By Amy Lewis
Photography by ChiChi Ubiña

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” —Albert Einstein

I want to profess; I am not a nutritionist. I am a fitness enthusiast/junkie. Even if I have had five glasses of wine and an entire gluten/dairy laden pizza, I will still wake up the next day and follow my fitness regimen. However, with that said, one can never expect to achieve their weight loss goal if only exercising. Consumption is everything! Why do I bring this up because it may seem I’ve hit my own goals, I haven’t. It’s humanly not possible for me to work out harder or even more in my life. My biggest downfall is what I am eating and drinking.

I’ll turn 45 this January. I can’t believe it because I still want to act 25. What personal and physical goals do I want to set for myself? As silly as it sounds, I have always wanted abs of steel. Any fitness professional out there that has worked with me knows this has always been my goal. I refuse to blame that I’ve birthed three children. My abs have never been ideal for me even before children. In all honesty, this should never be an excuse for any of us. My question, is it possible at 45 to achieve my goal finally? This isn’t going to be easy. My planning and research start now.

I’ve read various publications and interviewed professionals on the influx of the numerous fad diets. I am sorry, I’m calling them fads because I’ve always felt that extreme dieting does not work. People have lost weight doing them and gained muscle but it’s usually short term. Currently, the most popular one is the whole-food plant-based diet (WFPB). This diet consists of fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Apparently, the “Beyond Burger” is an excellent source of protein on this diet; however, after reading the ingredients, I couldn’t ingest it. I train in the city with a very successful physique body-builder, Gabe Snow. He has made the WFPB diet his platform. Proving you can build muscle without eating meat, dairy, eggs, and processed foods. He looks fantastic and has some good insight on its health benefits, i.e., reduction of certain cancers, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, etc. The con may be certain nutrient deficiencies, and meal planning can be challenging. The idea of eating so well and clean sounds amazing! But is it possible? My son, TJ, and I argue about proper diet all the time. He is obsessed with doctor, Shawn Baker, who wrote “The Carnivore Diet”, which is a diet composed of beef, eggs, bacon, chicken, some dairy, salmon, and shrimp. There is little to no consumption of fruits and vegetables. The benefits are improved mood swings, regulated blood sugar, less inflammation, and weight loss. This long-term is most likely, not healthy. Red meat is high in cholesterol and saturated fats, which can lead to heart disease. One also has to be careful of processed meats, which can be very high in sodium.

The list of fad diets can go on and on, i.e., keto, Mediterranean, flexitarian, Atkins, etc. However, I have decided to focus on just the two I mentioned above. Starting on January 1st, I will leave my comfort zone and follow a strict WFPB diet for 20 days. My 18-year-old son has agreed to do the reverse and follow “The Carnivore Diet” as well for those 20 days. It’s a task he was all too eager to partake in, and honestly, I question myself as a mother for allowing this, but it will only be for 20 days. TJ and I will post our menu every day with a follow up after the 20 days. Our exercise regimen will stay the same. He is on a five day a week exercise schedule, and mine is six days a week. Typically one would say the age discrepancy could be an issue, but I can out-plank and endure longer intervals of cardio than him, so let’s see who will obtain peak physicality. I’m curious; maybe I can achieve abs of steel with this diet – so game on TJ!