How did I find the Second Nature Diet trusted by the NHS? There are many differences between Second Nature and Slimming World which you can find some of in my previous post.
After having followed Slimming World for years it had become natural to me so swapping would always be a challenge.
Here I thought I would share with you my thoughts and experiences so far of the diet for weight loss.
Why choose the Second Nature diet
When I started following the Second Nature diet I had a mixture of goals. Of course, like anyone else I have outside issues and influences that would no doubt affect my time following Second Nature and its outcomes.
Everyone’s goals with the Second Nature diet, of course, will be different and everyone’s struggles will be different so maybe you will read this and my feelings will resonate with you.
On the other hand, you may read my thoughts and feelings you face very different challenges. The plan is trusted by the NHS so I find that reassuring.
Could Second Nature weight loss be possible?
I have experienced weight loss and felt so happy and comfortable as my thinner self so weight loss is, of course, a main goal of mine. However, I do want to ensure that it is sustainable and that I eat proper food.
I am also very aware that I do have an addictive personality. I am determined not to fall into any unhealthy habits in an effort to lose weight.
Improvement to Fatigue with the Second Nature plan?
I suffer from fibromyalgia and mental health issues (PTSD, depression and anxiety). Due to both of these and probably in part due to my diet, I struggle with tiredness and generalised fatigue every day.
This fatigue means that some days I am less productive with my website. I also get less done around the house, and generally feel pretty rubbish a lot of the time.
Whilst I am receiving help from my GP regarding these I also hope that in some way this plan could help too.
A healthier diet following Second Nature
Even when I have been “on plan” with Slimming World I have been very conscious as a vegetarian that I possibly do not get all the nutrients that I should.
I also worry about other nutrients that maybe I am not fully aware of the impact of.
My preference would be to avoid supplements so I hope to use diet alone for all my recommended daily amounts of nutrients.
I have spent years following Slimming World and eating white rice and pasta with many meals. Also, I noticed I had a lot of sweetener in yoghurts, drinks and that sort of thing.
Whilst these are low in calories I did find that as someone who has a sweet tooth I was often consuming a lot of these. Maybe this is something I could change?
Improvement to bowel habits and reduced constipation
I did also wonder if maybe I wasn’t getting enough fibre or something but I am not a nutritionist and trusted that any healthy eating plan surely covered this.
Maybe for the majority of people, it does I do not know! I guess there are a lot of things that have an impact on our bodies.
Less Snacking following the plan
Whilst I have always tried to snack on healthy foods I have always thought I probably eat more than many people and should cut down on the general quantity.
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Does the Second Nature diet work?
After a month following Second Nature, under its previous name OurPath, I lost around 12 pounds.
I say around because we all know that everyone has fluctuations in their weight daily so we need to always remember that.
I am very happy with that but I am also happy with the other changes I have noticed. Due to some personal issues, I feel I have not been as focussed whilst following Second Nature as I could have been. I will share more about these issues in a coming post.
Approach to Portion Sizes
I have noticed that I am much more aware of the portion sizes of food I am eating. This is something that some other plans such as Slimming World don’t tackle in the same way.
I had often thought I should try and reduce portion sizes but when I did I was not full or took things too far and ate only soup for a week!
Since learning of suitable portion sizes on Second Nature and ensuring I have the right proportions on my plate I am finding I am eating less quantity but actually feeling much more satisfied.
Drinking water and consuming enough calcium
Since following the Second Nature diet I have started adding milk to my coffee and only having one or two coffees a day.
I am now drinking squash throughout the day. This has helped me, I have noticed, to feel more refreshed. I guess this is because I am more hydrated.
Instead of eating between meals, I have noticed I am naturally drinking more and recognising my thirst.
Did Second Nature control my sweet tooth?
I have stopped eating fruit as a “go-to” snack and realised that I don’t actually need it. Drinking more fluids has meant I am full and do not need snacks.
Not drinking fizzy drinks as much and eating less fruit has meant that I have unexpectedly lost my sweet tooth a little.
Obviously, I wouldn’t say no to cheesecake, chocolate or ice cream however I have realised how sweet these things are.
By cutting them out the majority of the time I have discovered sweet foods are sweeter than I had realised as I guess they had become normal to me.
Protein as a vegetarian on Second Nature
On the programme, I needed to add protein to my meals which initially I found really hard. I have got the Slimming World plan so ingrained in me that I found the idea of adding nuts or seeds to a meal so wrong.
The meals that I did not add protein to however I did notice that I did not feel as full. I have gradually got used to thinking about the protein element in my meal.
I’m now feeling more comfortable adding nuts or seeds when I am not having eggs, tofu or Quorn.
Now it has become a habit to add protein to a meal and as such, I am feeling full after the meal. The addition of protein to my meals I think has made reducing complex carbohydrates like white pasta so much easier.
Bowel Habits and constipation
I have noticed a massive difference and no longer have constipation regularly. Making up half of my meals with non-starchy vegetables and drinking more throughout the day has really helped.
I now only generally have wholemeal pasta, brown rice and seeded bread and you know what, I love it! Knowing it is a healthier option is a bonus too.
My fatigue and mental health
Over recent weeks alongside Second Nature I have also changed my antidepressants and have found mentally I am in a slightly better place now. I am hoping this improvement will continue.
It is hard to know whether the Second Nature programme has also helped my mental health given the outside influences of the medication too.
I do know however that whilst I am still struggling with my fatigue I am more inclined to choose healthier snacks when I feel tired. I feel like nothing is off-limits and sometimes I am even snacking on a bowl of cereal.
My overall thoughts of the Second Nature diet
I am very impressed with how I have been eating on the plan. All my meals have been filling, tasty and nutritious when I have been eating at home and when I have eaten out I have felt less concerned with being on or off-plan or calorie counting.
Salads with things such as pine nuts, olive oil or sundried tomatoes would be classed as off-plan and would be harder to work out the syns for.
Following Second Nature these things are not needing to be counted and can fit into my plan reasonably. This meant for me eating out was more guilt-free.
Would I recommend the diet?
I love the way that the Second Nature diet has reading to help you to understand your body and healthy eating plan.
The reading also focuses on your mental health surrounding food and definitely helps you to understand why you have struggled previously. The support you have with the Second Nature diet is from a qualified nutritionist which I love.
If you have specific concerns about your health and nutrients, for example, the answer you would often be given is that the plan is developed by nutritionists so just to believe and accept it.
I am happy with my weight loss so far and more importantly my change in eating habits and hope that I can continue in this way.
My determination is high to get back to my target weight where I was happiest with myself! All the meals above are ones I have made and enjoyed whilst following Second Nature. Don’t they look good! They tasted good too I can assure you!
Why there are Second Nature NHS partnerships?
The NHS truly believe in the Second Nature plan and endorse it in many ways. I can really see why as it is a well thought out plan that seems to truly work if you put your mind to it and use the support offered.
Whilst I have been given access to the programme to review all views above are my own.
Starting a diet – my top tips
If you need some top tips to start dieting then this video should help you.
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