Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time for a Change

Wow, what a week! I had my first physical therapy appointment, have done the exercises they gave me every day since, and stayed 100% on plan with my eating every day. Alas, the scale did not cooperate and give me a number I liked. In fact, I have eaten on plan 100% every day in December, but all this week the scale has been stuck between 177-178 pounds. Not a bad number, I admit! I like this weight. Just not enough to stay here forever.

So, on December 1, I weighed 181 pounds. Last Sunday, I was down to 177. As of yesterday, I was 178. In case you're new to the blog, I have been on Medifast since March and lost 59 pounds in that 9 months. Before that I was pretty much calorie counting, had lost 60+ pounds (down from 278) and then regained a bit, got stuck around 220 for over a year, at which time I started Medifast. Last month was the first month on Medifast that I *gained* weight, and this month has been a major stall. I admit last month's gain was because I was not following the program fully and was eating off-plan stuff way too often, but this month I have stuck with it. Anyway, the other day I woke up and this thought was in my head: I need a break from artificial sweeteners. I am all Splenda-ed out. I need an orange.

Medifast is great, really. I love it. But after nine months of eating out of packets, I need a break. My body is telling me this, and I am going to listen. My hope is that after a couple weeks of my own eating (NOT junk... healthy whole foods for the most part), I will either a) start losing weight again and continue to goal, or b) be ready to restart Medifast and get the rest of the weight off. I think I will end up back on Medifast to lose the rest of the weight though. It is just so much easier and more effective, for me, than trying to figure out every single meal.

Yesterday was day 1 of calorie counting. It was harder than I thought it would be to eat how I wanted to eat. Not hard emotionally, but hard to find foods that fit the nutritional profile I want: high in protein, low or reasonable in carbs, and low in calories. I figured if I kept the protein high, ate good carbs and avoided artificial sweeteners I'd be good. Do you know how hard it is to find a reasonable protein bar with no artificial sweeteners in it and high in protein?? It's crazy! And I *need* things I can keep in the car or carry with me when I am out for hours to stave off the hunger. Almonds work, but a bar is nice to have too. I actually *missed* the Medifast bars yesterday. I also bought some yummy fresh fruit and some Greek yogurt, which is higher in protein but again hard to find in a 100-ish calorie range with no artificial sweeteners. I did a lot of label reading. I decided to eat every 2-3 hours as usual but wow, I was hungry ALL DAY yesterday. No matter what I ate, I still felt "hungry." That's something else that I am not used to. I was really not hungry on Medifast except during hormonal times of the month.

Yesterday was:
7AM: tea w/ 1 tsp agave nectar and 1 T half & half
8AM: whole grain oatmeal with canned pumpkin, 1 T natural almond butter, and some Egg Beaters mixed in for protein (I made the portion *much* smaller than I used to eat before, and I could barely finish it! My stomach has really shrunk and I am satisfied with less. But I was hungry an hour later). Two Clementines which were the YUMMIEST thing I have tasted in a long, long time
One banana and some plain tea
10AM: half ounce of raw almonds
Noon: hard boiled egg, light string cheese, and a Clementine
3PM: NuGo Dark Chocolate protein bar (holy cow, these are SO good, and were the best I could find in the store: 10g protein, 190 cals, organic, and NO artificial sweeteners)
5PM: Strawberry nonfat Greek yogurt
6PM: 1 cup Amy's low sodium split pea soup with 2.5 oz lean smoked pork chop added
1 slice of high protein whole grain toast with butter
7PM: apple chips

At this point I hit 1600 calories and said, "ARGGGGGGGGHHH!!!"
Yeah, see, I am not used to being hungry and trying to figure all this stuff out. My protein looked good though. However by 8PM I was hungry again, ended up eating some cheese, 2 whole wheat crackers, another piece of toast (see a carb trend here?) and then baked some "healthy recipe" brownies I'd wanted to try (excuse) made with coconut oil and agave nectar. I made a small 8 by 8 pan, they were a hit with the kids, but I ate a few too. And I did not log those calories because I didn't feel like adding up the recipe etc. I am betting I was near 2000 for the day.

So I was disappointed that it wasn't easier, but it was nice to have the freedom to eat some different things and take a little break from packets. I will continue this (minus the brownies!) for two weeks or so. The scale says 181 this morning, which I do not like but understand. When going from very low carb to moderate carbs, a body will retain water. It also will drop that water back off if you revert to low carb again (thus the huge initial weight loss the first week people go low carb). I am going to trust the process and see what happens over the next couple of weeks. At the very least I will learn something :)

*FTC-required disclosure: Medifast provided me with its products for my personal use for free. I am not paid or compensated in any other way for mentioning their products. Medifast states an "average weight loss of up to 2 to 5 pounds a week."*


Joy said...

