I've read six new nutrition and eating program books and done research on the veracity and scientific basis for each one's claims about lowering insulin levels. I've dug in to find out if any of them seem to work not just for typical folks with pre-diabetes, but also for severely insulin resistant people -- especially women with PCOS -- like me. I've read thousands of comments and questions online. I've read reviews, recommendations and critiques. I've tried to see through the window dressing of each unique-sounding plan to figure out if it's just another low carb diet in fancy packaging.
And I think I'm really on to something!
I don't mean this to be a teaser, but I'm not going to tell you what it is yet. I decided this for several reasons.
- Ideal Protein Phase 1 works for 95% of the people I've coached. I'm part of a small minority of people who need a more extreme intervention in order to lower insulin levels. I WISH I had responded as well to the insulin-lowering properties of Ideal Protein as other people do. If I were lucky enough to be able to, I would do regular Phase 1 again in a heartbeat! If you can do IP (and the vast majority of you can), be grateful and stick to that. It’s the healthiest, easiest, best tasting, most convenient and most complete solution I've ever seen - even after all of this research. I don't want any of this to sound like I think I have found something better than IP. I haven't. Unless you're one of the 5%. Then, maybe I have.
- What I'm doing now swings from very HARD to one of the easiest things I've ever done. In the beginning, it requires a lot of learning, planning, precise supplementation and, frankly, periods of uncomfortable white-knuckle willpower. Later it's amazingly easy and feels incredible. I think people would need some in-depth preparation to do this healthfully so I don't want to just toss this out there in an irresponsible way.
- I want to give it more time to see if it continues working for me as well as it has so far. If it does, I'll share it and see what I can do to provide resources for those of you who, like me, need something more intensive than regular Ideal Protein Phase 1 to heal your metabolism.
With that said, my new approach yielded 10 lbs of weight loss in the first week! (For reference, that is 2 lbs less than first week loss on Ideal Protein, and in any case it's mainly water.). I've had periods of food peace deeper than anything I experienced on Phase 1 - which surprised me. The second week is going really well and I feel really good. I have more energy, less need for naps, and my thinking is really clear. Honestly, I feel more hopeful today than I have in months and months.
Here's the exciting part - though I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high until I test it out for a while longer…
I can have some SWEET ITEMS! Some really yummy and delicious ones!
If I'm right after all this research, here's why I think that is.
My first assumption about why I had to avoid all sweetened products was based on incomplete information. I knew I craved the sweet Ideal Protein foods. I knew I didn't crave the unsweetened ones. I read that artificial sweeteners can cause an insulin response for highly sensitive people (and I could tell from my body's reactions that that was happening to me). Cutting those out helped, but that didn't solve my cravings or my tendency to overeat. It just made it a little less extreme. But cutting out all sweetness was unsustainable for me. And now I've learned that it was most likely not just the sweeteners, but MANY factors of Phase 1 that were not quite right for someone with my particular biology.
I wish I could be a robot when it comes to food. I wish I could just look at food as nutrition and eat only what my body needs without regard to flavor or texture. I wish I was one of those people who could exist on paste-flavored protein drinks and food capsules… But alas, I'm not that person.
Our entire eating apparatus (tongue, taste-buds, sense of smell, brain chemistry) is designed to associate food with pleasure, social bonding, well-being, security… Despite feeling as if my life depended on it, I found myself unable to MAKE myself to stop caring about the taste of sweet. Maybe I didn't need the ridiculous binges of sugar and carbs that I was prone to, but apparently I did need at least occasional experiences of sweetness to feel -- I don't know. I don't really know what to call it. The word "complete" jumps to mind.
