Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Happened

It's been a very stressful but educational week here in Lynville, with too much indulgence and not enough restraint. If you've been following along, you know that after 9 months and -59 pounds on Medifast, and more than 3 years total working on this weight loss (reaching 103 pounds gone), I decided to take "a break." I was just SO tired of the same foods over and over, and was feeling like I wanted to get off the artificial sweeteners for a bit. "Two weeks," I thought. "I'll just count calories. I'll get to have the oatmeal, bread, Clementines, grapefruits, yogurt, pomegranates, and bananas I crave but stay in control." Medifast is low carb, so fruit and grains are off limits until they are added back in gradually at Transition (when you reach your goal weight). I figured a nice little 2-week break would be a relief. I'd at least maintain if not lose during those weeks. I had NO intention of indulging in crappy foods.

But wow, it did not go as planned. Here's what happened:

My energy level plummeted.
My weight skyrocketed.
The pain in my joints that I thought was left behind months ago returned with a vengeance.
My cravings for sugar and fat and salt went through the roof.
My actual "real" hunger level went wild.
My heartburn came back and woke me up in the night.
My sleep quality and quantity went way down.
My mood went south.
My skin broke out and became oily.
My desire to do ANYTHING dropped off the face of the earth.

Not exactly the result I was looking for. In fact, my entire quality of life went downhill this week. I wake up tired after tossing and turning all night. I get up with a headache and feel miserable trying to make choices about what to eat while bacon and sausage is calling my name. I am so exhausted that the kitchen is a wreck and the laundry is piling up. When I try to use the computer, my hands hurt from arthritis. When I try to do my physical therapy exercises, I can't even complete them because it hurts so bad. I whine and complain in my head and end up buying some "special treat" to soothe myself. I eat until I am full but am hungry again an hour later. I am taking pain medication that I have not had to take in months, and my bottle of Tums that was near full for almost a year has begun to get depleted because I am up taking them in the night. I get on the scale every morning and see it going up, up, up. Last Sunday I weighed 178, and today? 189! Not terribly uncommon for people jumping off a low carb plan into a pile of cookies, but boy am I feeling it. And I want it off, pronto.

Like I said Friday, this sucks!!! I do not want to complete this 'experiment.' It is pointless, it is hurting me and not helping me and it is NOT a break at all. It is torture. I cannot believe I used to live like this AND WORSE for not just a week, but months and years! Now that I've seen the happier, more productive, pain-free side of life, that is what I want. And that is what I am going to have.

What I learned:

It is not a good idea to jump off of ANY plan into chaos, but it is especially unpleasant to go from low carb to ice cream and cookies.
Medifast has a slow, gradual transition program in place for a reason, and I'd do best to follow it when the time comes.
I do not like the same foods I used to like. In fact I let myself have some of my FAVORITE sharp cheddar, which I have loved my entire life and used to eat 8 oz blocks in a binge sitting, and I no longer like it. I took a couple bites and thought, yuck, this is nasty! Wow... nice to know I can leave the cheese alone now.
If I want to have the energy to exercise, do PT, or do anything but sit, I can't eat crap.
If I want to stay pain-free, I have to lay off the sugar.
The trade-off in quality of life for a few brownies is NO LONGER WORTH IT. This might seem ridiculous, but it used to be worth it. That's why I kept choosing brownies over life for over a decade, staying morbidly obese... my life kinda sucked whether I ate them or not, so why not get the pleasure of eating them? But now, for the first time ever, my unsugared life is much more pleasant than some stupid brownie.
Starbucks isn't that good.
I need to keep my focus off of food obsession if I want to be able to deal with real life issues.
I really will have to change my eating forever if I want to enjoy my life. This is another one that might be like, "hello, you knew that." Yes, but there was this little voice in the back of my mind always telling me that MAYBE, just MAYBE once I lose all the weight I will be "cured" and I can eat moderate amounts of subs and ice cream and be okay. No. That is just not going to happen. I know that now in a way I never knew from just "believing" it. Now I have lived it.

