If we’re friends – IRL and/or on any form of social media whatsoever – you know I have been at war with the fat on my body for at least six years.* I say “at least six years” because my first blog about how much I hated my weight was posted in 2010 but it’s been longer. Trust me.
By this point I know what works. And I definitely know what does not work.
If I were being all Pinterest-y about life, I would look at my many failures in weight loss like this:
But I don’t go around life feeling all Pinterest-y. In fact, because of my weight, I go around feeling like this:
- Bitter when I wake up and see the scale in the bathroom that I either ignore or stand on for self punishment.
- Depressed when I get out of the shower and see a reflection of flab in the mirror where there shouldn’t be any.
- Stressed when I pick out clothing for the day that doesn’t fit like I imagine it would, or I have nothing to wear because I’ve already worn all my ‘flowy’ shirts that week.
- Resentful when I have to pack a gym bag and can’t forget any of the 20 items that I require to work out.
- Exhausted when I leave work, knowing I can’t go home and enjoy Vince, or my comfy couch, or see friends because I have to slave on a cardio machine for at least an hour.
- Tired as I drag my body home to make a dinner that is healthy – or just skip dinner for a protein shake.
- Crushed when I crash into bed, barely able to move, realizing that was only one day and I have to live like this for at least 4 months (if not 6 months), if I want to make a difference.
- Devastated to see photos of myself that show how little of a dent I was actually able to make in time for an event or vacation, or despite how hard I worked in advance.
News flash: This is NO way to live life.
And after having tried – and failed – so many times, I was ready to just quit. I busted my ass before JamCruise and when I saw a professional photo taken of me from behind,… I literally wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I had every intention of coming back from the cruise and continuing my gym-drive, but… I just couldn’t.
I think I was finally more tired of failing than I was tired of being overweight.
But then… my friend at work started losing weight and looking amazing. She was about my size in October, and then in January she was the size I am supposed/want to be. I was like “how?” And that’s how I learned about my current diet that is actually working – Ideal Protein (IP).
At first I was super skeptical of a regimented diet. I call this a “real” diet because:
- I have to buy pre-made, protein-heavy food from IP.
- I’m going in every Monday to be weighed and measured – BMI, weight, hydration, inches everywhere.
- I have to log everything I eat and I have to stick to a strict plan: IP food for breakfast, IP food + 2cups of veggies for lunch, IP food for snack, and 8oz of protein + 2cups of veggies for dinner.
- I’m basically living in Ketosis until I get to my goal weight, which could be as few as 6 weeks, or as many as 12, depending on how my body decides to respond.
But – and there is a big BUT: The most success I have ever had with losing fat and weight and fitting in my clothing and feeling confident was a few years back when I hit the gym, counted my calories on CalorieCounty.About.com, and aimed for less than 35g of net carbs and over 60g of protein each day.
And that’s what Ideal Protein is: Low carb, low fat, no sugar, and super high protein. Think Atkins, but without fat and even more protein.
It’s extreme – I’m eating less than 1000 calories a day, usually in the 700-900 range, and I have to take a lot of vitamins to off-set the deficiencies in my diet like… calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and so much more. And there are no cheat days at all, btw. Their mentality is “Would someone going to AA have a cheat day? No? Well neither do you as you detox your body and shed fat.”
But the Ideal Protein food is really good. This was breakfast this morning:
I started this diet on Friday, February 26th. Today is Saturday, March 26th. I have lost almost 14lbs and it has been all fat.
Fat in my face, my shoulders, my thighs, my arms – the places I would usually shed weight first when I hit the gym super hard for a few months – came first.
In the last two weeks I’ve lost fat in my waist and my hips – the places I couldn’t EVER seem to shed weight no matter how hard I worked.
The crazy-part is that I actually can’t work out while on this diet. I can make my step goal and do light weight-lifting but I can’t be both catabolic and anabolic, so I have to take a (very welcome) break from the gym while this weight just… melts off…
I’m not done losing weight yet. I have about 6 to 10 more pounds to go before I can move into the 2nd phase of this diet and start balancing out my carb/fat/protein intake (and working out in ways that I enjoy, not resent) but I wanted to jot this down now – now that I’ve actually made progress after YEARS of slaving myself away and seeing little-to-no-change.
Because now that the fat is off – particularly around my stomach and hips – I don’t ever, ever ever ever EVER, want it back.
I’ve tasted every food I love, I’ve stuffed myself, I’ve ordered and eaten and indulged. Nothing, no momentary meal, is worth the long days, months, and years of unhappiness about my weight.
Who knows if it will stay off after I finish with IP – I certainly don’t.
But now I know that I CAN actually lose weight – specifically fat. I have finally stopped failing. I actually, legitimately have hope.
The one thing I never learned despite all my weight-failures over the years is just how critical diet is for weight loss. You would think I would have figured it out but I never did, and now I know. So even if I gain 5lbs back after finishing IP, whatever. This diet is teaching me to really evaluate everything I consume and that, in the end, may be the most valuable thing I get from being on a “real” diet.
*disclaimer: I know most people wouldn’t consider me “fat,” or even “overweight.” But for some perspective, I was 122lbs when I met Vince in 2004 and 11 years later I am/was 149lbs. I know I’m not obese. I know 149lbs is a number a lot of people would be happy to see on the scale. But 149lbs is – for me – very overweight and very, very, uncomfortable. I’m not naive enough to believe I’ll be 120lbs again, but I will be thrilled to be a lean, healthy, 130lbs.