Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Scale, and Nutrition at 900 Calories

This morning I stepped on the scale and was quite relieved to see 199 pounds. It seems like it took FOREVER to get back out of the 200's. It was sometime in October that I bumped up over the 200 mark (from the 180's). I got all the way up to 214 in December, then dropped 13 pounds last month. Last week the scale said 200. So that's a 1 pound loss for this week, which is fine with me. I just started my cycle so I expect to lose a couple pounds this coming week.

A lot of people have expressed concern about my low calorie level (900-1000). I totally understand your worries. I know it is very hard to get proper nutrition in so few calories. However, I have done a lot of research, am being monitored by my doctor, have blood tests that back up my statements that I am not suffering nutritionally, and also have the approval of my gyn doctor who did my surgery for pre-cancerous cervical cells. I am due to see my regular doc again in about a month, and he is *very* meticulous about doing blood draws to make sure I am doing well. He checks for many things, very thoroughly, including nutritional status. I trust my doctor. I trust the blood tests. And if my doctor tells me to stop doing Medifast or to change anything else about my eating, I surely will. I, too, worry because I have been on (and off) this plan way longer than originally intended and I do not want to cause myself any health problems. This plan was created by cardiologists at Johns Hopkins University and thousands of people have had long term success with it. There IS a transition and maintenance plan for getting back to whole foods. I do feel like I am often defending my choice, but I think it is better for me to address the concerns (most of which I truly believe come from people who care about me) than to just ignore them. I hope that even if you don't agree with my choice, you at least understand where I am coming from and respect that it is not done in ignorance. I know a lot of you are relatively new to my blog and aren't aware of the things I have done, tried, and explained already, which is why I am hoping this clarifies it a bit (and if you want to fully understand where I am coming from, you'd need to go back and read my journey. I know some of you have.)

A third doctor, my orthopedic surgeon, has told me that I have GOT to get the weight off, as much as possible and as soon as possible, down to a BMI that is not overweight. Each pound I lose improves the chances of me having my mobility for longer. I need total knee replacements. The only reason I am still able to walk is because I lost 80 pounds, but being obese and/or quite overweight is damaging my joints daily. I hope to put off total knee replacements long enough that I might have an alternate, less invasive procedure on my knees, but the technology isn't quite there yet (getting there but not quite).

Believe me, this has been just as frustrating for me, at times, as well. My health and being there for my kids is of utmost importance for me, and trust me, I would never knowingly do anything to risk my health or harm my body. I am doing what I feel is best after much research. That said, I will also restate that I have no intention of doing Medifast forever, or even for another year. I have learned a lot on this plan about how to eat, cook, and enjoy meals based on a proper balance of lean protein/fresh veggies/healthy fat and that I don't need carby side dishes to have a complete meal. I have learned what my portions should look like, and that eating small, protein-rich meals every 2-3 hours helps keep my blood sugar stable and keeps the binge monster at bay. I've learned to deal with my feelings instead of stuffing them down. I am so, so thankful for all of this and I would not go back and erase any part of my journey, even though it is taking longer than I thought it would. I drew a line in the sand last month that if I was faltering and unable to stick to Medifast by March 1, I would go back to calorie counting (in a low carb state). I also decided that I need to be starting the Transition program by my birthday this summer, *if* I continue that long. I do want to transition properly, adding food groups back in slowly to see what effect they have on my cravings.

I am getting the proper amounts of protein, fats, carbs, fiber, and water. I get more than enough protein to protect my muscle mass from being used as fuel (research protein-sparing diets for more information on this). I am getting the correct amount of vitamins and minerals, the same as one gets from a good mulit-vitamin, from the Medifast food. I am getting nutrients and phytochemicals from the 1.5 to 3 cups of fresh vegetables I eat daily. Nothing essential is missing, here. The only thing in deficit is calories, and I have enough of those in my fat cells to make up the difference (and that is the point... calorie deficit = weight loss). Unless my extensive blood tests show that I am in some nutritional deficit (which so far they have not), I trust that my doctor is correct and I am, so far, improving my health rather than hurting it.

I know it is hard to get the 'tone' of typed words on the Internet, but I want you to know that while I am defending my choice in this post I am not feeling/writing in a *defensive* tone. I just felt like I should explain a little, because it is touching to me that so many people truly care and are worried about me. I am glad to have so many watching out for me and I value your feedback and I do consider all of it. I will keep you updated with what my doctor says and what the blood tests say as well. Thank you for letting me know what you think.

