds (at 5'9.5) and it was embarrassing. None of my clothes fit, I looked fat and I just felt heavy. All the diets I tried lasted no more than one day. Dieting on a tight budget is hard because my wallet doesn't allow me to buy whatever the diet book says. Because money is tight, I need to buy what is cheap, and that isn't always conducive to dieting.

I currently weigh 160 pounds and have a BMI in the normal range for the first time since I was 15. No, this won't be a post about the amazing diet I did and how you could do it too, because frankly, I hate those soppy types of posts about how “I did the Sarah Smithy diet and lost 150 pounds” or “I did 5000 sit ups and crunches and 2 hours on the treadmill daily and lost 60 pounds and 20 inches from my waist”. Who gives a darn if you starved yourself and survived on 500 calories a day or spent half your waking hours in the gym? That is definitely not realistic, not sustainable, and the average person would definitely not be able to do this “revolutionary weight loss scheme.” How I lost weight took no extra effort, was frugal, and left me satiated for pretty much the first time in my life.

The inspiration for this post was actually a comment on my blog “We tried having legume based meals but are never full if the meal isn't chicken or fish based.” I've discovered the way to make legume based meals more filling, with the added bonus of losing weight at the same time.

I had first read on Oceans of Joy's blogabout the effect fat has on your appetite. Bruce Fife, N.D. explains it better than I could on coconutresearchcenter.com's article.

”Research has shown that those who get an adequate amount of fat in their diets generally eat less than those to try to reduce fat intake. The less you eat the fewer calories you consume. Getting an adequate amount of fat in the diet is essential for effective and permanent weight loss. When people get hungry soon after a meal they tend to overeat at the next. One of the reasons why fat is necessary for successful weight loss is that it satisfies hunger, thus reducing appetite and lowering total food consumption. Fat slows down the emptying of the stomach so that you feel full longer. When you are less hungry during the day you will cut down on snacks and eat less at mealtime. As a result, you consume fewer calories. Even though fat contains more calories than either protein or carbohydrate, its effect on curbing appetite more than makes up for the extra calories it contains.”

This explained to me why I was always hungry. In trying to lose weight, I was cutting down on fat. Because of this, I could eat and eat and eat and eat non stop but never actually feel full. Since fat is what gives the “full” signal to the brain, by avoiding fat I was never feeling satiated and was just fressing to curb my hunger but it did not work.

On kellythekitchenkop.com I read that
"The notion that [healthy fats] cause weight gain is a sad misconception. The short and medium chain fatty acids in [healthy fats] are not stored in the adipose tissue, but are used for quick energy. Fat tissue in humans is composed mainly of longer chain fatty acids.

Bruce Fife said the same thing, in other words:

"The body uses [healthy fats] as an immediate source of fuel rather than pack them away in storage inside our fat cells. [Healthy fats] are used to produce energy much like carbohydrates and, therefore, they do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats. For this reason, they do not supply fat to fat cells or contribute to weight gain.

The Shangri La Diet (a diet in which participants had a spoonful of olive oil daily) and a study in the Journal of Nutrition both discovered that "diets containing [healthy fats] result in an increase in energy, a rise in metabolism, increase burning of calories, decrease in food consumption, lower body fat mass, and reduce body weight.”
Reading this information and similar information all over the web convinced me to try to incorporate more healthy fats into my diet. Healthy fats are not so cheap on a frugal diet. Olive oil is a rare treat for us as it is 10 dollars for a small bottle locally. I read that the cheapest of the healthy fats are nuts and seeds. Nuts can be cheap. Whole grain sesame seeds, peanuts and sunflower seeds are the cheapest healthy fats.
Ever since reading that information about healthy fats 2 months ago, I've been trying to add more fats into my eating. I add sesame, either in seeds or in paste to many dishes, add sunflower seeds and add peanuts and peanut butter to many foods. Avocado is a new staple in our house.
In those 2 months since I've been adding fat to my diet, I've become less fat. Two months ago I was 175 pounds. Now I weigh 160. Not by dieting. Not by cutting out fat. But by adding healthy fats. (This is not merely because of being 4 months post partum and nursing. After my older son was born, I did not lose a single pound while nursing. In fact, before becoming pregnant with my first, one week after giving birth to my first, up until I got pregnant with my second, and one week after I gave birth to my second I weighed 175 pounds. I thought 175 was the weight my body wanted to be at. I couldn't get it to budge from that no matter how hard I tried. Even while nursing my older son for 19 months I did not drop a single pound.)
The added bonus is that I am no longer an overeater. 2 months ago my breakfast would consist of a full bowl of oatmeal, an apple, some milk at 8 am and I'd be hungry again 2 hours later and end up snacking. Now my breakfast consists of less than half a bowl of oatmeal and a large dollop of peanut butter and it satiates me enough that I have no interest in snacking and am barely even hungry come lunch time.
To top it all off, I don't think I've looked this great ever in my life. I look great, feel great, and fit into my old clothing (even though I still have a belly pouch from being pregnant 2 times . If even with my belly I fit into smaller clothes than I have in years, I can just imagine how my skirt size would shrink if I actually got down to it and started working on some abdominal toning like my physical therapist mother told me to do).

What's the way to make a legume meal more filling? Add some healthy fats to the meal. Add some avocado, nuts or sesame seeds or whichever other healthy fats you like.

Has anyone ever experienced losing weight by adding fat to their diet? Anyone read the book “Eat fat, lose fat? Is it a worthwhile read?

This post is part of Real Foods Wednesday and Fight Back Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! Maybe this explains why I've lost so much weight even though I eat more than I ever have (currently nursing a baby still)


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