I’ve been struggling to lose weight for a year. Probably longer, but about a year ago, I finally said I’m done with dieting. It wasn’t working. I read about how diets are good for you, how diets are bad for you, how you should cut out sugar, stop eating processed foods, give up meat, cheese, and all dairy, and a bunch of other changes to how I was eating. Everything I read said that if I did this one thing, I would lose weight quickly. So I picked a way of eating and tried that.
I told myself to just take a break from counting calories since I wasn’t doing a good job of keeping track of them anyway. Why stress myself out when I can’t seem to keep it up anyway? I chose to focus on eating unprocessed food, fewer sugars, and see if that helped me lose weight. It didn’t. Cutting out sugar did great things for my skin and breath and overall health, but I really wasn’t losing weight. Actually, I ended up gaining weight because I just ate a larger quantity of other things and didn’t succeed at cutting out sugar all of the time.
Then I tried holding myself accountable to healthy eating and exercising by writing weekly updates on this blog. I decided those were stupid and since no one was reading them, I took them down.
Since that time, one year ago, I have joined a gym and I even go 3-4 times per week. I lift weights and do cardio. I have more muscle but I have lost only 4 pounds (as of this morning’s weigh-in). I joined Weight Watchers and can’t for the life of me only eat 30 points worth of food in a day.
Then about a month ago, I read about the Dr. Oz 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough Diet. The reason I liked the looks of this was that it was only three weeks. I thought I could do it for three weeks, as long as it’s not a juice fast or some kind of cleanse. In an over-generalization, the diet is to eat a mainly plant-based diet with limited amounts of meat and dairy. Cut out sugars, processed white flour foods, and drink Oolong tea in the morning.
I grocery shopped and started this the next week. I was even able to keep meat out of our family diet for the first week. I wasn’t hungry between meals and within three weeks I had lost 5 pounds. This was amazing! This is also an unprecedented amount of weight loss for me because I usually average a ½ pound per week weight loss if any weight loss at all.
One last and major detail. I was also sick and hurt during this time. When I started this diet, I had a cough and didn’t feel too bad except when I was coughing. I decided to start the diet anyway. I had really bad lower back pain that required me to go to the doctor for help to relieve the pain. Pretty soon the cough overtook my life and I felt terrible and worn out. My back pain made lifting weights impossible and the cough made cardio exercise miserable. I stopped going to the gym.
Then I got a head cold. I finally realized that I probably wasn’t hungry between meals (I usually am) because I was sick and not because of my new eating plan. After the second round of antibiotics, I finally started feeling better and felt like eating again. About half of the weight came back. However, since I got my appetite back, I’ve seen that when I am eating a pseudo-vegan diet, I lose weight pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I tend to gain weight on weekends and when I travel, so the overall progress I make during the week is decreased.
My husband had suggested earlier this year that we eat more vegetarian meals. His logic was that all the vegetarians he knows are skinny so maybe it would help us lose weight. Since he made that comment a couple of months ago, I have tried to add in a couple of vegetarian meals per week. Then two weeks ago, he was told by his doctor to cut out fast food, fried food, sugar, and to start exercising. I thought this was a great time to add in more vegetarian meals to our dinners and have ordered cookbooks from the library to get ideas.
Besides my weight loss (that may or may not be related to my attempt at the Dr. Oz 21-Day Weight Loss Diet), I have noticed other health benefits. I have never (except when pregnant) had regular bowel movements. Technically, they were regular, they were just not very frequent. My doctor said if that’s what’s normal for me, then it’s okay. Now, I am frequent, regular, and that alone, makes me feel better.
My skin is clearer, my breath tastes better, and I feel a little better about things. As I mentioned, I tend to fall off the eating healthy habits on the weekends. We’re either eating out while we are doing things or out with friends and having a couple of drinks. Also, travel always derails me. I’ve got a trip to Mexico for work scheduled and I know what I will be eating will be highly processed, sugary, foods. My initial goal is another 5-pound weight loss by mid-June. From there, I’ll work on the next goal. We’ve got a very stressful summer planned, so I want to be in the habit of eating well and having good snacks in the house before the stress gets worse than it already is.
My goal is not to be full-on vegetarian or vegan. My goal is to do it about 75% of the time. I have successfully cut out most dairy. Now I need to get back to not eating sugar and only have processed white flour on a rare occasion. I need to get back to substituting spaghetti squash for pasta and cauliflower rice for white rice.
I’m armed with cookbooks, a husband who wants to get healthy, and motivation because I know this plan works. What should be a strong motivator is that both my husband and I need to get healthy. We need to teach our daughter a better way of eating. So here’s to summer fruits and vegetables and happy eating!