Category Archives: My Weight Loss Progress

It Is What It Is…

My mother-in-law used to say, “It is what it is,” all the time. It used to kind of make me a little crazy. But now I find myself saying it all the time. My MIL passed away a couple of years ago and we, my husband and I, find ourselves thinking of her often. She was quite the gypsy, with an infectious spirit. I truly loved her and miss her a lot.

Ginger with DennyWhat I’ve discovered in my quest to find the healthiest foods and best diets, pills, potions, etc. to lose weight and get healthy is this – it’s still calories in vs. calories out when you’re trying to lose weight. Once you figure that out, the rest doesn’t matter as much. I’ve gone back to the same strategies I used when I did Weight Watchers and lost lots of weight. I’m now using My Fitness Pal, which I absolutely love. It makes the whole calorie-counting chore a lot easier to deal with. It’s even easier than Weight Watchers. I absolutely love the app on my phone.

I wish I could say that it makes a difference if the calories are nutrient-dense or if they’re just junk calories. But truthfully, it doesn’t. You may be hungrier if you eat empty calories versus eating spinach and broccoli, but if you stick to your calorie allotment for the day, you will lose weight. And exercise does matter. You can’t just take a pill, eat what you want, do no exercise and expect anything to change. It’s just not going to happen. You have to get your butt up off that couch and get moving! That’s how you burn more calories than you consume. It has always been that way, and always will be.

Stock photo courtesy WebMD

Stock photo courtesy of WebMD

I’m really relieved to make this discovery. It takes the unknown out of the equation. I can no longer say, “I just don’t know how I’m gonna lose this weight.” Because now I most definitely know the answer. I’ve gotten back up on that horse and started my weight loss journey again, armed with the right tools and mindset. I like Paleo and use my Practical Paleo cookbook a lot, but I don’t practice it anywhere near 90% of the time, or even 80%. Well, maybe it’s close to 80%. But somedays are better than others. And I love beans. So, I do some Paleo. And I do some other stuff. I just watch how much I eat.

There are, of course, some restrictions in my daily diet now that I never had to deal with before – I’m 100% gluten/wheat-free and casein/dairy-free 100% of the time. I can no longer have them since discovering my intolerances. Bummer. I really loved bread and cheese. They just didn’t love me back. In fact, they were kind of mean to me. They really did hurt me. So, our love affair is over and all I have are the memories. Sigh.assortment of baked bread on wood table

But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy other foods that are good for my mind and body. I still can enjoy a cookie or a piece of chocolate (dark only, though) as long as it’s gluten/casein-free. They have them out there now. I hate it for people who couldn’t have things and had to really go without for years before companies finally started making things special for folks with allergies. But I really try to keep my sugar intake to a very low minimum most days. I know that sugar is the worst thing for my body. I just don’t metabolize it right. Even smoothies with more fruit in them. I will gain a lot of weight just from adding smoothies into my regular diet. So, I have to keep those out.

And I can still have WINE! That’s important.

IMG_4811 - Version 2

I got back on my Shakeology too, which I love! It actually helps with my sweet cravings most of the time. I can’t believe I went so long without using it. But I’m back to using it now, thank goodness. It really makes a HUGE difference in how I feel. If I ever feel like I’m not getting quite enough veggies in my life, the Shakeology will give me a little extra boost.

I’m well into my journey now. I’ve already lost 10 pounds since I started nearly two months ago. I’m down to a weight I haven’t seen in several years. And that makes me exceptionally happy. And to think, I could have done this a long time ago if I hadn’t gotten distracted with all the latest diet crazes out there right now. But that’s okay. It’s been a wonderful learning experience. As always, I’m a work in progress.

To a longer, healthier and happier life.


