Friday, September 16, 2011

ThE MirACLe DieT tHat WorkED foR ME....

…Was not a diet at all.

I should start by saying that this should have a disclaimer because I’ll probably mention something “disgusting” relating to a bodily function or two. If you’re like me, that just made you giggle with anticipation of the grossness that is to come. It won’t be that severe (or fun).

What did I do? I’m pretty sure I’ve said this already but… I changed my eating habits and I started exercising. I revamped my plan, as needed, along the way. Basically? I did what physicians, nutritionists, and all other wellness “experts” have been recommending for years.

There were no magic pills. The only pills I take are for medical issues like allergies and female things. There were no super fabulous shakes. I don’t drink any juices while fasting from food. I eat meals; usually six of them. Every day. I eat a small breakfast, mid-morning meal (some would call it a snack), lunch, a mid-afternoon meal (again, some would call this a snack), and dinner. I feel like I’m eating constantly. I track my calories, fat, protein, carbs, and sodium.

I do not wear any strange contraptions that giggle my fat around while attempting to remove it. I don’t use strange tools that if I were to let go of, they’d go flying in the air, possibly causing injury to someone. I’m accident-prone enough on my own. I track my exercise. I wear a heart rate monitor so that I can monitor my heart rate, obviously, and see how many calories I’ve burned. I’ve invested in fitness equipment.

NOW…This isn’t to say that I have not tried different methods in the past. I have. I honestly believe that those different, unhealthy (IMO) methods were what lead me to my highest weight.

Let’s see…

Pills. There once was a time, back in high school, that I hid Dexatrim in my glove compartment. My parents found it. It was thrown away. Like that stopped me? I just bought more. Sadly, I was 16 when I began this process of making myself fat. At 16 all I could see is that I wasn’t “perfect.”  I did not resemble the obese cow I made myself out to be in my mind.

I’ve also taken Metabolife, Hydroxycut, and Xenical. Xenical is a prescription med that’s very similar to Alli. It does the same thing.

Here’s where we get graphic…

Xenical is the pill I took for the shortest period of time. Honestly, taking that thing was horrible. I couldn’t have one “splurge” day without suffering the consequences. I’d be stuck in the bathroom for a while, or at least making frequent trips there. One of the side effects was “anal leakage.” Luckily I never experienced that, but I also didn’t want to risk it. Seriously? I’m a grown-up. I don’t want to poo myself, even if it’s this oil that’s a strange shade of orange. Oh and the oil… When I’d have to run for the bathroom, it was generally this oil that I had to…. dispose of. I thought something was very wrong with me the first time it happened. Orange oil, just floating there? And nothing else? That couldn’t be normal. Uh, pretty sure it wasn’t. Since my fat was being blocked, that’s all it was. Ingested fat. Gross. I would been afraid to have seen what may have happened if I had eaten a lot of fat (I was purchasing low-fat, non-fat, and reduced-fat products).

Drinky-drinks. Slimfast was the only drink I tried. I hid the cans in the trunk of my car. How awesome that no refrigeration was required!! I was in college at this point and still felt the need to hide it. I knew my parents wouldn’t agree and didn’t want to deal with the “drama.” I also tried those bars for my in-between meal snacks.

Then there was the super awesome lifetime movie that made me think “oooohhh I should try that for a little while.” I totally overlooked that the main character had an eating disorder. Less than 500 calories a day is NOT enough. This was a horrible idea. After a few months I had done nothing but slow my metabolism, damaging it more than I already had. Thankfully this didn’t last for too long, although when I found my journal, I realized it was longer than I thought.

I’ve also tried diets, and purchased the books… Atkins. South Beach. There was another one but I can’t remember what it was. The blood type diet was recommended at a doc visit once. I didn’t follow-up with that one.

I haven’t tried the grapefruit diet. Or the soup diet. I haven’t tried acai for weight loss, although because it’s natural it might be a good supplement. I also have not, and will not, try this whole hCG fad. Well, in reality, no fads. I know what to do and it’s to be healthy.

Oh hCG…Seriously…WHAT is up with that? People are putting the pregnancy hormone in their bodies to lose weight. Um…No thanks.

The best part? In order to lose weight while using hCG, you’re supposed to follow a 500 calorie a day diet. Apparently the hCG curbs those awful hunger pangs that you get when you’re hungry. When you are REALLY hungry and NEED to eat.

