As a chronic Weight Watcher, I’ve always had a certain way of thinking when it came to various macros. Generally, the rules are protein and fiber = good and fat and sugar = bad, right? Well as our diet culture continues to grow and change (which is a whole topic on its own), the keto diet has become a wildly trendy diet to be following. For those that don’t know, the keto diet is ahigh fat and way low carb way of eating. Think no sugar but all of the bacon and avocado you could ever want. Now, before you get all in a tizzy, no, I am not going Keto. Simply put, I like sugar and carbs too much to give them up completely. While I’m not team Keto, I have been more and more intrigued by the idea of fat not being a “bad” food, but instead embracing the fat and using it to my diet’s advantage. Enter: Kelly LaVeque.
Kelly is a nutritionist and the author of the book Body Love. I actually heard Kelly speak on two separate podcasts that I love, so once I heard her the second time, I started thinking I should look into her way of eating a bit more. In a nutshell, Kelly’s approach involves creating your meals based on the “Fab 4”
The Fab 4
Fat (yes, fat)
Notice how fat is listed in there? A solid combination of these types of foods will help keep you fuller longer, prevent blood sugar spikes, and help prevent turning your fuel into fat as well as promoting weight loss if that’s your goal. I could dive in a lot deeper, but basically, that’s what you need to know about Kelly’s way of eating. If you want more information, I highly recommend her book, Body Love.
A cornerstone for Kelly’s Fab 4 lifestyle is the Fab 4 Smoothie. This is basically taking all of the components of a Fab 4 meal, and blending them up into an easy to consume breakfast that is satisfying, healthy, and metabolism-boosting. Since there are a lot of her clients that start the day like this, I decided I wanted to give it a try, so I challenged myself to an entire week of consuming a Fab 4 smoothie at the start of my day just to see what happened. My start date was last Monday 7/9/18, and now the results are in.
My 7 Day Fab 4 Smoothie Challenge
The day before my challenge I decided to stop by Whole Foods to stock up on what I would need for this adventure. Since high-fat products are never in my home, I ended up needing to grab some things that would allow for the proper macro balance for my fab 4 smoothies. I ended up getting natural, organic almond butter (one ingredient: almonds), Bulletproof MCT Oil, acacia fiber powder, and several different non-dairy protein powders to try out that had decent fiber content. I also purchased a bag of spinach and a bag of kale. Items already in my home: frozen avocado, flax seeds, frozen berries, Quest protein powder.
Monday morning I woke up and the journey began. I made the blueberry muffin smoothie from Kelly’s book. It was pretty tasty overall, although I learned by the end of the week that I don’t really like the chalky taste that comes with vegan protein powders and switched back to my favorite Quest Protein powders. Monday was the only day I followed a recipe straight out of the book. The rest of the week I used the ingredient and measurement guidelines but didn’t follow any specific recipe.
My Fab 4 Experience
Day 1 was challenging not because the smoothie didn’t keep me full, because it did! The issue was definitely due to my brain and my relationship with food. As a chronic Weight Watcher, I’m very used to always thinking about when my next meal is and what I will be eating. It’s part of the food addiction life. I’m often thinking about the next time I get to eat, either to pre-plan calories and points or simply because something exciting is on the menu and I can’t wait to eat it. I found that about an hour after my smoothie there was a constant battle between the part of my brain controlling my habits and emotions versus the part that actually controls hunger. Emotional brain kept telling me it was time to eat, but I soon realized if I stopped to think about it, I wasn’t actually hungry. I just thought I was. Once I got a grip on this, it was easier to tune out my emotional brain and just listen to my body. I ended up being able to go 4 hours between my smoothie and my lunch, which was a big salad (greens!) topped with chicken (protein), veggies (fiber), and an avocado-based dressing and full-fat goat cheese crumbles (fat). This kept me satisfied until dinner, where I made a zoodle based dish that I cooked in olive oil.
