Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Answering a Question

This morning, I received an email from a new-ish reader who asked me an interesting question. As I was typing out a response, I thought... this is something I've been asked before in comments and private messages; why not answer it on the blog? So Joann, even though you've read this already, I'm sharing my answer here. Thank you for asking!

First, the email:


I am so inspired and excited by what I have read on your blog! At first I was confused because your "100 pounds lighter" photos don't look like you need to be losing any more weight. I surfed around your site though and quickly realized that you had gained much of the weight back and are losing a second time around. Kudos to you for this, because losing it a second time is, in my own opinion and experience, ten times harder than losing it the first time. I know this because I myself lost over 100 pounds when I was in my 40's, but as I have aged, the pounds have slowly (and almost totally) found me again. Now in my 50's it is discouraging as I attempt to get my figure back. I am intrigued by your methods of not restricting. I eat reduced carbohydrates but I am getting irritable at having to turn down so many foods I enjoy.

Which brings me to my point. You don't seem to be fighting to keep away from your favorites. But you aren't bored, either? Do you truly not feel deprived? I see your weight number reports going down, down, down yet it doesn't seem to be a fight or a battle. How is that?? Even with an appetite suppressant drug I can't fathom being satiated by 600 calories! LOL! So are there foods you never, ever consume? What are you eating each day to keep you happy and content and not in abject misery like I am on a low carb diet? What IS your secret? Will you share?? Give me hope I can do this too without crying every night over the ice cream I can't have!

In admiration and respect,

Well Joann, there *is* hope! I truly believe though, that we each have to find what will work for our bodies. Maybe my diet will not suit you at all. Just like Atkins didn't suit me, and being vegan is something I would never dream of, each of us has to try things until something clicks. So I don't really have *the answer* for you, but I *can* say I am not bored with my food, I do not feel at all deprived, and I am quite satisfied with what I am eating now. I'm sure I get by with a lot less calories due to the phentermine, but beyond that, I learned long ago that my body likes a reduced carb (but not TOO reduced) way of eating. Medifast taught me that eating under 100g carbs/day is critical for me. Calorie counting (in the beginning) taught me to eat plenty of vegetables and drink lots of water. Phentermine is teaching me to eat the smallest portions possible to get by. All of this will, I believe, combine to give me a maintenance plan of eating small amounts, including vegetables (and fruit) and enough protein, and keeping my carbs low *enough* but also including enough carbs to be truly satisfied.

My advice, since you asked, is to start with the important nutrients and make sure you get plenty of protein and non-starchy veggies every day. (I eat less veggies now because of appetite suppression, but when I am off phentermine and hungrier I will fill that gap with vegetables).

Then think of the foods that *bother* you when you're on a diet and find a way to include them if you really want them. You mentioned ice cream. I eat Halo Top. It is high protein and low carb and if I want ice cream I have a few bites and that's enough. If you crave chips and crunchy stuff try pork rinds. No carbs, plenty of flavors, and you can even dip them in sour cream or salsa. Or you can microwave some shredded cheese in little piles on parchment paper until it is crispy, like crackers. If I want potatoes or bread or whatever other carby item, I limit it to 1/4 cup or less. Sometimes one bite is all I want. Since nothing is off limits, I find myself no longer obsessing or craving. So no, there is nothing I will say I can never eat again. But I *was* in a See's candy store today, declined a sample, bought some mints for one of my kids, looked at my old favorite chocolates, and decided I didn't really want them anyway. If I wanted them I would have bought a few pieces and spaced them out over days or weeks so as to not go over my carb budget. Knowing I can have them anytime gives them less power. (If you have ever had any kind of eating disorder, you know what I mean).

My daily intake has become fairly repetitive. Foods I eat most of the time:

eggs or Eggbeaters
bacon, sausage, ham
chicken, steak, beef roasts, pulled pork, tenderloin, fish, tuna
sugar free Greek yogurt, lite ricotta, low fat string cheese, light cottage cheese with fruit
regular cheese of all types including cream cheese, cheddar, shaved Parmesan, Gorgonzola
green beans, salad, carrots, squash, mushrooms, avocado
Clementines, apples, bananas, berries, grapefruit
canned soups, pickles, olives, deli meats
BBQ pork rinds, smoked almonds, cashews, beef jerky, 100 calorie packs of various nuts
coffee plain or with half and half or sugar free creamer
sugar free pudding cups, tea with a teaspoon of honey, a bit of peanut butter here and there
squares of dark chocolate

Occasionally I have a sweet, like a sugar free cookie or a few bites of Halo Top. Once in awhile I have 2 or 3 potato chips or pretzels or crackers if I feel like it. But I always keep in mind not to get my carbs for the day too high.

That's pretty much it, no secret, just eating things that are good for me and things I enjoy, in small amounts, nothing off limits.

And Joann, you *can* lose the weight again! You will do it, if you keep trying, find your way, and never, ever give up.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lyn!

Anonymous said...

If I ate like that I would weigh 300 pounds.

Lyn said...

last Anon~

Well, remember, I am not eating all of those things every day. I eat 3 times a day (usually, unless I have a snack if I am hungry) and sometimes a "meal" is just a yogurt. I eat very small portions too, so when I have added my calories up informally, I find I eat 600-700 calories a day. On a really hungry day I might even hit 1000.

Anonymous said...