My New Beginning – The Whole 30

iPhone Pics 207Well, it’s safe to say that I’ve backslid quite a bit. I’ve been in California for a year now and I think I basically threw everything I had learned out the window once we got here. We left Germany the first week of June, traveled to Florida and Texas to visit family for the whole month, then arrived in Cali the first week of July. During that month, we were forced to eat things we don’t normally eat mostly because we were not able to cook for ourselves. So, we ate fast food (yuck) and ate whatever was available at families’ homes. It was disastrous.

Fast forward to just a couple of months ago and here I am, I’ve crept up about 9 pounds (I initially lost most of the 15 pounds I had gained during the month of June once we got back to cooking our own foods) and I’ve started to have trouble with GERD again. It began with coughing after I eat. I knew something was not right.

The acid reflux got really bad again and I was feeling pretty miserable. I knew it was time to go back to the doctor to address my digestive issues, including the hiatal hernia I did not have corrected while in Germany. Bummer.

Of course, the first thing my doctor tells me is, “I need to put you back on the Nexium.” I was heart-broken. I’ve been off of that stuff for two years and really fought hard to not have to do it. But in the end, I conceded. And of course,  I’m also being referred to a brand new gastroenterologist. Sigh.

PaleoBookI had read not too long ago about a program called Whole30. If you aren’t familiar with the Paleo diet, then this will be a real eye-opener. I’ve been dabbling in the Paleo diet/lifestyle for several months and have really noticed some differences when I’m doing it right. It’s been an amazing discovery for me. I’ve learned a lot from the book, The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, Phd. You can find it here.

I’ve also been following some awesome blogs on the Paleo diet.  I found blogs like Mark’s Daily Apple, and Rob Wolff. I love to look up recipes by typing in “Paleo diet” or “Paleo (insert food item here) recipe” and tons of recipes pop up! I’ve discovered awesome sites like Nom Nom Paleo and Melissa Joulwan’s awesome site full of the coolest recipes. And in the process of all this searching, I discovered The Whole 9 Life. This site, created by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, is devoted to an extreme Paleo life. They began with a 30 day program to “reset” the body. They decided one day to make some serious, lasting changes in their diet and overall health and set about following a strict regimen for 30 days. Their results were so amazing, they began to share what they did with others. Soon, they had their website up and running and tons of folks they had helped change their lives for the better supporting them.iPhone Pics 1174

The plan is simple – eat whole, fresh foods from sustainable sources. Heal your body and give it a “do-over.” Feel better. Simple. Of course, the plan is simple, but not easy. You don’t just choose better foods, you also have to eliminate those things that damage your body.

That’s the most important part.

You must, for at least 30 days, make sure not to have any of the following:

  1. Sugar
  2. Alcohol (there’s my two demons right at the top of the list!)
  3. Grains
  4. Legumes
  5. Dairy (ghee is the only exception)
  6. Anything containing carageenan, sulfites, or MSG (you can also add nitrites and nitrates if you’re really serious.)
  7. White potatoes

I just started on my Whole30 journey a little over a week ago. I’m only on day 10. But I have to say, it’s been an awakening. And it’s been wonderful!

iPhone Pics 1190My vices have always been my downfall. Wine and chocolate. They’re my little demons that call my name most every night. But once I started on my Whole30 I turned them off. I thought it would be hard. And it was for the first couple of days, but then it wasn’t. I had a headache from day 2 to day 5, but on day 6 it was gone. I felt almost euphoric. What a wonderful sensation.

The food has really been the best part.iPhone Pics 1170

I have dropped a few pounds since I started (even though I know I’m not supposed to get on the scale. The Whole30 is about so much more than losing weight, after all.) But that’s not the best part. I’ve noticed that my foods taste better. I’ve stopped craving things. Period. Everything. I feel stronger during my crazy Insanity workouts with Shaun T. yelling at me to “push through.” My mind feels less foggy. I feel less lethargic. My energy levels are way up. I get more done during my day. I’m definitely more productive since I started.

What I’m really getting at is I love the way I’m feeling these days since starting the Whole30 plan. I feel “cleaner” on the inside. And I don’t want to stop at day 30.