When I saw the title of today's post, I had a feeling the change would be that you were going to switch it up for a little bit. I have sensed over the past month or so that you were leaning towards this decision and I couldn't be happier for you or more excited to see the results! You have done such an amazing job on Medifast and have 'gained' so much (mentally, emotionally) while on it; I hope you are as proud of yourself as I know all us blog readers are of you!

You had great success during calorie counting too so I'm sure you'll do just fine! Excited to follow you during this transition!

Anonymous said...

I think you're doing great but I would suggest not eatting after 7:00. You just won't burn it off before bed. When I am really hungry and it's night time, I go to bed early (around 9:30 or so). That way, I won't be tempted to eat! But hey, you've lost 100 pounds. I've only lost 50. Just a suggestion...


X said...

Hi Lyn-- interesting post. i've been doing low carb (south beach) and calorie counting for the past year, and i have lost 29 pounds (so far!), and i find i CANNOT get through the day under my calorie goals without having a big, green salad for at least one meal. i've noticed when i make myself have salad for lunch (with lean protein, cheese sometimes,avocado sometimes, homemade vinaigrette, yum) and/or a large starter or side salad with dinner, i can stay on target for calories. i just posted on my blog about my "salad program"-- nothing earth shattering, but does include my vinaigrette technique, which is fabulous :) good luck with your new plan, you are doing great!

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I count calories and I am never hungry. I don't know if maybe I am just broken or something or what. I can eat 1000 calories in a day and no be hungry. I very seldom get up to 1600 in a day.

I think your body will adjust and you'll be less hungry. I think this might be just what you need to shake things up and get you back to losing!

Dillypoo said...

Change is a good thing! I look forward to following your progress.

spunkysuzi said...

Sometimes we need a change to shake things up!!

amy_joy81 said...

hey Lynn. I have a couple suggestions for you... take 'em or leave 'em as you'd like.

1. think of your diet like you do your exercise. if you do the same exercises over and over your body gets too use to it, and you dont go anywhere. same thing with food.

2. along with that, remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

3. you could be eating too much protein. your meals should be balanced. i eat very little protein, and a lot of carbs (but all whole grains) I also eat a lot of fruits and veggies. and i calorie count. as long as you are burning more than you're eating, you WILL lose weight. so don't stress so much about how many carbs and how much protein, and just eat within a general healthy spectrum.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering with the low cals if your metabolism needs to be jump started? Some ways I stay full for long periods of time are lean/green meals. You can get several in a day and stay around 1000 cals. I add several garlic/millet/flax crackers in and I am stuffed for hours. For something sweet..cocoa/almond or peanut butter/ xylitol mixed together..tastes like a healthy Recees cup minus the garbage..I start with 1 or 2 tbls of the nutbutter then add ingred. to taste. Also Zevia sodas are great. You can get them on amazon with free shipping..better price than at the store. Lyn, I know you will figure this out because you have implemented so many healthy alternatives already. You are doing great on your great excape..keep it up:) Susan B

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn - I like Pure Protein bars from Walmart or Vitamin Shoppe. They are low in calories, and carbs, high in Protein....and taste really good.

Anonymous said...

You can take this or leave this - I was just sincerely wondering. When you said you were going to start eating a tablespoon and a half of coconut oil in addition to your Medifast plan....was that everyday? Just that small amount is around 20 grams of fat and 200 calories. A Snickers bar has around 270 cal and only 14 grams of fat. So it would be like actually eating a candy bar every day. I can't remember what amount of fat/calories you eat on Medifast everyday, but that coconut oil would be a significant amount of fat and calories to add - wouldn't it? I know everyone says how healthy coconut oil is, but when you're trying to lose weight, those fat grams add up fast! I love avocados, but I have to be very careful with the amount I eat or I won't lose weight. I'm wondering if that coconut oil has anything to do with the scale not budging lately. Anyway, just a thought.

I totally agree with you about the hunger when counting's TOUGH! I bet the new consumption of sugar - in the agave, peanut butter, apple chips, fruit - has a lot to do with it. Sugar is a sneaky thing. I have been using Truvia lately, and I really like it. Anyway, I think you're doing an awesome job, and I wish you the best in figuring out the rest of your journey!

Diana said...

I agree that it seems like it's time for a change for you. Woman can not live by artificial sweeteners forever.

Just be careful. I have friends that have gone off of Medifast and once they were back into eating real foods it had disasterous results. Brownies should probably not be on your menu. :)

About the protein bars, oh my gosh. Weight Watchers recently changed their program, and now instead of looking at calories, fat, and fiber, they look at carbs, fat, protein and fiber. No more calories. Yikes. My favorite bar was a Kashi bar, and it was 3 WW Points. With the new plan that same bar is 5 WW Points! Those darn carbs are a big problem.