I am going back on Medifast tomorrow and getting the rest of this weight off. I want my life back and while I *could* sit and formulate a plan, write out eating lists, count calories, try and figure out what will work for me, I am not willing to risk gaining one more pound so I can play around with different ways to lose weight. I know Medifast works for me, and I feel great on it. And this time, I am going to stick to it 100% like I did when I started it in March, and then I will do the transition off Medifast foods properly so I can actually SEE if adding one orange causes me a problem, or if I may have an issue with dairy or grains or starchy vegetables. I am ready to have this 11 pounds I gained this week GONE. No more messing around.

*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."*


Anonymous said...

Lyn, so good to see your update today, and what a lot you've learned about yourself this week!
For me, over the past year I've learned that I can't eat oatmeal, period. Sets off huge cravings. Same for fruit if I eat it before lunch time.I can eat fruit but only late afternoon or evening and only with protein. You get the picture, this process takes so much trial and error, so much analysis.
I definitely think this week has been good experience for you, despite the pain, both emotional and physical.
Your plan to move forward by going back to Medifast is a good one.
Medifast sounds great- I'm in England. If any of the medifast folk are reading, please make it available here !
Cheering you on as usual Lyn.
Best wishes

Leslie said...

Hi Lyn - Thank you so much for your always. I hear the frustration, but also the resolve and gritty acceptance that this food addiction is probably not ever going to leave enough for us to be "normal" - whatever that is! It's always going to have to be accepted for what it is with ongoing awareness that just when we start to feel like we've got it licked, it rears its ugly head. This experiment has given you incredible knowledge and experience with which to continue the journey to peace with food. You're a winner - I know you're going to get there. Hugs, and hang in! You will help so many people with this post - me included.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with us - the struggles and the easier times. It really is a difficult journey and you've come so far.

Anonymous said...

I am like you, I can gain 11 pounds overnight. People who aren't like us don't understand the dynamics of our ability to so easily gain weight and yet find it so terribly, terribly hard to lose it. I wish that I wasn't like this, but this is how my body is and so that must be accepted by me with self-love of who I am and how I was made to make me able to deal with it. I wish I wasn't this way, but that biological fact won't change. I also understand that other people can eat differently than I can and that fact won't change what I am able to eat and the consequences of bad choices for my individual body. It's easy for me to think that, best friend can have a bagel and cream cheese and be healthy...give me one. No, sorry...I will never have that ability. I do eat fruit and oatmeal and nuts and yogurt but must very carefully mix that with almost no calorie low carb vegetables and protien. I want to eat a healthy mix, real food and an indulgence here and there. I've tried to talk my way into different approaches, but bottom line is, as a 40-something woman, my calories must stay at around 1000 per day. 1200-1600 on a big day will have to be paid for later. As I said, I wish it was different for me, but it isn't. I try to look at it as though it was a medical condition, which it really is. If I had a severe peanut allergy, or celiac disease or something, I would have to watch my diet with the utmost care to stay alive. Well, my medical condition is an inability to handle simple carbs, and my body responds with death-threatening symptoms when I don't watch very carefully, It wasn't easy or quick getting to this realization, and it isn't easy to follow it every day, but I must, as though my life and health depended upon it.

I wish you well, I'm glad you are fighting the good fight as you have through your whole journey. It's amazing how much food can be fit into a 1000 calorie day, some people on VLC diet/lifestyles do 600 a day, I couldn't do that and feel alive, but coming back from trying that makes 1000 calories seem like a good thing.


Anonymous said...

There will be a time in the future when we look back and wonder, "What were we thinking eating all those carbs?" I too look at people around me who can eat stuff that I choose to abstain from, for my health and for my sanity. They cannot understand. The culture isn't going to applaud for losing weight and keeping it off by abandoning the food pyrimid. But the rewards, as you know, are incredible. Strength, stamina, and physical endurance like never before. When stress arises, and it does in every life, this body (120 lbs smaller than before) and this way of eating gives me the extra help I need to keep going.

Sandra said...

Stay strong, Lyn. This has been a huge learning curve for you and you will not look back now.
Sending you positive thoughts.

Floriana said...

You paid a price for experimenting, but you also gained a lot of experience and knowledge. In the end it's all part of the process.
Good luck to you, Lyn. Hope the gain goes away as quickly as it came.

MargieAnne said...

