Thursday, October 22, 2009

Three and a half weeks in...

I've been a wannabe low-carber for about ten years. In 1999 a friend recommended Protein Power by Dr.s Eades. Between June and October that year I dropped from 324 to 284. Unfortunately, low-carb living isn't, by itself, a cure for emotional eating - even with wild success - and winters are a bad time for that for me. I fell away and stabilized in the 295 to 310 pound range for the next nine years. I started stricter low-carbing on and off over the years. Some habits stuck with me, too: I never really got back to eating pasta, rice and (to a certain degree) potatoes and *almost* completely switched from soda to plain iced tea. Bread crept back in on fast food and deli sandwiches.

In March, 2008, my mother was diagnosed with metastasized adenocarcinoma. She died this March and I found my weight had risen to 335 pounds just before my 51st birthday. I'd been coasting too long.

Coasting always takes me downhill. I realized that at my age the downhill slope gets steeper and requires more effort to stay above that curve. For the next four months I tried, again and again, to restrain and retrain my eating to a more low-carb style with various levels of success but always with short duration before will-power gave out.

My primary care physician again recommended me to the Sharp Weight Management clinic and I started on the Medically Supervised HMR (Health Management Resources) diet at the end of September. I lost 21.5 pounds in the first two weeks and I've been feeling pretty good. I'll be in Phase 1 through December and in Phase 2 until I reach my goal weight - I'm shooting for 200. The program doctor said I should be losing five pounds a week "for the foreseeable future" but that was proven wrong the following week with a four pound loss.

On this diet, I'm required to eat at least five 160 KCal "shakes" (which are very sweet!) and I'm allowed to supplement with more shakes, HMR entrees, HMR cereal (oatmeal-like) and HMR bars as needed to avoid eating anything "outside the box". I track everything I eat, meet my "prescription" (5 shakes), do my exercise, attend the classes and do the midweek call-in. This structure - and my whole-hearted commitment to it - have led to my current - albeit short-term - success. I'm not struggling with hunger (much), I'm not cheating, and I'm having good results. I feel good.

And yet....

The problem I have is that I know that I will not be following their recommended diet in the maintenance phase a year down the line. I will be adding more vegetables as they (and pretty much all diets) recommend. It's been a serious fault in my diet in the last five years. However, I won't be eating a cup of steamed broccoli and half of a skinless baked chicken breast and padding it with a wad of pasta to meet some fantasy-based daily caloric goal. I know that the program I'm on will try to build for me a structure of eating and exercising that will reinforce the low-fat, calories-in-vs.-calories-out mindset that they're trying to instill in us.

I ordered Dr.s Eades' Six-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle and read it as soon as it arrived. It makes much more sense to me than the hand-waving, pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain, simplistic pseudo-science that many diets use. Books by these doctors don't treat me like an idiot and they're willing to change in response to actual science as opposed to shifting to remain popular.

I just gotta stay with science!