Sunday, June 15, 2014

Day Eighteen: ...Myeh...

No excuse for not journaling, other than maybe feeling slightly...myeh about things. To get caught up, after the week or so of following the Pre-Conditioning menu, I followed the "yellow" menu for four days, before switching to the "blue menu" for six more days. They're basically the same. Not a lot of calories, small servings, minimal fat, fruit and starch, and barely adequate amounts of vegetables and protein. On the third day of following the yellow menu, I went in for a weigh-in and a review with my consultant. I had gained 1.5 lbs. BOO! HISS!!!

I have not wavered on the plan, not a bite or a sip of anything not on the menu or more than the portion allowed, so I can only hope that I've lost all of the water weight, and now I'm actually using the fat reserves for fuel. MRC gives a handout explaining that typically in Days 7-10, a person will either stop losing weight or even gain weight, as your body is trying to replace fat cell space with water. Since water weighs more than fat, that's the reason for the plateau. Sounds plausible, but nonetheless, it was disappointing...

I started the blue menu on Wednesday, and I went in again on Friday for another weigh-in and consultation. I lost 2 lbs., but I admit I wasn't really jumping for joy. I was so hoping to be in the 180's, and I'm hanging by a thread, or literally a half-pound, in the 190's. Tomorrow is my last day on the blue menu, so, once again, I'll go in for a weigh-in and consultation about the new menu I'll be given, which I'll follow until I'm ready for maintenance.

I'd be curious to know the strategy behind the pre-conditioning week, and the ten days following two separate menus. I'll have to ask one of the consultants, and see if I can get an answer. I like that there is so much one-on-one attention, and the girls are very friendly and encouraging. I also like that I'm eating healthier, and I'm definitely feeling better (no more stomach aches, bloating, and heartburn.) Yesterday was the first day I felt really hungry, but I think most of that was in my head. Really, when you think about it, I've been following MRC's plan for 18 days, and by Day 16 my weight was 7.5 lbs less than when I started. If I hadn't joined MRC, I wouldn't have lost a single pound, so, seriously, what am I complaining about???

I guess the problem is that I'm ready to be average, instead of over-weight. My focus is there, but my body has to drag its' ugly fat cells along, and give me anxiety every time I weigh-in. My son is getting married in less than a month, and I really don't want to dread being photographed. I am so hoping that doesn't happen. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I liked to be in front of the camera, which explains why there are hardly any pictures of me as an adult, and most of the photos I look pained or threatening...either way, the message was the same: "Get this over with. I know I'm going to look like a fat, ugly whale, so just take the damn thing and let me out of here."

Yeah, I'm definitely focused and ready for a 50 lb. change.

Not-So-Sweet Meanderings: 

The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar every day.
The average child consumes a whopping 32 teaspoons of sugar per day.
Women should have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.
Men should have no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day.*


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Day Nine and Ten: Shocking, but True!

I went to the Food Instruction Class yesterday, (Day 9), and had to weigh-in again. I was reluctant to weigh, since I had just weighed three days prior. Hold on to your hat: I lost 4 lbs. from Tuesday afternoon to Friday morning! Granted, this is likely all water weight finally letting go, but nonetheless, it's a total of 7 lbs. of water weight lost since last Thursday, that I'd still be lugging around if I hadn't enlisted the help of Metabolic Research Center. So, yes, I'm pleased with how things are going.

Interestingly, today was actually the first official day of being "on plan." The Pre-Conditioning week doesn't even count in the 17 weeks of guaranteed weight loss. Gotta say, I'm happy with what I'm seeing; much better than counting points, eating a Snickers and then starving for the rest of the day, weekly group meetings, etc.

I'm now following a very specific menu for four days, after which I will switch to another menu on Wednesday. I like both the structure of the precise menu for a set period, as well as the variety of the menus as you progress through the program. Plus, I'm eating food from home, not meals that come in the mail, so this should transition into a long-term way of eating.

I am 7 lbs. satisfied.

Sweet (or not-so-sweet) Meanderings:

Sugar is a culprit in water weight along with salt. Too much sugar raises insulin levels, which in turn lessens the body’s ability to expel sodium. 
Avoid high sugar foods and opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. - 
(See more at:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Day Six, Seven, and Eight: Good News!

