When I was first introduced to The Queen Anne Diet, I was a bit skeptical having grown up with a super healthy mother in the 70s and 80s (for example: she ground her own wheat for bread to ensure nutrient content, wouldn’t let us consume ANY foods that listed sugar in the first five ingredients, frequently forced freshly pressed vegetable juice down our gullets, and as her crowning glory for making me the most embarrassed 5th grader, once sent me to the school bake sale armed with carob lentil cupcakes). With this upbringing, I’ve always felt confident I have the basics of good healthy eating down and was not sure I needed, or wanted, to follow a strict new “lifestyle” plan.
At the same time, it was also true that my middle-aged self was pushing maximum density and fighting a waistline determined in its steady march outward no matter how many kale salads and spin classes I threw at it. I felt hopeless against the tide of a predestined genetic future as a stout, sturdy Eastern European babushka type in spite of my best, albeit often lopsided, efforts.
For the last four months I’ve been working with Vicki and the principles outlined in The Queen Anne Diet. There’s no calorie restriction or counting. I avoid carbs that aren’t also providing protein, I try to eat as many of my daily calories as I can in nutrient-rich vegetables, and I’ve given up sugar. I’ve also very slowly whittled down 15 lbs of weight, my complexion and energy levels have improved, and somewhat surprisingly my overall mood is better. It’s as if my personality’s baseline moved up one or two notches and reset on a happier norm. Most amazingly, I’m not miserable and haven’t made anyone else miserable either.
I almost didn’t try it. I thought giving up sugar seemed extreme and tend to be skeptical of “nevers” and lifestyles that completely rule out entire food groups. But then I went to a dinner party and had the MOST DELICIOUS CHICKEN DISH layered with big bursts of spice and the sweet bitter bite of greens sautéed in delicious full-flavored fats. Later at work a co-worker shared her lunch and again I was hooked wanting more. When I asked for the recipes, both times I was sent to The Queen Anne Diet.
Vicki won me over the moment she provided my new mantra: “when in doubt, stick a vegetable in your mouth” which has forever changed the way I snack. She also handed me a book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and told me I had to buy a scale. I balked. I’d do any of it I said, but I didn’t want to have to weigh myself every day. I was adamant that it would create too much pressure and leave me so depressed I’d then self-sabotage through massive carb inhalation. She remained un-phased and reasoned it’d just give me data and that data was my friend. She was firm and said to call her when I was ready.
It pains me to admit Vicki was right. The scale, while terrifying at first, has since become a fascinating source of information. Armed with my new pro-veggies mantra, recipes to try out, digital scale, and book to read, I jumped in, weighed myself and started writing down everything I ate. Each part has played a role in my overall process but the book was the clincher – providing context and a roadmap for the changes I wanted to make in my own habits. I’ve become a little obsessed really – citing the book at dinner parties, social gatherings and even once in a random conversation with someone also waiting for the bus. It’s been hugely informative and works brilliantly (for me) with my efforts.
Over the last four months, I’ve been surprised at how easy it is to avoid sweets and how much I enjoy the new richer flavors in my food. I’ve actually found I eat more and more frequently than I used to and leave meals feeling sated and full. It is still a process though and I oft give Vicki an internal eye roll when she tells me at some point I’ll “never even want to eat” something again, but the shift is working and I feel it so I keep going. I’m not as strict as I could be (and enjoy wine more regularly than I really should given the wasted calories) but I can feel the difference and I like it.
I feel it now when I eat processed carbs or sugar. Over Easter weekend I indulged in some bread pudding and maple-syrup glazed bacon. Within an hour I had a headache and my mood crashed later that night. The next day I felt groggy and couldn’t wait to make up my new standard breakfast of sauteed eggs and kale. I’m a believer.
If you want to hear more about my adventures into nutritious food that loves me, please check back every month as I chronicle my adventures with The Queen Anne Diet: Love Food That Loves You.