I actually spent 15 minutes standing in the grocery store yesterday with my new WW Points calculator figuring out the Points for several protein bars. I finally gave up and bought some fresh fruit and light cheese sticks to eat before I went to the gym. Every bar was 5 Points or more. That's a meal in my book.

Take care Lyn and continue to be kind to yourself. I know we're going to get to goal here soon. You're so close now, it's just a matter of time.

I just noticed something, you get a lot of "anonymous" comments. Not bad comments, but just from unknown people. Seems odd doesn't it? I wonder why people don't log in.

Anonymous said...

I love your attitude of exploration and being open to trying different approaches.

Weight loss stalls are frustrating and confusing. They make me want to grab control, change things up, and FORCE my body to do what I want it to do. But that behavior is not very loving, and it completely discounts my body's ability to function just as it needs to.

In the last year I've lost 95 lbs by following a diet that mimics Medifast, in terms of nutritional content, but I eat regular food from the store. (Sometimes I use an Atkins bar to supplement, for convenience sake.) Whenever I hit a plateau I just keep doing what has worked, and eventually the weight starts falling off again.

It is confusing and baffling and marvelous! I ask myself: How in god's name can my body stay at the same weight for weeks and weeks on end (six!), when my calorie consumption is low enough (based on BMR) to lose 2 lbs a week? How?!Then after waiting and waiting (and becoming more certain each day that my body is *broken*), suddenly, 10-12 lbs disappears in a little over a week! Amazing. And I have to admit to myself: My body was simply finding it's equilibrium, and doing EXACTLY what it needed to do to keep me in balance.

Truly, my body works beautifully, just not according to my disordered expectations. It isn't a machine. My body is a lovely part of the natural world, a living organism that does not respond to my need to control it, but instead responds to millions of years of evolutionary adaptation and genetic programming. It works perfectly. I simply lose trust in it, sometimes, when I start imposing my false beliefs about the way it SHOULD behave differently.

Good luck with your experiment! I'm sure you will learn valuable lessons. Try to trust that your body is doing exactly what it needs to do.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn! I've followed and rooted you on since the beginning. You have been doing fantastic! Every morning I eat 1/4 cup of peak protien granola by bear naked on top of 1/2 a individual container of brown cow brand Greek blueberry yogurt. It tastes great and all the protien in it keeps me going and not hungry for all around 190 calories. Just a suggestion on what has worked for me.

Mike said...

I've just started Medifast because of you. Your success on the program was inspirational. Diets can get old quick and I've lost my weight thus far using a variety of methods (counting calories, Protein Power, etc). A change can be necessary for sanity. You have come *so far*. I know you will find a way to finish this journey.

Lyn said...

Thank you for all the thoughtful suggestions, guys! I am considering them and will tweak my plan over the coming days.


Yes, the coconut oil is a lot of calories. I went from 181 to 177 during the week I was eating more coconut oil with Medifast, but then stalled and dropped it so that I was just using coconut oil as my usual "healthy fat" Medifast calls for (1-2 tsp/day).


yes, and I don't mind the anonymous comments. I think people just don't have blogs or accounts or whatever in those cases. My blog has several thousand readers per day now so I think the anonymous comments are inevitable.

Ally said...

I'm so glad you are eating real food that you love! And doing what you think is best for you! Only you know your body and what works best.. it's funny, when I scrolled through the comments, every one has a ton of advice of their own on what they think you should be doing. It makes me wonder why they even read your blog.. seems like they feel like they are teaching you, when really you are teaching them!!

mrs darling said...

You can get really high protein withonly 1 or 2 carbs by using the Atkins protien bars and drinks. I cant begin to use the slim fast stuff or other bars because the sugar is so high it puts me into a coma! I have been following your journey for months now and am proud of you. It is indeed easier to eat meals preplanned. I so totally agree.

Casey said...

For low calorie natural bars try the CLIFF kids bars. The adult ones are too much, but the kid ones are awesome. They fill me up for a while. Good luck with the change!

laura said...

excellent decision to eliminate articial sweeteners! those scare the bejeesus out of me!

amy-actually, it doesn't matter what time of day you eat! a calorie is a calorie, whether it's an 8am calorie or an 8pm calorie :)

Anonymous said...

I've been following your journey for the better part of this year. I'll keep following along to see how your changes go. I know you won't give up. You've worked too hard. This is a hard time of year I think no matter what plan you are using. I've been w/ sparkpeople all year. I had an 11 week hiatus where I only tried to keep from gaining (and was successful), but I've considered using medifast if I stall out. It's been exciting to see you progress so quickly. Just keep up the great work, Lyn, no matter what plan you are using.