I have my first gastro appt in years coming up on September 9 and I want to keep this going until then. I’m curious to see just how much good I can do for my body before I get to my new specialist. I know I’m probably going to have to have the surgery to correct my hernia, but at least I can give my body a chance to heal faster and feel better. And of course, I want to guarantee that the fix with stay put.

So, to ensure my success on all fronts, this may just become a new way of life for me. After my first 30 days, I’ll probably go celebrate with a glass of wine or two, but maybe by then I won’t want it as much. I certainly have realized that I don’t like the way I feel when I drink more than just a little. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it really made until I stopped it altogether.

So, here’s to a whole new me. I’m definitely on a good path and plan to stick with it for as long as I can. I really feel like this is a true “do-over” for my whole body, for all the years I put bad things in and damaged my insides. I’m hoping to really heal myself, physically and mentally, from all the years of living I did before I hit 40. (Yeah, that’s a scary number, huh?)

I’m off and running and nothing’s holding me back. I’m winning!


To a happier, healthier and longer life.

A Dieter’s Epiphany…

So, I’ve been trying out new diets, tweaking my nutritional intake, and generally just trying to solve the mysteries of obesity and overweight for a long time. My husband has made claims that I am just chasing fireflies and won’t figure anything out completely…it’s almost impossible. But I think I may be on to something…

I began another (yes, another) new diet at the end of August called the Fat Resistance Diet, by Leo Galland, M.D. with amazing results…results I didn’t expect. I had been suffering from chronic fatigue, bloat, and what I always called “puffiness” for quite a long time. These symptoms began to disappear almost immediately on the Fat Resistance Diet. I looked at what I had been eating and quickly realized I had not eaten any grains in a couple of weeks and had already lost 12 lbs. in the process. I continued on the diet for another week and lost a few more pounds, making my total weight loss for the first three weeks 15 lbs.

The weight loss was awesome, but that wasn’t the thing that really caught my attention. All the loss of energy and motivation I had been experiencing had disappeared and I felt better than I had in I don’t know how long. My energy levels were through the roof compared to what they were. Then, after a few more weeks, not really sticking to the diet, but laying off of gluten, the mysterious pain in my shins also disappeared. The rash I had on my scalp – a red, bumpy, itchy rash that I had been trying to keep in check for years with Neutrogena T-Gel – also disappeared. I felt like a whole new person.

I talked to my doctor about allergies and sensitivities to certain foods. I described what my symptoms were and that they had gone and he said to me, “people know the answers when they come in with these kinds of questions – if you eliminated this food and you feel better, what do you think the answer is?” He was right. As good as I felt there was no way I was going back to eating the things that were literally making me sick and creating pain in my body. It was as simple as that.

But the realization that I have an allergy to wheat gluten was just the tip of the iceberg. I also noticed that, along with the elimination of grains, I had added in a lot of dark green, leafy vegetables, healthy anti-oxidant rich dark berries (like blueberries and strawberries) and pomegranate juice and more fish. These were simple changes in my daily diet but the results were amazing. I wasn’t hungry! That’s what was so unbelievable…I didn’t have munchies and I wasn’t hungry all day long. I didn’t really feel like I was on a diet at all. And I’m still eating the same types of foods today and have the same feeling as when I first started the diet. I feel satisfied after eating and I’m not always wanting to feed my face.

Not too long after I began noticing these little improvements in my physical well-being, I picked up and read the book, Wheat Belly – Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, M.D. which is an insanely interesting read. I was really inspired by what Dr. Davis said and his book, along with what I had discovered with Dr. Galland’s diet, really started me thinking about the state of people in today’s world.

This is my belief – People eat food that has been overly processed and lacks nutrional value. That means that when a person eats this type of food, their body isn’t getting what it needs. It’s still hungry! So, this same person eats more processed food, still not giving their body what it truly needs nutrition-wise, which leaves the person feeling bloated and full but not satisfied. The brain is still sending the same signals to eat because it still hasn’t received what it needs. It’s a vicious cycle.

