Fat isn’t a bad word anymore and it’s no longer shunned.
You probably know that eating a diet with a strong emphasis on healthy unsaturated fats offers protection from heart disease, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol (decreasing the level of harmful LDL cholesterol and increasing protective HDL cholesterol). Plus a ton of other good things: like giving you good hair, good skin, strong nails, etc. Can’t beat that, right?
Well, ironically, I recently learned that it’s very likely that some of my weight gain has been related to a lack of said fat in my diet.
And I’m not alone.
After discussing what I eat on a typical day during my last session with Dr. G., she called me out on it: that I barely ingest any fat and that it could be hindering my ability to lose weight.
Though I don’t journal on Sparkpeople anymore, I do tend to eat a lot more carbs and protein than I do fat.
And though I know (from years of obsessing over nutrition, calories, Weight Watchers Points) what foods have good-for-me fat … even before our session, I knew I didn’t eat enough of them — especially during winter when I tend to crave starches.
Readers, I’m not just psuedo-concerned; I’m really concerned.
Lack of fat in their diets ( literal sense of the word) is a real problem many women face, especially women who have been watching their weight for a long time, or disordered eaters or people suffering with EDs.
The truth is, many of us fear eating fat. Even though we know it’s good for us. It just sounds counter-intuitive.
And then you take into account the Weight Watchers side of it. I mean, logically I know I should drizzle a teaspoon or two of olive oil on my veggies — it’s good for me, it’s nutritious — but the truth is, I hate spending my points on oil. Even on Core, I hated doing it.
(Yet will nosh on 1 or 2 pts of pretzels no problem … go figure!)
Though I’ve always been fortunate to have an hour-glass shape (even when heavy) I’ve noticeably gained weight around my middle the past year or so — not so much, but enough that I notice it.
Weight-gain around the middle is usually related, in a nutshell per Dr. G, to the body’s desire to store fat because it’s not getting enough fat. (She also gave me more scientific reasoning, which I don’t remember).
The point is, lack of fat in my diet isn’t going to help me lose weight. I need to eat some fat to lose some fat.
I eat some foods known for their “healthy fats” regularly (like peanut butter, eggs, walnuts in my oats sometimes) but I definitely don’t get enough.
Though I like the nutty flavor, I often forget to sprinkle flaxmeal on my oatmeal. And while I do like black olives and salmon, but don’t eat them both regularly.
But honestly, I don’t like some of the good sources like avocado, beans or sardines, and don’t think I ever will.
That said, going with my whole “soaring with my strengths” mentality, instead of forcing myself to like what I can’t stand, I ought to focus on what I like and what small changes I can easily make, today.
For example, I do eat a ton of veggies and ought to use them as a vehicle for olive oil, for example. And I can sautee my eggs with olive oil instead of fat-free Pam spray, make English muffin pizzas with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook with it, add it to pasta and whole grains.
When I choose meat products, she recommended choosing local (lean, of course) cuts that are grass-fed, not corn-fed, as grass-fed meat has a higher quantity of Omega 3s (apparently we already get plenty of Omega 6s in our diets, but not enough 3s).
When we go out to eat, I can make sure to get wild salmon (farm-raised apparently doesn’t have as many Omega 3s) — and maybe add some EVOO to it.
I can also keep ground flaxmeal in the office freezer so it’s accessible for my morning oats.
It pains me to spend points on fat, but isn’t it better to do that that spend empty calories on pretzels, mints, etc?
The things that add up … are just taking up space in my food journal, space that could be filled with healthy goodness.
I have to “get over it,” because not only have I gained weight, but also, my cholesterol could use improvement.
(Note: It was tested in April and was fantastic — both LDL and HDL were at good levels– and then again in October and um … Houston, we have a problem! Plus the weight gain. Both of which could be improved by eating better).
It’s truly about eating clean, and fueling my body. Making better choices — not always catering to the desire at hand but rather thinking, “Which will fuel me better?” Which is the better expenditure of Points? (This ties in with the new WW Momentum program quite well).
Dr. G told me she’s pretty sure that just by adding some/more fat to my diet, I’ll lose these stubborn pounds I’ve gained from my middle.
I hope she’s right. But even if I don’t lose weight, I know healthy fats are good for me and if I’m treating my body like a temple … I need to own up to it, and embrace it.
I’m up for the challenge: my health is on the line.
How do you get your Omega 3s and good fats? Do you struggle with this too, and has your ED/DE (if you suffer/have suffered) play into this struggle at all?