"I really will have to change my eating forever if I want to enjoy my life. This is another one that might be like, "hello, you knew that." Yes, but there was this little voice in the back of my mind always telling me that MAYBE, just MAYBE once I lose all the weight I will be "cured" and I can eat moderate amounts of subs and ice cream and be okay. No. That is just not going to happen. I know that now in a way I never knew from just "believing" it. Now I have lived it."

As I read the previous quote I heard my own voice. For years I've played around. Even this year I did the same for several months. Your truth also happens to be my truth and there are some things I may never eat again or if I do it will be very occasionally.

It's not worth eating food that destroys your quality of life no matter if they are on the so called healthy pyramid.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family.

Renee said...

Anonymous/Helen -

We are reading and we are doing our best to offer international shipping! Hang in there :)

PR Coordinator, Medifast, Inc.

Anne H said...

Sure it can happen.
Cuz it does. And it did!
And we learn that it is FOR REAL!
And what we don't already know,
We learn as we go.
That's the real journey anyway, isn't it?
It's just disguised as weight-loss!

Jane Cartelli said...

"Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it."

Lyn, do not, do not, do not forget the memory of this very painful 'experiement.' It will help you the next time you have that momentary craving for brownie batter. It will help the next time you get tired of your food plan. From keeping this memory fresh you will save yourself from reliving it again and again.

Been there, done that and keeping it fresh in my mind today so that I do not lose my way tomorrow.


Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

You know, Lyn, that extra 11 pounds will come off again in no time, but you now have new knowledge about what doesn't work for you or feel good. Most importantly, you've felt what your old life used to be like, and YOU DON'T WANT TO GO BACK TO YOUR OLD WAYS. This is huge. Huge!

Now, with renewed resolve, you can carry on knowing that you don't ever want to go back to your old eating habits.

Sometimes, as much as we don't like it and it's a pain in the arse, a few steps backward acts as a big inspiration to stay on the path.

Kristi-Bisti said...

It didn't dawn on me until reading this particular post, but if you are tired of the weight loss phase, you could go into transition even though you aren't at goal yet. You could maintain for a bit and then start losing again if you want. You probably already thought of that, but it was new to me!

Amy @ Findingfitme said...

Sorry to hear you had problems. As you have painfully learned going cold turkey from a strict program is not a good idea.

Your ideas were great - no artifical sweetners and whole foods. But I don't think ice cream and cookies qualify.

Truly the path is a slow process.

Sarabei said...

Sounds like the experiment paid off. It seems like it will be "easier" to refrain the next time you might crave something that will make you feel bad. It stinks that you feel bad now, but once you get back on your plan, it seems like you start feeling better really quickly. You'll get back on, then you'll do transition (you knew you would have to), and then you'll be on your way.

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Sometimes it's so tempting to try and find that magical bridge between our bad old selves and the new ones we created with our healthy lifestyle changes. I suspect that no such bridge exists... whenever I try to incorporate some of my old bad habits into my new way of living, bad things generally happen. Good for you for coming to the realization of what it is that works for you.

KS said...

It's so interesting to me how some paths toward healthy eating work beautifully for some people, but lead to disaster for others.

I've tried calorie counting, I've tried low carb, I've tried it all. Now I am following the principles of intuitive eating and like all new converts, I think it should work for EVERYBODY! But I see that it may not be the answer for you.

I trust that you'll find your way! I have learned so very much from reading you over the years.

Cynthia said...

Sorry the diet break did not work out for you, but I do think things will be better when you do the proper Medifast transition. Then you'll know what foods work for your body, what foods don't and can proceed from there.

At least some of the weight gain is water, you'll get it off quickly and hopefully just proceed on to goal!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn, maybe the change will start jump your metabolism when you get back on medifast??

Any way keep going..don't stress (it adds to the arthritis flare-up) Hopefully things will get moving in the right direction..

PUPPY NAME..tis the season ~NOEL~
Susan b.

Joy said...

Hi Lyn, I truly am sorry to hear the experiment did not go as well as you might have hoped but in a way, maybe the experiment did have it's worth because I bet you come back now even more committed than the first time. I am sure the 11 will come off quickly and you'll start feeling back to your 'new' old self again :)

I'm glad you are doing what you feel is right for you! That's really the most important thing. Hope this next week brings you much joy. Happy Holidays!!

