Gentle Retooling

Its Friday, and I’ve been doing the Chris Powell carb cycling (classic) method for about five days. Eating the food has been easy, even if constantly preparing food is not. It’s certainly something I’ve been passing on doing for a good year (or ten) so I’m not surprised that it’s hard – even if I simply wished it easy.

I think the biggest hurdle we dealt with this week was shrinkage after cooking – most particularly in regards to the lean meats. We bought the specified amount of chicken, steak & ground turkey and we’ve run out of all three of those items and we still have two days of the meal plan to follow. Another issue – which was just a “oops” on my part – was the fact that my husband was supposed to be getting nearly twice as much when it came to protein and complex carbs so that also worked against us in the meat department. Next week, we’ll do much better!

The other hurdle was carving out the time to prep the food. We prepared and packaged only one meal that we’d be eating throughout the week (a turkey & veggie bowl, which we ate 3x equating to 9 servings) and just cooked the others on demand. But I didn’t really like that, since one night I got so consumed with the kids and cleaning that I had to eat a non-scheduled meal for dinner because it was On Plan and already prepared – not a big deal, but stressful.

The goal for the upcoming week: Smarter shopping and more prep! We tried to do it on Sunday, but Sunday got away from us. I’m going to try much harder to get it done this time!

Tempting, isn’t it?

My last post spoke about moving to a carb cycling plan within the next three weeks. Well, I moved that up – and started this week 😀 The truth is, once I’d lost the Medifast food momentum, the food was no longer keeping me full and I wasn’t interested in eating it so I would skip meals and become REALLY hungry and then regret it.

All last week I ate whatever I wanted, without tracking, even though I knew I was doing harm to my meager weight loss achieved with Medifast. There was a part of me that didn’t really care though, I just wanted to CHEW on something and consume real, filling foods. Granted, most of my choices were fast food – but I soon got that all out of my system and simply enjoyed homemade sandwiches and popcorn with hard cider.

I found a book, by Chris Powell, on carb cycling and decided to follow his plan. Then I sold my sister on it. Then I bullied my husband into it 😛 So now there’s three of us following it and I’m hoping that with everyone I eat with often on the plan we’re going to really succeed!

His plan is super easy: Monday, Wednesday & Friday you eat low carb meals – Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday you eat high carb meals – and on Sunday you reward yourself! Plus, every fourth week you eat high carb meals for that week – to “slingshot” through plateaus. I LOVE IT. He’s not big into counting calories or anything, but does give you some guidelines so you have an idea of how much is too much or too little. He also tells you what foods are off limits, so it’s an every day healthy diet – not pork rinds and cheese on low carb and Chinese noodles and white bread on high carb days.

Yesterday (low carb) I ate a teeny bit over 1200. Today I’m scheduled to eat a teeny bit over 1600. The calorie confusion coupled with the carb cycling is going to be a knockout combo – I can already tell!

He has an exercise plan too, but I’m going to be honest when I say that I’m going to get the food thing under control first and then add exercising. The last time I did that I had a lot of success, since it wasn’t too much on my body at once. I really wonder if that’s where I went wrong with Medifast, beginning to exercise too soon…?

In reference to the title of this post: Considering I had binged all last week, mainly during lunch, I was really apprehensive about getting on the scale and kept forgetting/putting it off. I finally got on this morning and was shocked to see a 3 pound weight loss! So, while it might be tempting to binge for a few weeks, I’m excited about the carb cycling.

Looking Towards the Future

The past two weeks haven’t been “great” for me, on many levels. First, I haven’t been losing much weight and that has been discouraging and second, I’ve been having a lot of pelvic pain resurfacing so I haven’t been able to comfortably exercise.

During the last two weeks I’ve also been experimenting – if you will – with how my body reacts to different slips in my diet and it’s been a good thing and a bad thing. The good first: I can certainly lose weight even if I mess up. The bad: I can mess up and I don’t want to be able to do that – at least not yet.

