Monday, December 17, 2012

How I lost 24 pounds (along the way)

"Before" and "during" photos coming soon!

Weight loss has always been hard for me.

I'd get woozy in the head, and seriously hungry, and I'd have cravings that would drive me to distraction.

I tried various kinds of programs. I discovered along the way that I really didn't digest raw veggies well, so that eliminated some programs. Others, such as ones that emphasized a heavy consumption of meat, were obviously not a way I could eat for very long, so what would happen when I stopped?

What happened when I stopped these programs was more weight gain, the yoyo dieting effect everyone talks about.

Then I heard a lecture about the cause of yoyo dieting, which is thought to be the loss of lean muscle mass.

Without lean muscle, the metabolism goes down, and sitting becomes the preferred occupation. That information jibed with what I had found that to be true.

By now, with more years under my belt, I also had added more pounds under my belt.

Then I ended up doing a sedentary 18-month service project and the weight accumulated. By the end of it I was 35 pounds heavier than my traditional overweight weight I had lived with during my 40s and 50s.

And by the time I had gained all that new weight, I was eager only to sit and at best work from my comfy chair.

I had heard about this program that I'm doing now. It's called Cinch Inch-Loss program*, and claims suggest that people on that program will not lose any lean muscle mass. (The program literature cites research that shows that just about every type of diet causes the loss of 60% fat and the rest - a full 40% - of lean muscle. But it also shows that participants in the Cinch program actually gain lean muscle.)

Nonetheless, based on my earlier dieting experience I knew it wouldn't work for me.

Then in August I attended an event that featured a dozen or so successful dieters who had used this program. They had lost as much as 200 pounds! They each had a story that began with hopelessness. That sounded like me.

By the time I had heard all twelve stories, I began to entertain hope that this program might work for me.

So I committed to it.

I began in late August when I got the products in the mail. I liked it right away. I liked that it made breakfast and lunch easy. And that it meant that I could make supper for John and we'd be eating the same things.

I did need help measuring calories of our favorite dinners. Sometimes I was too high, sometimes I was too low. With a little effort and paying attention, I got the evening meals right in the proper lane for modest weight loss.

That's what I opted for, reasonable weight loss, maybe 1-2 pounds per week. It didn't really sound like much, but I also figured that if in a year I lost 50 pounds, I would certainly look and feel better.

The pounds began to come off. The first ten pounds were fairly quick, and then they slowed to a steady rate, until I reached 18 pounds off. At that point I plateaued in terms of weight loss, but during that time I was losing inches, especially around my waist, which by now has gone down 5 inches. FIVE INCHES! They said 'inch-loss' and that's what was happening.

(The idea was this: because we are losing fat but also building lean muscle, there are times when the inches go down when the weight doesn't.)

I also undertook walking every day. This was not new for me, and I was frustrated that at first I could walk only about a mile or a bit more. So I got a referral for a physical therapist to help build my endurance. From then on I did one or both every day 6 days a week and my stamina increased.

I never ran into a problem eating the foods recommended. I never had cravings, which I still consider a miracle. When we were traveling, I still used the recommended food-products. When we spent a week at a resort south of Cancun, I didn't have full access to the food-products and I sorely missed them. That was the first and only time I have experienced cravings in these 3 1/2 months, cravings for the products, not for the sweets the resort offered us.

Now I can walk 3 miles up and down hills and am comfortable walking an hour or more. (I'm striving for more every day.) I have reached new levels of stamina in my PT sessions. And I have lost 24 pounds.

That's about a third of what I want to lose. At the current rate I should lose the next 48 or 50 pounds in another year or so. I have no idea how far or fast I may be able to walk or do other exercise by then. What I do know is that I'm looking forward to it. I love the daily routine, the foods on the program. The thought of keeping on going is delightful.

I've lost one pants size, and people are starting to notice, but best of all, I'm proud of myself and I feel excellent! And there's more good stuff to come.

*The program changes its name to Shaklee 180 on Jan 1 2013. Meanwhile go to and click on Cinch.

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