Have you ever read "Care of the Soul," by Thomas Moore? It's an amazing book. And so is "Dark Nights of the Soul," if you're ever in one of those life periods where things seem hard and you feel a little lost. Anyway, one of the things I've always remembered about Moore's concept of the soul is that it isn't logical. It isn't part of that higher brain that is trying to help you succeed in life in conventional terms. It's not trying to ensure you have a well-funded 401K and long-term care insurance, healthy teeth and good cholesterol. It's the part of you that asks, "What's past that distant hill, I wonder?" It is the part of you that longs to wander, to see, to feel, to join and to express. It sees beauty in the difficult, painful parts of life as well as the fun, beautiful ones. It's that quiet sense of gratitude for the dark and the light times. It's the part that knows the truth of the saying that we need sadness to truly feel happiness. It's hard to pin down but most of us understand that it's there.
I think it's my soul
that needed some sweetness.
I think it's my soul that needed some sweetness. Without soul, life is pretty robotic and mechanical. Wake up, attend to hygiene, eat food capsules, go to work, earn money, pay bills, eat food capsules, sleep, wake up…. Soul fills out that empty scaffolding of structure with LIFE. Color. Feeling. Opinion. Likes. Dislikes. Meaning. Apparently, mine needs a little sweetness to fill things out. I'm trying to give my soul what it wants and needs - in a way that also satisfies my rational goals for long-term health. Perhaps that is the very definition of life. I don't know. It may also be my poetic attempt at rationalizing my need for adding back a few sweet things to my diet. So sue me. ;) You can have your money back if all of this makes you roll your eyes. (Heehee!)
Ok, so net-net:
- I've found something new (or really a combination of three things) that seems to be working!
- I'm starting my second week on this regimen.
- I've lost over ten pounds despite adding back some sweet items.
- I'm not experiencing cravings or urges to overeat.
- I'm holding off talking about exactly what I'm doing because I believe Ideal Protein is the very best option for the vast majority of people who aren't severely insulin resistant. I don't want my personal quest to seem like I'm suggesting some alternate method of losing weight and fixing your metabolism. I would be doing Phase 1 if I didn't have this unfortunately unique biology.
I will keep you posted and let you know how this is going in the coming weeks. Thanks to those of you who continue to reach out to offer support even when I go into periods of radio silence. This has been an intense, deep, soulful inner and outer journey and frankly I don't always feel like writing about it. Sometimes I just need to wall myself up in my own little world and tune in to what I need without regard to the outside world or my role as an Ideal Protein coach.
As much as coaching is my passion, my calling, and the very best job I've ever invented for myself, it can be taxing. One of my friends wondered aloud the other day whether simply *being* an Ideal Protein coach might pre-dispose one to an eating disorder!?! I had to stop and think about that for a bit, and there may be some truth to that.
Think about it. If you were one of us (and maybe some of you who are reading this are ;)) how would you feel when every single client who walks through the door first looks you up and down to see if you look smaller, larger, the same? Not in a bad way. And I of course never blame them or feel badly about it. I would be doing the same thing with my coach (and I did!) But think of the pressure! What if you had a bad week- as most of us do now and then? What if you had some garlic fries at the baseball game last night, but are now sitting in front of a client who is trying to strategize how to go camping and stay strictly on Phase 1? One of the biggest challenges my coaches and I face is occasional feelings of being a fraud. Because we're not perfect. And we are coaching a protocol that needs to be followed precisely - like a prescription - to be most effective.
Having an imperfect coach makes our clients more comfortable talking to us about the ways they struggle - but that imperfection can really rub hard on our sense of integrity. Most people have a deep desire to be in congruence with themselves - to have their beliefs, words and actions align. Sometimes it's hard on us to struggle and yet encourage our clients to stay on track - the way we know they should and the way we wish we always could.
I digress a bit, but maybe this will spark some of you to remember that your coach is just a person. Hopefully a good person with wonderful intentions, a lot of expertise and experience and an ability to cheer you on… But also just a person with failings and flaws. Maybe give them a little bit of gratitude and appreciation if they are one of the really good ones. They are rare, in my experience. And they are precious. (Shout-out to Wallie, Karen G. and Carrie!)