The Wag Doll Protocol, Eating Clean & Looking Lean. So what does that mean?
I want to mention one thing upfront. Quite often I say 'diet'....what I tend to mean by this isn't 'a diet' but more 'your diet'....as in what you eat.
And although I have a fairly short term goal for this regime, to tone up in preparation for an independent film I'm going to be working on, this is also my longer term approach honed over the last few years for reasons of health.
Read more for the full low down on The Wag Doll Protocol, Eating Clean & Looking Lean.
Low fat diets and calorie counting do not work for me, full stop. They make me hungry, dizzy, faint and miserable. My approach to food is now loosely based on low carb, low GI, low GL and clean eating. With a little bit of added advice "if it wasn't around during your great-grandmother's time...then don't eat it".
Also do not be afraid of moderate amounts of natural fat: olive oil, butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, nut oils. I used to fear them in the way Dracula fears garlic. I was was seduced by the low-fat big business regime which has flourished in the last 50 years...along with rates of heart disease, MS, strokes and obesity....hmmm interesting, a connection perhaps?
In future posts I'll cover all the various ways of eating I tried before arriving at this point, and the new things I'm discovering. My diet (you know what I mean!) is evolving and I do fall off the wagon sometimes, but here's my starting point...
The main aim of 'The Wag Doll Protocol, Eating Clean & Looking Lean' regime is to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Many of the processed foods we tend to eat in the 21st Century play havoc with blood sugar levels. The human body does not like extremes, and will quickly take action to bring itself back into an accepted range of values. A quick spike in in blood sugar causes body to release insulin to get those glucose levels under control, the excess glucose is converted and stored in the fatty tissues. Raised glucose levels also cause widespread inflammation throughout the body. To keep blood sugar levels stable I will try and do the following....
1 - Avoid sugar. The over-riding message from my version of clean eating is avoid sugar. In particular white sugar, but also corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, golden syrup, maple syrup etc etc. Sugar is bad for you, no two ways about it. Obviously this also means cutting out foods & drinks that contain added sugar.
2 - Avoid processed carbohydrates. Avoid white flour and food made from it, so bread, cakes, biscuits and pasta. These refined manufactured carb-based foods are very quickly converted by the body and send blood glucose levels soaring. Also avoid white rice and boiled, mashed, fried potatoes including chips & crisps.
3 - Include protein. Protein is needed by the body for repair and building, so as I'm looking to build lean muscle in my fitness regime I need to include protein at every meal if possible. Most women in particular do not eat enough protein, tending to go for carbohydrate foods. In particular I will try and include more oily fish in my diet, but also chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, cheese & milk.
4 - Include vegetables & fruit. Goes without saying really but make sure you are getting plenty of vegetables and fruit. Did you notice how I wrote the more awkward phrase of 'vegetables and fruit' rather than 'fruit & veg'. That's because veggies should play a more important role in your diet than fruit, which contains higher amounts of (natural) sugar. Particularly aim for lots of salad & leafy green veggies. These foods fill you up, release their energy slowly and have added benefits such as vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients, which all sounds very scientific but equals anti-ageing :-)
5- Include some good carbohydrates. Moderate amounts of slow release energy carbohydrates can be included, so oats, sweet potatoes, yams, wholemeal bread & pasta, brown rice. But do not base all your meals around these foods.
6 - Include fat. Yep the biggest mind bender for me was learning to include natural fat in my diet. So olive oil, grapeseed oil, butter, avocado oil & full fat cheese all feature in my diet. They lift your mood, help the body absorb nutrients and keep you feeling full for longer. Eat them in moderation. I still stick to lean meats and trim the fat off bacon, and I still drink semi-skimmed milk, buts that's my personal choice through taste. I avoid at all costs processed & trans fats, margerine and 'low fat' versions of food.
7 - Drink plenty of fluids. Again goes without saying that water should feature highly in your diet. Flavour it with lemon if you find it boring. I also drink black tea, green tea and the occasional coffee. Avoid sugary sodas & also sugar-free versions which contain too many chemicals. Limit fruit juices as they contain a lot of sugar (natural, but sugar non-the-less).
Aim for 5 smaller meals spread through out the day, if that's not convenient then at least try to include a couple of substantial snacks with your 3 smallish meals.
Always keep in mind the advice that if a food wasn't available in your great grandmother's day, then don't eat it, and you should manage to avoid most of the processed food that forms the basis of many Western diets.
I'm not a food fanatic, my cooking skills are OK (and improving) and I do allow myself to stray from this path occasionally. I'm not going to attend a friend's birthday meal at a restaurant and spoil the mood by moaning about the amount of carbs, but I will try and choose options from the menu that fit The Wag Doll Protocol. By no means am I saying this is how everyone should eat, if low fat, Weight Watchers, Atkins, calorie counting etc or no restrictions at all work for you, then go ahead. I'm always interested to hear what works for different people.
Now my one confession......strict clean eating advocates the use of organic foods wherever possible......The Wag Doll Protocol does not insist on that route simply for reasons of cost and convenience. If I could, I would, but I can't ....so I'm not going to stress about it.
So there you have it, apologies for the wordiness of the post but I wanted to make sure I put my points across as clearly as possible. I'll follow this article up with a post about the fitness aspect of The Wag Doll Protocol, but as various studies have shown, lean bodies are primarily made in the kitchen and then the gym. You must get your diet right to make any significant improvement to your body shape. So follow the Wag Doll Protocol and eat, drink and be merry ....easy on the alcohol though!