So, many of you know that I've tried several ways to lose weight and they have all been successful for a period of time but they always end up disappointing me in the long run. I really had a goal in 2011 to lose weight, though. So, whatever it took I was going to find the right diet for me.
On January 3rd I joined Weight Watchers. Now, I'm not going to dog on WW...much...but WW is NOT a weight loss program for endurance athletes. Before I even signed on the dotted line to join WW I spoke to the local consultants about my specific needs. When I had joined WW back in 2004 I was training for my first marathon and, at the time, they didn't have the "activity points" they do now. Activity points are points you receive from working out that you were able to incorporate into your diet. Okay, so if you don't know about WW points you're probably already confused right now. But basically, with WW new program I was able to eat more because I exercised. That's good...or was it? What ended up happening is I would workout HOURS a day (because I was now training for the Jerusalem Marathon) but was only allowed to eat a partial amount of the points attained by my workout. This wasn't the case for most WW members but it was for me because of my "excessive" (excessive by WW standards) amount of exercise. Bottom line - I lost 3 lbs total by the end of Feb 2011. I immediately decided to stop attending WW meetings (a huge time consumer in my life anyway...) but tried to continue eating healthy like I had in the past.
For a while now many people at my church have been on this program called "Ideal Protein." The name alone scared me. First, because I'm a professed Carbaholic! Second, because I don't eat much protein and the protein I do eat is typically that which comes from a pig! And third, because I heard this program didn't allow people to work out!!! WHAT? A healthy diet program which didn't incorporate exercise???? NO WAY I was going to do this program. No...Way!!!
Over time I kept an eye out on my Ideal Protein friends. Were they losing weight? Were they keeping it off? How did they feel? And, what I saw seemed to be very good results in all the people I knew. One friend had lost almost 200 lbs on the program!
So, I decided to go to my friend of over 10+ years Dr. Ron Wichin. Dr. Wichin was the "go to" guy for the Ideal Protein diet. As an avid cyclist himself (and someone who lost over 75 lbs on this diet), I knew he would have the answers I needed about this program. Of course, the first words out of my mouth were about the lack of exercise incorporated into the program. What I came to learn was simple: the first week of the program you are depleting your calories so drastically that if I were to exercise I would deplete them even further causing my body to go into starvation mode and not allowing me to lose weight. Made sense. So, all Dr. Wichin asked of me was to take a week off exercise. Well, what better time than right after my marathon! Perfect! It'll not only give my body time to recovery but it will also allow me the week I needed to begin this diet.
The first week of the diet was hard. I won't mince words here. As I said, I'm not a huge protein fan but I'm even less of a veggie fan. This diet involves pre-packaged foods (the ONLY place you get your carbs) with 5-8 oz of lean meat/fish for dinner and 4 cups daily (2 at lunch, 2 at dinner) of veggies and unlimited amounts of lettuce. So, seeing the banana on my counter the first week was a pretty big temptation. But, I had a goal in mind and it didn't include the banana!
I was well educated as to the potential first-week "symptoms" of headaches, fatigue, etc. But, my body adjusted quite well. Day one I felt a little cranky, day two I had a headache and I was extremely tired for several days. However, once my body got adjusted to the food (or lack of carbs thereof...) I felt GREAT!
Another concern I had about this diet was that it might be similar to the Adkins Diet. Well, Dr. Wichin explained to me that although our bodies go into ketosis (normal of many diets) they don't go into ketoacidosis (like Adkins). There is definitely portion control of the meats we are allowed to eat, high fat meats are not allowed and we eat a lot of veggies to balance out the acid in our bodies.
What happens with this diet is that you deplete the carbs in your body in such a manner than your body learns to live off your own fat reserves and you lose weight! The specifics of the science behind the diet is better off explained by someone else but all I can say is - IT WORKS! My first 6 days I've lost 8.5 lbs and I'm thinner now than I was before I got married and had kids!
Obviously my first-week results weren't typical of a woman my age & weight (3-4 lbs is typical) and I don't expect to lose crazy amounts of weight like that every week. But, being closer to my goal weight will help me be the triathlete I really want to be without the added stresses that having an additional 39 lbs (now 30.5 lbs) on my body causes.
Now it's time to start week two!!!