Since I started "dieting" in probably junior high, I have quite a list of diets or methods I have tried. Some of them worked, some of them didn't. I listed them below in the chronological order in which I tried them over time. I no longer "diet" but instead aim at eating whole foods and limiting refined, processed sugars and carbohydrates. To make this more exciting, I have allergies to eggs, dairy and gluten. I am not a physician nor a dietitian, nor do I have any formal medical training in fitness or exercise. Basically, I have been my own guinea pig over the years and only until recently have I researched ways to eat and be fit that have worked for me and my body type. In saying this, I realize some of it may or may not work for you. Like I said, I'm not giving medical prescriptions, just my opinion from experimenting on myself.
*I linked some of the programs because I do not believe they are harmful...others I personally just can't recommend in good conscience. However, I also linked them so you can do your own research. Links on this blog are not to drive traffic as I am not endorsed...they are to help inform and give details to my story.
Ultra Slim-Fast: This sucks! Don't do it! I basically did this off and on during high school, telling myself how great it was that I could drink chocolate shakes to lose weight. In high school I had, what I thought, was about 10 pounds to lose and since it was in my household (my dad was trying it...) I tried it out. How pathetic for a high schooler to be eating such crap!
Binging and "Fasting": This sucks! Don't do it! I basically did this off and on during high school and some of college. It's funny how during this season I still only had 10 pounds to lose but obviously my head was messed up enough to think that I could overeat one day and skip meals for two and that my body would actually be okay with this?! I also milked the "I'm doing a fast for spiritual reasons" line, though my intentions were wrong. A couple of times I dabbled with laxatives. Let's just say, when you don't read the back of the box, just because it doesn't work immediately does not mean you should take another...yeah, I had to miss a class because of this oversight! I advocate fasting but for only two reasons: to seek God and to physically give your guts a mini break, like a cleanse or detox.
Weight Watchers: Now, a lot has changed since I did this in high school and I have friends who have had great success on WW, so I'm not saying one thing or another about if it works or not. We had a suggested menu stuck to our fridge, so this was before points and all that jazz. I remember broiling a piece of whole wheat bread with a slice of cheddar on it and topping it with some apple slices as a snack. Knowing what my allergies are now, no wonder this only kind of worked. Beware of pre-made foods. God made our bodies. He also made food. The closer to the way He made it, our bodies recognize the nutrients and are able to utilize them for our health.
Nannying: I know, this sounds a little funny, right?! Usually when you are a nanny you eat junk food along with the kids, but not at this household! Well, the week after college graduation I met an amazing woman and her family. They hired me as their nanny since I didn't yet know what I wanted to be when I grew up, however after one year my husband and I moved out of state for his continued education. This wasn't just any working woman, mind you, she was, and is, one of the forerunners in nutrition and health internationally and taught me a lot about eating whole foods, having a balanced diet, sugar, fiber and fat consciousness and overall fitness. I definitely attribute part of my pursuit to educate myself for optimal health to knowing her. I am so excited that's she and one of her daughters will be launching the next generation of products and supplements soon. Details to come...
Zone 40-30-30: This worked. I did this in my mid to late 20's. It was a purchase I made as a result of getting sucked into an infomercial, one I knew would cure my now "last 20 lbs." This plan helped me balance my meals and eat smaller meals more frequently in the day to help with blood sugar levels. However, once again, it was that, "Oooh, I get to basically eat candy bars two times a day and lose weight!" mentality. I also busted my butt physically, building muscle which I knew boosted metabolism, so that was another factor here. And, of course, looking at the bar ingredients now, guess what's in them? Wheat, eggs and dairy...more allergens going into my system, unawares.
Power90: This totally worked, especially in the muscle arena. Here, again, is another TV purchase from sitting up late one night, probably feeling chunky and down on myself. I started this program early winter of 2002, about 5 months after I had my daughter. Topping the scale just shy of 200 while pregnant with her, I was able to get down to the 170's, and for me, that was too much. I had always hovered between 145 and 155. After Tony Horton and I hung out each morning for 90 days, I was 150 lbs and could see muscles here and there. I hadn't seen them since high school basketball. Also, I mostly followed his eating plan though I know I cheated here and there, and, I never ate past 7pm.
Losing a Child: I'm not trying to be a smarty pants here, but this worked. Stress can produce many outcomes and health scenarios. Ironically, though food had always been my comfort and go-to since 2nd grade, during this intense time of stress in my life, I actually lost my appetite. I ate out of survival and necessity. Food was not my focus...finding a cure or answer to save my son was, and though it did not come, it sure helped me put food into perspective...along with a lot of other things, I might add. This was the first time in my life I lost weight without trying. I do not, however, recommend this approach to weight loss or management...neither the stress component or the actual loss of a child. There are better ways...
