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Health

My Journey On 'The Whole Body Reset'

I feel like a different person.

Developed by AARP, The Whole Body Reset is a book and plan that explains in simple, inspiring terms exactly how our bodies change with age, and how eating to accommodate those changes can make us respond to exercise as if we were 20 to 30 years younger.


In early November, as I was trying very hard to forget the fact that my 47th birthday was just around the corner, I got the opportunity to try The Whole Body Reset, an eating plan tailored to provide those of us in middle age with the right nutrition to fuel and feed our aging bodies. That my birthday was approaching is important, because every year since I turned, maybe 42, when I noticed my weight creeping up, I resolve that by the time my next birthday rolls around, I’ll lose as many pounds as I am years old.

And every year I’ve failed.

Except maybe this year. And that’s because after implementing the diet and lifestyle changes outlined in the Whole Body Reset for eight weeks, I’m down a little over seven pounds (and counting!).

Before I get into what The Whole Body Reset is and what it has done for me and my body, I want to explain what this program isn’t. I’ve been chronicling my journey on this plan in weekly installments for The Girlfriend's Facebook page and while many readers have been very supportive — the trolls are gonna troll. So, here goes:

1. This is an eating and lifestyle plan created by really smart people who have dedicated their lives to studying nutrition and diet and aging. This is not a “diet". There are no “banned foods” and the occasional dessert is encouraged. Are you guided to eat whole foods, fruits and vegetables? Yes. Is junk food discouraged? Yes, because, well, it’s junk. There is no fasting. In fact, you’re encouraged to eat three meals a day, plus snacks. And there is no hard focus on scale-based results. Again, this isn’t a “diet” — this is an eating program that provides your body at middle age with the protein and fiber it needs when it needs it.

2. Following The Whole Body Reset can result in weight loss. How much, I expect, is up to each individual and what else they’re doing in their lives. I wasn’t able to get in the recommended 30 minutes of daily activity for the first four weeks I followed the plan due to some medical restrictions. Consequently, I’ve noticed more weight loss in the four weeks since I’ve been getting in daily 30-minute walks or kettlebell sessions. The weight loss isn’t sudden and dramatic — rather it's a pound or two a week — which is a healthy amount for a woman of my current weight to lose.

3. Like anything else in this life, you get out of something what you put in. This isn’t a magic pill — it’s a plan, using science, that gives a middle-aged body the right fuel at the right time, to function optimally. But you have to follow the plan for it to work.

The basic premise behind The Whole Body Reset is “protein timing” — which is basically making sure the body has adequate protein throughout the day instead of getting the bulk of it in one meal. If your daily routine is to eat a banana for breakfast, green salad for lunch and maybe roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli for dinner, you might think you’re eating healthy. And you are — but you’re only giving your body the adequate amount of protein it needs at dinner, which causes it to perform sub-optimally.

As a woman, the plan calls for me to eat 25 grams of protein and five grams of fiber at each meal. And I’ll admit that when I first started following The Whole Body Reset, reaching that number was tough. I kept a notebook on the counter in my kitchen, as well as the handy guide from the book, to track what to eat in order to meet the numbers.

I’ve never loved math, so this felt really daunting at first. But after a few weeks, I got into a groove and could more confidently put together meals that naturally met the requirements. Halfway through, I was experimenting with recipes from the book and soon after that, I was modifying my time-honored family favorites to meet the protein guidelines — swapping out plain pasta for whole wheat or adding a protein-packed side salad to a meal. Once, I even added mixed veggies to my husband’s favorite white chicken chili (instead of just corn) and while he was skeptical, even Mr. Picky was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t change the flavor one bit but upped the nutritional content significantly.

Health-wise, the most drastic change I’ve seen is in my sleep. I’ve always loved to sleep, but the older I get, the more it seems to evade me. And even when I get an adequate amount of sleep, it isn’t quality rest. But I’ve definitely seen that change since following The Whole Body Reset. I am consistently getting more deep sleep and spending more time in the REM stage (gotta love all that Fitbit data!). I’m also experiencing fewer high variations in blood oxygen saturation since following this plan.

In October we moved into a four-story townhouse, which means I’m walking up and down steps all day long. When we first moved in, I was embarrassingly out of breath just going from, say, the living area to my bedroom on the next floor. Last weekend, I cleaned out the garage and spent the day lugging boxes and bins up one and two flights of stairs and was pleasantly surprised that I was doing a lot less huffing and puffing.

Physically, I’m seeing tone in my arms and in parts of my legs that I haven’t seen in quite a while. My stomach is definitely getting smaller, which I attribute to eating better, a changing relationship with alcohol and upping my fiber intake. I’m not nearly as puffy and bloated as I once was and consequently, my pants are fitting better than they have in a long time.

I’m going to level with you, following The Whole Body Reset wasn’t simple — not at first. It was annoying having to measure everything, constantly checking labels and tables for protein and fiber in everything you eat, and putting together meals that met the guidelines. Not to mention All. The. Math. But, did it get easier? Yes. Was it worth it? Definitely. Which is why, even though I was only asked to follow this plan for eight weeks, I woke up this morning and ate the same breakfast I’ve been having most mornings for the past two months. I have experienced the kinds of changes following this eating plan that I’ve been longing to see in my body for years and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

Who knows! Maybe by the time my 48th birthday rolls around this November I’ll have actually succeeded at meeting that annual weight loss goal.

To find out more about The Whole Body Reset and where to purchase. it, go here.

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