So, I have put off posting this and I’m not sure how many out there really care about my experience but just in case others are struggling, I thought it may be a little of a lifeline for you.
If you know me, you know I am committed to working out regularly, watching what I eat, trying to make good food and portion choices and keeping on top of my health as much as possible. When I started gaining weight, for what felt like absolutely no reason, I came across a Facebook feed post about Eat to Perform. You can go back and read all of my related posts, if you have the time and want to learn a little more.
In a nutshell, they are selling (literally) a philosophy that basically states, if you are any kind of athletic or work out regularly as well as watching your weight, you probably are under eating to get the results you want. There also is a formula that helps you figure out the correct mix of protein, fat and carb grams along with a little explanation of how the formula works on their website. I used this formula to come up with my target grams for each, along with a target calorie to consume, which was approximately 200-400 calories higher than I had been targeting before.
I stayed with this program for 2 solid months and maybe they would argue that’s not long enough. That’s fine but I know by the end of those 2 months, I was so miserable, I just couldn’t do it any longer. Not only had I NOT lost any weight or body fat, I actually gained about 3 or 4 pounds and 1-2% body fat. I was also so obsessed with lowering carbs and increasing protein, I was drinking protein shakes almost every single day to try and reach my protein gram goals. Now, I have NO idea what caused me to gain so much weight – so much that I reached a new high weight for the 1st time in about 4 or 5 years, despite Eat to Perform telling me that I was starving myself. Was it the protein shakes? Was my body getting too much protein for my size, despite their formula?
I didn’t change my workouts at all – well, wait, that’s a little bit of a lie. I actually tried to INCREASE the intensity of my workouts because Eat to Perform tells you by eating more, you will have more energy to get the most out of your workouts. I never experienced that energy boost in the slightest. And the kicker to the whole thing is, unless you buy into their program for the low price of $9.95, there is no way to talk with anyone who created to program, ask question, not even on their Facebook page and the hundreds of teaser articles they post. I tried to comment a few times, asking others for their experience and was told I could find out more if I paid.
So, I just quit. I was unhappy, uncomfortable, felt deprived and never looked back. I lost a couple of pounds within the first week and unfortunately, due to a stomach flu last week, am now back within 2 pounds of my goal weight. I now eat carbs and not feel like I want to kill myself. I haven’t had a protein shake in about 2 weeks and despite just investing in oh. . .about 60 of them, I’m not sure I will drink them much anymore. Maybe once in a great while after a really intense workout, like a boot camp class.
I don’t know what the magic formula is to weight loss – is it Weight Watchers, Fitbit tracking, Atkins, Paleo, gluten free? I think it’s different for everyone. It’s what you can live the rest of your LIFE doing, not just for a finite period of time. There is no goal you will reach and then you can just go back to what you were doing before. You do – and the weight will just come back.
I get it, we all change as we get older and to help myself with that aspect of my health, I have gone back on herbs that I was taking late last year and early this year, to help keep my metabolism on track and my hormones from fluctuating quite so much. But in the end, I will keep doing what I have always done to be healthy – watch my portion control, avoid the bad foods I can do without, eat the ones I can’t sparingly. I will keep walking and tracking my steps on Fitbit, I will keep trying new classes to keep workouts interesting, I even would like to give myself a new goal for 2016 to run a 5K before the end of the year. I have tried running before, with absolutely no success but I really want a new challenge and feel like this will give me something to shoot for. If I am finally able to run a mile continuously, for the 1st time in my life at 42, well, then I’ve achieved another, new fitness milestone.
I have stopped tracking my calories daily, for a time. If my weight starts to go back up again, I might do it again but it gets so tedious, doing it every single solitary day, it feels obsessive and ends up being all you think about. I think it’s very helpful when you are first starting to try and lose weight and change your lifestyle, to give you a better idea of what to shoot for, what a portion looks like, learn the nutritional information of what you are eating to make better choices. But I know all this, I have done it off and on for YEARS. I can tell you the serving size and calories by memory for almost any idea on the shelf in the grocery store. I just need to keep reminding myself to make good choices, but also not beat myself up so much when I don’t.
I won’t give up, I won’t give in, nothing is more important than how you feel, how active you are, how much you can move your body and how comfortable you are. I plan to hang onto that as long as humanly possible, making it as fun as I can in the process.
So, back to the drawing board in 2016. I hope you stick with me for the journey!