A personal account of energizing weight loss using coconut oil and natural, fiber-rich foods.
by Eric Armstrong6 months ago: A good 29 lbs. overweight. I won't admit to 30, because that would be just too horrible. Maintaing a good weight seems to get harder with each passing year. Made a commitment to lose the excess this year.
4 weeks ago: Still at least 26 lbs. over my ideal weight. Great. Six months into the year, and I've lost all of 3 lbs. I've been trying to eat healthy, but late at night I am just ravenous for cookies and the like. Have some time off from work, too, so I've stopped having coffee or tea. Energy isn't great. I'm getting headaches, and I'm only good for a few hours after I wake up. Then I need to go back to sleep. When my body grows cold, that's the signal. (It's been like that for way too long.) Read Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book, Eat to Live. It was wonderfully persuasive about the health aspects of fiber-rich foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and especially green salads. Decided to try it.
2 weeks ago: Lost a good 7 lbs. Oddly, most of all it was on a couple of nights! I lost a pound or two when I switched to the diet, eliminating meats and cookies at such. The weight loss occurred after a couple of intense workouts. I was dying during those workouts. No energy in my muscles at at all. Felt as though I had been fasting for a couple of weeks. Energy wasn't much better during the day. Only energetic for a couple of hours after I got up. Lost some weight, anyway, but things stabilized after a week -- partly because I got back on the nightly cookie habit. Couldn't seem to help myself. So all the results came the first week. Nothing much changed the second week. Didn't exercise either, which didn't help. Just didn't have the energy. Found out about coconut oil and started using it. Fife calls it the "Coconut Diet". Worth a try.
1 week ago: I've been taking coconut oil with my herbal coffee for a week now. Weight hasn't changed a bit, but energy levels are much higher. I can get up and be productive for 8 hours in a row. I can focus and concentrate better than I have in years. It helps that I'm writing my book -- the thoughts keep coming, and that keeps me writing. I've been wanting to do that for quite a while -- but now energy is meeting desire, with great results.
The two brands I like best so far -- Roma and Pero Extra (Dark Roast) -- are based on roasted malt barley and chicory. (If you never drank coffee, you may not like them. They have the stronger flavor and somewhat bitter taste the coffee drinkers get used to.) I haven't tried all the brands yet. I still have some experimenting to do. I use a mug with a rounded tablespoon of herbal coffee and a tablespoon or so of coconut oil. (Depending on the temperature, it's either a fat (coconut butter) or an oil. I use a tablespoon of coconut butter, a tablespoon or two of coconut oil.)
5 days ago: Sometimes I make an entire meal out of an apple and several handfulls of nuts. The apple by itself isn't filling. But the nuts make it a really satisfying meal. If I'm not having nuts, I usually have some olives. The secret seems to be good quality fats and natural fiber. So a good meal is any combination of fruits, vegetables, or salad with nuts, coconut oil, or olives. Those meals are totally satsifying and energizing.. I have a turkey sandwich or a sardine sandwich from time to time, too.
A variety of salted, roasted nuts, plus raisins and large coconut flakes. Some writers don't like roasted nuts, but I seem to digest them better than the raw variety, and get more out of them. I know the fatty acids aren't harmed by the heat, because they're bound to proteins in the nuts. And I've heard of studies that say people who eat nuts (of whatever kind) eat fewer snacks and have lower weight. One of the interesting nuts in this particular mixture is chili-soaked pistachios I found at the Natural Foods store. The chilli could be revving up the metabolism too, like kimchi. (See What Makes Kimchi So Healthy?)
3 days ago: Energy levels have been through the roof. Sleeping a few hours at a time, and working like mad in between. Something Fife wrote in Eat Fat, Get Thin was interesting: "Food cravings come from lack of minerals...Sea salt has minerals...Refined salt doesn't...So when you want something sweet, have some sea salt instead." I don't know whether there is any real connection between cravings and minerals, but adding sea salt to my diet sure seems to have increased my energy. I put some sea salt in my palm and lick it up, have my coconut herbal coffee with a handful of nut mixture, and I feel wired. Who needs caffeine? The sea salt definitely makes the blood pressure go up, so it's not for everyone. It sure is working for me, though. I haven't felt that cold sensation for a while, either. I sleep from 4 to 7 in the morning, then 6-10 in the evening. The schedule has made it impossible to get to my martial arts workouts, so I haven't lost any weight, but I'm sure getting a lot of work done!
