By Steve Shirley, DC
Have you ever reached a plateau in your weight loss and not been able to break through it? I have done this several times in spite of increasing my workouts and watching what I eat. After a few futile weeks of no change I usually just give up and have a glass of wine, blaming it on my burly Scot-Irish heritage.
Last fall I decided that since it had been several months since I stepped on the scale, it was time for a reality check and boy did I get one. Somehow I had put 17 more pounds since my last surrender and was now 27 pounds from my goal. My predilection for Walla Walla wines and fine dining had caught up with me even though I worked out 3-4 days a week. Shortly after this somewhat shocking weigh-in I had the unfortunate pleasure of having a kidney stone for a month (see my story here http://spinalandsportscare.com/how-a-kidney-stone-saved-my-knees/). One of the gifts of this torment was that I discovered I was gluten sensitive and simply by eliminating gluten containing foods and portion control I got those 17 pounds back off again in 5 weeks. Unfortunately I was right back to being 10 pounds short of my goal. Something had to be done!
Weight loss takes work and help
I have studied nutrition for 30 years and I knew that I needed a new approach so I decided to try the Take Shape for Life plan fueled by Medifast. I had been toying with offering a more extensive weight loss plan in the office anyways so I decided to try it on myself before recommending it to patients. The Take Shape for Life plan is similar to Nutrisystems in that you eat prepackaged meals during the initial weight loss phase until you reach your goal. But what I found attractive is that there is a transition phase back to whole foods so that you can gradually substitute whole foods for most or all of the Medifast meals. There is also an emphasis on coaching to improve compliance. Since my wife does nutritional therapy in the office she was going to be my coach. This was going to be interesting.
I started the plan with little fanfare as I had started reducing my snarfing for several days prior just so I didn’t go into shock. The first few days I was a little tired and I was glad I started before a weekend. The meals consisted of 5 prepackaged meals ranging from scrambled eggs and protein infused cappuccinos (I added coffee for full effect) to soups and chilis. Once a day I could eat a Lean and Green meal consisting of three servings of selected vegetables (with low glycemic indexes) and lean protein. As long as I got at least one good meal a day, I knew I could follow the plan!
So after two days, which included a weekend, it was time for a weigh-in. Four pounds gone! Yowza was this motivating. The most I ever lost in a week on Weight Watchers was 3 pounds. Now I knew I could reach my goal. I even did more cardio at the gym to keep the trend going.
What a pound of fat looks like.
The educational aspects of the Take Shape for Life program were important and have helped immensely. Adding more meals during the day reduced my late afternoon cravings. Since I am not as hungry at night I can reduce the amount of food I eat for dinner. I am also eating more protein at each meal which stabilizes my blood sugar levels. I actually have felt more alert and energetic (I pity my staff!).
Well today it is time for my one week weigh-in. 6.4 pounds gone! I had to check twice to be sure. This was more than I ever lost on Weight Watchers, which is a fantastic program. Seeing such positive results has motivated me even more and I have hardened my commitment so that I even made it through St. Paddy’s Day weekend (only fools believe it is just a single night) without indulging in corned beef or Guinness. I admit I openly wept looking at a bottle of lonely single malt but I know it is worth the sacrifice. Now for the sprint to the finish!