About 15 years ago I was way overweight. By about 50 pounds. I ate just about anything I wanted and exercised about 5 days per week. My exercise consisted of strolling around the mall for about 30 minutes with a friend of mine first thing in the morning. Then we would go get a cup of coffee and a cream cheese covered bagel. I had the belief that food was good for me and if I exercised everyday I could eat the bagel as a snack and that was it.
Eventually, I started going to the gym and doing some basic machine workouts for a few minutes every other day. That did not seem to help me lose any weight. I had tried a few “diets” but with poor results. I did not look pretty with a big old belly.
One day I was approached by a scientist friend of mine and he told me about a new weight management program that he was working on with an MD who helped develop a protocol for eating better with a side effect of fat loss. They said it was a 12-week program and I would learn about how the body is addicted to carbohydrates and what to do about the addiction.
I knew that most diseases are acquired by poor lifestyle choices. Many diseases can be reduced or even prevented when we take good care of our body. Diseases like diabetes, (my grandfather and mother had it at death), cardiovascular disease, lung disease, arthritis, cancer, and dementia. I was a brand new father of several children and I wanted to get and stay healthy. It was fortuitous that I was approached by these two friends.
I learned about how the sugar in our bodies turns to fat from eating the wrong kids of foods, (namely processed carbohydrates including the five whites: Sugar, flour, rice, potatoes, and pasta.
I also learned how sugar in our diet causes insulin from our pancreas to convert sugar to fat in our cells and liver. Over time, of course, this overeating of the five whites leads to Type 2 Diabetes.
I was ready to try something different. So I signed up. I began eating 3 balanced meal replacement shakes every day. I could eat all the vegetables I wanted and some fruit in between meal replacement shakes. They had to be good tasting for me to eat them. I also recorded my weight everyday and my blood pressure and kept track of all my meals and snacks. I continued my moderate exercise program and walking. I stopped eating the bagels.
I started losing weight almost immediately. I called in to the MD once per week and he asked a few questions on my routine. The first week was intense as I had to do the 3 shakes per day. After the first week I could relax a little and do 2 shakes per day and veggies and other low glycemic foods like eggs or lean meat and fish.
One day I was with a couple of my little kids and before I started the program we would often go to the doughnut shop. As we drove by I could smell the doughnuts frying and the kids could too. We pulled in and got us all a bunch of doughnuts. I had 3 figuring I could just have a shake later in the day. Whoops! I got sick from all the sugar and flour and even felt a little woozy. I learned my lesson and did not cheat like that again.
I lost about 35 lbs from those 12 weeks. It was a good experience and I am now much more mindful about what I eat. I have generally maintained that weight level with a few spikes and dips over the years. I feel better and look better. I know I could always lose more weight, make more money, and need more time. For now I am grateful for my good health.
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