My journey to building a better me started about a year ago – and somewhat accidentally.
To celebrate my birthday, three of my very good friends and I decided to spend a few days away, no kids, no partners, no worries, just us. We travelled to South Beach, Miami, stayed at the gorgeous Blue Moon boutique hotel, enjoyed a fun-filled all-inclusive 3-day cruise (thank you Norwegian Cruise Line for making my first cruise an incredible experience!), we laughed a lot, ate way too much, drank some and overall had an incredible time. Despite the fact that it was a wonderful get-away, I didn’t feel refreshed and renewed, I felt heavy, weighted down.
Even though I wasn’t entirely sure what that feeling of unease meant, I was determined not to celebrate another birthday without defining my malaise and tackling it head-on. I decided I’d start with the obvious – lose some excess weight and embarked on a weight loss mission. You should know that I did not own a scale, and couldn’t get started on my mission until I purchased this very essential item!
With a scale in hand, I turned to the next important consideration, which diet to follow? I thought through all of my friends’ and my family’s dieting ups and downs and decided to follow Dr. Poon’s metabolic diet. Full disclosure here – I did not visit Dr. Poon’s clinic, nor was I ever a patient, but I followed his prescribed diet plan as best I could. I read a number of his books, used the resources available to me online and sought the advice of my family and friends, some of whom had been his patients.
Taken from Dr. Poon’s website, the objectives of his Metabolic Diet are:
- To combat obesity related diseases
- To lose fat and preserve muscle and bone
- To lose weight quickly and safely
- To keep weight off for life
These objectives were in line with my own and I felt confident this was the right approach for me. To further explain Dr. Poon’s diet, it’s structured in phases, Phase One is called the Induction Phase, Two is the Continued Weight Loss Phase and the third is the Maintenance Phase. I don’t want to advocate for this diet versus others, because each has its own pros and cons, and each of us has our own objectives, but I will tell you that this particular diet isn’t an easy one to follow! The first phase requires that you eliminate sugar, salt, dairy, carbs, fruit, nuts – just about everything!
I followed Dr. Poon’s diet for three months. The first phase of the diet lasted about two months, the second for one month and technically I’m still, and always will be, in the maintenance phase. My weight loss was, as most things in life are, uneven. During my diet I tracked my progress weekly and found that some weeks I would lose 1-2 pounds, while other weeks I’d lose 4 and even 5 pounds. By the end of the three months, I had achieved my weight loss goal and successfully lost 30 lbs!
But the journey wasn’t easy.
What I found most challenging was obviously the first phase. Stripping out nearly everything I was accustomed to consuming daily was very difficult. I knew that my success depended on being prepared, thinking about what I was going to eat, how I was going to prepare my meals and researching which snacks would be allowed in this first phase. I was diligent in following the diet and my first weeks included a lot of eggs, hard boiled and otherwise, many stir fry’s with lean meat and only green vegetables, copious amounts of coffee and a lot of water.
The first few weeks were tolerable, the balance of the two months were a test of my resolve. I felt consumed with thinking about food, not because I was hungry, since the diet clearly states that you should eat enough so you’re not hungry, but because the choices were so limited. I found that I would sometimes forfeit eating if it meant I didn’t have to eat another boring piece of chicken – definitely not a healthy mindset.
Transitioning to the second phase was a big step and a huge relief. Thankfully, phase two allows for some carbohydrates and some fruit, which surprisingly was the thing I found I missed the most. I still had to plan ahead, think about what I was going to eat at every meal, but the increase in options made me feel I had a more balanced approach to food. The fact that at this point I had lost about 20 pounds helped motivate me to stay on track.
Moving on to the maintenance phase held it’s own set of challenges. Finding the balance between eating what you want and the tipping point to regaining weight isn’t an easy task. In fact, it’s the challenge I face today. I ask myself how much pasta is too much, how much cake is okay, whether I can eat a burger and fries once in a while. It’s possible that had I been Dr. Poon’s patient, some of my difficulties would have been addressed, but I felt I could manage and reach my goal on my own. I kept repeating the words I’d read on Dr. Poon’s website to myself, “The diet did not fail the patient, but rather the patient failed the diet.”, and it propelled me forward, pushed me to not fail.
What my dieting journey proved to me was something more than just the success of losing weight, but that I had what it took to push through the hard days and achieve what I set my mind to. Each of us can tap into this thing called perseverance, we’re all built to withstand tough times, to continue forward even in the face of difficulties. I recognize that in the grand scheme of life my challenge was not a big one, losing 30 pounds is not an incredible achievement. But it showed me that I could take control of one element in my life and change it. This first accomplishment set the stage for continuing to building a better me.