I don't know what's been going on with me the last couple of days, but I just haven't found time to journal. Here's the latest:

On Day Six of the Pre-Conditioning Plan, I went to MRC for a weigh-in and a "let's see how things are going" conversation with my consultant. She answered questions for me about the shopping guide, and promised much more information to come regarding menu, shopping, serving sizes, etc. at the Food Instruction Class, which is tomorrow. Turns out, I was a little indulgent with the starch serving, I made a few blunders on the shopping list (e.g. buying a red and a yellow bell pepper, when I can only have green bell peppers), and eating at Chipotle twice in six days is too much sodium, fat,  starch, and onions (yes! too high on the glycemic index!), and too little veggies. Live and learn...such an applicable lesson in so many areas of life.

I also learned that once a person reaches their weight loss goal, their calories are bumped up to a maintenance level, rather than a losing weight level, so there's that to look forward to... Plus, one year of maintenance is included in the sign-up fee, which seems like a really good idea.

Here is  the information that was gathered at my sign-up, which I have failed to mention:

Height: 5'6"
Weight: 198.00 lb.
BMI: 32.0
Fat %: 44.3% 
(I thought I was made of sugar and spice...)
Fat Mass (lovely words): 87.5 lb.
Desirable Range Fat %: 23-34%
Target Body Fat %: 30%
Predicted Weight: 157.5 lb.
Predicted Fat Mass: 47.0 lb.
FAT TO LOSE: 40.51 lb.

(I was also measured from head-to-toe at sign-up, but I don't have those numbers available to share.)

Now, back to the good part! Despite my not always making the right choices in navigating the Pre-Conditioning Plan, I lost THREE POUNDS in six days!!! 

Just doin' the Happy Dance.

I know it's early and I'm in the new and excited stage, but I have not had ANY cravings for sugar, and I would say that just by increasing my water intake and eating healthier foods in general, I do feel better. I have this ugly little hiatal hernia, which causes reflux, and it seems that it doesn't get nearly as angry when I'm not eating sugary, fatty foods. Be happy, hiatal hernia. There is so much more healthy food coming your way.

Nothing too exciting that follows Day Six. I'm eating fresh fruit and veggies, lean meats, and very small servings of fat, and starch. Who knew one slice of 45 calorie bread could be so delicious?

I've also given some thought to Debunking the Sugar Myth, and realized it would be a quite a feat to come up with a myth for 16+ weeks of journaling, so it will now be called:

Sweet Meanderings...

If you are bitter at heart,
sugar in the mouth will not help you.
~Yiddish Proverb

Monday, June 2, 2014

Day Five: How to Handle a Bad Day and Still Lose Weight...

Today was just one of those days where nothing seemed to be going right at work. There were multiple factors involved, but the funk seemed to snowball as the morning progressed. To top it off, I was hungry and sweltering hot. I really wanted to eat my blues away.

Well, I didn't have a cookie, which I was both annoyed about and proud of myself for that decision. I'm also feeling somewhat frustrated today that I don't really have a specific eating plan during this "Pre-Conditioning Week", and the majority of my meals have been pretty bland, (and small!) Is this just the part where I have to do something for 30 days in order to make it a habit, or will I always feel like I'm eating tiny, sub-par meals?

On a good note, though, I do drink a lot more water, and I'm walking my dog and riding my bike daily. Why the sudden interest in outdoor activity, and almost a gallon of H2O per day? Because when I'm at home and feeling hungry, or want to eat my troubles away, I go for a walk, or refill my water bottle and start chugging. It has been especially effective today in distracting me from food. Plus, not only am I NOT eating, but I'm also burning calories, so WIN-WIN!

Tomorrow I'm supposed to check in with my consultant at MRC. I'm not sure if weighing is part of the routine, but hopefully I'll get some questions answered, and can have a better attitude about food, meal planning ... life, in general.

Like I said, it was a bad day ... for many reasons.

Time for Debunking the Sugar Myth:

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
that's what little girls are made of.