But it can be broken.

Just say, "No!"

The body is an engine and it needs fuel. If you put really bad, diluted gas in your car’s gas tank, what happens to the engine? It breaks down and quits working. If you put the supreme gas in the tank, it purrs like a kitten. So, why would you put crappy “gas” into your body’s tank? This is your engine. It needs to last a long time and it’s up to YOU to take care of it. You have to feed it the right fuels – lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, lean meats, nuts, etc. You can’t feed it doughnuts all the time. The phytonutrients you get from green vegetables and dark fruits just aren’t in there. Yet they are essential to your overall health.

Take this challenge – Go grain-free and “box” free for one week and see how you feel! That means you will have to spend some time in your kitchen preparing meals, cutting veggies, actually cooking your dinner. But that’s a good thing – your kitchen utensils have probably not seen you in a while. Don’t open a box from the freezer – instead make a hearty vegetable soup, or stew. Get out that crock pot and put it to some good use. Add some chicken or turkey into it for dinner. Make a healthy salad with some tuna on top. Grill some fish on your grill. But stay away from breads and pastas. Just give it a try for one week – I bet your body will thank you!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

Summer Vacation, Texas Heat, Mexican Food and Beer…

Ahhh….I love a long, hot summer! Living in Germany the past two years, we’ve really missed out on the Texas heat during the summer months. And I really, really missed it! The German summer is full of cool breezes, temperatures from the 50s to the 80s, lots of daylight and a minimum of swimming opportunities. Oh sure, there are public pools, but who wants to do that? That’s just not my thing.

Aiden enjoying the pool

So, needless to say, our first trip back to Texas in two years brought so much excitement for me and my six year old son, Aiden, we could hardly contain ourselves! And we were not disappointed…Texas greeted us with its warm, sweltering heat rays as soon as we got off the plane. The temperatures had already arrived at the triple digit mark and showed no signs of wavering. It was heavenly to us. My mom has a huge pool in her backyard and my son couldn’t wait to get in it. I had the pool in mind, as well, but had other plans on my agenda. Mommy was ready for a little girl time!

Aiden spent the next several weeks barely leaving my folks’ house. I mean, why leave when everything he wanted was right there? All he had been talking about all winter is swimming in Mamaw’s pool. And that’s what he did practically every day. My mom sat on the patio and watched him as he jumped into the pool, crawled back out, walked over to the diving board and did it all again. Over and over. He was loving every minute of it. It didn’t matter when everyone else got out of the pool, he stayed in solo and continued to play. I loved seeing him so happy and content.

The Sassy Sarah Martini from Brownstone's

But my aim was to meet up with friends, throw back some cold ones and enjoy some of my favorite restaurants and test drive some new ones that had popped up in my absence. I met up with my girl, Ericca, who introduced me to Blue Sushi Sake Grill. O. M. G. That was the best lunch I had had in FOREVER!! We scarfed down dish after dish together while sipping cucumber-garnished ice water. Lovely! Next, we (my husband and I) had dinner with E and her husband  at Lucile’s, one of my all-time favorite restaurants. And, of course, we had cocktails. Within the week, the girls and I went out for Sunday Funday, where they introduced me to many of the new locations in town. We stopped in, had a cocktail or two, and moved on to the next stop. Much like a sophisticated pub-crawl.

After my husband left Texas to come back to work, I endeavoured to spend more time with my girlfriends. E had a pool, too, and she didn’t have kids around playing in it all day. So, begging my parents to look after my little guy, I ventured out on the town more than a few nights and spent many an afternoon sipping Skinnygirl Margaritas by E’s pool. Oh, how the heat, pool, sun, and lovely cocktails did make for a glorious vacation!

Lunch at Three Parrots in Granbury, Texas - YUM!