Basically, I did what I could to not only have the Fab 4 smoothie as my breakfast, but I also structured the rest of my day around fab 4 meals as well. All week long I embraced a little more fat (avocado toast, cooked with olive oil, avoided fat-free cheeses in exchange for some with fat, etc) and I tried to stay away from carbs that didn’t come with a decent amount of fiber in them. Note: I didn’t choose to ignore sugar and carbs completely, but this way of eating made it much easier to avoid them as a whole. I’m a dessert-loving lady, so a little bit of something sweet to end the day is currently a part of my routine.
That being said, after a week on the smoothie I did notice some changes in my way of eating, how I felt, and my decisions in general. Here are the highlights from my week of the Fab 4 smoothie:
- I started to pay really close attention to if I was actually hungry rather than emotionally hungry.
- My focus on creating meals based on the Fab 4 composition automatically made me reach for fewer sugars and empty carbs. There were days where I had consumed only 11g of sugar by 8 pm. That includes fruit!! It was easy. Mind blown.
- One night hubby served up ice cream (Edy’s Slow Churned is our calorie friendly favorite) and he gave me the little bit that was left in the carton after he took his serving (kind of him, right? lol) which was about 1/4 of a cup. A tiny bit, half a serving, 60 calories. It was more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth for the evening.
- I’ve been saying no to evening munching and regularly asking myself “Am I actually hungry, or just jealous because my husband is on the couch snacking next to me?” 90% of the time it was the latter and I chose not to eat. Only once did I determine I was hungry. I ate a banana before bed to hold me over until the morning.
- Saturday and Sunday I didn’t get the chance to have the smoothie as my breakfast because we were on the go early and I didn’t have time. Instead, I had an egg pita sandwich & a No Cow Bar (full of fiber and protein) for about 350 calories. After we got home from where we needed to be I made a fab 4 smoothie for lunch instead of breakfast. This still worked well.
- Friday night we went downtown. We went to a steakhouse where I ordered a salad with nuts and cheese (dressing on the side), a 6oz filet and I had them leave the butter on the steak (you know restaurants do that, right?) and got steamed broccoli instead of a sweet potato. After seeing Waitress the musical, which happens to have pie as a central plot point, Mister and I decided we wanted pie so we made a midnight tun to Bakers Square where I chose a decadent slice of cookie dough pie. We got home, I ate three bites and put the rest in the refrigerator to eat the next day. Those 3 bites had me satisfied and I knew I should/could stop…and then I did!
- Sunday I was a little more carb crave-y due to being up early and being totally exhausted by 2 pm. I ate some naan as a snack, but paired it with hummus (fat) and was never out of control. Still, I thought Sunday’s extra munching might have thrown off my weigh in.
- By the weekend I stopped tracking every little calorie and just let life happen while making mindful food choices.
After all of that, the results were in. I weighed in on day one (Monday) and then weighed in a week later and ended up losing 1.7 lbs!! Added fat, nearly 500 calories in my smoothie for breakfast, and I LOST WEIGHT! Based on the book I knew I shouldn’t have been too stunned by this, but I was. 1.7 down is an awesome weigh in.
One more note: I am currently tracking calories on My Fitness Pal. I have my calorie goal set as low as it will go at 1200 calories, but I then eat all of my earned calories through my FitBit steps, so I end up at around 1400-1600 calories per day.
These results definitely have me intrigued enough to continue with this Fab 4 Lifestyle. Am I following it 100%? No. As I said, girl loves herself some dessert (oh, did I mention I ate the rest of that pie the next day? Still lost the weight!), so if I end up wanting a little something, I will have it, but in general my plan moving forward is to work the Fab 4 into my calorie counting plan and hoping that the new macro balance will continue to work on my body like it did during my experiment.
Bottom line: I declare my Fab 4 Smoothie experiment a huge success, and I look forward to embracing this way of eating for some time to see how my body responds. If you’re interested in more information about this way of eating, I highly recommend you pick up Kelly’s book, Body Love. All of the information you want and answers to your questions will be found in there. You can also find the audiobook on Scribd, which is basically my favorite way to listen to audiobooks right now. (use this link to get 2 months of Scribd for free!). Trust me, you won’t regret gaining the knowledge and perspective Kelly give us in this book. It was 100% worth the read simply learning about the Fab 4 and having my experiment prove that they work.
Have you read Kelly’s book or tried the Fab 4 lifestyle? What was your experience?