Today marks the beginning of my 6th week on the New ME Diet's Fat Loss program. Exactly nine days prior to that, I began doing weigh-ins for a local company's corporate weight loss competition. Exactly two days prior to that, I decided to weigh myself. On the fancy fat-measuring scale. While my weight was within the low end of my "normal" range, the fat percentage was through the roof. As I leafed through the instruction manual, seeking out justifications for a "miscalculation", it dawned on me that the scale might be right. If I was comfortable enough using its measurements for the company participants, why did I think I was immune to its cold, objective calculations?
Knowing that I have relatively healthy eating habits (aside from the occasional seven course meal at my favorite Italian restaurant), I knew it had come to this: If I wanted to lose weight, I needed to move. The thought of exercise conjures up images of being dragged around the track an extra lap because my gym teacher didn't believe I'd gone the full mile. Of working out with a personal trainer who would mock the way I was doing exercises rather than asking why I was favoring one side or correcting my form in a positive way. Of all the dread and embarrassment that came from being the misfit who didn't know the rules to games everyone else seemed to know how to play. Of being picked last for kickball, the cliche of cliches. Exercise was Not My Thing.
So, I turned to my social network, including Facebook friends who would cheer me on and hold me accountable and to my live friends who could be counted on for support when we got together for salads, not dessert or for tea, not beer. And to my family which, given the delectable manner of cooking they participate in, can't really be faulted for not understanding what on earth had come over me when I refused free-form cherry cheesecake, homemade gravy, and other tortures.
In particular, one former classmate of mine, Dr. Jillian Sarno-Teta, a naturopathic physician and bodybuilder, has been my rock. And she's responsible for introducing me to the program that has turned my "normal" weight on its head. Jillian's husband and brother-in-law (both also naturopathic doctors) have co-authored the best-selling "The New ME Diet" and are the creators of the Metabolic Effect 10-Week Fat Loss Program. Jillian was kind enough to get me started with some tips until my book arrived.
My goal: to drop 20 pounds in 10 weeks. This would put me where I was after my 3 month session with a personal trainer back in 2004. In the first week, I dropped a few pounds, but the main difference was in my waistline: 1 1/2 inches in the first 4 days. Since the beginning, my waist measurement has dropped a total of 3 1/2 inches and my weight has dropped over 10 pounds. I've been sleeping like a log and the exercise takes only 30 minutes 3 times/week (walking 30-60 minutes on off-days). Initially, I had to squeeze time into my day, but now that I'm sleeping better, my body has been waking me up naturally (without exhaustion) a good 30 minutes earier, giving me plenty of time to work out before getting ready for my day.
I spent the first 3 weeks standing in front of the mirror, just making muscles and admiring myself. Not out of any sense of vanity, but more out of a sense of wonder and playfulness. If I could have done this so easily, what else could I accomplish? Could I actually grow a few inches? (Answer: well, technically, no, but working out the kinks in my spine and improving my posture has me back to a "real" 5'9"). Could I really lose weight by eating 6 meals a day, all of them containing meat?
The past 2 weeks, I've been incorporating my "reward meals", mainly to make social interactions easier. The first was a yes to fettucine in gorgonzola cream sauce (no to dessert), the second on a date where I had pretty much what I would have eaten anyway (meat and vegetables), but with a coconut daquiri, beans and rice, and plantain fritters with garlic sauce. I've also been getting more creative with my planned meals, expanding from the simple chicken breast with broccoli and sweet potato or salmon burger with sauteed mushrooms and spinach to orange-chili glazed chicken stir-fry and cumin-scented turkey burgers with baked sweet potato fries.
Since I've been so happy with this program, Stone Turtle Health has become an affiliate clinic (Metabolic Effect is based in one of the Carolinas, I can never remember which one). I'm looking forward to providing my patients with free weekly weigh-ins and free entrance to my monthly Healthy Shopping on a Budget classes as part of their enrollment fee into Metabolic Effect's Fat Loss Program. I'm looking forward to having more partners in crime and creating a support network of patients to provide long-lasting changes in their health.