And I haven’t even mentioned the Mexican food yet! I ate lunch and dinner at practically EVERY ONE of my favorite Mexican restaurants while I was in town. I had been deprived of some of my staple foods in Germany with the exception of what I can make for myself. But there’s just something about having someone else do the making that makes a meal taste that much better. I overloaded on fresh made tortillas (something I don’t make and can’t really get anywhere else) guacamole and fresh salsa, enchiladas, fajitas, nachos, burritos and tacos! YUM! I can’t help it, I grew up in Texas where this stuff is abundant and I ate it often. Being away from good Tex-Mex actually gave me the DTs. I had to get my fill while I was home.

And then there was the beer. I realize I live in Germany where the beer is world-renowned. And I live within half an hour of Luxembourg and Belgium, where the beers are even better. You can drive directly to an abbey and buy beer from the monks that make it. What a lovely thing! I agree with all of that. BUT, there’s just something about a nice, ice cold American beer while you’re chillin’ by the pool. I had dreams of doing this while I was counting down the days before we arrived in Texas. I could NOT WAIT to have a regular, everyday Bud Light. My mouth salivated over the thought of it. And that’s when it happened…my brother showed up at my Mom’s house with a cooler full of Landshark lager. I had heard of it but never tried it. And that’s when he reached into the icy cold cooler fully stocked with ice and frosty beverages, pulled one from the bottom of the ice and said, “Here! Try one! You’ll love ’em!” And I did. The rest of the time I spent in Texas I purchased and drank many six-packs of this refreshing, perfect-for-laying-by-the-pool/beach-in-the-summer-heat beer. It was divine! So light! So refreshing! It’s BETTER than any of the other American lagers I had had in the past. It is now my new favorite. Ahhhh….Landshark!

After four weeks of pure and utter gluttony, Aiden and I had to return home. I was really ready to be home with my husband, sleeping in our bed. Something about your own bed…nothing else ever really comes close. I was exhausted and ready to get back to everyday life. Our trip had been good, but I had had enough.

The next morning I stepped on my scale…oh, the horror. I had gained 12 lbs. while I was playing in Texas. I knew it would be bad, but that was even worse than I had expected. I didn’t get much exercise in the whole time I had been staying with my Mom. I ate like I was on vacation (because I was) and drank quite a bit during my time with friends and family. And today I am paying the price for that. Now I will have to work a lot harder than I expected to get that extra weight off of me. Dang.

It was a fun trip, but I really wish I had prepared myself a little better. If I had kept up my exercising even though I was indulging it may not have been so bad. But I didn’t. I didn’t do myself any favors by not taking better care of myself. And I really didn’t set a very good example to my family who need to take better care of themselves, too. I did prepare some fantastic meals for them while I was there, but it just wasn’t enough to expose them to a lifestyle. I showed them what not to do.

So, soon I will be getting back to a clean eating plan. And then it’s game on!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

The Bikini Test…

We’re set to head to Texas in just under two weeks. So, yesterday, determined to give myself a little extra motivation, I ordered a new bikini and had it sent to my mom’s house.  I haven’t really worn a bikini in the last few years, since I put on the excess weight. But I really love wearing bikinis and used to all the time.

This is back in 2006 on the beach in Mexico. Not my most fit, but a time when I really enjoyed sporting a bikini!

I’m hoping that just knowing that a hot, sexy, new bikini will be waiting for me will keep me on the straight and narrow path I need to stay on. Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be able to look at least as good as I did in the above pic by the time I get to Texas.

I’ve been staying away from the wine (yay, me!) and controlling my calories pretty well. My biggest obstacle is the extra exercise I need to squeeze in. Now that summer’s here, my six year old son is home…all day, every day! So, I have to use my DVDs more instead of going to the gym.