2 days ago: At this point, I've pretty well eliminated all forms of sugar. Even honey. It wasn't hard. I don't seem to miss it at all. Mostly, it happened on its own. The last step was to eliminate even natural sweeteners that would kick start the sugar habit, like honey. (After I've been off it for a while, I'll try some honey and see what happens. It should be ok as a treat now and then.) The coconut oil and sea salt give me a world of energy. And I'm not suddenly starving a few hours after I eat. I get a bit tired after a while, but I can keep going without eatting until I really want to eat. Sometimes I'm so interested in doing other things that it's hours after I get hungry before I eat. Haven't done that since I was kid. Too cool. Finally got to a good marital arts workout. Was I ever energetic! I had lots of spring in my legs. That's a big difference from the fiber-only diet. Lost a total of two pounds, after I drank back the water I sweated out. A pound of that came back after a day or so. Still, I loss one pound for one workout. Not bad.
Yesterday and Today: I'm finding I want vegetables more than fruit these days. I have a real yearning for fiber-rich foods. It's like when I was running regularly, but it's only taken a couple of weeks to get to this point instead of a couple of months. I find that I'm recovering faster from a strenuous workout, too. Not quite quickly enough -- I'm still more tired than I'd like to be. But for only two weeks, the difference is amazing. Other than my herbal coconut coffee, the only thing I had to eat yesterday was a turkey sandwich at noon. Got to the driving range for a couple of hours, and had a light, inspiring martial arts workout. Very energetic, again. Also very flexible. I've taken to putting on some relaxing music and doing a bit of Yoga late at night when my eyes are too tired to work but my body isn't read for sleep. Mostly, it was for something to do instead of turning on the TV. But it has made a big difference, even though I don't come close to doing a full pose. At first, I was doing it when I got up. Even though I was extremely stiff at that time of day, it made me more flexible later on. But my favorite time is late at night. After the workout, I had some grapes. When I got home, I had some some nuts, garlic olives and a Healthy Mary. Great drink, that is.
Organic tomato-based vegetable juice, a pinch of sea salt, and a tablespoon of ground flax seed for omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Often includes a free range raw egg. (It's not a good idea to eat raw egg unless it's from a free-range chicken. Levels of salmonella and other bacteria are just way to high in the commercial variety.) Chew slightly to further crush the seeds and release the oils.
Today: Didn't go to sleep until 4 am. Got up up about 7:30 with thoughts in my head, and spent the morning writing. I kept intending to go get something to eat, but there were too many good ideas to write up. Finally had lunch about 2:00. So I had one turkey sandwich and a light snack since early yesterday. Wow. Weighed myself before I ate. I'm 15 lbs lighter than I was at the start of the year. I'll gain a pound back tomorrow, but I'm halfway to my goal! Wow. Had a turkey sandwich, sea salt, and some herbal coconut coffee for lunch, and went back to writing. It's 5:30 now. Time to take a break and get some fresh air. Having the energy is the really big thing. It's not like I'm fully wired all the time, either -- sometimes my eyes are pretty tired. But it only takes a little push to go on, not a major effort.
Conclusion: Quality Fat, Natural Fiber Foods, and Sea Salt definitely seem to be the keys to making things happen. Herbal coconut coffee is the key energizer, along with a lick of sea salt at meals. A meal can be any combination of fruits, vegetables, or salad with nuts, coconut oil, or olives. Fish, eggs, and turkey work for me, too, with the occasional chicken or beef (generally in soup). Weight is stable between exercises, but drops after exercise. A little comes back after the initial drop, but not as much as was lost. So far, the equation works out to: one workout = one pound, where the average workout consists of half an hour of stretching and an hour of activity. And I'm not as exhausted the next day as I used to be. So weight stays stable or goes down, depending on exercise. Meanwhile, energy stays stable or goes up. Life is good. I'm energetic, active, and satisfied enough between meals to delay eating now and then.
Epilogue: Several weeks after finishing the all-salad diet, my nails were very strong -- for almost exactly two weeks, the length of time I had been on the salad diet. Within weeks of starting that diet, the production of ear wax had dwindled to virtually nothing, as well. Unfortunately, my energy levels were pretty near zero, so it wasn't sustainable. But it seems clear that at least one meal a day should consist of a humungous, all-you-can-eat vegetable, fruit, and nut salad with plenty of leafy greens.
I was at a restaurant the other day and had an incredible feast. One of the appetizers was tomatoes on brushetta bread, which was superb. The other was olives heated with a slice of orange and spices. I've never seen heated olives before. They wer fantastic. The heat separated them from the pit, so they were easy to eat. And tasty? My my my. Then I had a large organic green salad with wild salmon. Simply super. The other course was small plate of nuts and fruit -- some almonds, hazelnuts, and a few cherries. That wasn't very impressive. But by then, I couldn't eat anything else anyway -- my stomach didn't feel full, but I was feeling totally satisfied! So "quality fats" (olives, nuts, coconut oil, fish) and greens (vegetables, fruits, salads) definitely seems to be the ticket for losing weight without feeling deprived.
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