*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."*


Jamie Mckay said...

I just started reading your blog and I really love it. I have a blog myself about weight loss and I find reading yours helps inspire me to keep up with my blogging and also to keep going on the weight loss journey. I added your blog to my blog roll too. Thanks so much for all the helpful information and great motivation :D

Anonymous said...

I totally understand what you are saying. I started Ideal Protein two months ago and when people ask me how I lost my weight (30 pounds so far) they are very judgemental. At first, it bugged me a lot but now, with the great results, I don't care. I don't eat a lot of calories either but I don't have cravings anymore and I am NEVER hungry. Like every diet, I KNOW that when I'm done, I will have to work on my eating habits and the hardest part is to maintain. We have to remember that we got to that point for a reason so we need to change the old bad habits. Anyway, it's your journey and continue doing what you're doing. You'll be fine. You do whatever works for you. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thumbs up! Great post. Onward! :D Allie

Karen said...

Cheering you on for reaching onderland and for your journey to a lower BMI.

I double dog dare you to stay on plan A (you'd mentioned plan B a few posts back).

I'm so happy for you and I know that your cute smaller clothes are waiting for you this Spring and summer.

Good luck and Take Shape for Life has been the missing weight loss piece of the puzzle for me. I've been studying up on a modified Paleo after my transition time for long tem maintenance.

Excited to follow along with you on meeting your goals in 2012 and beyond. Your knees will thank you and the weight loss will surely decrease your risk if you need surgery. Bravo, Lyn.

beerab said...

Good luck Lyn, yeah I think it's hard for people to grasp the MF plan. While it is low calorie, if you follow it correctly you do get in all your nutrients. When I did MF I got a lot of comments as well. While I did get off of it (I just didn't like the food enough) I still think it's a good plan.

Anonymous said...

short and sweet comment for you Lyn...DONT give a flying F**K what anyone thiks YOU should do...I have been reading your blog from the beginning and all i keep saying over and over to myself is WOW!!!!!! You have come so far in just the realization of what it is like to fight and WIN an eating disorder...What you are to be admired most is how YOU know your own have found what works for you and what is going to set you off..I know you care about your blog followers but really unless anyone has walked in your shoes, you dont owe ANYONE an explanation..You are doing all the right things..and following up with blood work is the only thing that will allow your Dr to see what is happening on the inside..I LOVE your blog because of your honesty. I LOVE the way you are able to articulate what it is that is going on in your head prior to a binge. You have helped me out in ways you would have no idea..keep moving forward are totally on the right path and when you are good and ready so writing that book on the addiction most of us have to food...ONWARD!!!! God Bless you and keep you strong and focused
Sylmar, Ca

Mary Ellen Quigley said...

If your doctors agree that you are healthy, and it is working for you, then you shouldn't worry about what other people think. You have to do what works best for your body.

Anonymous said...

2 eggs--140
baby spinach--15
bit of onion--15
Right Size Smoothie--110

Home made turkey chile--200
Green salad, dressing--150

Chicken wild rice soup--200

Total 880. Enough left for a few servings of plain half and half in coffee.

Doesn't this sound like a lot of food, and really nothing to prompt a binge for someone with a simple carb addiction? Anyone who says that 900 calories a day is not enough just really hasn't thought it through much, in my opinion.

Lethal Astronaut said...

Hi - I think it's just hard to lose weight and keep it off, that's all there is to it. Hey, if it were easy, there would be no fat people!

Congratulations on getting down below 200. It's a real struggle and you should be real proud of yourself for getting back down there after a "bump in the road".

The only thing I'd be worried about, being on a low cal diet, is that your metabolism might be slowing, making it harder to keep the weight off. I'm sure you know what you're doing nutrition-wise, but slowing metabolism can be a real bummer - just ask my best friend who lost a lot of weight, then had to deal with this problem!

Like another commenter, I've also just started reading your blog, and am appreciating reading your journey. Thanks for sharing your story!

Kim said...

Good for you, getting under 2oolbs, let me just share something with you and anyone that has problems with your calorie intake. People always ask a person who is obese; how did that happen, how did you get so big. And because I am obese I can't answer for everyone but I will say its because of my calorie intake. With out even realizing it sometimes my calorie intake was over 4thousand a day.It explains why I am obese right. Well a lifetime change is lowering your calories. It takes bravery to stand up to food and say I am in charge again. So to the nay sayers keep posting your weight lost because lowering the calorie intake is the secret to keepin the weight off. Bravo Lyn Bravo!