I do have my super cool DVDs…P90X, Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, Insanity, Hip Hop Abs…all at my disposal. (I’m a Team Beachbody Coach, afterall!) And I actually did my first P90X workout this morning. I did the Chest & Back workout and I think that tomorrow I will wish my arms would just fall off. Hahaha! But, I’m going to stick with it. Between my DVDs, softball and my zumba classes, I will be able to stay pretty active and keep that strength training going until I get to my vacay in Texas.

Feelin' good in Mexico! Back in 2006 (I can't believe that was nearly 5 years ago) when I was NOT shy about my body!

I talked to my best friend yesterday…she’s been doing a lot of working out, too, while doing Weight Watchers. She’s lost another 2% body fat in just four weeks. She’s working with a trainer and apparently she had no qualms about showing off the work she’s done to get in shape…of course, she’s sporting a hot bikini! She’s also been doing the “cheat day” once a week to keep herself going on her eating regimen.

So, now the pressure’s on!!! I know that when I’m hangin’ out by the pool in Texas, I’ll be drinking. That’s just what’s going to happen. Hangin’ out with my girlfriends I haven’t seen in the past two years, I’ll be drinking like a fish. But I’m also hoping that I can spend some time in the gym while I’m there. I want to get a temporary membership and go with my girlfriend. The two of us together will be able to keep each other motivated to keep going. I miss that about having her around. We used to do so much active stuff together. Now we’re worlds apart and doing it separately. I miss her.

So, I’m making myself accountable. To you…to me…to anyone! I’m making a promise to myself that I will work harder in this next full week and get as close as I possibly can to my goal. I won’t shed 20 lbs. or anything, but I can at least look good in my new bikini!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

My Passion, My Love, My Enemy…

Summer is here! I have been looking forward to warmer weather for soooo long.  After living in Germany for the past two years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was not built for colder climates. My butt belongs in Texas. People back home keep posting about the unbearable heat on facebook and I keep dreaming of 100+ degree temperatures as I read them. We’re planning on heading back to Texas for a visit soon and I’m getting super excited. In the meantime, though, here I am in Germany, the weather cold and rainy, dreaming of poolside lounging.

But, if you look at the calendar, summer starts tomorrow. And I can’t believe I let it creep up on me this way. It’s summer and I’m not bikini-ready. What happened? How did I let six months go by without losing all the fat I had planned on losing? Well, I think I may now know the answer to that question:  Alcohol.

Okay, my friends, you’ve heard the advice a thousand times before – if you are trying to lose weight, alcohol of ALL TYPES is your arch nemesis, you’re enemy. Beer, wine and liquor are definitely NOT your friends. So, it’s time to say, “So long, Gentleman Jack and Jose Cuervo, it’s time to cut ties…at least for a while.”

Recently, my doc put me on an antibiotic for a nearly two week regimen. While taking this medication, alcohol is strictly prohibited. I’ve only been off of alcohol for five days and I can already see and feel a difference. I was forced to go completely dry, but now that I’ve seen what the alcohol was keeping me from achieving, I don’t want to go back to it too soon.

In the past five days, I’ve had less grogginess, less bloat, better sleep and I’ve seen a difference in my waistline. That tells me that I was doing everything else right…but the wine was holding me back. I’ve lost between two and three pounds in just the last five days. I’m assuming some of that was excess water, but still. I am truly amazed at how much a difference this has made.

Aiden's birthday cake...the biggest birthday cake EVER!

My son’s birthday party was last weekend and I was so afraid to indulge in his beautiful birthday cake. (It was truly amazing…a giant pirate ship! So cool!) I didn’t want to over-indulge in anything! I had a very small piece and refrained from eating anything  else. But I gained anyway.  However, just the other day, my son and I made strawberry cupcakes together, complete with little gumdrops on top. I was staying within my calorie-count, but I didn’t stop myself from having one of those beautiful cupcakes. And I still lost weight! That is the power of alcohol.

This is the lesson I’ve learned…the hard way: Alcohol trumps sugar every time.