 PEOPLE!!! 500 calories a day?? THAT’S FAR too little! An active woman should be eating at least 1200. I believe the lowest for a man is 1600, but don’t quote me on that. I don’t pay as much attention to male info since this is a personal quest and I’m not a male.

From the research I’ve seen, this hCG diet is really nothing more than starving yourself. If you want to severely restrict your calories to the point that you’re eating so few that you’re headed to the malnutrition zone, you may want to think again.

If you’d like to learn more about what eating only 500 calories a day for a prolonged period of time looks like, go check out some eating disorder images on Google. You’ve gotta eat enough calories to be healthy. You’ve gotta eat enough calories to SURVIVE.

Not eating enough calories can also damage your mental health. If you’re not eating enough calories, you can get grrrroooouuuuuccchhhhhyyy to the max. This could result in decreased socialization. Who wants to hang out with Debbie Downer or Oscar the Grouch all the time? Being around someone negative and possibly mean isn’t fun. Enough decreased socialization and bad moods and you might start to become depressed.

Luckily I have a Mom who is a nurse and I work in health caresetting. I’ve been able to pick up a lot of knowledge through work as well as my personal research. I understand that eating too little will cause your lab values to be out of whack which can really mess up your system. Also, if you don’t eat and drink enough, you don’t poop enough. This can cause constipation. If constipation lasts too long, you’ll probably have bowel woes for quite a while. Impactions and obstructions? No thanks. Some methods may cause the opposite problem. Loose, watery stools. Frequently. You may not make it to the bathroom. You may start to get what’s like diaper rash on your bum.

Of course, the lure of losing UP TO 30 pounds in a month sucks people in. It’s presented in a pretty package that seems like the most wonderful idea ever. It’s not. Honestly, if you do it for too long it could result in some serious medical problems. You might end up hospitalized. Or you may even have something happen to you that leaves you dead. I've said it in an earlier blog but people tend to miss that UP TO part. I’ve seen this with exercise DVDs and such too. Just because something is advertising that you’ll loose up to 20 pounds in a month doesn’t mean you will. UP TO could be ten pounds, five pounds, one pound, or no pounds. “Results not Typical” is far too often in that tiny print that hardly anyone can see so unless they’re looking for it, they’ll probably miss it.

Sure, in the end the obesity will kill you too, but probably later rather than sooner (but no one knows for sure). Obviously I can’t predict how or when or what will happen, because contrary to popular belief I do not have that Social Worker Magic Crystal Ball. Also? My Social Worker Magic Wand has yet to make it’s way into my hands. I’d love to “bippity boppity boo” someone on the head and make everything wonderful for them. Unfortunately that doesn’t exist.

It is my belief that in the end, changing your habits is the only thing that will have lasting effects. Where does weight loss surgery play into this? Well, since physicians have their patients begin to lose weight and change their habits BEFORE surgery, and they must continue after surgery (unless they want to gain some back), this is also a lifestyle change. You don’t just go under the knife and then go back to eating fast food three days a week and drinking a six pack on Friday night. You also cannot expect to lay on the couch, with your only exercise being trips to and from the fridge and reaching for the remote. Basically, from my understanding, surgery helps with the loss but the patient has to have some responsibility too. Like with anything, you can’t expect that someone or something else will do the work for you.

So you want to lose weight? Talk to your physician (or FNP, or PA-C, even checking in with a nurse, etc.) before you do too much. It really is important to have a medical professional on board so that he/she can monitor your progress and what you’re doing. Dietitians are also helpful. Personal trainers might be awesome for some people too. You’ll need support of others because to do it, and really do it, takes work. You’re going to have to change your life. Talk to your physician before you take any pills, supplements, hormones, etc. to promote weight loss. You just may learn that there are some risks that are very scary.

Can you drink shakes, take hormones, and pop pills every day for the rest of your life? If you don’t, it’s likely that you’ll gain some, all, or even more, weight back. This really isn’t a diet or even just an exercise program. Both are key factors. Both involve lifestyle changes that must be made.

Given the choice between doing what might seem faster and easier, or doing what’s healthy, I’ll chose healthy. Every. Single. Time. I encourage you to do the same. I also hope that for many of you it isn’t just a matter of dropping some pounds. After a while, I hope that you’re bitten with the health bug. I hope that you experience runner’s high (or whatever), satisfaction from sore muscles, and the awesome feeling of accomplishment that goes along with changing your life.

Here’s to happy, healthy living!!

XOXO

(We are FINALLY current; blog from 9/15/11).

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