This week's changes in my eating have given me a bit more clarity about my weight, my weight loss history, and my future. Somehow, the loosening of the reins of restriction has helped me "see" part of the problem of why I have not lost any fresh pounds in the past 16 months.
Restriction is, for me, part of weight loss. I think if you are honest with yourself, you'll agree that restriction of some sort is necessary to lose weight. Maybe it is a food group, or a certain trigger food you have to restrict. Maybe it is portions or carbs or calories. The fact is, if you just kept eating the way you ate when you were fat, you'd still be fat. You don't lose weight without making some kind of changes.
Some plans are more restrictive than others, and that can be good or bad depending on what you need in your life at the moment. I *needed* to cut out a lot of things in order to gain clarity and get control of my binge eating. Cutting out bread, grains, sugar, fruit and even high carb veggies helped me figure out how those foods affect me. Adding them back in slowly also is helping me discern how those things help or hinder my weight loss and health. That is important to me.
But sometimes restriction starts to backfire. It is a fine line between restricting enough to lose weight, and restricting so much you can't stick with a plan. That's what started happening to me, over time. At first, cutting out so much stuff and sticking to low carb veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and Medifast meals was great. It was fairly easy. I dropped 59 pounds in under 8 months and changed the way I look at food forever. Then it started getting hard to stick to. Over the past year, I have gone on and off the 5 & 1 plan many times because it was getting hard for me to stick to. When I was ON plan, it was easy, food took a back seat, and I lost weight. Yet, when I'd give in and eat something higher in carbs it would knock me out of the mild ketosis that is part of the Medifast plan. Getting back into ketosis was sometimes physically difficult, including headaches and nausea. The other thing about low carb eating is that you can drop and gain water weight super fast, because carbs are stored in the body with extra water. Eat low carb for a week, lose 5-8 pounds. Eat high carb for a DAY, gain 3 or more pounds. It's water, but it still feels great coming off and horrible coming back on.
Thus, the crazy train I have been on for months now. If you pay attention to my Weight By Month page, you'll see what I mean. Take the past year:
184 April (-1)
198 May (+14)
195 June (-3)
184 July (-11)
191 August (+7)
201 September (+10)
190 October (-11)
203 November (+13)
214 December (+11)
201 January 2012 (-13)
199 February (-2)
The scale swings widely with my going on and off low carb eating. Up ten, down 11. Up 14, down 13. It is a crazy train. I cannot do it anymore. That's partly why I decided to Transition to a more moderate carb way of eating. Even if I only lose a couple pounds a month, it *has* to be better for my body than that.
A low carb plan, a restrictive plan like Medifast, is fine if you stick to it. But I have come to believe that if you get to the point you can't STAY on plan, it's better and healthier to do something else. So if you are on Medifast, BE on Medifast. Do it in as short a time as you can. Do it 100% and get it done so you can transition back to whole foods. I am transitioning early but I am doing it for both my health and my sanity. I do need to lose weight for the sake of my health, but I am listening to my body and hope to see a more moderate downward slope rather than the crazy train I was on before.
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