I thought doing an elimination diet during the season of Lent, would keep me in good company.
Afterall, people across the globe would be giving up chocolate, alcohol and Facebook for 40 days. Faced with the limitations of my elimination diet, however, it seemed like I was giving up food. I cut out meat, wheat, alcohol, dairy and caffeine. My friends asked, “What is there actually left to eat?”
My diet restrictions meant that a third of my local supermarket was now effectively empty. Yet, I did find that there were a lot of food groups remaining: all fruit and veg (fresh, frozen or dried), rice and potatoes, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds etc.
Although the six Sundays in Lent are not counted as fasting days, I disallowed myself any break from the diet for the full 46 days, with one exception – a blowout weekend for my 40th birthday.
I considered the elimination diet an experiment as a personal trainer, in my own level of fitness. Also, the challenge was an investment on behalf of my personal training clients, so that I can relate to those who’ve experimented with varying diet regimes, in the past and present; and support those with weight loss stories of their own. Some of my findings from the challenge are as follows:
- Any dietary plan that allows coffee and doughnuts (hello, vegetarianism) is a walk in the park.
- Constantly reminding myself of what I couldn’t eat, made me irritable, which emphasised that:
- the pain of exercising is only temporary, whereas the pain of dieting is 24/7;
- and that as diets are artificially created and rigid, they rarely feel comfortable to follow, because they’re not based on your personality or background.
- Dieting is hardest on those who cannot cook. I’m pretty good in the kitchen but was extremely grateful for the condiments and sauces I could mix in with my food to avoid blandness.
On Easter Sunday, I treated myself to a reward – eggs benedict at the Wolseley, accompanied by cups of strong, steaming hot coffee!