Greta @ Staying Lost said...

Hi Lyn,

I've been reading your blog for a long time but I rarely comment.

What I continue to appreciate about you and your blogging is that you are making mindful decisions about how to lose weight. I might not choose the same things for myself that you have chosen, but that's really not the point. I enjoy reading the thoughts of someone who is intelligent and careful, even if (or maybe especially if) they are doing things differently than I am.

Rachel said...

From anonymous commenter above: "Anyone who says that 900 calories a day is not enough just really hasn't thought it through much, in my opinion."

Hmmmm. You know, I don't exercise consistently at all, am only starting my weight loss efforts, and I am in no position (nor do I have the desire) to criticize Lyn or anyone else on a low calorie diet, especially when they are happy with their results. But when I read this statement, the first thing I thought is "I can't imagine doing much health-promoting exercise on 900 calories a day."

But I'm talking about myself here, and thinking back to the period in high school in which I slashed my calories to similar levels (and focused on getting complete nutrition within those 900 calories) and exercised daily, until I just couldn't exercise with the same vigor anymore. Well, and my hair started thinning at an alarming rate. And when I couldn't exercise anymore, I became "chicken fat skinny"...until I regained the weight and became plain old fat again. This was 15 years ago.

In short, I have experienced how both overeating and undereating can make one too lethargic to exercise, and how different combos of exercise and diet have resulted in different kinds of body composition for me, not to mention varying levels of energy and well-being.

Since most (not all) consider diet AND exercise to be important components of weight loss and long-term weight control, I'd like to hear people's thoughts on the relationship between calorie intake and exercise regimens...and long term success.

timothy said...

love that you use your brain! and i understand completely when i went on atlins and lost 80 pounds people were horrified. mind you i too was being very careful well a good friend whom i worked out with who ate low fat and i both got blood work and guess what mine was considered excellent whereas they got taken to task by the dr for how offkilter their results were. your body KNOWS what works if you'll just be quite and listen! great great work sweetie keep it up!

Anonymous said...

To the person asking if the sample menu was "enough food"-for me personally, I don't think so. Only roughly 200 calories for dinner, and from soup would leave me really hungry. Also, I eat more veggies and fruit to help fill me up than this. Idk.

Anonymous said...

I think my biggest concern/issue is that your body will get used to only eating 900ish calories and require little more for maintenance. That's a pretty low range for the entire rest of your life, since I can say from experience that maintenance calories per day aren't THAT much higher than losing calories. It can be done, I think I generally maintain kind of lowish but not starving calories, but my history is also a bit different than yours and it took me much struggling to get to this point. I don't know, I'm kind of rambling in circles, but just be cautious. I know you view Medifast as sort of a temporary thing but really any way of maintained eating will affect your body in the long run, it doesn't just go away once you go to transition. Hopefully transition really does do all that it's supposed to, though, and maybe it won't be so bad...don't know.

Erika said...

This is your journey and your body, and you're an adult. For me, the only way I've been able to lose weight and keep it off has been clean eating and exercise. And no processed foods (or limiting as much as possible). For me this is sustainable and makes me feel great. I will cheer you on whatever you decide.

I don't think it's so much the 900 calories that is worrisome. But I think the other day you posted your Medifast plan for the day and it looked like it was all meal replacement bars that were chocolate/sugar based. I don't know if MF is low sugar or not but I just can't imagine that eating that way the whole day is good for anybody.

But again, your body, your choice :-)

Lyn said...


I agree eating fresh whole foods is best. I was not able to continue losing weight after I got down to 214 pounds doing that and counting calories and exercising. I stalled there for 20 months, which is why I decided to try something different.

I do tend to choose sweeter options when nutrition is approximately equal (all the Medifast meals have about the same nutritional stats, and I can choose any 5 per day, whether they be soups, bars, puffs, oatmeal, etc.) but yes, it is a low carb plan which does include low sugar.

I did a comparison post between Medifast hot cocoa and regular hot cocoa here:

and there is also a link there comparing Medifast oatmeal to Quaker.

Hope that clarifies a bit.

james said...

I just started going through your blog and I must thank you for the wealth of information. I give you credit for your 900 calorie a day diet. I could never accomplish that without killing someone. I just started my own weight loss challenege and like everyone, I've run into my obstacles. Keep reaching toward your goal and you'll get there. Thanks again for all your information and inspiration.