When I started Medifast, and the idea that getting to a metabolic state and staying there was so important, I was determined not to undermine my chance at success. I was 100% On Plan that first two weeks and just barely off plan the third (barely=not eating all 5 MF meals), and it wasn’t until the forth week that I became really discouraged by my lack of staggering results.

2014-09-29_0914

Its amazing that the PEAK of calories I’ve had in the last month has still being amazingly conservative in comparison to what I used to eat.

With all that, I’ve decided that for the next three weeks I’m going to be working on the next stage of my journey which will be sans-Medifast but still with much more concentration on carbohydrates than with my previous endeavors.

Having read about various carbohydrate centric (whether to avoid or use) diets, I’ve decided I’m going to put together a meal plan to try “carb cycling” – something previously used for body builders but also can be used for weight loss. The name is pretty self explanatory – but basically you have low carb days and high carb days, it’s that simple.

I found this set of guidelines on DailyBurn:

High-carb day

About 1 gram of carbs (x your body weight)
0.75 grams of protein (x your body weight)
As little fat as possible

Low-carb day

0.2–0.5 grams of carbs (x your body weight)
About 1 gram of protein (x your body weight)
0.1–0.2 grams of fat (x your body weight)

Which I’ve tweaked to work with how MyFitnessPal tracks, based on my weight:

High-Carb Day
1400 calories

Carbs = 175g (50%)
Protein = 140g (40%)
Fat = 16g (10%)

Low-Carb Day
1200 calories*

Carbs = 30g – 88.5 (10% – 25%)
Protein = 180 (60%)
Fat = 17.7g – 40g (15% – 30%)

* The only way to come close to the guidelines for the low-carb day is to eat 200 calories less – which is not surprising. I’m just going to have to decide if I want to the low end of carbs or the low end of fat – as I can’t do the low end of both. Given how easy it is to go overboard on the bad carbs, I’ll likely choose the high end of fat to begin with and change if I need to.

Now, I simply need to put together a meal plan so that I can prepare a few days at a time to follow this micro-nutrient framework. While I believe I’ve kicked my dependency on fast food and carbs, I don’t know if I’ve quite tackled preparing multiple meals for a few days at a time. But – that’s what the next few weeks will be for!

I’m really excited to be thinking about moving away from Medifast, not because I haven’t enjoyed what progress I’ve made – but because of all the hate surrounding Medifast as a weight loss method. Everyone has the rights to their opinion, but its surprising how many health forums participants don’t seem to understand that most people are fat due to issues completely separate from what they put in their mouth. It’s lifestyle. It’s emotional. It’s physical. So to say, “eat whole foods and walk once a day and you’ll be fine” doesn’t solve anything for most really overweight people.

Week 4, Day 5

If you haven’t been keeping up, my weight has been pretty steady these last two-ish weeks, and the more days that go by with little to no weight loss the more I’m rethinking continuing fully with Medifast. I really believed Medifast and the science behind the diet would deliver no-nonsense weight loss that was engineered to work. But obviously this is like everything else in regards to a persons health: what works for some doesn’t work for others. Nutritional Support was really no help, as they told me exactly what their website says (everyone loses at different rates, menstruating women will see fluctuations around ovulation, drink lots of water, blah blah blah) so I don’t even have any clue what I’m doing wrong.

I’ve tried my best to be 100% On Plan this week, so I’m sure I would have seen better results by now. It’s not as though my body goes to sleep Saturday night, with some kind of report card on how well I’ve done, and THEN rewards me with lost pounds – as nice as that imagery is 😀 No, it should be happening every day, all week. At this point, I’ve got two days to lose weight, as I’m only 0.8 ounces less than I was two weeks ago.

Most people, when I talk about Medifast and how it works, are most skeptical of the very low net calories and not the carbohydrates. I’m wondering, if I were to increase my calorie range without increasing my carbohydrate range, if I would have better results? There are a lot of zero to very low carbohydrate foods I could add that would increase my fat, protein and calories but that’s it. Tuna is the first that comes to mind 😀 Interesting theory, that I might test depending on Sunday morning’s weigh in.