Jennifer said...

Have you considered a Paleo way of eating? Grains and starch carbs are really hard on our digestive system and the yeast overgrowth they create in our gut plays unlawful tricks on our mind, and health. Here is just one of the sites I frequent.

Google Primal and/or Paleo eating. Good luck.

MizFit said...

I just wanna chime in with all your other readerfans and say THANK YOU FOR YOUR RAW HONESTY.

Dinahsoar said...

I was thinking reading this you may have a sensitivity to grains. I'm glad for you that you are able to nip this in the bud while you only need to lose 11 regained pounds, instead of staying stuck for months and losing much hard earned ground.

One of the reasons I've finally been able to overcome and get a handle on my food issues is that I've finally realized that all those foods I previously enjoyed don't taste all that great and worse, eating them only gives momentary pleasure--and not much of that even--but long term problems. You are connecting those dots now as well and that will reap long term benefits.

And yes I heartily agree--Starbucks isn't very good. It's the idea, the lifestyle images in our head it evokes...but it's overpriced mediocre coffee and junk food-- for the most part-- coffee drinks. And with their recent price increases I see it as total waste. For the 4-6$ I'd spend there on a beverage and treat I can buy a new rubber stamp that will give me hours of pleasure.

And that rubber stamp and what I create with it will feed me--it will feed my soul and spirit which for too many years was running on empty. I think many of us who eat compulsively are empty and try to fill that empty space with food. Food is cheap and we must have it or die. Hence it is easy. When we are desperate--as we generally are in compulsion--we need easy.

As with Starbucks, the same is true of so many eating out experiences/places...they just fail to measure up. I think what feeds us is the memories and associations we have in our head of meals at these places...not the food itself.

And it gets me--these places force us to buy 2 and 3 meals worth of food and we are foolish enough to think we're getting a bargain, justifying it in our head like this: "yes, it is expensive, but look at all the food they give you" or "yes but you get a lot for your money".

Excess becomes a 'good deal'.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the UK, and did a diet similar to Medifast, losing 112lbs. Have kept the weight off for over 5 years. BUT...much as I'd like to think I sailed through it without a blip or the odd change of direction, my diary blog (if I'd done one) would be much like yours.

Look on the last 'experiment' positively. It doesn't hurt to play where the grass appears to be greener for a while. Call it a diet break, we all need them now and agan.

You've probably helped your leptin levels doing this, and certainly must have helped psychologically (if you let it). All is well. Now you can complete the next part of your Medifast journey with renewed focus and more lessons learnt.

Eyes on the ball and go for it. There's a fantastic view when you get to goal, but it's not the end of the's just the starting line. The more techniques and lessons you pick up on the way, the better armed you'll be for the lifelong step.

Phew. Have wanted to post a comment for so long.

LauraA said...

Lyn, when I read this post I thought, "what a great testament to how much food can affect people's health and quality of life." I wish everyone who is indifferent to what they eat and don't believe food impacts their health problems would read this. Thanks for yet another inspiring post!

Anonymous said...

You know Lyn, I'm glad you are doing what works for you and not what anyone else says you should do. I really admire that in you. :)

beerab said...

I used to be obsessed with potatoes, with french fries, mashed, fried, whatever. Now since my lifestyle change I don't care for them like I used to. An example- went out to dinner with my hubby- he had a baked potato with his dinner I barely glanced at it while before I'd watch him like a hawk to see if he'd eat every bite. To me that is AMAZING. You'll get there :)

Vee and the Kid said...

I basically felt/feel the same way. When I got frustrated with my family at the beginning of Nov and started "eating" again, I started feeling worse and worse. Just haven't gotten back on the horse tho. JAnuary 3rd. That's my goal. The Kid and I go on a yeast-free, gluten-free, cow-milk-free diet to get HIS symptoms under control.

Fun fun! Vee at

Hanlie said...

Oh Lyn, I can sympathize and empathize completely. With my health in total disarray at the moment, I am more aware than ever of the effect certain foods have on me. Night and day. I have to literally evaluate everything I eat and make lists of how it affects me - good, neutral or bad.

We'll get there!