Lanie Painie said...

I carry around small containers of walnut pieces for my emergency snacks. They are especially good when paired with bananas.

How has your water intake been? I'd suggest drinking 8 to 10 oz of water before or with every meal/snack and it should help a great deal with the weight loss AND the hunger urges.
Good luck! I'm confident you will find something that works for you!

Patricia said...

You say "low or reasonable in carbs". Check this:

1 tsp agave nectar = SUGAR
1 T half & half = SUGAR
whole grain oatmeal = SUGAR
canned pumpkin = SUGAR
1 T natural almond butter = SUGAR
2 clementines = SUGAR
Banana = SUGAR

THAT'S why you're hungry. All of these will convert to sugar nearly instantly, especially the agave, oatmeal, fruit. It will make you ravenously hungry, to which you have already testified. And that's just your breakfast. There is nothing "low or reasonable" about this carb count.

Diandra said...

Deciding what to eat is difficult at the beginning, but it is necessary since you will have to stick with "normal" healthy food for the rest of your life. And it gets easier, I promise!

(I've changed my way of eating for the last few months, and when we visited my younger sister this weekend, I found I missed vegetables at lunch (although there were mushrooms and onions with the meat) and would readily have substituted some of the coffee snacks with fruit.)

Some vegetables are higher in proteins (like peas, lentils), so you might want to add them to your diet. Apart from that, I usually stick with huuuuuge amounts of vegetables, some meat and tiny portions of carbs (noodles, rice, potatoes, couscous, ...). I learned how to prepare meat without using fat, so that helps... and for snacks, I stick with fresh and dried fruit, nuts and sometimes the more "unhealthy" stuff (homemade cookies, chocolate). My weight loss may be slow, but I know I won't have to change my habits once I achieve my goals.

I am sure you can do this, too! You've had such an inspiring journey so far!

Dinahsoar said...

Lyn--Patricia said what I was thinking--you're getting way too much sugar. Sugar stimulates the appetite and it doesn't matter if it's from a healthy source or not. Those sugar calories are not the same as protein and fat calroies. Even Weight Watchers has realized that a calorie is not a calorie and has changed their points system to reflect that. I was taught by a clinical PhD. nutritionist that for health and weight loss, sugar/carb calories should not exceed 50-60% of caloric intake. You might want to try tracking carbs, fat, and protein instead of calories.

For 1200 calories a day you'd get 150 grams of carbs (50%) and 40 grams of fat (30%). The balance would be protein 20% which is 60 grams. When I follow this formula I always lose weight and my cholesterol goes down too.

Ally--In answer to your query I read and leave input--what you call advice-- because I've learned a few things myself from my own trial and error dieting. Lynn has struggled to lose weight a long time. I have learned some things from her by reading her blog--some are what to do, and some are what not to do. I give Lyn input because I think it might help her. She is still learning. When she has lost all her excess weight and kept it off for years, then she will be the expert. Until then she is a learner just like the rest of us and she posts her struggles here. If she chooses to share her process and open herself up to comments, one assumes she desires communication. If she is just wanting cheerleaders that's not communication, it's only self serving "gimme gimme" or "wah wah" feel sorry for me. Each of us who clicks on her page and supports her effort by leaving comments are the reason she gets free stuff. If she had no following, no one interested enough to click her page or leave comments, she'd get nothing.

beerab said...

The one thing I see missing is veggies! Sure you had some pea soup but remember peas are high carb on medifast, a good salad may have helped you out :)

Colleen said...

I have to agree with Patricia - there is a lot of sugar between the agave nectar, fruit, flavored greek yogurt, etc. If your goal is to stay low carb those foods really don't accomplish that. I hope this doesn't seem like we're picking on you - believe me I understand the challenges of balanced meal planning! But since you stated you want your diet to look like X and it looks more like Y I feel like it would be a disservice not to point that out.

I also have to ask - why not use the transition and maintenance model to segue into calorie counting? Adding in one new food group a week or every few days. Then you would see how your body reacts to each thing rather than trying it all at once where that's hard to sort out. I think you'd get a better sense of what keeps you full and what leaves you ravenous that way.

Lyn said...

True about the sugar, guys. Fair enough, I did increase my carbs a lot (doubled them that day). I was aiming for "good" carbs like fruit and whole grains, for the most part, but YIKES, I have bloated right up. Today I am cutting the grains down or out, but still including fruit. Not tons, but some. I have to figure out a balance... but wow, a medium PEAR has 25g carbs!!

Lyn said...


indeed, lacking the veggies! Will work on that.


Well, I wanted to not use any Medifast products right now, as I'd like a two week break with NO artificial sweeteners, so it would be difficult to follow transition doing that. But I do think adding grains and fruits on the same day was a mistake.