I know I’ve called it an elimination diet but I truly don’t view it as one. I feel that it was much more of a plan. A plan to work out why I felt so terrible before. A plan to to kick start my healthier lifestyle. A plan for life.
I’ve had people read the previous posts and say to me, “good for you, I couldn’t do it” or “tell me about the diet?”. My response to the first comment has been, “you’ve clearly never had Ed talk you through the plan”. In response to the second, I can easily tell you about the diet. It’s on the internet, it isn’t anything new. I’ve seen it before and even tried it before
I managed only one day.
I would described the 21 day challenge as a three-legged stool. The legs being:
If one of these isn’t present it won’t work properly, exactly like the stool.
One and two can be found on the internet, it’s not hard to google. It’s number three that’s definitely the most important.
During our sessions at the gym, Ed gave a talk each time. He was able to explain the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system to me much more coherently than any of my university lecturers were able to. This I was extremely impressed with. In a nutshell, he went through with us how our body works to digest food. I found it really interesting and it made me realise where I’ve been going wrong all these years.
Ed knows his stuff. He did a degree in Sports Conditioning, Coaching and Rehabilitation and has been a Personal Trainer for 12 years. The amount of knowledge this man has on nutrition and psychology seems endless. He posted regularly on Facebook with our homework. Something for us to think about. How do we see ourselves? How do we think others see us? And much more.
At no point did he berate any of us. He was constantly encouraging or prompting us to remember how far we had come if we felt no change had occurred.
I asked him what his motivations were for creating the 21-day challenge. I found his response very different to the one I was expecting, I thought it would be concentrated on providing a client with a programme with quick (weight loss) results in 21 days. The reality was rather different:
“I realised that my job was not to motivate, but to provide clarity for my clients to help them understand why things were happening. Once we provide that clarity a client starts to race towards their goal as quickly as an athlete.
The lack of clarity can take the form of things having move too fast, too slow or unclear intent (they aren’t sure why they are being asked to do something and what they should notice).
I believe that when we combine clarity, joy and understanding rather than motivation and punishment, we have the best formula for change”
Ed Ley, 2015
He was constantly talking about change, but not in how many inches we lost or the number on the scales, but how we feel about ourselves and others as well. Initially I thought it was a bit hippy “lets all love one another” type thing, but once I stopped to consider what he said, everything seemed to make sense. He made us question aspects of our lives which we accepted without any prior thought, now I look at nearly everything with a different viewpoint.
I used to always feel tired. So much so that when I was at the end of some errands during the programme, I plonked myself in the car and said to myself “I’m tired” in a weary way. I then thought about what I’d said and realised that I wasn’t tired at all, just bored from running around Bristol trying to get 5 things done in my 45 minutes. After I identified that I wasn’t tired at all, I perked up and felt like I had loads of energy as I made my way home. Before I started this challenge, I would have returned and thought arghhhhhh……. I’m home and going to be stuck inside for the next 24 hours and continued in a bad mood.
The Elimination Experiment or EE as Ed calls it, cuts out some food items that some people would think strange like citrus fruit. Ed explains:
“Digestion and food sensitivity are often a major barrier to success in those who have ‘tried everything’. I think without the EE you are nutritionally guessing.” Ed Ley, 2015
The informative sessions he gave, quotations we reflected on, and facts he disseminated added towards my experience. It allowed me to complete 21 days without feeling any punishment. He told us that we were doing what was best for our body. Feeding it nutritional food, getting it moving and being encouraged to be kinder to ourselves. At the risk of sounding like a L’Oreal advert “because I’m worth it” YES I AM, I AM WORTH IT. It sounds obvious now but until someone tells you, sometimes you just don’t realise.
Before anyone asks, no I wasn’t hungry, maybe the first three days I was a little but afterwards it went away. I didn’t think what I was going to eat next until I needed to cook or prepare it. I’ve done Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Low Carb, 5:2, calorie counting and every time all I’ve thought about is food. Not this time. Of course I had my moments, but I was salivating over BBQ prawns and spag bol, but not alcohol or chocolate.
I don’t intend to go back to my lifestyle before. I will not be a slave to the scales. I will not be looking at the next fad diet. I WILL be kinder to myself and not get upset if I eat a chocolate brownie (I did this yesterday and felt stupidly sick, mental note: avoid sweet cakes). I WILL be feeding my body what it needs, nutritional food and exercise.
I don’t think I really need to say this but it’s been life changing. Did I expect this outcome? Nope, I thought I was going to do some grueling exercise programme and eat a lettuce leaf once a day. I’m so delighted.
Disclaimer: Absolute Health or anyone associated have had no control over the content of all three posts on the elimination diet. All opinions expressed are my own.