Final MAF (Metabolic Aerobic Function) 2 week Test Breakdown
Don’t Wait until New Years to Reboot your Health!
Back in September, I interviewed Dr. Phil Maffetone on the MAF Method, an individualized approach that helps you evaluate and implement the most appropriate lifestyle actions for your needs. MAF stands for Maximum Aerobic Function, which “is an individualized approach that helps you evaluate and implement the most appropriate lifestyle actions for your needs. By developing maximum aerobic function, you can burn more body fat, improve athletic performance, slim down, lose body fat, increase energy, eliminate injuries and ramp up your human potential.”
In order to begin, participants begin what is called a 2 Week Test, which is a complete reboot to the body. In essence, elimination of all refined carbohydrates and sugars, processed foods, fruit, certain vegetables and nuts. Millions of Americans are inundated with so many food choices - the majority of them being unhealthy, processed foods which contain huge amounts of hidden sugar. Unless you read the label line by line, you might not even realize there is usually sugar in tomato sauce, salad dressing and so much more. The consumption of huge amounts of sugar along with carbohydrates has many getting thicker around the middle, feeling bloated and unwell. Carbohydrate intolerance, says Dr. Maffetone, "manifests as an array of more serious problems, including obesity, and various diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease."
The point of the 2 Week Test is NOT to lose weight. According to Dr. Maffetone, "The Two-Week Test is neither meant to be blindly followed, nor is it a fad diet. In fact, it’s not really a diet at all. It’s an evaluation that helps you individualize your own optimal eating plan for better health, not just for weight loss and reduced body fat. Many low-glycemic diets offer gimmicks that teach you how to manipulate meals so you can eat refined carbohydrates and sugar by adding fat or fiber to unhealthy foods. That is not healthy eating. It’s cheating your body. On the other hand, the Two-Week Test teaches you which foods are best for your optimal health—everyone is different and responds differently to carbohydrates and other nutrients."
Once the 2 week test is over, you slowly integrate one new food back per day, assessing how you feel after eating the new food. Determine how you feel after introducing the new food. For instance, if you have a slice of bread and notice bloating or sluggishness, then your body might have a sensitivity to gluten. It all depends on each individual. That is why what you do following the test is as important as the 2 weeks itself. This is the time to really determine what your body might have intolerance for.
According to Dr. Maffetone, during the 2 weeks, you should try to reduce levels of activity. However, if you don't, you can have small amounts of fruit. The last time I did the Test back in September, I did consume fruit since I didn't reduce my activity/ exercise level. Since I wanted to be even more accurate this go- around, I did not consume any fruit while keeping up my exercise levels - running anywhere between 2 to 2 ½ a day (7 days a week), with Barre 3 or 4 times a week, Pilates 3 times a week.
I know, I know. I maintained a lot of activity while doing this, but I really want to emphasize that every individual is different. I am used to running a lot of hours and doing Pilates and Barre, so I stayed within my own comfort zone. I never felt as though I would pass out or get violently ill. Of course, you must do what is right for your body.
This is a condensed log of my 14 days on the MAF Method 2 week test and the result-
Things I noticed:
- Lost 3 pounds and approximately 1.5% of fat from start to finish.
- During the first 4 days, I was really hungry during my morning runs. While running, I snacked on “Pecandy” ( a recipe from the Maffetone website minus the honey). On Day 5, it was tough to run 2 hours, so I only did about 1 ½ . However, after Day 5, I saw the transition—not only was I not hungry on my runs, it felt like I could run forever and ever. I even increased my pace with what felt like no effort.
- I was never hungry during the 2 weeks. Whenever I was getting hungry, I always had a bag of carrots or walnuts on hand. The hunger I felt during the 2 weeks is very different than the hunger I normally felt. Typically, when I get hungry, I need to eat ASAP or I might pass out or strangle someone. However, on the 2 week test, I never felt like that. All in all, I consumed about 200-300 less calories, but always went to bed feeling so full.
- I thought I was going to miss fruit and my weakness which is peanut butter and jelly with English muffins, but I had no cravings whatsoever. It never even entered my mind to cheat. The food that I was eating was so colorful, tasty and delicious. I never knew carrots tasted a little sweet in flavor.
- I was very strict during the test. I checked every label and every ingredient. If it had any added sugar (salad dressing), then I chose not to have it.
- After the test, as I slowly integrated other foods back into my diet, I noticed that when I ate English muffins, I felt sluggish and tired. Also, if I ate more than 2 servings of fruit a day, I would feel very bloated and heavy. Honey and yogurt were easy on my system and I felt good after eating. The real assessment begins after the 2 weeks to see what foods affect your body negatively.
The 2 week test this time around taught me a lot about myself – how I can challenge and push myself both physically and mentally. By physically, I mean I intended to do my best to keep up my level activity, which I did. Mentally – food holds a different significance to all of us. For some, food symbolizes family traditions and time spent with family. For others, it is a symbol of wealth and power to be able to eat at the finest restaurants. For those who try their best to stay fit, food can become the enemy. We can look at certain foods as temptations to steer clear of… or, we can indulge in forbidden food over and over again… I came to find delight in cooking my meals, smelling the aroma of fresh vegetables and putting these ingredients into my body.
As we are in the height of the holiday season, realize that it doesn’t have to be a constant battle with food. We don’t have to eat ourselves into a blur and wait for New Years to resolve. We can take a moment to make a small change today.
Did I mention my husband and I did the 2 week test together? He was actually the one who introduced me to the MAF method in the first place. You can go about it on your own, but I found it helped to have a support system and someone to bond and bounce ideas off of.
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