I really do enjoy my wine (and cocktails from time to time.) And truth be told, I enjoy a glass or two most nights. I’ve really been enjoying the fact that I live in one of the best wine-producing regions in the world. But while I still haven’t reached my goal, I can’t afford to continue sabotaging my efforts.

Cocktails, cocktails and more saboteur.

It really pains me to think I’ve been doing it right all along…low-calorie diet, plenty of exercise, mostly water to drink, given up all sodas a long time ago…but I still haven’t reached my goals because I couldn’t let go of the wine.

I’m not saying that the occasional night out with the girls or a nice glass of wine with dinner while out with my hubby is out of the question. And once I reach my goal and I’m in maintenance mode, it will be a lot different. But for me, I’ve seen the light. In order to get to where I want to be, I will have to stay off of the wine for a while. Wish me luck!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

Crash and Burn

After the rain

I just love a good thunderstorm. The world feels fresh and new the next morning. All the dirt and grime is washed away revealing the world’s true colors hiding beneath. We had some really good thunderstorms last night and I would have enjoyed them a lot more if I hadn’t felt like vomiting.

Apparently, I’m a big wuss. These past few days on the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet have been the worst I can remember in a long, long time. Of course, the first day of the plan, the Cheat Day, was perfectly awesome. But on day two, the Fast Day, I was a miserable wreck. I took my BCAA (branched-chain amino acid)  supplements and took a decent metabolism booster as instructed. I was at work for a big part of the day and I was doing okay. But by the time 4:00pm rolled around and it had been 21 hours since my last meal, I was ready to crack. I was weak, had a headache and I was just freakin’ hungry.

I know that my problem was most likely psychological. I’m sure I was not actually starving the way I felt I was starving.  I did finally break down and eat a little something…I lasted a full 24 hours on the fast and thought that was pretty good. And the worst part is I was supposed to do two workouts during this day. There was no way I was going to be able to perform even one workout. I was  ready to go to bed that night just so I wouldn’t feel the discomfort that came from feeling that hungry. Even though I ate dinner,  it just wasn’t enough after going so long without food. I felt completely miserable when I hit the sack.

The next day wasn’t quite as bad…Shake Day. I thought I would feel famished when I first woke up, but I was feeling pretty normal. I made my first protein shake and it seemed to do the trick. My son had his Field Day at school and my husband and I had plans to volunteer. The day was gorgeous for outdoor sports activities and I was happy to feel some warm sunshine. But once my coffee ran out, I started to feel the pangs of hunger once again. Field Day only lasted a couple of hours but by the time we got back to the house, I felt weak and depleted. I had another shake, but I still felt empty.  Several shakes later I had to get to softball practice, but my head was pounding and I just felt weak. Somehow I made it through practice, though my husband told me I looked lethargic and didn’t seem to be at my best. When we finished up at the field, my husband and son wanted to eat dinner (it was 8:00pm after all) so we ended up going to the club on base. I ate a piece of hamburger on a bun with mustard only. And a lot of water.  It wasn’t a shake, but it was not a lot of food. I still felt hungry and wanted the day to end.

Finding my own path

When we finally got back home I checked in with my XFLD partner back in Texas. She had gone the entire fast day successfully and was working her way through the shakes on day three. She seemed to be having a much better time with the plan than I. I thought to myself, “what a puss I am!” and vowed to do better next time around. How could she be doing so much better? Am I really that much of a wuss that I just can’t handle it? I really thought I was tough enough to do this plan, even though it’s extreme. I was really disappointed in myself.

I read so many comments on Joel Marion’s blog from people all over the world, from different walks of life, with different perspectives who had fasted or made it a regular practice to fast and had zero problems. I remember reading from one person who works in a hospital who regularly checked her blood sugar levels to make sure it didn’t drop throughout her fast only to find it stayed normal throughout the whole day.  So, that means that for me it must be all in my head.

