Many of you who read my BlogHer posts are familiar with the struggles I've had with weight loss over the years. For the most part I've been successful, although it took almost two years to finally get rid of those last ten pesky pounds. But before I tell you my "how I did it" story, I want to share with you my "how I got there in the first place" story. I think it's just as important to recognize how and why we gained the weight, as it is to actually lose the weight. Don't worry, I won't bore you with all the details, but in a nutshell two things had the greatest contribution to my (rather rapid) weight gain of about 40 pounds.
The first was Prednisone. I have asthma, and when my regular treatments weren't working, the doctor would put me on Prednisone (usually for a few weeks). It worked, but the whole time I was taking it, I would feel like I was starving, and no matter how much I ate, I never felt full. Consequently, each time I was put on Prednisone I gained about ten pounds. Thankfully, since I've moved to Florida my asthma has been less frequent and less severe, so Prednisone has not been required.
The second, was the loss of my dearest friend to cancer. At the time I didn't realize how sad and depressed I had become, but I did discover that eating was comforting me, and I began comforting myself a lot.
Every overweight person has a story of how they got there, and that's why it's so important not to judge people based on their weight. Most people are not overweight because they are lazy with no willpower to control their eating, but sadly, that's still the judgment our society makes when they see them.
So, forty pounds later with uncontrolled high blood pressure (and other heart issues), I knew the only way I could get healthy was to lose the weight, and that was what I was determined to do.
Here's a little time-line of how I began to lose the weight (and finally did):
- About three years ago I started on my healthy eating journey, and I called it my Pre-Dieting Phase.
- I really never started an "actual" diet. I'm not the type of person who likes to feel deprived, and I wanted my outcome to be a healthy eating lifestyle change so I could actually keep the weight off.
Then, about a year from the time I started my healthy eating journey, I had lost twenty-nine pounds. I thought that was pretty good, and hoped to lose a few more, but I knew my biggest test was going to be time ... Could I keep the weight off? Well, more than two years later I have kept the weight off but continued to struggle with trying to lose those last ten pounds.
Although I felt good about my weight and was happy with how I looked, my high blood pressure was still an issue. Technically, I could stand to lose another ten pounds to put me safely in my recommended BMI range, and I knew that even ten pounds could make a big difference in my blood pressure. So for the last two years, I've been doing everything I could to try and get those last ten pounds off, and it just wasn't happening. Although I was frustrated, I wasn't ready to give up (or try any unhealthy fad diets or diet pills). I was still determined to lose the weight in a healthy way so when it did finally come off, I would be able to continue to keep it off.
Well, I'm happy to say ... I finally lost those last ten pounds, and how I did it is quite a story.
It started when someone from Medifast contacted me about trying a few samples of a new product they had come out with -- it was soft serve ice cream. I wrote back and said I would love to try it, and jokingly mentioned if eating ice cream could help me lose my last ten pounds, that would be pretty great. A few days later I received the samples, and to my surprise, it was pretty good. When they emailed me back and I told them I enjoyed their new product, they told me they were 100% sure that they could help me lose my last ten pounds (in under a month). With no strings attached, they offered to send me a 28 day supply of their products. But at that point, I didn't really know anything about the Medifast plan, and thought it must be one of those liquid diet plans with shakes, pudding, and now also soft-serve ice cream. I knew if that was the case, it wasn't the right plan for me. I could never survive a month without solid food, and I wasn't interested in quick weight loss that I would quickly gain back once off the program. They assured me it was nothing like that, and directed me to their website to see what the Medifast program was all about.
To say I was shocked would be a total understatement. Yes there were shakes, but they also had nutrition bars, brownies, pretzels, soups, pancakes, and a lot more. Plus, you don't starve yourself, you actually eat your choice of five of their products each day and have a sixth meal of your choice consisting of lean meat with vegetables.
I still wasn't convinced ... Was I going to have to drink mostly shakes and have the brownies and other foods only once or twice a day? Then my shock turned to delight when they told me I didn't have to drink any shakes if I didn't want to. That's because each of their products are interchangeable and contain virtually the same amount of fat, carbs, protein, and calories.
Medifast Meals are formulated with low-fat protein and fiber, and fortified with vitamins and nutrients, so you lose pounds and inches without losing out on essential nutrition. The low glycemic formula of Medifast Meals makes them perfect for everyone, even people with type 2 diabetes.
I was still skeptical that it was going to be the kind of diet that would have quick results, then equally as quick weight gain once I stopped using it. Then I was put in touch with one of the Medifast nutritionists who answered my questions, and once all of my questions were answered, I felt confident that I could lose the weight and then transition into my own version of a low carb diet to keep the weight off. After all, Kalyn's Kitchen has a whole website devoted to low carb (South Beach Diet) recipes that I could try.
Once I decided to give Medifast a try, the next step was to pick out the "meals" I thought I would enjoy (and I even ended up choosing two different types of shakes).
It would be a week before the food would arrive, and during this time I was anticipating how the next 28 days would go. Would I like the way the food tasted? Would I feel hungry the whole time? When it comes down to it, I was hoping for the best, but honestly expecting the worst. However, by the time my food arrived, I was feeling excited about getting started.
I didn't have any problem sticking to the 5 and 1 meal plan. What I liked best about the Medifast plan was that I wasn't hungry, and my cravings for sweets virtually disappeared. Within the first week my blood pressure even got low enough that I could reduce the amount of blood pressure medication I was taking. Not only didn't I struggle to stay on this diet, but I found myself enjoying it ... Seeing the numbers on the scale go down didn't hurt either. It wasn't long before I lost the ten pounds.
By the third week, I knew I was going to want to stick with this diet a few more weeks and lose a couple more pounds before transitioning into a healthy low-carb plan of my own. I won't lie, it's not cheap. In this economy the only way the Medifast plan is cost effective is if you are truly dedicated to not just losing the weight, but to keeping it off. For me, the long term benefits of keeping the weight off is worth the cost because it means better health, and less money on medications and doctors visits.
From FAQ ...
Most people find the cost of Medifast comparable to what they're already spending on food. Between the grocery store and fast food, we spend much more money on food than we realize, and we often don't make the healthiest of choices. When you also consider the additional benefits inherent in every Medifast Meal (doctor-formulated, vitamin- fortified, portion-controlled), Medifast equates to an even greater value.
Another great thing about the Medifast plan is that it isn't a diet you need to stay on indefinitely, it's designed to make taking the weight off easier and faster while helping you transition into a healthier way of eating.
So that's the story of how I lost the last ten pounds. I'm feeling healthier than I have in a very long time, and I feel confident my health will continue to improve as I keep the weight off.
Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan Also at Catherine-Morgan.com
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