I was really surprised at your answer to Joann. It sounded like you believe you have the answer to controlling your weight, yet during the year when you were following the calm, non-tracking, non-stress, nothing off limits path you describe, you gained 30 pounds. You didn't start to lose again until you went on the drug phentermine. I worry that you don't realize that you haven't mastered maintenance yet. You have lost large amounts of weight several times by several different methods, but you have never been able to sustain the losses. I'm sure you know by now that maintenance is the hard part, and I hope you are preparing yourself to approach it with great caution, realizing that you can't just go back to what you were doing before the phentermine.

Anonymous said...

Why are you hungry? You're on phentermine. Two weeks ago you were worried about you were becoming malnourished from not eating enough. And you were forcing yourself to eat extra food that you were not hungry for so that you didn't starve or whatever. Now you're hungry but you're still on the medication?

Lyn said...

surprised Anon~

Joann asked me about weight loss, and I do feel like I have *an answer* (not *the* answer) to that with the phentermine plus lower carb eating with smaller portions... for me. I am super aware that I haven't mastered maintenance; I addressed that in my Oct 29 weigh-in post. What I said to Joann about maintenance is that I believe that eating small amounts, including vegetables (and fruit) and enough protein, and keeping my carbs in this general range will be the foundation of a maintenance plan for me. I also know exercise is important to keep the weight off.

last Anon~

You're a bit confused about what I was doing, but I'll just answer your question about why I am *ever* hungry. That's because phentermine does not last 24 hours, so it wears off around dinnertime for me, so sometimes if I have a light dinner I get hungry before bed. Phentermine does not erase all hunger; another reason it might occur is if I have only eaten 200 or so calories in a day, I tend to feel hungry around 3:00. So I have a few almonds and a glass of water.

Anonymous said...

I’ve sent this question a couple times but not posted so trying as anon but it’s jenjua! I’m curious why you are not concerned with lowering your metabolism this time as it happened with meta-fast? Using phentermine is essentially an extremely Low calorie diet which will lower metabolism over time as you will cannibalize muscle as well as fat. That was something you talked about After medifast. Now being older and without adding in substantial strength training is setting you up for a tough time after you wean off? I hope that you do find some type of consultant excercise that you enjoy as building muscle will be a great way to help maintain your impressive loss! Wishing you continued success

Lyn said...

last Anon~

So weird, I have been getting a lot of anonymous comments but not many "signed" comments... I wonder if there is a problem with Blogger comments. Thanks for trying again and I'm glad yours finally got through!

My endocrinologist told me that phentermine speeds up the metabolism. I have found conflicting information on this online, so I'm not sure if it's accurate but I hope it is. Last month I *was* getting a bit concerned about slowed metabolism and thought I was not eating enough, so started to add more food to my daily intake (mainly more protein and fat) to get my intake higher. I stopped doing that after I got a lot of advice and feedback to just take advantage of the ability to eat less while I can... but, I do still throw in a higher-intake day about once a week (1500ish) just to give my body the feedback that I have plenty of food available if needed. Not sure if that will help, but I've read similar techniques of calorie cycling to keep the metabolism from getting used to a certain level of calories.

Thanks and I think you're right about the exercise!

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is my third time trying to post my comment! Lyn, it sounds like you know what is working for you for now. Depending on your height and a weight that is good for your frame, you likely have 100 more pounds to lose and may not be on medication for all of it. That gives you lots of time to figure out what works for your food. Other readers have suggested great resources like Bright Line Eating and Half Size Me. I'

Diana said...

Hi Lyn - This response is actually for Joann regarding her comment that a weight loss drug wouldn't keep her from being hungry on 600 calories a day. Joann - Yes, it would stop the hunger. I lived on a diet of 800 calories a day using the Phen-fen combo drug in 1996. I lost 118 pounds in eight months and I can honestly say I wasn't hungry during that entire, not once. I never binged nor ate anything I shouldn't have eaten. I was also a strict vegetarian during this time. Sometimes I only ate 400 to 500 calories because I forgot to eat. For me, forgetting to eat is not something that I had never experienced in my entire life. I went from 240 to 122 pounds. I'm 5' 6" and I can honestly say, it wasn't a good look on me. I would never do what I did back then, now that I know what could have happened to my health (I escaped any heart/lung damage). However, if I was struggling to lose weight now, I'd definitely take Phentermine since it's now been out for 20 years and by itself, it doesn't have any lethal side effects.

As soon as I was off the drug Phen-fen combination, my appetite came back in full forced (multiplied by 1,000), and I regained the 118 pounds in less than two years. It was devastating.

Fortunately for Lyn, she's only taking the "Phen" part of the lethal drug combination I was taking. I don't know exactly how it works alone, but it sounds like it's not quite as powerful as the combination (albeit deadly) drug combo of Phen-fen. So I suspect when she stops taking it, she won't have the drastic withdrawal symptoms I had.

Lyn - this part is for you - I think "anonymous" is jealous that you're back on the fast track to success. I didn't get the impression that you've found "THE" answer. I read it as though you've found the answer for YOU, and it's working for you now. Also, regarding lowering your metabolism, there's a lot of studies out now that show it takes a very long time of a very restrictive diet to actually lower our metabolism. Plus, you can counter it by adding in exercise . I wouldn't worry about that so much. Just keep doing what you're doing. It's working for you, so enjoy the ride. I'm confident that this is your time, and you'll reach goal and live happily ever after. ♥️

Diana said...

Lyn - that last comment was from me, Diana, your "old" friend. Just in case it came through as anonymous. 😀