Updated: Apr 15, 2020
The scale won’t budge, I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I eat healthy plant-based meals, work out yet I can’t seem to lose weight! I think I am doing all the right things yet I am tired, stressed and confused about what I should be eating! Everyday feels like a bit of a blur - working out, running to my high-stress job, eating what I think is "healthy", weighing myself to find that I haven't lost any weight, finally crashing onto my pillow, only to find myself wide awake, my mind spinning like a hamster wheel…and doing it all over again the next day!
This is the story of Pam, a vibrant 27 year old professional and passionate entrepreneur who lost 20 pounds without dieting and learned to increase her energy levels with easy, plant-based meals. HOW? Read on!!
Main goals: sustainable weight loss without extreme dieting, improve exercise recovery, increase energy, learn to eat balanced plant-based meals
Symptoms: feels tired in morning and after working out, difficulty losing weight despite exercise and “healthy diet”, high stress, trouble falling asleep
My Assessment: food diary reveals insufficient calorie intake, liver, blood sugar and endocrine system imbalance
What she has tried already
Has been working with a Naturopath and taking supplements to support her health
After we go through Pam’s detailed symptoms, lifestyle and health history I design a wellness plan for her including a meal plan, lifestyle recommendations and supplements. The plan focuses on whole foods, with three meals per day and two snacks. The Food Diary Pam completed, prior to our appointment, suggests that she is not eating enough and I explain to her how this can trigger a starvation response in the body, causing the body to hang on to excess weight. I explain that focusing on calories is LESS important then focusing on WHAT she eats and how often. The highlights of the plan include:
Lemon water to start the day to kick start her digestion, get rid of toxins (which also contribute to excess weight) and support her liver
Breakfast within first hour of waking to balance blood sugar, energy and stress response
Ensure plant based protein sources are contained in every meal
Bring in healthy fats to feel full longer and balance blood sugar
Avoid inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy and other processed foods
Add lots of fiber to aid in elimination of toxins, which contribute to weight gain
Increase variety of foods to increase nutrients she gets
Meal plan takes into account her nut allergy, # of days she wants to have left overs and double servings for dinner so she can cook with her boyfriend
Increase water to 2+ liters per day and have dandelion tea to support liver (for weight loss)
Coconut water for exercise recovery (replenishes electrolytes lost during sweating) + curcumin to support inflammatory response triggered by exercise
Reduce stress – adaptogen formula, B Complex for energy and stress management
Increasing sleep to 7 hours + nightly, wind down routine with a nighttime tea
When I check in with Pam about a week and a half later she says the following:
“I felt more energy than usual and was really noticing a difference adding healthy fats into my diet. I think it has made the biggest difference (healthy fats help balance blood sugar). I noticed my digestion was probably the best it has been in a while as well. I felt satisfied and that I was eating enough.”
During out 2nd follow up she also mentions the following changes:
Energy has increased, morning energy is improved and feels better after exercise (rates energy at a 9, compared to a 5 initially)
No bloating, regular bowel movements, digestion is the best it’s been in a while
Feels more balanced, stress is down (rates stress at a 5, compared to a 9 initially)
Is able to relax, wind down, falls asleep easily and feels more rested
Even when had a cheat meal did not have typical digestive discomfort (signs of improved digestion)
Feels like she now has a system and things are in place so she can mange her other demands better
After a few days I get an e-mail from Pam…
“Ann! I have to tell you, I weighed myself this morning and I’m 4 pounds down! I’m so excited, thank you so much!!”
This was exciting news as her weight was not decreasing previously no matter what she did!
We continue working together with bi-weekly on-line video follow-up appointments, where she gets a new Meal Plan and updated recommendations from me each time we meet
A few sessions in Pam admits that she “fell off the wagon” with high stress at work and with celebration of Thanksgiving. Right away she noticed that she was more tired, gassy, bloated and her cravings increased when she had the foods that did not agree with her. She is having trouble falling asleep again and has not been having her nighttime tea or taking supplements consistently.
Overall, she feels this is one of the most helpful things she has done for herself and is determined to start fresh next week and get organized.