Day four, the Moderate Carb Day, I was very excited to have made it this far. I woke up and wanted to go to my zumba class. I hadn’t been able to go all week because I had been working so much. And this morning, our class was being held outside! It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I couldn’t wait. I made breakfast (one egg, two pieces of turkey bacon, one piece of toast with margarine and all-fruit, juice and coffee) and got ready to head out. I was so pumped.

Zumba is a very high-energy class and I just wasn’t able to give it my all during this beautiful outdoor exhibition. I felt weak all over. My legs felt like they would give out at any moment. It was so bad the instructor noticed. My general lack of energy and all-over weakness had really interfered with my activities. I decided at that moment that this diet was just not going to work for me. I needed more than what I was getting from the XFLD. Yes, I want to lose weight and get back into shape, but I just don’t think anyone should feel this horrible while doing it.

We left the field after zumba and decided we needed to get some lunch and sandwiches from the deli counter seemed like a great choice. We sat down and I began to devour my lunch. I must have looked something like a shark attacking a surfer, eyes rolling back into my head and mouth chomping down ferociously, to anyone that may have taken notice. My husband probably had to turn his gaze away from me as I tore through my poor, unsuspecting wrap sandwich. It never stood a chance.

It wasn’t too long after we finished eating that we were all in the car driving towards home when the nausea set in. I’ve never been carsick before and didn’t think I was carsick now, but one minute I was fine and the next I felt the need to pull over.  We had planned on hitting up a friend’s outdoor barbeque later in the afternoon, but I ended up laying on the couch in a pathetic fetal position for the rest of the day. I don’t remember the last time I felt so sick. I was the most miserable I had been in a very long time.

This morning I woke up and stepped on the scale. Though yesterday had been a disaster I still wanted to see if all the torturous days had at least yielded some positive result. But sadly, I weighed exactly the same as I had on the first day of the XFLD. After the fast day I had lost 2.5 lbs and was hoping to still be close to that. But obviously, it was only water which I replaced yesterday during my balled-up recovery time. I ate plenty of carbs yesterday and drank a lot of fluids. My week, from an extreme diet standpoint,  has been a total waste of time.

I will confess that I know extreme diets never work. I know that crazy fads are really just that…crazy. None of the extreme, fad, crash or crazy diets ever really work. And what’s worse, if you ever do lose weight on one of these crazy diets, it’s probably mostly water and comes right back within a short period of time.  After reading the science behind Joel’s plan, I was really hoping that this one would be different. And maybe it is for some. Maybe some people can do this program with little difficulty. But not most people. It clearly says in all the info that “this plan is not for everyone” and it’s really true. It’s for only a select few. If you are not in the habit of fasting or starving, it’s probably going to be really difficult to get through this program. Just one 5-day cycle was nearly impossible for me to get through…I can’t imagine trying to get through four more cycles. And exercising during these starvation modes…well, that was not going to happen. Yes, like a thunderstorm washes away all the surface grime to reveal what’s really underneath, I have discovered what’s hiding beneath all the science-speak in Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet…just another crazy, crash, fad diet. What a disappointment. But I really should have known better.

My partner confessed to me yesterday that she couldn’t imagine doing it four more times, either and agreed to do a modified plan with me. I told her that I could come up with a much more reasonable way to do this if she was willing to go off the XFLD. And she agreed. Thank goodness!

Today I will spend the day chillin’ out and getting ready to start on a new plan. My friend and partner is willing to try something a little more reasonable and I can live with that.  My new plan will consist of a “cheat” day followed by four days of very low calories. We can still use the metabolism booster for added results. But there will be no starving. There will be food intake on every day of my plan. And we will still get to have a cheat day to boost our hormone levels and keep us from plateauing. And we will lose weight.

Time to lay off the alcohol...

I thought that giving up beer and wine would be the hardest part of losing weight. But after attempting to get through five days of the XFLD, I don’t think that will be a concern any longer. After that, giving up alcohol will be a cinch.