Thursday, December 31, 2015

Eat Fats: Adding More Fats Back Into My Diet

Lunch with avocado, 4 oz of chicken, black bean noodles, peppers and apple
Photo by Jenny

In the course of about two years, I have been to Appleton, London, Frederick, Minneapolis and plan to repeat this whole traveling route again. During this time, I lost my period and thought it was due to anxiety and travel, but I knew that something was wrong with me as well. For example, I had difficulties sleeping and have been waking up in the middle of the night hungry (a few times a week) despite not restricting while eating between 1600-1700 calories a day. As soon as I would grab a snack in the middle of the night or early in the morning, I would immediately fall back to sleep. This cycle felt endless and frustrating. 

As an avid macro tracker, I noticed that my daily fat intake was always lower (30-40 g) when I was eating meals at college or anywhere else except home. This past summer, I went to the doctor’s office and told my doctor that I believed I was not eating enough fats and asked if this was a reason for losing my period. But she said that low dietary fat was not a typical cause of losing a period.

I've been afraid to eat fats or cook with them because of their high calorie content. I often ate avocado and nuts but only in small quantities. As a cook, I can still make food delicious without having to use oils, cream or butter.  My boyfriend and I changed up my diet over the summer to include more fats and I got my period back, but as soon as I went back to school I lost it again. 

I recently talked to a certified nutritionist at Crossfit Kingfield who gave me some ideas to include more fat in my diet. She also told me that not getting a period could result in brittle bones down the road. By eating more fats (60-80 g per day), not only have I got my period back but I have been sleeping deeper and am not waking up starving in the morning. I also feel less bloated as well. I do have more energy and do not feel the need to have a bedtime snack.  This is supposedly because my insulin levels are more stable now. 

If you or someone you know is having difficulties with sleeping, hunger at night, or has lost her period, low dietary fat could potentially be the culprit, and these symptoms can easily be resolved by adding a bit more fat to the diet.

Eating fat has so many benefits. By eating fats, we can feel full and have more energy to perform workouts and daily tasks. Fats also contribute to hormone and brain functions and vitamin and mineral absorption. They do not make you fat. I strongly urge you all to stop buying the 0% fat yogurts and milk like I did. The 0% products are filled with extra chemicals to give it flavor. 

Currently, my goal is to aim for at least 60 g of fat a day, 15 g of fat at each meal, and try to eat every four hours or so. I used to have a fairly strict diet which often included very little fat, but adding more fats to my diet allows more freedom for fun and fattier foods. For example, I no longer buy 0% fat yogurt, milk or cottage cheese but instead purchase the fat containing dairy products. I’m also now less afraid to eat fattier foods, but all will be eaten in moderation of course. Below is a rough sketch of what I used to eat and what I am now trying to eat in order to get more fat.

Past meals at college (2 years), London and at my boyfriend's house 

Old macros: 
  • 30-40 g of fat 
  • 190-240 g of Carb 
  • 110 g of protein 
  • 1600-1700 calories 
  • 5 oz of 0% greek yogurt 
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of oatmeal 
  • 1 banana 
  • Occasional tablespoon of peanut butter 
  • or 
  • Two eggs, toast and fruit 
  • 4 oz of grilled meat or turkey breast 
  • Two slices of bread 
  • 1/2 avocado or 1 slice of cheese 
  • 4-5 oz of meat 
  • 1 cup of brown rice, beans, sweet potato or pasta with homemade sauce 
  • Veggies or greens
3 hard boiled eggs with avocado and two slices of bread 

  • 5-6 oz of grilled meat or fish 
  • 1 cup of brown rice, beans, sweet potato or pasta 
  • Veggies
Extra snack: 
  • 0% Greek yogurt, protein powder or fruit 
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal 
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut cream or 1 tablespoon of coconut oil OR 5 oz of 2% greek yogurt (plain) 
  • 1/2 scoop of protein powder 
  • 1/2 banana 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 oz of cheese 
  • Spinach and peppers
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil or half an avocado 
  • 4-5 oz of meat
  • 1/2 cup of grains 
  • Fruit 
  • Salad with chicken, olives, nuts and more veggies 
Afternoon Snack: 
  • Nuts, peanut butter or yogurt with some protein and a piece of fruit 
  • 4-5 oz of meat 
  • 1 cup of grains 
  • Veggies or a salad 
New macros: 
60-70 g of fat
150 g of carb
100-110 g of protein
1600-1700 calories

Sources of Healthy Fats: 
  • Olive oil 
  • Cheese
  • Milk and cream 
  • Coconut oil or cream 
  • Eggs 
  • Hummus 
  • Nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts) 
  • Nut butters 
  • Seeds 
  • Chia seeds 
  • Avocado 
  • Ghee, butter, lard 
  • Fish (salmon) 

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