The presents are all opened, the lights are sparkling on the tree for one last night, and the kids are tucked into bed (or staying up late playing video games, as the case may be). I'm full of thankfulness for my family and the time we've spent together enjoying Christmas this year. In between wrapping presents, baking Christmas cookies, and making the traditional ham dinner, I've been mulling some things over in my head with regards to weight loss. I am obviously once again stuck and frustrated with how it is (not) going, although this time I know I haven't been doing a whole lot to make the scale move and haven't really put forth enough effort to *expect* much. So I get it.
Lately, the emails and comments I most often receive point to going grain free, or lower carb, as a solution to my issues. And I kind of think they are right. But part of me is doubting that, too. Over the past 3 or 4 years, I've low carbed in one fashion or another (Medifast, Primal, or just counting carbs) most of the time and yet have stayed in the general vicinity of 217 pounds with a swing up or down ten pounds here and there. Recently I started thinking I'd like to eat from a Primal menu again, and couldn't remember exactly what went wrong the last time I did it. Well, that's one good thing about blogging: I have a record of all my efforts. So I went back and looked, and read. I'd gone Primal in the summer of 2012 without good results. I figured it would not make sense to do the same thing again now, unless I could decipher what went wrong and what I'd do differently this time.
Back in May of 2012, I weighed 215 pounds and was eating mainly from a whole foods template, including things like wheat and other grains and white potatoes. I also was having the occasional candy or chips while dealing with a lot of stress. It wasn't working to lose... only to maintain... and on June 1 I weighed 217 pounds. That's when I started counting calories again, starting at about 1700/day and then lowering it to 1600 max. Some days I ate closer to 1200. I was walking a mile or so a day, cutting out grains, but still eating potatoes and starches. On July 1 I weighed 216... a one pound loss.
That's when I went for a strict Primal template. No grains, no legumes, etc. I was eating about 1600 calories and 50-75 g carbs per day. For the first two weeks I had a constant headache, felt sluggish and "icky", and finally developed stomach pains that wouldn't leave. The nurse at my doctor's office told me I was eating way too much fat (about 50-65% of calories from fat) and too much meat. At that point, I cut back on the fat and the stomach pain did go away. However I was still very tired and had the headache and had only lost one pound total. I stuck with it for another week or so, felt horrible but noticed when my carbs were higher I felt a little better, so I added beans back into my diet (which are NOT Primal) and I felt a lot better, the headaches went away, and I had more energy.
Of course right at that time I had a crisis, stopped blogging while dealing with that, didn't stick with the Primal program 100% but stayed with whole foods. September saw me at 219 pounds. After that I stayed about 90% grain free, ate whole foods and went to the gym regularly for months but still got no results on the scale... as I wrote about here: Mad. All in all, I was doing some form of low carb eating for about five months straight and got nowhere with the weight loss, even when I added a lot of time at the gym. Then in November I went back on Medifast, and that didn't really do much for me either. I found it pretty hard to stick with completely. I weighed 218 pounds in December AND January and 216 in February.
So that's the extent of my Primal journey. A couple of weeks being strict, which led to physical issues and no loss. Is it worth another go? Maybe with leaner cuts of meat, *less* meat, more fish? Not sure how to reconcile the lack of energy and feeling crappy for weeks. I dunno. But I need to do something, am not going to do any kind of a plan that involves meal replacements, and at my core I know I feel so much better eating a lot of produce. I am torn on whether the whole grain-free, gluten-free thing is just a fad or not, whether beans and legumes are really bad for me or actually healthy, and how much animal fat I should be taking in for weight loss and good health. Guess I might try it again, with less fat and more produce, and see how I feel this time.
Watch this space!
3 hours ago