That's my problem. I'm made of sugar.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Day Four: Failed Rump Roast

Yep, I was hoping the rump roast wouldn't be dry and bland, and wouldn't you know it? That's exactly what it was! I have yet to make anything in a crockpot that takes as long as the recipe directs, yet, I continue to trust the recipe and overcook nearly every piece of meat I put in there. Well, it's not horrible, and it is chew-able, but I definitely wasn't wowed by the results.

Lunch was lettuce, quinoa, rump roast, and just barely a taste of vinegar/oil salad dressing. I'm a little dismayed with a failed recipe. My brain is being nagged with the thought that limiting fat, flour, salt, and sugar just sealed my fate to really ho-hum meals. I sure hope that's not the case...

Rump roast and quinoa on a bed of leaf lettuce...myeh.

I'm tired today, but that's not unusual for a work day. I was hungry at work as it got closer to noon, but when you figure that I had already worked seven hours, it seems reasonable to be hungry. Drinking water helps curb my appetite, and despite that the brown butter banana bread and homemade granola smelled soooooo very delicious, I really wasn't tempted to eat anything.

I am, however, tempted to take a nap.

Debunking the Myth of Sugar:

Was the song, "Cut The Cake" by Average White Band
really about a piece of cake?
(I think not.)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day (Two and) Three: Welcome to My World

Yesterday came and went so quickly, I never found time to journal. Here's a quick recap: I was HUNGRY(!) most of the day. I'm sure that had to do with not eating much on Day One, and then, of course, being on a plan that I just can't go stuff my face with whatever is within reach. The good news is that I had no more sugar withdrawal symptoms; one day of feeling like crap, and I'm bouncing back to feeling good!

At this point, I haven't yet received all of the details from MRC for the long-term details to get me to 150 lbs. by October 1st. The first week is called "Pre-Conditioning" where you get a very general menu plan and a shopping list. I would guess the idea is to ease you into the healthy eating, without hitting you over the head right out of the gate with weighing and measuring.

So, yesterday went good. I was hungry, but I never once craved something sweet. That definitely proves to me that eating sugar causes you to want more and more sugar; the only way off that crazy ride is to give it up completely...I'm wondering if I can do that long-term. Obviously, my track record isn't very impressive. Who will support Weight Watchers if I finally kick my sugar habit???

I'm a baker in a bakery, and work four days a week. Yeah, I know. No wonder I'm 50 lbs. overweight. Today was my first day back after having three days off. I start work at 5:00 a.m., so I typically eat a banana on my way to work and then have a latte a couple of hours later. Wouldn't you know it? Neither bananas or lattes are on my Pre-Conditioning plan! (Bananas have too much sugar to make the fruit list, and milk also has sugar in the form of lactose. Let's not even talk about the sugar in the flavored syrups...yikes.) I've gained weight in the 10 months since I started working there, and it's no wonder. Everything is homemade, from the honey pecan sticky buns to the peanut butter fluffernut marshmallows, and it is ALL delicious. I should know; I've tried everything. I'm sure I nibble on cornbread, biscuits, a broken cookie, etc., way more than I realize, so that will continue to be a challenge being surrounded by the most wonderful smells and sights of homemade pastries and the best lattes in town. Here are just a few pictures I took one morning of a special order I had boxed damn. good.

Peach-basil biscuits, maple bacon biscuits, peanut butter cookies,
monster cookies, chocolate chip pecan cookies, and salted brownies.

Cinnamon rolls, cherry almond coffee cake, pecan coffee cake,
and, my very favorite, honey pecan sticky buns.

Honey latte...mmmm, so yummy.

Caffeinated drinks also didn't make the short list of the Pre-Conditioning menu, for the very reason that it's dehydrating. I'm not quite ready to give up caffeine, but I am limiting myself to one cup of black coffee or one Diet Coke per day, and then drinking extra water to keep myself "flushed". Black coffee may not be that difficult to give up, if ya' know what I mean...

