If you’ve been following my journey toward 100 pounds down and done, you know that not only have I gotten big results, I’ve managed to maintain during times when I haven’t been completely on point with the program. Even during very stressful, crazy busy periods over the past year haven’t derailed me from staying on, and when I’m not losing, I’m also not gaining.
Some of you have asked what other programs I’ve tried and why this one is so different. So here is a break down of my past efforts:
Weight Watchers – With Oprah leading the way as the recent face of the program, it may sound like a very appealing choice. Lots of choices, lots of flexibility. I’ve done the program at least three times over the years and while I could always manage to take off 25 or so, I eventually stopped attending meetings, got too crazy with the pre-packaged WW desserts, and ultimately landed right back at the weight I started with, and then some. It’s been around for a very long time, so obviously there are many who find value in it, but for me, it just didn’t lead to much in the way of permanently changing my habits and my perspective when it comes to food. I never really got to the core of why I was continuing to have issues with over indulging. And now, knowing what I know about food and brain, I know that any program that touts lots of pre-packaged “goodness” just isn’t for me. Because, my dear BadAsses, it’s a big business and the ingredients in those entrees and desserts are big triggers for many who are overweight. I would often gobble up 2 or 3 WW desserts (or, let’s be honest, the whole bloody package), and eventually fall off the rails completely.
Atkins – This one almost got it right for me except that in my opinion it’s not the most healthful way to eat long term. Once I began to add back in fruits and other higher carb foods, the weight came back on at lightning speed. If you’re not familiar, the Atkins diet was huge years ago, and you simply count carbs, so you eat lots of protein and veggies, no legumes, no fruit. While it does get you off the powder (sugar and flour), it ultimately wasn’t sustainable in the long run. And for the record, it gave me really bad breath!
Cayenne & Maple Syrup – Remember this one? Probably my craziest. You have nothing but lemon water with cayenne and maple syrup. I thought this would be a great jump start. I’ll lose the weight super fast and THEN begin eating better. Umm, no. I couldn’t make it past more than a few days, and may have lost over 10 lbs doing it, but, well, enough said.
Slim Fast – Another liquid diet where I would have one slim fast at breakfast and lunch. Then have a “normal” dinner. Now the one GOOD thing about this one is you DO have your first two meals planned so you don’t think about it. Just pop open a can or mix up a quick “shake” and you’re done. To me, any program that involves powder, knowing what I know now, is just not going to cut it for me. Ever.
Various Appetite Suppressants – Since high school, I’ve probably tried a few of these over-the-counter pills to help curb my appetite at least 3 maybe 4 times. And now, the recent popularity of Contrave has gotten thousands on board with the “take a pill to fix it” mentality. But here’s what they don’t tell you, unless you read the fine print: There are LOTS of potential side effects, and eventually, its effectiveness wears off. Some of the over-the-counter stuff is just plain BAD for you. As for the prescription meds? Not sure anyone really has sustainable results once they stop taking them.
Eat To Live – Dr. Joel Fuhrman has really done a lot for nutrition and diet. Eating on this plan was a WAY healthier choice for me, but in the end, I didn’t find it very sustainable. I found it more challenging to eat this way, it was just too restrictive and I had a hard time boiling it down to really specific rules, which I need, because if I get too many things floating in my brain at once, I get overwhelmed, my head explodes and i quit.
Overeaters Anonymous – To be completely honest, I didn’t stay with this one very long at all, mainly because I didn’t feel very comfortable with a group, and wasn’t ready to accept the fact that I really did need to practice some sort of abstinence around certain foods, then more recently discovered it was actually what was IN the food, not the food itself. The 12-step approach was very good in some ways, because they do talk about black and white rules and give very specific guidelines. My other challenge with this one was seeing many members in the group very obese after more than a year working the program. That was very de-motivating for me. I didn’t expect perfect buff people, but I did seek a program that was about action and results.
The Luminous Plan – Probably the biggest influence in putting this plan together was reading several books on Hashimoto’s, Paleo, Willpower, and SUGAR. If you haven’t read it, check out Dr. Robert Lustig’s book, along with all of the books I’ve read that inspired this plan in my Toolbox. Having all of the science in my brain, and seeing the effects of bad choices related to my Hashi’s, I took things into my own hands to target my very dire situation, and vowed to put together something that could work for me beyond just losing the weight (which by that point was OVER 100 pounds–my highest weight was 245, and I’d lost about 10 before starting this all in). It was a combination of doing something I’d never done before and sustainablity, because those 100 lbs weren’t going to come off in a month.
I really truly thought when I started all of this, I’d last MAYBE a week. And when I tell you I am NOT the most disciplined organized “willpowered” person in the world, I want you to believe! Because I’m not. The other aspect of all of this was the whole going public thing, creating a forum where I could give and get support, because while I’m not a joiner, I saw value in bringing together a different kind of community–one that, in the privacy of your own home, you could reach out to the degree you feel comfortable and get support, learn new ways to cook, and feel part of an awesome non-judgmental tribe of BadAsses. And I do need accountability–the A-Team keeps me honest. This journey has taken a TON of shame out of the equation: “Hey! I’m overweight! I’m setting goals and I’m going to beat this thing. Who is with me?”
Sharing the information for free was also very important to me. Everyone has their jam, and for some, paying lots of money to a program might work well for them; it just didn’t make sense to me when the information is out there at a much lower cost in the form of books and websites from doctors and other experts who have done the research and written about it. The only plan I ever paid for was WW, but it never really got to the core of what my triggers are. There are many who’ve come before who know a thing or two about what’s happening in our bodies, so when you put it all together and educate yourself, there’s nothing that can stop you. Save your dollars for the new wardrobe, or the massage, or the fabulous vacation you’ll give yourself. Since I was putting in the time to do the research and read the books to help my own condition, why not put it out into the universe and see what comes back? A whole lot came back. This hasn’t been a glide into perfection, and what in life that’s worth getting ever is? I still have to pinch myself sometimes over all the love and support there is when you open the door to it. I am not a joiner. I’m not even all that social. But this time I vowed to do it differently. I will leave you with a favorite quote that one of my BadAsses shared this week on the A-Team:
This time IS different. Believe it can be different for you too. Work it. Get support. Fill your brain with information and then get your BadAss on the road. I promise, if I, the less than perfectly disciplined human, can do it. So. Can. You. What have you tried? And what is working for you? Let me know in the comments below!