I make the following additional suggestions:
I suggest the use of a planner to prioritizing tasks and identify what is a must do vs. nice to do to take some pressure off
I send Pam an alternate nostril breathing technique and a couple of meditations to calm down the nervous system and reduce stress
We add in Lemon Balm tea to support the high stress feeling she is experiencing
After about 1.5 weeks Pam is back on track….
“I noticed my energy was very good at the beginning of the week and having an easier time sleeping. Stress levels went down this week with a more organized schedule and workload. My weekend eating habits are a lot better!”
At our next appointment we check in with her main goals:
Sustainable weight loss – lost 10 pounds, feels on track and no longer feels like weight loss is an issue
Improve exercise recovery – feeling energized post workouts vs. fatigued and out-of-body feeling (good sign that adrenals are supported)
Improve energy – energy comes in waves, impacted by lack of sleep and emotional/ mental stress due to work demands and transition in career but has improved overall
Learn to eat balanced plant-based meals – Pam is getting a much better idea of how she should be eating daily following the Meal Plans. I will develop a handout for her with takeaway dietary guidelines, once she has completed the Meal Plans from me, so she can feel confident in knowing how to sustain her results moving forward
Some of the other results Pam has noticed since last session:
Applying the breathing techniques helped her to feel more grounded and calm
Feeling energized and good post work-outs
Still having some trouble falling asleep (on computer/ electronics before bed)
Digestive upset one day after lentils she thinks (had lentils previously with no reaction)
Had a Live Blood analysis with her Naturopath which confirmed her liver needs additional support
We discuss the following changes:
I suggest to purchase blue light blocking glasses to wear before bed to improve sleep (help to regulate the natural sleep/ wake cycle by blocking light from screen which can disturb the cycle)
We discus further liver detoxification and support by switching beauty/ personal care / cleaning items to natural ones – I suggest some of my favorite brands
I encourage her to try meditation this week to calm mind before bed
Add L-Glutamine to soothe intestinal lining
We add in probiotic rich foods to her meal plans to further improve digestion and focus on liver supportive foods such as cruciferous vegetables, greens and beets
At our next session Pam says…
“I noticed my energy levels have improved and my digestion has been great (yay sauerkraut)! I think this was a very good week for me. I’m more hungry than usual but I think that’s with the season change.”
She also mentions that the Blue Light Blocking Glasses have made a huge difference for her and she feels much less strain on her eyes and is sleeping better. Digestion and elimination are really good and she feels that the addition of probiotic rich foods has really helped. She has been craving warmer meals and we discuss that during winter this is natural as the body needs warmer foods in the colder climate. I include more warm and cooked foods into her final Meal Plan. I provide her a one-page cheat sheet of the foods she should focus on moving forward.
During the course of working together (about 12 weeks) we were able to increase energy, improve exercise recovery, lose 20 stubborn pounds, reduce stress through supportive foods, small lifestyle adjustments and targeted supplements to help Pam understand how to best nourish her body. She was also able to develop a healthier relationship with food.
This is what Pam had to say about her overall experience (in her exact words):
What did you find was most helpful about working with me?
It was helpful to have a meal plan created that I can refer to every week. It caused me less stress with my busy work week and kept me on track with my goals with sustainable weight loss and healthy eating. It was also helpful that you provided your recommendations for my lifestyle and how I can reach my goals to reduce my stress and increase my energy levels.
Did you find the Meal Plans simple and easy to follow?
The meals plan are super easy to follow and got me to try food that I would of never probably have had. It was also great you accommodated my allergies and dietary preferences.
What do you feel you gained out of this experience?
I gained the understanding on how to eat a balanced and healthy plant-based diet. I learned that I can increase my energy with proper nutrition and I lost weight naturally without feeling deprived or hungry.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishments achieved by working together?
The knowledge of how to eat a well balance plant-based diet and have gained a better relationship with food through this experience. My stress surrounding food has gone down completely.
Pam is one of the many clients I have helped improve digestion, increase energy levels, achieve natural weight loss and ease stress around meals.
You can feel AMAZING while eating whole, nutritious foods and not feel deprived. What you put in your body can either work FOR YOU or work AGAINST YOU!
Please book your FREE Info Session to find out how I can help YOU here!