I think the biggest challenge for me will be finding variety in meals, and coming up with recipes that are actually good. A dry chicken breast will get old really fast. I put a rump roast in the crockpot this afternoon that is rubbed with seasoning, (no salt), and 1/2 cup water added for moisture (no broth, either.) Hopefully, it won't be tough and bland. Here's a link to the recipe: Rump Roast Au Jus. Thinking I could have it with potatoes and green beans, and then recycle it into tacos. I'll report back on how it turned out.

In closing, Debunking the Myth of Sugar:

"A wise woman puts a grain of sugar into everything she says to a man, 
and takes a grain of salt with everything he says to her."
~ Helen Rowland

Actually, I think Helen is right about this one.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day One: My name is Andy, and I'm addicted to sugar.

Consequently, I'm also 42-48 lbs overweight, and have been nearly all of my adult life. I have what's cutely known as a "Sugar Tooth", but a lifetime of losing and gaining weight ain't all that cute. It could be partially blamed on genetics, and the fact I was punishingly trained to clean my plate as a kid, but that aside, think about the affinity we have for sugar as soon as we come out of the womb. We're given milk and juice as infants, and finger food like bananas and PB&J sandwiches as toddlers. Macaroni and cheese is every kid's favorite, not to mention sugary breakfast cereals. In addition, we come from a culture that celebrates and mourns by gathering around food. From birthdays to funerals, we eat, and what's our favorite thing to eat? Dessert, bread, pasta ... sugar.

I've lived so much of my life dieting, it could be considered some kind of sick hobby. In order of the diets I can remember trying, here's the short list: grapefruit/tomato/cottage cheese diet, nutri-system, Atkins, "Fit for Life", Dr. Oz's "You On A Diet", at least one of Bob Greene's weight loss books, Weight Watchers (x 3), Jenny Craig, the Southbeach Diet, and the Paleo Diet. My apologies to the diets I tried, failed, and can't remember.

Yesterday, I plunked down the fee for 17 weeks' of expertise and support from Metabolic Research Center (MRC), where they GUARANTEE(!!!) that I'll lose 48 lbs in 17 weeks, as long as I don't stray a bite from their plan. That means by October 1st, I will weigh 150 lbs. As with any diet worth its' salt, I'm required to journal, so I figured why not share it with the world. Welcome world. Wish me luck.

Last night I over-indulged on sugar because I knew it would not be on the plan to successful weight loss. I reminded myself of a lady I once knew who had emphysema. Every time she got fired up (no pun intended), to stop smoking, she would sit in her living room the night before and chain smoke cigarettes...she probably had one in each hand and puffed the night away. So much so, in fact, that she ended up in the ER every time she tried to quit smoking. So, yes, I could have had a fork in each hand the way I put that birthday cake away... like a windmill of forks shoveling cake into my mouth. The expression, "like a fat kid eating cake" would be the appropriate visual here, but instead, I'll just share the pretty side of sugar and its' alluring presence.

Chocolate cake made with buttermilk and coffee; topped with rich chocolate ganache, 
freshly whipped cream, and sugared berries.

Today, after going 12 hours without sugar, (and seven of those hours I was sleeping!), I felt absolutely horrible! I was prepared to have the flu-like symptoms of detoxing from sugar, but to wake up and have felt so badly in such a short time was unbelievable. I was shaky, had a raging headache, nausea so bad I couldn't even eat breakfast, restlessness, agitation, anxiety, and mood swings. In my state of withdrawal and confusion to this reaction, I searched the web for more info about sugar withdrawal symptoms and was truly shocked to see articles comparing sugar addition to actual drug addiction, and likening sugar withdrawal to that of a heroine addict going through withdrawal. Seriously, it's THAT serious???

 This is the breakfast I couldn't finish because I felt so sick. The plate
is already cleared of one egg that ended up in the dog's bowl. Notice the fuzzy quality
of the photo? I guess that's called tremors in detox lingo.

It's now about 6 hours since I started this blog post, and I've napped through the nausea. I have yet to eat lunch, or even take a shower, as far as that goes. I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow being better. 

Plan on a "Debunking the Myth of Sugar" closing to my daily blogging during this 17 weeks. Today's truth about sugar is this:

A spoonful of sugar does NOT help the medicine go down.
(Ask any diabetic about that one, if you don't believe me.)