Eating Whatever the Heck I Wanted but Writing it Down: This, by golly, worked! It helped me to at least be conscious of what I was eating and make healthy choices.
Eating Whatever the Heck I Wanted but NOT Writing it Down: This did not work at all. I put on weight, but I also gained (pun intended) a realization that in order for me to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, I had to track my progress, even if minimally.
Turbo Jam: Yes, if you just clicked on the link, it's dated and cheesy, but it worked. What is it with Beachbody.com and my inability to change the channel on the remote?! Seriously, I am a sucker for before and after pictures so let's just say their marketing is effective! And, this workout is effective, too, though I kind of blew off the eating plan because by this time I had already done enough research about eating and nutrition to know not to eat processed foods in order to lose weight. You know those muscles Pink has down by her hips? This workout does that...I still do this workout once in a while but I never did look like Pink :)
Fat Flush Plan: This totally works and it's a completely natural, whole food approach! I don't know what I was when I started, probably somewhere between 10-15 lbs over my usual, but what I came away with from this plan was the clean eating and...drum roll please...cellulite free thighs! Who knew?! It had been so long since I had seen non-puckery thighs, I was a little veklempt! But really, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman has done her research and this plan is not only clean eating, it's a great detox to do a couple times a year, just to reset your body. It's important to attribute some of my toning and weight loss during this time to the fact that I was training for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in NYC, so was walking between 15 and 40 miles a week.
P90X: This works and will kick your butt into shape if you have at least one hour each day for 3 months to commit to it. It's a big time commitment but the results are worth it! After 10 years I guess I missed Tony, or got sick of his vintage Power90 workouts and joined my husband every morning in our basement for P90X. X just means newer, more intense, X-treme, if you will. I did not complete the 90 days, probably more like 60, due to a knee injury and illness. This time it was after the birth of our son, who I affectionately refer to as my mid-life crisis baby. I wouldn't have it any other way! Anyway, this is more recent and I do these routines every few days along with yoga, Jackie Warner videos from the library, and walks outside. I just can't hole up in the basement all the time with Tony! It's creepy :)
The 4-Hour Body: This works. This guy, Timothy Ferriss, is a self-proclaimed guinea pig in the area of health, exercise and nutrition. He's even more neurotic than I am :) But, I can track with him so his book and some of his advice as far as eating and exercise goes has been fascinating to read. His eating plan is a simpler 40-30-30 in my understanding of it. Basically, for 6 days a week you choose for each meal, one serving veggie, one protein and one legume. He doesn't recommend any sugars whatsoever during those 6 days, even fruit, and then on the 6 day, eat whatever you want. I have followed his principles and you do lose a pound a day, easily. However, I throw in an apple, strawberries, or grapefruit each day because I like them. It still produces the same outcome.
hCG: This program was the very first one in all my years of dieting that let me find the me I always knew I could be: toned and lean without rolls when I sat down...and actual triceps! This works, no question about it! It may be controversial, but I had plenty of energy, was never hungry, and I actually never felt cleaner internally in all my life! Under the care of a doctor, after my son was born, I started taking homeopathic hCG drops from a reputable company, NOT from some random source or through a hair stylist as some people have told me! This is a short term eating plan my doctor and I approached as an allergy elimination diet. Once I was able to introduce new foods in the later phases, I could see which ones caused adverse reactions (allergens) like bloating, gas, fatigue, puffiness, weight gain, or blood sugar spikes and dips. In the last year I did the hCG protocol 3 different times, losing 15 lbs each round, with a final weight of 128. I was shocked as this wasn't my goal, but it's where my body leveled off. I started working out and have gained muscle and am at a healthy 135 now. It was during this year I confirmed my allergies so upon completion of the last hCG protocol I did not re-introduce gluten, most dairy, and any form of eggs. The results were really quite remarkable! It's hard work but it was the jump start I needed to be motivated to keep taking care of myself!
Whew! Looking back over the years, I am grateful to have progressed in my approach to weight loss and fitness, as well as health and nutritional eating. Even on this journey of never really loving myself, comparing myself to others and wishing I was anybody else but me, I have come to a place of loving myself enough now to feed my body whole, healthy foods a majority of the time. I also "feed" myself "food" that satisfies my heart and soul. If I didn't have God throughout this journey, I'm not sure where I'd be!
On the "Resource" page you can see a list of books which I have studied over the years. I have taken many of the principles and adapted them for my body type, food preferences/allergies and what I have learned works for me.