Last Spring I heard a lot of “Wow you look thinner, what are you doing?” Exciting, huh? Well, now that my friends and family are used to my Down-15-Lbs Look, I find myself still constantly telling people about the lifestyle change I made to lose (and keep off) those 15 lbs… asking or not! The Plan is a 20-day guideline to test foods for reactivity (i.e. weight gain) from nutrition expert Lyn-Genet Recitas. I used the method not only to get down to a weight I never thought I’d see (let alone be able to maintain) while eliminating the chronic heartburn and bouts of itchy, inflamed skin that plagued me for two years after the birth of my son. I thought I should take a little time to write down my experience because while there is a lot of information available about the science behind it and why it works, I’m hoping by reading about how another busy mama approached this lifestyle change, you will be inspired to give it a try if it sounds right for you!
After having my son I lost the baby weight in about 6 months with calorie tracking and lots of walking. I got back to my pre-baby weight and just stayed there, always feeling that I would be more comfortable in my skin if I lost 5 lbs or so. Any time I’d dropped my weight below what I started to view as my “weight set point” it took a lot of additional work and portion control. I was hungry and usually went back to my old habits/up to my old weight in a month or so. Last Spring when I heard about The Plan I was battling constant heartburn, working on finding out what was triggering it (which seemed like everything!), and getting some tests done at the doctor’s office to determine why my skin was inflamed, itchy, and went to patchy shades of red with even the most gentle post-shower towel drying. My scalp was also CRAZY itchy! I would resort to applying hydrocortisone cream to my scalp with my fingertips at night to try to get some relief. It was hard to explain, but it didn’t feel like these problems were on the surface of the skin but rather coming from within my body; and of course none of the topical cures I tried worked.
I was texting with my east coast bestie/god-mother of my son about what we were using to get summer-ready. I had just told her about my new go-to spray tan when she blew my mind with her story of losing 10 lbs and feeling awesome. She told me about following the guidelines in The Plan to find out and eliminate the foods which triggered an inflammatory response in her system. Wait, what? 10 lbs!?! Forget spray tan, THIS is the kind of summer-ready I want to be! She explained the basics to me and I dove in – bought the book, hit the grocery store(s), did my meal prep, detox, 20 days of testing – and haven’t looked back! Why did this work for me? Turns out I was having reactions to everything! Well, not everything – but a lot of my “go-to” foods just weren’t working for me!
The text message that motivated me to try The Plan.
So what exactly is The Plan? This quote from Lyn-Genet Recita’s website sums it up nicely: “When you eat a food that doesn’t work for your body an inflammatory response is triggered and this response affects your weight, your health and hastens the aging process. The Lyn-Genet Plan works by finding these healthy foods and when these foods are omitted from your diet, you lower chronic low-grade inflammation. When inflammation is decreased everything falls into place, health, vitality and optimal weight.” The book guides you through a 20-day meal plan to test the reactivity of foods you think are healthy, are probably eating on a weekly bases, and are potentially causing you to hold on to weight and illness. She has compiled data on what foods most people have reactions to and she starts you out with foods that have the least potential to be inflammatory for you. Included in the 20 days is a 3 day “detox” period. I’ve gotta say that was a bit rough… Not because of lack of food, you get to eat plenty and it’s really good. The first 3 days are when your body cleans out the junk, and boy did I feel it! Push through, I promise it’s worth it! After the first 3 days those pesky symptoms I mentioned earlier were significantly reduced. By the fourth day coffee is back in your life and you’re adding in decadent treats like red wine and cheese… all is right in the world again! For me, the testing phase (post detox) lead to a lot of “ah HA” moments and for a while I felt like I was reactive to EVERYTHING! For example, if you’re following a traditional menu the first protein you may test is chicken. Yeah, I had heartburn and gained 0.8 lbs eating tiny bit of chicken – I was clearly reactive! I almost gave up right then and there, I mean what was next? I’m so glad I stuck with it because my body’s reaction to meat lead me back to being a vegetarian (I was a vegetarian for years before I was pregnant and decided to incorporate some meat back into my diet). It just felt so right to be back on track; I rarely experience heartburn or headaches and have no trace of the skin issues that I previously had to battle so fiercely.
Meal Prep is a MUST! My week’s breakfast stash of Quick and Easy Blueberry Compote from the cookbook.
I really could go on and on about the benefits of testing foods along the guidelines of The Plan, but I’ll stop and give you some real talk about the tough parts. Keep in mind, I follow The Plan and incorporate everything I learned from the 20 days of testing into my day-to-day busy mom life, so any of the negatives are clearly not negative enough to deter me. But it has to be said – The 20 days of testing can be daunting and take some level of commitment in the form of food prep and planning, taking the time to make and eat the food and not giving in to temptation or convenience foods. The good thing is if you fall off you can get back on easy enough, but you really want to take the time to do it to the best of your ability… I mean, you can do ANYTHING for 20 days, right? There is a lot of meal prep. I spent a lot more money on groceries than ever and had to hunt down items at a few different places. I was making my meals, my husbands meals (modified versions using the food I was already making, I mean it’s yummy!), and my 3 year olds meals. Maybe you can get everyone to eat the same meal in your house but it doesn’t really work that way here. Drinking the recommended amount of water can be an adjustment too, especially if you are as chronically dehydrated as I was. All that said, when I look back I remember the feeling of doing something for ME, and it was worth the extra effort. I do have to say eventually my awesome results piqued my husband’s interest and he started testing along with me. Doing the 3-day detox over with him yielded more weight loss for me, which I kept off! And don’t worry if you test your favorite foods and you’re reactive – the amazing thing is if you’re like me you won’t really want them after you clean out your system. Personally, if I do indulge I know I can simply go back to eating my friendly foods and my system will get back on track. In addition to the resources in the books I’ve found my own favorite meals from combinations of my tested and friendly foods. I also found that the longer I eat in this manner the less the reactive foods bother me; no heart burn and headaches from a slice or two of pizza on the weekend!
A basic of The Plan is to drink enough water. It can seem overwhelming, but the benefits speak for themselves!
Though there are resources available on Lyn-Genet Recita’s website, I 100% recommend buying and reading the book – The Plan or the new The Plan Cookbook. Reading the book helped it all fall into place for me – what she was saying just made sense. Some of the anecdotes started ringing bells and I found myself nodding at my Kindle in agreement and ready to do the work involved. I still reference it all the time. I’ve recommended The Plan to friends and family since then and have tried to be a resource for advice and questions. In addition to the wealth of knowledge in the book and on the website, the author also has an interactive Facebook page, sharing pictures, answering questions and offering team learning opportunities and alternative menus (“like” them on Facebook, you know, when you’re over there “liking” Green Mom Co’s page!).
I leave you now with this teasing picture tagged on my personal Facebook page to highlight another benefit of Lyn-Genet’s approach – she knows coffee can be comfort, cheese is delicious, dark chocolate is delightful, and red wine not only supplies antioxidants but enjoyment at the end of a long day or when shared with friends. Happy “Planning”!
The Plan… Because red wine.
Questions about my experience? Fellow Planner and have an experience to share? Leave it in the comments below!
(Affiliate links in post – we only recommend products and services we love, you will not pay more purchasing through our link)