NO MORE SOUP!!!

I’m sick of the Medifast soup. The problem, really, is that I didn’t plan this month very well and ordered way too much soup and not enough breakfast and snack items. I’ve been choking down soup for 2-3 meals a day for the last week – NO MORE SOUP.

I went to the grocery store last night, armed with the nutritional breakdown of a MF crunch bar, and found a “decent” equivalent. Not surprising, it was from the South Beach Diet plan, and also not surprisingly – it was chocolate covered 😀

Medifast vs South Beach
Its lower in protein and calories while also being higher in carbohydrates, but they aren’t outside the range of acceptable – to me. I’m eating two today in replacement of the tired soup, so I added a pouch of chunk light tuna (in water) to my day as well to make up for the loss in protein and I’m going to skip on my “optional” snack in order to save the carbohydrates. When all is said and done, I’m finishing my day with 86 carbs – so still within range!

Luckily, I should be receiving a very small shipment of food this afternoon (just three boxes) and my larger shipment on Friday, so soon I’ll have variety again.

All my stages are out of order.

I had my third weigh in on Sunday morning, and I was surprised to see not only a lack of weight loss but in fact weight GAIN. Only a few ounces, mind you, but gain all the same. After surprise, there was acceptance: plateaus happen. After acceptance, there was anger! Plateaus don’t happen after two weeks! An entire week, wasted! How is it I have so much fat for my body to burn now that it’s getting less carbohydrates, and yet it’s not doing that?

After anger, I got depressed. I really want this to work because I don’t think I’d have very much success on the other plans I’ve heard about. I want this to work because I’ve committed to it. I want this to work because it seems like it SHOULD work. But here I am, getting yo-yo results on a very steady and controlled plan. On top of that, my newest monthly order was just shipped so I’m financially committed to this for at LEAST another 5 weeks.

After depression, I became resolved to go HARD on my 100% On Plan promise. I don’t do many things that are off plan, but clearly something is effecting my results. I’m going to contact Nutritional Support (NS) and provide some details on my daily micro-nutrient totals as well as the condiments I’ve been using to see if any of them are the issue.

Last but not least, I’ve decided to weigh myself every morning now, instead of once a week. I think weighing in once a week is good for people who have lots of fluctuations that are inaccurate of the end goal – and are discouraged by those fluctuations. However, I don’t know if I’m one of those people, and waiting once a week to discover I didn’t lose anything is wildly anti-climatic. Already I’m glad I made that decision, because when I weighed myself this morning I had lost nearly two pounds since yesterday 😀

Today has been hard.

Today has been a bit hard for me. I’m getting hungry sooner than my next meal, I have a headache, I’m tired and feel flushed. I have a feeling it’s either related to the fact that I didn’t get as much water as I should have yesterday or that today is day four on this low carbohydrate diet so I must be entering (or have already entered) ketosis – possibly both.

BUT! I’m trying to keep positive. Drinking lots of water and just concentrating on where I want to be – not where I am now. I wont always be on this diet – and I need to remember that. Depending on my success, I could be in transition by Christmas!

Two things that I want to find solutions for:

  • Coffee in the morning (I never need it when I wake up, I need it about an hour after I get to work)
  • Curbing hunger when I’m an hour away from my next meal

Looking around on the MF community site, a lot of people suggest using one of my shakes in my coffee to sweeten and lighten – but I don’t want to lose that meal. People also mentioned I could use 1/2 cup of almond milk – and it would count as one of my three condiment servings – which I am thrilled about!

375116957_701The community also suggested sipping on hot bullion when hungry – which I think is also very do-able. I don’t need something to replace a meal – so please no drastic comments about that – just sate my hunger for an hour.

So, while today has been hard (and it’ll likely get hard, its my sister’s birthday and apparently we’re have cookie cake to celebrate!) it’s almost over and then I’ll be one day closer to my first weigh in!